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Old 2018-07-14, 16:03   #1
jvang
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Default Career Discussion Thread

I'm a 17-yr-old going into my senior year of high school soon, and I'll be applying to college (University of Arkansas) in a week or two. However, I don't have a single clue what I'm interested in (looking at either architecture, computer science, or engineering). Job shadowing is pretty non-existent around here, since people either work 50 miles away or at Wal-Mart/McDonald's, so I have no idea of what professionals' jobs are like.

Since we don't already have a thread like this, feel free to share what your job is, what you do, etc.
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Old 2018-07-14, 23:40   #2
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Here's a recent tweet I saw on this topic:

https://twitter.com/Noahpinion/statu...96032784609280

How well do you know yourself? What you enjoy now might not be as thrilling in four years.
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Old 2018-07-15, 13:04   #3
Nick
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvang View Post
...looking at architecture, computer science, or engineering...
This forum probably attracts people from the NSA (or equivalents in other coutnries) who aren't allowed to answer your question!

More seriously, a lot of work in the areas you are interested in can be summarized as taking a functional design and developing a technical design.

The functional design says what the building/computer system/aircraft should be able to do.
The technical design says how this could be achieved: what components could be used,
which of them already exist and which would have to be built from scratch,
how they would fit together, possibly including what it would cost and how long it would all take.

This type of work is usually done in a team, though the size of it depends heavily on the type of project.
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Old 2018-07-15, 14:59   #4
jvang
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masser View Post
Here's a recent tweet I saw on this topic:

https://twitter.com/Noahpinion/statu...96032784609280

How well do you know yourself? What you enjoy now might not be as thrilling in four years.
Lots of things seem fun, but I'd rather avoid getting a degree in a field that is less cool than it sounds. But I don't know of any resources to find out about the inner workings of such jobs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
More seriously, a lot of work in the areas you are interested in can be summarized as taking a functional design and developing a technical design.

The functional design says what the building/computer system/aircraft should be able to do.
The technical design says how this could be achieved: what components could be used,
which of them already exist and which would have to be built from scratch,
how they would fit together, possibly including what it would cost and how long it would all take.

This type of work is usually done in a team, though the size of it depends heavily on the type of project.
Not gonna lie, both types of design sound pretty cool

In addition to that, I think that something science-based would be cool too. I always see news articles about students working with their professors to discover new biological agents/quantum particles/other things. What do you do to end up in a lab environment like that? Or just engaging in cutting-edge research in any field?
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Old 2018-07-15, 16:36   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvang View Post
I'm a 17-yr-old going into my senior year of high school soon
You subbed to the forum in November 2015, so you were 14 or 15 at the time. O.O
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Old 2018-07-15, 21:41   #6
jvang
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasong View Post
You subbed to the forum in November 2015, so you were 14 or 15 at the time. O.O
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Old 2018-07-16, 01:24   #7
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How many of us are doing today what we thought we would be doing when we were 17?

(Did we say that right?)

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Old 2018-07-16, 01:59   #8
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I don't know where to put this link, but it inspires me so much that I think I will simply leave it here:


I listened to Rick's channel for quite a while now, but this one is a real eye opener - here, he explains how he didn't know what to do with his work when he was 38, and this really reminds me of my favorite quote:
"Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't."
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Old 2018-07-16, 07:32   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvang View Post
In addition to that, I think that something science-based would be cool too. I always see news articles about students working with their professors to discover new biological agents/quantum particles/other things. What do you do to end up in a lab environment like that? Or just engaging in cutting-edge research in any field?
It's important to understand the difference between the natural sciences and technical/engineering sciences.
Examples of natural sciences: physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, ...
Examples of technical/engineering sciences: computer science, aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering,...
In the first, students study the world around us and researchers discover new things.
In the second, students study what other people have built and the researchers invent new things.

The team which recently landed a space probe on a comet contained both sorts of people.
The engineers didn't want any unexpected surprises: they wanted the spacecraft to remain fully under control and do what they wanted.
The natural scientists were hoping for unexpected surprises in the samples taken from the comet, since then they would learn more about how the universe formed.
There is, of course, some overlap: students of aerospace engineering have to do some physics, for example, but they do it to use in other things, not for its own sake.

When research universities recruit new researchers, they choose people who are not just talented and hardworking, but also passionate and show original thinking.
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Old 2018-07-16, 18:43   #10
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If I didn't know what I wanted to do, I'd take a year off, travel around the country or overseas, and work odd jobs. If you've always lived in a small town or have never travelled abroad it will open your eyes to new possibilities. In other words, spend some time to find yourself, before you have debt or a family, while you are still free. So often people are shepherded into things they don't like because they did what was easy.
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Old 2018-07-17, 00:09   #11
jvang
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Batalov View Post
I don't know where to put this link, but it inspires me so much that I think I will simply leave it here:
Great video; makes me almost want to get into music I hope that when I get to that sort of age I'm not dissatisfied with my career, unless I manage "exhaust" the supply of original things to do with it (like Rick was unhappy with his position).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
It's important to understand the difference between the natural sciences and technical/engineering sciences.
Examples of natural sciences: physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, ...
Examples of technical/engineering sciences: computer science, aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering,...
Sounds like "pure" sciences versus applied sciences, the way I've heard it. I just need to figure out which is more interesting. Now I'm considering going for a more general courseload for my first year or two until I figure out what to major in. U of Arkansas has an undecided 1st-year engineering program, so I guess I'll go with that. If I really want to swap to a completely different curriculum then I can probably transfer most of the core credits anyways. I've dropped architecture for now since everything that I think that I want to know about it could probably be learned from the Internet
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