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Financial Analysis vs. Computer Science

  1. Sep 5, 2008 #1
    If you had a choice between becoming a financial analyst or a computer scientist (artificial intelligence, more specifically), which would you pick and why?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2008 #2
    Me? Financial analyst. I find artificial intelligence to be immensely boring.

    Unfortunately, I take it you don't find the choice quite so clear cut, and this is why your question is ill posed for the assistance you seem to be seeking.
  4. Sep 6, 2008 #3
    For me: finance, no question about it. Why? Because computer science is dull and finance pays 3-10x more.
  5. Sep 6, 2008 #4
    Haha. Is financing fun? Is it more than just punching in numbers on calculators?
  6. Sep 7, 2008 #5
    "Financial analyst" is a ridiculously broad term.

    They don't necessarily make 3-10x a computer scientist does. There are lots of examples of financial analysts who do well, but nothing out of the ordinary. Finance has gotten its reputation as a money maker largely from investment banking jobs. You can make tremendous money in investment banking, but the job hours are equally awful (depending a bit on who you ask). Its hard to be certain, but I feel confident saying that if you figure it up on an hourly basis there are actually few finance jobs that make more money per hour than computer scientists do on average.

    I'd still go into finance, but that's just me.
  7. Sep 7, 2008 #6
    I'd go with computer science myself, but really it is what one enjoys.
  8. Sep 13, 2008 #7
    I'd narrow down my interests first. Financial analysis and AI are light years apart, so if those were my career choices, I'd hunker down and ask myself what I want to do with my life.
  9. Sep 18, 2008 #8
    I was assuming that by "finance" the OP meant a good IB job.

    More like depending on what job you do. I worked ~60 hrs a week which I don't consider to be awful, and earned good money.
  10. Sep 19, 2008 #9


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  11. Sep 21, 2008 #10
    Financial Analyst does have it's issues right now, though 3 years down the road no one really knows. In reality though it's hard to find a job with it in the first place as there's long tenure in the field. It really comes down to what's more fun, but computer science lets you do a broad spectrum of things other than AI if that ends up being boring.

    Oh yeah not to mention, if you know what you're doing, you can do Financial jobs with an engineering degree ;).
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2008
  12. Sep 21, 2008 #11
    Computer Science without a doubt :).
  13. Aug 5, 2009 #12
    Can't you also do a software engineering job if you are a finance major? (I wanted to broaden this topic from AI to any s. engineering job in general)
  14. Aug 5, 2009 #13


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    Computer scientist is a better job because it's more creative and much easier to find work.

    The problem with a Financial Analyst is that they can do a variety of work. It's a broad term for a number of professions but they all have one thing in common. You will be making in the range of 30k to 45k a year when you graduate and in many cases you will be making nothing. You will be working at the bottom of the pool and the only way up is to prove yourself every day. Here are the only examples that I can think off the top of my head.

    After you graduate you can become a financial adviser but I bet you have no idea what they do. Financial advisers are hustlers and they hustle everyday. As a financial adviser you will be required to go door knocking and put your creative skills to the test on how many people you can get to trust you with their money. You will have to convince people to give their life's savings to you. Think about that for one second.... You will have to convince people to hand over their entire life's savings to you. This is an extremely hard task and on top of it, you will be making absolutely no money when you start out. None, zip, zipo. Your income as a financial adviser comes form how many clients you can score and there is no chance in heaven that you would be able to live off of 5 clients a year. Most people in this profession do not make it and end up having to hand over all their clients to other financial advisers in the business. They end up working for other financial advisers making 30k or less a year. I've seen it with my own eyes.

    The only other option is to work at a bank. At a bank you can make a cool 40k or 45k a year as a loan officer but there is no room for advancement. You'll be competing with other loan officers to get raises and promotions. They're limited.

    Lastly, you can move to New York if you are determined to make it big. Also, your education doesn't stop when you finish college as a Financial Analyst. You will be required to take 3 exams if you want to deal with people's money.

    Edit: I'm not trying to discourage you from what you might want to do but I'm trying to show you the reality of the situation. As a financial analyst, the only way to make it big is to grow your client base. You will struggle for the first few years but if you make it through then you have the potential to make around 100k a year but that's only if you grow your client base.

    The questions that you must ask yourself are....

    Can you hustle?

    Are you a people person?

    Do people trust you?

    Can you lie to your clients with a straight face and voice? You will be making up stories everyday. At least, that's what I see the good ones doing. All the nice honest ones are working for the big shots, seriously. This is a scumbag profession and you must be a scumbag to do it. The type of lies you will be telling range from very small to very large but they are still lies. Financial Advisers are cool people but when it comes to money they will say anything, seriously. They put on a face to get you to hand over your money, that's why they seem so cool. Once they have it they will tell you anything to hold onto it. That's how this profession works.

    Do you have the ability to sell yourself?

    Do you have a large network of rich friends? <<----If no then you should absolutely not do this. Where will your clients come from if you don't know people? Don't expect to land a job at a big investment firm without a client base. They only take people with a proven record.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  15. Aug 5, 2009 #14
    Lol. I am going to apply to Wharton next year. (no desire for ibanking, though)
    I can't decide if I want to do UT Austin school of engineering, or even McCombs school of business.

    Let's just say that I enjoy both finance and CS at similar amounts.
  16. Aug 5, 2009 #15


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    Please don't tell me you're going to be the next Bernie Madoff. :mad:

    Gosh.. My post does seem pretty funny after I read over it. heh..
  17. Aug 5, 2009 #16
    Yeah, I couldn't really imagine a Wharton or McCombs grad struggling as you described above. And besides, can't a finance major do some software engineering job if he really wanted?
  18. Aug 5, 2009 #17
    Just wondering wax, but what field are you in?
  19. Aug 5, 2009 #18


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    I have no idea. You probably could do software engineering if you know your stuff. I can't imagine you getting an interview without that degree on your resume though.

    As for what I told you above. It doesn't matter where you graduate from. You have to see what it is that you want to do with the degree. If you want to be a financial adviser then I have no doubt in my mind you will struggle that way. It doesn't matter where you graduate from. A job of a financial adviser is to hustle. Think about it. Where does your salary come from? It comes from your clients. When you graduate you will have NO CLIENTS!
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
  20. Aug 5, 2009 #19


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    I'm actually going back to school for chemical engineering. I use to work in a firm as a financial adviser assistant. I could have worked my way up but I honestly didn't like what I saw. You don't need a degree to be a financial adviser.
  21. Aug 6, 2009 #20
    Wow. That's stupendously wrong.

    Wax, every post you've made in this thread treats a "financial analyst" as if their only working job is a financial advisor. It isn't. It's not even the majority.

    You're clueless.
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