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Advice to a Junior in High School?

Hello, everyone. I would appreciate any advice that someone could give me on
my future career path. Here is my situation:

I am a bright Junior in a very well-respected private high school, taking
almost all AP and accelerated classes. I am HIGHLY interested in technology,
more specifically the field of Computer Science and software engineering. I
have heard a whole lot about the fact that the market for software engineers
nowadays is *HORRIBLE*, and that I should double major or perhaps go into a
field of study in which I'm not very interested.

I would be devastated were I to find the need to leave computer science. I
love the subject, and I've wanted to be a computer scientist ever since I
was 12 years old.

Does anyone have any advice for me and my future? What should I study in
college? Will the market for jobs get better? Do I have any hope at all of
finding a decent-paying job in compsci? What languages do you suggest that I
study (I'm already studying Python)?

thank you very much for your help!

--shn
Jul 18 '05 #1
75 6112


Howard Nease wrote:
Hello, everyone. I would appreciate any advice that someone could give me on
my future career path. Here is my situation:

I am a bright Junior in a very well-respected private high school, taking
almost all AP and accelerated classes. I am HIGHLY interested in technology,
more specifically the field of Computer Science and software engineering. I
have heard a whole lot about the fact that the market for software engineers
nowadays is *HORRIBLE*, and that I should double major or perhaps go into a
field of study in which I'm not very interested.


By the time you graduate it will be a different world. There will be a
shortage because everyone is being told the same thing you are. A glut
arose because folks were being told the opposite. These same folks give
up looking for a job in compsci after a month, you'll get a job as a
waiter and look for a year. and you can settle for less because you love
the work. the latter will also make you better at it than money chasers,
and will help you interview better.

btw, i would say this even if you were from a highly-disrespected inner
city public school. :)
--

kenny tilton
clinisys, inc
http://www.tilton-technology.com/
---------------------------------------------------------------
"Career highlights? I had two. I got an intentional walk from
Sandy Koufax and I got out of a rundown against the Mets."
-- Bob Uecker

Jul 18 '05 #2


Howard Nease wrote:
H What languages do you suggest that I
study (I'm already studying Python)?


PS. Common Lisp

--

kenny tilton
clinisys, inc
http://www.tilton-technology.com/
---------------------------------------------------------------
"Career highlights? I had two. I got an intentional walk from
Sandy Koufax and I got out of a rundown against the Mets."
-- Bob Uecker

Jul 18 '05 #3
"Howard Nease" <hn****@midsout h.rr.com> wrote in message
news:Iv******** ********@clmboh 1-nws5.columbus.r r.com...
What should I study in college?
Hi. Are you asking which areas in the field of computer science you should
try to specialize in (take courses in)? Are you asking which comp. sci. (or
non-comp.sci. courses) would be beneficial (for getting work, for rounding
your knowledge, for making you happy, for all of the above and more)?

What you should study in college may well depend on your chosen college's
degree requirements. My university, for instance, requires us to take
atleast 8 classes outside of our discipline (I chose to do a minor in
philosophy, in order to meet that requirement).

It's hard to say what you should study. What are your goals? What would you
like to learn? What would you like to do? Do you want to be a computer
scientist? a programmer? a software engineer? a network administrator? a
security professional? a web-application developer, or something else?
Depending upon what you want to do, what you should learn may differ.

For the time being, you're still in high school, so let's start there. Take
all of the math and science courses you can. Finite (discrete) mathematics,
if it is offered, is particularly useful. If your school offers any kind of
logic course, take that. If you're looking to be in management, business
courses might be useful. Take literature courses (you'll have to write
papers as you move further towards being a computer scientist, best get some
practice writing now). But, most importantly, take what interests you!

In university (or college), you can follow advice similar to that above.
Especially, "take what interests you". Take any required maths, and, if you
like, take any other discrete math courses. As for computer science courses:
You'll likely have a core curriculum to follow for the first 2-3 years, so
you may not have a lot of choice in which courses to take. In 3rd and 4th
year you'll likely get to specialize more. If your school offers a compiler
course, take it. Most of what you learn there is applicable in other
domains. If your school offers an interface design course, take that. If
your school offers software design courses, take those.

Other than this, it's difficult to suggest courses. It depends on your
interests and the courses that are offered. Are you interested in AI,
A-Life, evolutionary computing? Are you interested in cryptography,
security, networking? Are you interested in distributed or parellel
computing? Again, "take what interests you".

What languages do you suggest that I study (I'm already studying Python)?

Learn C (atleast, and maybe C++). Learn an assembly language. Learn Scheme
(Lisp, Dylan, Haskell, ocaml, or some other functional programming
language). Learn Prolog (or some other logic programming language). Learn
Java. Learn Perl. Learn what interests you.

I hope that was somewhat helpful,
Sean

Jul 18 '05 #4
On Mon, 25 Aug 2003 22:57:44 GMT, "Howard Nease" <hn****@midsout h.rr.com>
wrote:
Hello, everyone. I would appreciate any advice that someone could give me on
my future career path. Here is my situation:

I am a bright Junior in a very well-respected private high school, taking
almost all AP and accelerated classes. I am HIGHLY interested in technology,
more specifically the field of Computer Science and software engineering. I
have heard a whole lot about the fact that the market for software engineers
nowadays is *HORRIBLE*, and that I should double major or perhaps go into a
field of study in which I'm not very interested.

I would be devastated were I to find the need to leave computer science. I
love the subject, and I've wanted to be a computer scientist ever since I
was 12 years old.

Does anyone have any advice for me and my future? What should I study in
college? Will the market for jobs get better? Do I have any hope at all of
finding a decent-paying job in compsci? What languages do you suggest that I
study (I'm already studying Python)?


I would make sure to consider a field, in a non-computer science, which
allows/requires you to use your interest/skills in computer programming.

I believe I chose the right words, so read them carefully. I don't think
that leaves any questions of me. Your decision should be your decision.

Languages...

Whatever appeals to you, but that probably depends on what you want to do.

Jul 18 '05 #5
Really hate to say this but....

I agree with another post in that you should look into a real field
where you might be able to use the computer 'hobby' aspects of it in
your field. For instance, be a doctor such as an oconologist,
radiologist, or ear-noste-throat. These are great, high paying
positions that are becoming extremely computer intensive. I look at
it from the standpoint of practicality... . you'll never want for a
job since there has been a demand in most sections of the country for
the last 30+ years, you'll get paid a ridiculous salary, and have a
normal work week of 25 - 50 hours.
Enjoy the Porchse, the yacht, and the time to focus your skills in
programming.
Jul 18 '05 #6
Afanasiy <ab********@hot mail.com> wrote in message news:<hg******* *************** **********@4ax. com>...
I think you
should do a lot of your own exploring. Consider as much as you can, no
matter what someone online says for or against it.


Hear, hear: this is good advice!

On a more personal note, when I was more or less your age I decided
to do Physics, even if I knew very well that the job situation was a
disaster. Now, it turns out that the situation is still a disaster and I
have just decided to quit the field.
I have found some people telling me that I made the bad choice and that
I should have chosen a more marketable field. I don't think so.
I did what I wanted to do: whereas most of the people do for
all their life a job they dislike, I at least avoided that for
part of my life. I had the opportunity of doing something and I took
it.

If you have the chance of having something you like to do, don't throw
it away to follow the advice of the others. Your life is your responsability.

Michele Simionato, Ph. D.
Mi************* *@libero.it
http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~micheles
--- Currently looking for a job ---
Jul 18 '05 #7
In article <hg************ *************** *****@4ax.com>,
Afanasiy <ab********@hot mail.com> wrote:
Jul 18 '05 #8
In article <Iv************ ****@clmboh1-nws5.columbus.r r.com>,
"Howard Nease" <hn****@midsout h.rr.com> writes:

[snip]
Does anyone have any advice for me and my future? What should I study in
college?
Well, in addition to what everyone else has said, I would recommend
taking some classes that hone your ability to analyze numerical data.
There ought to be classes from a variety of departments at your college
that can teach you this skill. It's likely *one* of them will catch your
interest. In my experience, that core skill is easily transfered between
fields. Once you learn how to handle the numbers, it doesn't matter if
they are temperature readings or stock prices.

That skill will open a large number of career paths where your CS skills
and interests are respected and used. Many of them pay well, too.

Of course, that doesn't help you in the slightest if you're just not
interested in those fields. Use your college experience to explore (lots
of things really, but let's focus on the career aspects here ;-)). When
you visit colleges, try to ask the older kids if they had the
opportunity to "shop around" and discover what they really wanted to do.
To get you started, I'll tell you right now that Caltech is not such a
place.
Will the market for jobs get better?


Probably. Six years is a *long* time for the computer world.

For that matter, six years is a long time for a person your age, too.
I'm quite sure you will be a very different person when you graduate
from college. Trust me: I'm six years ahead of you. ;-)

And for now, forget us old fogies, go out, and have some fun, goddammit!

--
Robert Kern
ke**@caltech.ed u

"In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
-- Richard Harter
Jul 18 '05 #9
"Sean Ross" <sr***@connectm ail.carleton.ca > writes:
(Lisp, Dylan, Haskell, ocaml, or some other functional programming
language).


As an added bonus, studying many langugas reduces the chances of you
misclassifying them, as has been done above :-)


Okay. "..., or some other language that supports functional programming
style)" (which would include those mentioned, and many more besides). For
instance,

http://directory.google.com/Top/Comp...nctional/?tc=1
Aleph (1)
BETA (8)
Caml (2)
Clean (6)
Dylan (19) <
Erlang (313)
Haskell (48) <
Leda (5)
Lisp (378) <
Logo (46)
Lua (18)
Mercury (4)
Miranda (10)
ML (35)
Mozart (2)
Objective Caml (5) <
Pliant (16)
POP-11 (6)
REBOL (95)
Scheme (127)
Sisal (12)
Whatever.
Sean

Jul 18 '05 #10

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