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Other Disabled looking for branch of science

  1. Sep 19, 2017 #1
    I'm not in the US but 1st world country with similar dynamic. I recently retired from a military career of 20 years due to disability and have been looking to study towards a new career. I did one year of a science(Biology) degree in the early 90's before joining up, and wish sometimes I had stayed with it.Part of being older and financially settled is I don't need a world breaking salary or dreams of being the Thomas Edison, I am just after a respectable career with moderate earnings to see out the last 25 years in the work sector.( say until I am 65 or so).

    Biology- From what I can gather, biological sciences are sort of like the new arts degree, aka 500 applicants per 'marine biologist' job. For most grads your degree will probably just be a CV booster towards non science or business roles?

    Math- I'd love to do it, but I'm thinking its not something a "mere moderately smart guy" can get through with enough work, like say you could do with biology. Do you need to be truly gifted to pass the later years of a degree. And even more gifted to get a job? I am thinking yes.

    Easier math- statistics- is there much in finance and insurance related jobs?

    Engineering is still a solid performer I hear in most sectors?

    Chemistry? Do industrial chemists still exist? They always seemed to have jobs when I was young, maybe they are called something different these days..

    My post is too vague sorry, but any input will be appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2017 #2
    In my personal opinion, statistics and mathematics are always a no no in my book. They are not versatile, and unless your going for a PhD (even so mathematician jobs are limited) you are limiting yourself to the finance sector. There is only one more idea worse than a math degree, and that is chemistry. Most chemists just do analysis for pharmaceutical corporations making $60,000 with there PhD and essentially being the lowest on the corporate racks, while being the most educated. Your assumptions about biology are correct, it is an over played field and everyone is still trying to get into it. Heres what I recommend you looking into: instead of looking at chemistry, look at engineering. Instead of thinking about math, think about physics. Instead of learning about stats, learn about economics.

    - CarmineS
    I'm only 13, but I've spent at least a quarter of my life learning about careers.
  4. Sep 19, 2017 #3

    I know a whole bunch of Statisticians, Quality Engineers, Six Sigma Gurus, and Manufacturing Engineers that would vehemently disagree. Modern industry and manufacturing is a place for very rich careers for those who understand statistics and can utilize Six Sigma analysis techniques for process improvement efforts. You might want to look into it.
  5. Sep 19, 2017 #4


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    I wouldn't say that at all. While employees certain "fun" jobs will always be in high supply, there are tons of other jobs out there in biology where the candidate pool is much thinner. In particular, healthcare and pharma.
    Yes, and again also in pharma (though biology is really where it's at in pharma right now).
  6. Sep 19, 2017 #5


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    @CarmineS, as someone who is only 13, I will say that you do not have enough life experience or even depth of knowledge to be able to give advice on careers.

    And you are wrong about statistics and mathematics -- you couldn't be more wrong if you tried. There are many people with math and statistics degrees who work in a variety of careers other than the finance sector. For example, I'm a statistician who has been working in the health, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology sectors for almost 16 years (I have a Bachelor's in math and a Masters in statistics). And I've known people with math or statistics degrees who work in such areas as software, market research, engineering, etc.

    In fact, an economics degree (at least at the undergraduate level) is less useful/employable than a statistics degree -- to work as an economist, you need a PhD in economics. And many people who are pursuing their PhD in economics often have Bachelors degrees in math or statistics (since much of economics research is heavily mathematical).
  7. Sep 19, 2017 #6


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    @russ_watters , there are some important caveats you (and others) need to be aware of with respect to health care and pharma.

    Firstly, there are comparatively few positions open to either fields for those with just a Bachelor's in biology -- any such positions will most certainly require some additional education or training.

    In health care, for example, most such positions will require at least a Masters in specific fields such as molecular genetics, microbiology, biotechnology, or health informatics (not to mention post-graduate professional schools like medicine, pharmacy, nursing, or physiotherapy).

    With respect to pharma, most jobs where biology majors might comfortably fit in would typically involve those with advanced degrees (I'm thinking of PhDs in genetics, microbiology, etc.), and there aren't a great many of these. A better way to break into pharma would be through the engineering route (think chemical engineering or biomedical engineering), through a medical, pharmacy or nursing degree (nurses are often hired to work as research coordinators, working with sites on clinical trials), or through specialized fields like statistics.
  8. Sep 19, 2017 #7
    To be a professional scientist is very difficult. Many PhDs cannot land such a position. I only suggest a science degree if you plan on going all the way to a PhD. As a plan b, it is highly advised to get some kind of professional masters like computer science, statistics, or programming. Or professional technician training in something like the medical field.

    Otherwise, engineering and computer science are more marketable at the BS level. In my area computer programming and IT is the bulk of STEM demand. Graduates are a dime a dozen, so consider a masters to suppliment these degrees as well. Also, an internship would be very useful. Companies want entry level workers to have relevant experience. An internship is the way to get that experience plus professional connections.
  9. Sep 20, 2017 #8
    Thanks for the replies folks. I think its going to be more sensible for me to aim for civil service or non scientific degree like accounting which are easier to get into and find work locally. The market seems a lot tougher than it was in the 90's.. Also as I have found out our professional salaries with the exception of medicine and a couple of others are lagging since the universities removed admissions limits a few years ago. Took the easy money and degraded the job market with too many grads it looks like. Make sure you lobby against this if it happens in your country.
  10. Sep 20, 2017 #9


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    First of all, there is no such thing as a professional masters in programming -- you earn a masters degree in computer science or some other science or engineering discipline where programming is heavily used.

    Second, are computer science BS graduates really a "dime a dozen" anywhere in the US? I find that hard to believe even in places like Silicon Valley in California or in Seattle, Washington (@ModusPwnd, you stated you are from the Pacific Northwest, so I presume you live somewhere close to Seattle).
  11. Sep 20, 2017 #10
    By professional masters I mean a terminal masters. Right, instead of programming I should have said software engineering or software development. My bad.
  12. Sep 21, 2017 #11
    I am not saying that statisticians and math degree holders don't work in various industries, but do they all do similar work in their sector? Rethinking my statement, I would probably agree with you that a math or statistics degree would be better than an economics degree in terms of job opportunities.
  13. Sep 21, 2017 #12


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    Fair enough. My understanding is that a terminal masters degree in software engineering is offered through the computer science department (or some equivalent department), and is largely the same as a masters degree in computer science (with probably a slightly different set of course requirements).
  14. Sep 23, 2017 #13


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    My recommendation: Computer Science and computer programming. mickbr did not say what kind of disability, but if it is a physical/mobility disability, this might have less impact than some other kinds.

    The world still does need and use chemists with degree (even undergraduate) in Chemistry, but the jobs are very competitive. A careful selection of elective course work can be very important for your competitiveness.
  15. Sep 24, 2017 #14


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    Which by my calculation is a bit more than three years.
    I agree 100%.

    @CarmineS, it might be useful to look up the word "hubris" if it's one that you don't already know.
  16. Sep 25, 2017 #15
    I am aware of what that word means. Yes, I am very confident in myself, maybe even a little narcissistic but I would never admit that publicly.

    "If you're the most intelligent person in the room, then you are in the wrong room." - James D Watson

    I usually never say or type anything, but just thought I could offer my two cents, clearly I should not of.

    This post has got me looking into careers into mathematics and statistics. It's definitely better than I thought and am actually considering a career in actuarial sciences or maybe operations research.
  17. Oct 21, 2017 #16
    You just did admit it publicly. Maybe less science and more reading comprehension is in order.

    Thanks everyone else for the replies, sorry for the delay replying as I was out of action for a while.
  18. Oct 22, 2017 #17
    You're writing is way too advanced to be a 13 year old.
  19. Oct 22, 2017 #18


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    In regard to that and my #13 post, his opinions may/should change drastically in the next three years.
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