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Changing college major...


Apollo
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Hak5 community,

I am turning to you in this time of great wonderance (yah that is definitely not a word). I am currently a mechanical engineering major at a decently prestigious college (no Harvard or Yale, but not bad), however, as time goes by I realize that I am more a person that tinkers and takes apart and tries to put things back together.... which is what I thought an engineer was supposed to do but apparently it involves a lot more math and less creativity then I thought it would be. *Note: I can do the math I am just not a fan of it* I am considering switching my major to "Computer Information Technology." I was wondering if any of the Hak5 community had a degree like this and if it is a good idea or not. It is something I think I would like much better than what I am doing now. Can anyone shed some light on this?

Thanks,

Apollo

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Just keep on with the engineering degree because honestly a lot of IT professionals don't have CompScience Degrees. Just finish your school work and start from the bottom. Just because you get a Comp Science degree doesn't mean you will get a job in IT. Any degree will get your foot in the door as long as you have a love for IT.

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I just finished by BCIS Degree and never had a prob finding jobs, been doing it for the past 5 years atleast.. i like it, lots of fun stuff to play with in the it field.. but its a personal call for you.. :)

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If you don't like doing what you're doing now, then switch. You should be enjoying your classes in college (well, most of them atleast). You're going to be stuck with that degree for the rest of your life. You can get into IT with many different degrees as was mentioned above. Do what interests you the most.

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Mechanical engineering is worth finishing and getting a masters/PhD in as its very useful and is very much about tinkering and taking apart and trying to put things back together, but you are at college and as such they have to teach you the fundamentals and maths is a massive part of any engineering degree. Every degree has to meet guide lines.

I was talking to someone the other day that was doing a degree in Circus and Preforming arts and even that has paperwork. Any IT related degree is largely going to be programming, a little maths, some networking and other general stuff everyone knows. Programming tends to be the big part and its boring as hell, its all knocking out shitty Java, C# and C++.

Any IT degree is a waste of time if you can get an engineering degree as every man and his dog has a programming/computer science/ BS computer degree and the jobs are largely boring and low paying when compared to engineering.

The only degrees worth doing are mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, mathematics and/or physics if your willing to do a PhD and a medical degree.

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My opinion is stick to a core subject for a degree. So if your want to do computers then thats Computing/Computer Science. In my opinion if you really want to work with computers, having a good CS degree will take you a lot further than not if you know your stuff.

Thats not to say that people who don't do CS can't get the career in computing that they want, but you will have to do a lot more learning on the job, yes you might be able to program reasonably well in C or Matlab, but there is a hell of a lot more to computers than that!

My advice is that if you have started the Mech Eng degree, then stick with it, its a good course and all of the engineering subjects have a lot of ground in math, so they have to teach that. Remember that is one of the core skills that you will be able to put on your CV from your degree. Then if you want to go into computers then do a Masters in CS. This will give you enough grounding and start to be able to do a CS job effectively from the beginning and show you where you need to spend more time.

I really see getting a Bachelors in a subject as just grounding for life and teaching some core skills, you take a Masters in what you want to do for a career.

As for PhDs, well I'm off too minds about them, because of the big difference between learning styles of a degree and a PhD, you have to work out whether it would suit you and whether you would benefit from doing it. Its not likely to help your career significantly. Its more about yourself and giving something back to the academic community in my opinion.

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I was originally in CS and then I realized I wanted to work with the hardware some more. so now im majoring in Comp Eng. and I love it! I figure I could still get my masters in CS or even get a CS career if i wanted to.

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If you are already in your 3rd or 4th year don't bother switching out, it will just be a waste of time and money.

Also you say mechanical engineering isn't really hands on, well I'm not sure how many years you've been in college but if you just started it could be just your core classes, you won't get deep into anything the first year of college.

Also I don't think IT is what you are looking for, that really isn't taking apart things and building stuff either (at least that is what i think, correct me if I'm wrong). You might be looking more into Computer Engineering or Electrical Engineering, probably Electrical Engineering that's more focused on creating electrical circuits and stuff like that. Computer Engineering is more chip design and they also create software and firmware for chips so you need to like programing.

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I think it is really dependent on how far along you are with engineering.

You came to the same conclusion I did, but I was a junior working as a computer lab rat when I realized it so I plugged along and walked out with a BSME and got a job as a UNIX guy way back. Now I am security guy working on a MSCIS when I have the time so I don't think it puts a cap on your career as well.

I hope that helps.

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I may be biased here but do something you like and find interesting at college. Your going to be spending 2-4 years doing it, and once you get out of college your going to be doing far less interesting things while working. So make sure your time at college is as rewarding as possible, and don't get to hung up on the value of the bit of paper. 2-3 jobs in, no one will care about your college time.

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I did my BA in Business with a concentration in MIS. I have a masters in Information Security and my jobs have been the following. I started my 2nd year in college as the Help Desk Manager for the university. I did that for 4 years and then left to work as a Help Desk Administrator and quickly became the Server Administrator and then Network Administrator. I finished that job as the Information Security and Communications Administrator as the job evolved and I finished my masters. I now work as a cyber forensic examiner. You kind of make your own career after you finish college. It depends on if you want to do math for homework, programming, or some other BS. I agree that not until your masters you really don't get to do anything really that cool. I also minored in my BA in MSCE/MCSA, which means I took MCSE/MCSA college courses and converted them to credits at my college. You might want to look at finding a minor that fits or doing cert classes as a minor or find a job at the school doing IT work. I know schools are always looking for better trained IT people. I am looking at continuing my schooling to get my PhD in cyber forensics and do research in network forensics and the law.

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