1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Pursuing 2nd bachelor's degree-need advice

  1. Jun 23, 2011 #1
    Pursuing 2nd bachelor's degree--need advice

    I am 25 years old and graduated with a BA in a liberal arts field in 2008. I have had a string of unsuccessful temp jobs, and am trying to go back to school to get a new degree. I am looking for job stability and a decent salary.

    Since graduating, I have taken the following courses (with grade listed):
    Calculus I: B
    Calculus II: B
    Discrete Math: B+
    General Chemistry I: A

    Right now, I'm in introductory Java and Calc-based Physics. I have an A in Java and probably a D in Physics...it's just not clicking.

    I had been thinking of engineering, but I currently am bad at and despise doing Physics! I have a tutor, watch online lectures, etc. It doesn't interest me.

    I am also thinking about Comp. Sic., which I enjoy, but I'm worried that the courses will end up more like Discrete Math with proofs and recursions. I like building simple programs, but I don't know if it's what I want to do as a career yet.

    Finally, on the opposite spectrum is finance or accounting, neither of which I have ever taken. The job stability/$ sounds nice, and I've always enjoyed reading The Economist/Businessweek. However, I am trying to repair poor credit and would be an outlier, culturally, if it's the old boy's club I stereotypically envision it to be.

    I have a 3.0 GPA, so I can't transfer to the most prestigious programs. I need to make a decision soon, as I want to apply for full-time status beginning Jan. 2012 (applying this fall). This is difficult, because I don't have many hobbies. I would like to have a stable, interesting, in-demand, non-outsourced, career. I'd like to be able to save up $ to travel or perhaps live in Europe one day (which I'd why, aside from the possibility of crippling debt, I turned down law school with an LSAT score in the 90th percentile). I'm willing to work hard...I know that life doesn't hand out success, and I don't want to be royally f'd by a degree again (thanks English BA). Any advice?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 23, 2011 #2
    Re: Pursuing 2nd bachelor's degree--need advice

    You should consider meeting with a career counselor to try to discern what your true career passion is. It sounds like you might be all over the place, so definitely meeting with a counselor will narrow your career options down
     
  4. Jun 23, 2011 #3
    Re: Pursuing 2nd bachelor's degree--need advice

    The last thing you need to do is make this decision soon. Even if you can't apply until a year from now, that is a lot better then starting a degree that you are not confident you want to do the rest of your life. You already made a mistake with your first degree, don't rush things and make the same mistake twice.
     
  5. Jun 23, 2011 #4
    Re: Pursuing 2nd bachelor's degree--need advice

    While waiting is a valid point, I would like to get started so I can make more than 15k a year. A career counselor might be a good idea.
     
  6. Jun 24, 2011 #5
    Re: Pursuing 2nd bachelor's degree--need advice

    It would be best for you to try and figure out what you are good at. Perhaps take some of those career tests? Even something as simple as http://www.careertest.net/ could be useful.

    Related to computer science: do you like being a team leader or are you well at communicating? If so you could try looking into "Software Engineering" as opposed to computer science. Software engineering is much more methodological, your typically put in charge of a series of programmers or the entire software development life cycle, you have to develop milestones assign people work and such. I don't think you would need something like advanced math or physics for this. It's mostly about UML based where you plan how the software works from a very high abstraction and a business type degree.

    Recursion will come up in computer science quite a bit, and in the advance forms of computer science there are definitely proofs but you likely wouldn't have to deal with these till senior year.
     
  7. Jun 24, 2011 #6
    Re: Pursuing 2nd bachelor's degree--need advice

    I would say a good grasp of physics is just as if not MORE important than mathematics for engineering. Take that as you will, however, depending on which kind of engineering you decide to do you may have to do classes such as Thermodynamics 2 and Fluid Mechanics etc (they aren't hard but they are significantly more difficult than intro physics).

    I do not believe computer science has the same level of physics as traditional engineering programs (i.e. electrical, mechanical and civil). However, from my understanding the program is very math-intensive.

    It would be beneficial to sit and think about what it is YOU like to do. An engineering degree is not something you can stumble through if you hate it--believe me.
     
  8. Jun 24, 2011 #7
    Re: Pursuing 2nd bachelor's degree--need advice

    It seems that Software Engineering degrees are more legit outside of the United States. There are not many schools that offer it here, and it seems like too much of a niche major.

    As for finding what I am good at, I feel like I intuitively grasp programming, but that is at an introductory level in Java...I don't know if that will translate to the rest of a Comp Sci degree, and I don't have the $ to give it a shot and then find out it won't work for me.

    I also don't want to "quit" on engineering, but I am worried that my trouble in freshman Calc-based Physics will simply multiply as the physics progresses during an engineering curriculum. My biggest problem is taking the words of a question and turning it into correct equations.

    I also want to add that the one thing I truly know that I excel at, academically, is in writing research papers. Granted, I have only written ones for liberal arts/social science courses (English, History, Philosophy, Sociology, Economics) with the lone exception of Chemistry. However, I do think that I am good at doing it and I also enjoy the research, writing, and satisfaction of a complete, well-argued essay.
     
  9. Jun 24, 2011 #8
    Re: Pursuing 2nd bachelor's degree--need advice

    I also have the option of returning to my old school, with all my core curriculum done, and getting a Comp. Sci. BS. It would be difficult to go back to the old college town, but it would probably cost little and only take 4 semesters.
     
  10. Jun 24, 2011 #9
    Re: Pursuing 2nd bachelor's degree--need advice

    I maintain--most of the engineering core is HEAVILY physics based. If you find physics difficult at the mechanics level, trust me, later physics classes only get more difficult.

    I'm not trying to discourage you; I just want to make sure you know what you're getting into.
     
  11. Jun 26, 2011 #10
    Re: Pursuing 2nd bachelor's degree--need advice

    I'm in a similar situation as you. Moved to CA a year ago for a job hoping I could take classes at UC, but the state is broke, impossible to apply as a 2nd BS applicant, and is expensive taking classes without matriculation.

    I wish there was a school that offered a Physics program in the evenings so people can take classes while keeping a job. One way could be to work night shift, making day classes accessible.

    Best thing to do in the meantime is read these forums, read some of the recommend texts, load up on as much mathematics as possible, and start coding. Start with Python, then you can learn other languages as you go, and notice the similarities, and differences. Become autodidactic.

    Physics is the secret weapon of the sciences. It's intellectually stimulating, gives you flexibility for many different jobs and fields, and will keep you employable in a bad economy.

    A recruiter for Apple has said that he likes hiring Physics majors.

    They can do anything.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook