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I want to make a college major/career change, what are my options?

  1. Nov 21, 2008 #1
    I currently work in software development as a contractor, I decided to go to college and get a BS in computer engineering (to add to my skill set, and I figured I may find it useful in the future if I run out of work and need to seek traditional employment).

    I've always had somewhat of an interest in outer space, I'm not sure why I've never perused my interests in it before. Anyways, I decided I want to move from software development into an astronomy related career. However I want to be realistic about it.

    I do realize there aren't many jobs available for astronomers, I also realize I may not be the best astronomer (or physicist). While I am comfortable with my math skills, I don't think I am the sharpest, I usually make B's in my math classes (and related classes).

    So I am looking for a way to find the middle ground, an astronomy/cosmology related career for someone with a strong background in computer science (I just started in computer engineering a semester ago, very similar to computer science but there is a difference). I'd love to be apart of the process somehow, so that when new discoveries are made, or anything along those lines; I could say I was apart of it.

    Any advice on career paths that might suit me, and what kind of education I would need to obtain to head in that direction would be greatly appreciated.

    Last edited: Nov 21, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 21, 2008 #2
    Funny. I'm sort of the reverse. I did cosmology research as a student, learned how to write code to model large-scale structure evolution, and then went into IT. Except that at the bottom of my heart, I don't like it and wish I'd stayed in science.

    My impression is that there are a number of subdisciplines of astronomy which aren't heavy in math. Historically their main requirements were that you be knowledgeable in the subject, and be very patient, very careful, and willing to put up with long periods of tedium. Nowadays it additionally requires that you be good with getting computers to do much of that work for you. You may actually be in luck.

    If you don't have dependents, and its really what you want to do, I advise you to give it a shot, the sooner the better.

    The only practical advice I have is that you open a thread here with "astronomy" in the subject line to attract someone who actually knows something about it. Best of luck.
  4. Nov 21, 2008 #3
    Thanks for your response,

    I wish I could edit my thread title, I don't want to fill the forums with two of the same threads.

    Are there any "subdisciplines of astronomy" that you could name? I'd like to do some researching on possible astronomy related careers just I haven't have a clue where I should start.

    BTW, I do not have any dependents.
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