1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal 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!

Technical degree and employment?

  1. Mar 5, 2014 #1
    I've just been doing some research, I came across an article about CS and then I went down into the comments and there were many people complaining about having chosen CS as a degree in that the prospects were paltry. Although a few said otherwise...

    Now that brings me to my question, what do you think about a CS degree and employment? Is electrical, computer engineering better for employment opportunities?

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 5, 2014 #2
    I think that CS is the most employable degree of all STEM degrees. That doesnt mean that getting a high flying career is easy though... I also think that all degrees graduate more people than there are positions available in their field.
  4. Mar 5, 2014 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Of course this is true, getting a degree does not make a person employable. That doesn't mean that a college should deny someone a degree just because they are unlikely to ever be hired. Usually what makes you "hireable" can be controlled to some degree as it usually relates mostly to personality, hygiene and appearance (this includes choice of hair styles and clothing). You may have clean, neat clothes, but if the person in charge of hiring is a shoe snob, believe it or not, people in hiring positions have admitted to not hiring a qualified applicant because they thought the applicant's shoes didn't cost enough and weren't an upscale brand.

    Mostly it's personality, and you may not even be aware that you come across as someone they do not want in their company. They will always give you some other excuse. If you had good grades, and can't get hired, you may want to find a consultant that can give you honest feedback.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
  5. Mar 6, 2014 #4
    Perhaps it is not quite that bad. It depends where you're applying.

    However issues like personality are actually quite serious. If you belittle yourself, if you have a sloppy or shabby appearance, if you find yourself looking at the floor all the time, if you don't make eye contact, if you have a flaccid handshake, it shows lack of confidence and a lack of self respect. Those are big red warning flags to interviewers that you may not be well suited for an environment where impressions are a major part of day to day business success.

    Nobody wants to hire someone with a bad attitude.
  6. Mar 6, 2014 #5


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    ModusPwnd, do you have any evidence to back up your opinion on this? Because I'm skeptical of your claim here -- the statement above assumes that (a) the # of people obtaining degrees in specific fields are evenly distributed, (b) that people who graduate with a degree is necessarily looking for a "position in their field" (if that can even be defined in some cases), and (c) that the job market is uniformly horrible in all areas in the US and Canada at the present.

    None of the above assumptions are exactly accurate, at least from what I have read and observed.

    Point (a) -- in general, there are fewer people who are graduating with, say, a math or statistics degree or a CS degree in comparison to other degree areas (e.g. English, history, political science, marketing).

    Point (b) -- say someone earns a math degree. What would constitute a position in his/her field? A math graduate could work as an actuary, financial analyst, software developer, teacher in elementary/junior high/high school/community college, accountant, marketing manager, etc., all fields which at one point or another could be considered cognate to his/her education.

    Point (c) -- the job market is difficult in the US (and to a lesser extent in Canada), but there are areas which are in heavy demand.

    Virtually every career website, job website and other similar sites that I have seen have reported a heavy demand for all health-care related jobs (nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists, doctors), at least in the US (I have heard reports of nursing positions being cut in certain provinces in Canada). There is a heavy demand for people in the skilled trades (electricians, plumbers, tool-and-die makers, mechanics) in both Canada and the US, but especially Canada due to the continuing boom in construction. There is a heavy demand for those working in the natural resources sector (e.g. oil & gas sector), especially in the province of Alberta in Canada and in certain parts of the US, which would include chemical, petroleum, and civil/geological engineers and geologists/geophysicists. There is also strong demand for those involve in market research (statisticians are often hired in this area), finance, and accounting, and any business area involving "big data". And as you stated, there is strong demand for those pursuing IT careers (where a CS degree would naturally fit in).
  7. Mar 6, 2014 #6
    If you look down this forum, you can see that even in physics there is an undersupply of people in some fields, such as accelerator physics. Simply saying there is an oversupply of all degrees is not very useful.
  8. Mar 6, 2014 #7


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    While I would agree to that statement today, I'm not sure that it is true in general. I remember the dot bomb and for several years it was very difficult to get work as a software engineer. We are in the middle of a boom and things could change quickly.

    I think the best advice if you want to pursue something technical is to be the best you can be at something. To do that you need to pursue something you are passionate about. Over the long term I think a high-quality mechanical engineer will have better prospects than a mediocre software engineer, even though currently there is more demand for software engineers.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook