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Which will be the best Choice Within Ten Years?

  1. Dec 1, 2009 #1
    Which will be the best Choice Within Ten Years??

    Right now, I'm sudying in ninth grade, but I get too worried about what to study and which field I want to work in. Mabey I'm getting a bit too crazy about this, but I think it will be good to make up my mind beforehand. I've shortlisted five things I might want to study, and later work in. Here they are:
    • Aeronautical Engineering and Avionics (Probably a dual degree)
    • Marine Engineering(What exactly am I gonna do... will I get to design my own ships?)
    • Robotech Engineering and Autonomics (What's the difference between the two? Should I get a dual degree, and is it possible for a person to work in a space agency with a degree of this kind?)
    • Geochemical Research (Basically stuff related to the environment. Mabey I mean renewable energy engineering here...)
    • Astrophysics (I know this is the hardest thing ever. But my main question is, how can I work in this field? What exactly will I be doing?)

    Ok, that was the list of the various degrees I might want to take. But how I plan to choose these depends on these few guidlines I've set here, in order of their importance to me:
    • How exciting the job will be. That is, I want to do something innovative, not repeat what other's have already done. In other words, what will be the scope of developmnt of the field I will work in, after eight to ten years?
    • How high-paying will my job be? (C'mon guys, we all love moolah!)
    • And finally, what will my work be in the society? In other words, the fame, and, if not the fame, then the importance, of my job.

    I know this is probably the longest opening post ever, but please help me. I know it'll be too much to answer all my questions at once, but please help me as much as you can. What might make it easier is that you just rank my choices according to the guidlines I've given. Thanks, and any help will be highly appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 1, 2009 #2
    Re: Which will be the best Choice Within Ten Years??

    I think you need to relax. You have only just started highschool, 10 years from now you might still be in school if you go the grad school route.

    If however you still feel the need to be freaking out about this already I think you are going about it the wrong way. First of all you dont seem to know much about the various jobs/degrees you listed. And I dont think any of your guidelines are really that important. The thing that matters the most and the thing you need to figure out is what interests you the most. What will you be the most passionate about? Once you figure that out, deciding what degree to get will be a no brainer.
  4. Dec 1, 2009 #3
    Re: Which will be the best Choice Within Ten Years??

    It really doesn't matter what major you choose. Pick something interesting, and go with it.

    But it is interesting that the question has come up, and one thing that I've found generally useful is to "question the question." A huge amount of questions on this board are basically "what major should I choice, because I'm worried that if I make the wrong decision, I'll be totally doomed." The answer to that question is that "no one really knows" but I think it's more fascinating to ask why people are asking that question.

    My guess is that we've gotten society to the point in which people seem to be divided into the "saved" or the "damned" and people are really anxious to make sure that they get into the small number of "saved" rather than the large number of "damned." One other thing that influences this is that career is the largest marker of social status right now so everyone is interested in getting into the prestige careers.

    One thing that you really should do is to get a firm education in history and philosophy, because without that, you end up focusing on the unimportant questions rather than the big important questions. Why does money matter? Why should money matter? And (this is a *really* interesting and complicated question that most people don't think about) What is money?
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
  5. Dec 1, 2009 #4
    Re: Which will be the best Choice Within Ten Years??

    What you major in doesn't really matter, but what *does* matter is that you get a well-rounded education that includes a very heavy does of art, history, philosophy, politics. It will do you good to learn Latin or classical Greek. Read Cicero and Aristotle. Adam Smith and Karl Marx. If you just think of an education as merely something that provides you narrow technical skills, you are going to get smashed.

    Also don't be passive. If you don't like the way the world works, change it. One thing that you have to realize is that at some point in your life, you are going to get a big giant rejection letter from the committee, and you need a good education to figure out what to do once you get that rejection letter.
  6. Dec 1, 2009 #5


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    Re: Which will be the best Choice Within Ten Years??

    To answer the original question, I think it's wise to be investigating possible careers and educational avenues, even at this age. In the nineth grade, you haven't even really been exposed to the basics of what's involved in any of the fields you listed, so making a decision is a little premature. But it's a good time to start investigating your options.

    As an astrophyicist, the typical educational path is an undergraduate degree in physics and then a PhD. Working academically, you would end up doing several post-doctoral (research) positions and then trying for a professor position. However, the chances of landing a professorship aren't great and it's wise to develop some marketable skills along the way. What you would "do" is investigate large scale phenomena: model the evolution of stars or galaxies, investigate questions pertaining to dark matter/energy, work on black hole problems etc. The biggest issue facing this research area is that because the direct applications aren't seen as "high pay out" it becomes difficult to convince people to give you money to fund them.

    As for engineering, I wouldn't get too concerned about doing a "dual degree." Very rarely will engineering positions require a dual degree. In general companies will want someone with general engineering skills and an aptitude for solving the kinds of problems that company deals with. Some of the best training/experience you can get in this field will come from joining competative engineering teams (solar cars, robotics competitions etc.).

    You make some great points here TwoFish-Quant. Your choice of words makes me think that the "saved/damned" dichotomy isn't anything new. Religions have been doing this for thousands of years.

    I agree that social status is a huge influence, and I can't help but wonder if there's an earlier social status as play here. When I was in high school, I remember it was the thing to do to go out and wear university clothing - show off the colours of the school that you wanted to go to. Then in first year students would come back to their home towns with their new leather jackets - the ones with the major printed on the arm - and show them off. I can't help but wonder if that has anything to do with students choosing the "fancy sounding" majors rather than the more traditional ones - all so that they can show off their jackets in the mall when they go home for Christmas.

    TwoFish-Quant also makes a good point about supplmenting a technical education with some divergence into the humanities. When I was younger I considered such pursuits a waste of time, but that was because I didn't have enough life experience to appreciate their true value.
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