Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Specialty choices

  1. Nov 4, 2007 #1
    Hello, this is my first post to this forum. Been reading through the career guidance forums the last few days.

    And now, I'm going to ramble excessively to ultimately ask some simple though not necessarily easily answered questions due to the volatile nature of things in general. Run for your lives!

    Next semester, I am going back to school upon finally realizing that the workplace just plain stinks when you don't have anything but a highschool diploma.

    What I know so far, is that I'd like to study some sort science / engineering. One pattern that's been cropping up at the jobs I've had is I keep wanting to make things work better, particularly figuring out how to make processes more convenient and trying to minimize input to what I see as pointless labor so that I can focus on something else more important or interesting. Sadly, this tendency doesn't work well when one isn't a manager. And I've always got ideas floating around in my head for things to make -- they seldom actually get to the 'make' phase.. I just love thinking up possibilities when a concept strikes me.

    Now, I know that it's unlikely I'll ever get paid to make random projects for fun and rearrange how businesses are run at whim, so it seems some sort of balance should be found.

    Since engineering looks to pay rather nicely and would have more potential for amusing the problem solving part of me than production labor work, it seems to sound like a good start. I'd get a job that's hopefully still mentally stimulating after a few weeks, and enough income to purchase tools and toys for playing with and building the things I can't play with at work.

    Since I'm interested in quite a lot of things, I can probably adapt to most specialties of engineering or science. Ideally I'd like to be a jack of trades, but I have read on these forums many times that specialization is necessary. So the question becomes what to specialize in that gives me both good employability and broad range of skills?

    I am hoping to transfer to Univ. of Kansas after doing some basic education at my local community college, and I was originally thinking mechanical engineering since it is a pretty broad field. But I notice that KU has an engineering physics degree, which strikes me as even more interesting, and it has 4 different specialties: aerospace systems, chemical systems, digital electronic systems, and electromechanical control systems. All of these sound as though they could be interesting to me.

    What sorts of particularly interesting jobs might one find oneself doing with these specialties? After that, what is one *likely* to find? Which specialties are more likely to have better salary potential? Is there anything in particular one should avoid? What might be some interesting, though still employable specialties for further study if one went for a masters later on?

    Or was all of this just silly to bother typing up and asking in the first place?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 4, 2007 #2
    You know, reading your post, the only thing that came to my mind is that, he sounds like a mechanical engineer. I think you'll find yourself a good balance as one, and you'll be able to work in nearly every single field possible. Plus the pay is really sweet. For example, my dad's company was looking for any mechanical engineer who could use jet turbines to generate power efficiently, with the starting pay at 250k a year. Of course that isn't an entry position, but gives you an idea on how high you can go.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook