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Should I Or Should I Not?: Career Change Question  
User currently offlinePLANAR From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 155 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 9 months 1 hour ago) and read 1402 times:

Hi there,
I have completed my BS and my Masters in Mechanical Engineering. Currently I am pursuing my PhD in Mech Engg since the last one year.
However, since as long as I've known, I have always wanted to pursue Computer Science. I am pretty good at computers - have always been the guru in it. Even as I was pursuing my BS and MS, I was the System Administrator for my university LAN and always sought after person for any troubleshooting even by the Computer Science department!

I am more excited by a beautifully coded script in Perl/Bash than I can ever get seeing solid mechanics equations. However I am a pretty good student of Mechanical Engineering too, but I am NOT passionate about it.

At my current position, I have full scholarship and assured financial security.

Now, I have just got an offer to do Masters in Computer Science. I do not know whether I am going to get an assistantship there or not and I cannot afford to pay for it on my own. owever I have passion for the subject and I am pretty sure, given the chance I can be the champion of my field.

On one hand I will get a PhD for the same amount of time, but in a field I am only moderately good at. On the other I will only have masters in a field I am passionate about and dream of having a future in...

Do you think its wise for me to jump ship?

Any advice will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!


Flim-Flam Balderdash...
13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineJAL777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (7 years 9 months 1 hour ago) and read 1398 times:

Have you had any work experience yet??? Try doing that for a while (maybe with computers) and then decided if you wanna pursue your Ph.D. in CS.

User currently offlineMaidensGator From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 945 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 9 months 1 hour ago) and read 1397 times:

Do both... get the D after your name first, then pursue the Computers....


The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.
User currently offlineTZ757300 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 2876 posts, RR: 6
Reply 3, posted (7 years 9 months 1 hour ago) and read 1392 times:

Quoting JAL777 (Reply 1):
Try doing that for a while (maybe with computers) and then decided if you wanna pursue your Ph.D. in CS.

Don't you have to have a degree in CS before getting a Ph.D in CS? I'm not familiar in this area.

Quoting MaidensGator (Reply 2):
Do both... get the D after your name first, then pursue the Computers....

That sounds like a good plan.



LETS GO MOUNTAINEERS!
User currently offlineTedTAce From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (7 years 9 months 1 hour ago) and read 1392 times:

Quoting PLANAR (Thread starter):
Computer Science

Whoop Whoop Pull up!!!
Whoop Whoop Pull up!!!
Danger Will Robinson!!!!
Danger Will Robinson!!!!

Quoting MaidensGator (Reply 2):
Do both... get the D after your name first, then pursue the Computers....

 checkmark  But also get some experience in your field of education.

As a computer person I can tell you the only thing that is good about them is solving problems for yourself. Even if you got a job managing computers you'd be lucky if you were managing a bunch of morons overseas that REFUSE to listen to what you tell them to and    with upper level managment over the stats versus 'real' productivity. Computers are fun, but only for yourself and your friends...

[Edited 2007-03-25 05:17:08]

User currently offlinePLANAR From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 155 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (7 years 9 months 1 hour ago) and read 1372 times:

Thank you guys for your advice.

But my main bone of contention is, that I am really not that happy continuing in my PhD in Mech Engg, because I think I am not showing the passion that such a degree requires...

Also once I am a doctorate, I will be very specialised and then pursuing computers would not be an option as it would be a terrible injustice to my degrees. Further more it probably deprives someone who is more passionate about it than me - a chance.

On one hand - My life is all fine - a famous & good advisor, promising future, financial security and a routine banality all with a little hitch --- I am not happy in it!

On the other hand - I am a sort of person who loves programming - I see myself fiddling with pointers, classes and objects. I love studying parsers, the structure of operating systems in my free time, studying algorithms and their optimum speed of execution. I spent my BS years borrowing my Computer Science friends textbook and reading them as bed-side books.
Basically, all I have for Computer Science field is pure obsessive passion.

Am I being too idealistic here? Do I need to compromise? Shall I do something that will ensure that 20 yrs down the line, I don't feel trapped in a field where I have no passion? Or Shall I just junk the whole idea and stick with the current idea solely for the easy path it provides me?



Flim-Flam Balderdash...
User currently offlineJAL777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 9 months 1 hour ago) and read 1372 times:

Quoting TZ757300 (Reply 3):
Don't you have to have a degree in CS before getting a Ph.D in CS? I'm not familiar in this area.

Not necessarily. Acceptance into doctoral programs is based on alot of differnt things.


User currently offlineTedTAce From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (7 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 1327 times:

Quoting PLANAR (Reply 5):
Or Shall I just junk the whole idea and stick with the current idea solely for the easy path it provides me?

Calling a path that requires a PhD 'easy' is slightly offensive to those of us who weren't able to get their BS/BA or so much as an AS/AA. That being said, I can honestly say yes, stay the course. If doing what you are doing now is easy then you should be able to sleep walk through your job then save your real energy for programming in the evenings and weekends. If you are smart, you will write an OS from scratch. It will take a long time but if you do that right, you'll be saying 'Bill Gates? I effed him!!!' The world needs a new OS, not something built on linux, Mac, or Windows. Sure it can have elements of them, but I'm sure you know all the currently released versions are built on something or contain code from almost 20 years ago.. You have a chance to do something special, and yet still have a backup.


User currently offlineDeltaAVL From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1893 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (7 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 1324 times:

If you're not happy in your current field of study, then by all means, switch and do computer science if you think you'll be happier. And if you don't make quite as much money being an IT director over a mechanical engineer, who cares? It's your life. Do what makes you happy.

Good luck!



"We break, We bend, With hand in hand, When hope is gone, Just hang on." -Guster
User currently offline767Lover From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1299 times:

I don't mean to sound ignorant, but what does a doctorate in mechanical engineering get you? Is it necessary to go through that time and expense?

User currently offlinePLANAR From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 155 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (7 years 8 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 1255 times:

Quoting TedTAce (Reply 7):
Calling a path that requires a PhD 'easy' is slightly offensive to those of us who weren't able to get their BS/BA or so much as an AS/AA. That being said, I can honestly say yes, stay the course. If doing what you are doing now is easy then you should be able to sleep walk through your job then save your real energy for programming in the evenings and weekends.

Thank you for your response! I agree I might have gone overboard saying PhD as easy, but then it was purely contextual and not meant as a general overall view of the whole thing. PhD is by no means easy, by the time I come home after a typical work day, all I am looking for is to hit the bed and do nothing else!

Quoting DeltaAVL (Reply 8):
If you're not happy in your current field of study, then by all means, switch and do computer science if you think you'll be happier. And if you don't make quite as much money being an IT director over a mechanical engineer, who cares? It's your life. Do what makes you happy.

Good luck!

Thank you for your response. My line of thinking is very similar. Besides I know I am good at Computers. Ever since I was 9 years old, I used to collect computer magazines, even though they used to sap all my allowance and I spent time dreaming about computers. So much so that, my dad had to take a loan to get me my first computer way back in 1994.

Quoting 767Lover (Reply 9):
I don't mean to sound ignorant, but what does a doctorate in mechanical engineering get you? Is it necessary to go through that time and expense?

That is true too. Additional concern for me is that after my doctorate, I will be super-specialised in a particular field. But then again PhD is a double-edged sword, it can either work for me or against me.
Besides I have already got a paper published on the work I have done in the last year.
Some people are telling me to 'stay the course' finish it and ten pursue Computers. But then I am thinking it will be a waste of my degrees and time too!


Tommorow is my all important interview with graduate studies director who will further advise me and if I am certain then, concretize my plans! Wish me luck, please!!



Flim-Flam Balderdash...
User currently offlineCaptoveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (7 years 8 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 1253 times:

You don't sound like you will have any problem the education side of it. If you can afford to do it, do what you are happiest with. If you enjoy you work it truly stops being work and you start looking forward to getting up in the morning.



And while you are changing careers PLEASE take Ted with you, I am sick of his bitching about how little money he makes and his assumption that because he gets outsourced or doesn't make shit the whole economy is bad.


User currently offlinePLANAR From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 155 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (7 years 8 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 1250 times:

Quoting Captoveur (Reply 11):
You don't sound like you will have any problem the education side of it. If you can afford to do it, do what you are happiest with. If you enjoy you work it truly stops being work and you start looking forward to getting up in the morning.

Thank you very much. What you say makes sense to me...

Quoting Captoveur (Reply 11):
And while you are changing careers PLEASE take Ted with you, I am sick of his bitching about how little money he makes and his assumption that because he gets outsourced or doesn't make shit the whole economy is bad.

LOL!! Mr. Ted - Are you willing to take the ball?  Smile
Personally though - No one knows how hard it is as the person who has actually faced the bad situation. I think Ted is in that and he has all my sympathies.
But then I always remember what my granddad used to say to me - "Hard-work is the sole key to success and the anti-dote to any adversity" And I am pretty sure, good things are just round the corner for Mr. Ted.



Flim-Flam Balderdash...
User currently offlineKmh1956 From Bermuda, joined Jun 2005, 3324 posts, RR: 7
Reply 13, posted (7 years 8 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 1220 times:

I'm going to tell you the same thing I told my daughter when she was choosing college course. Go with what you feel passionate towards, otherwise you're just settling. Never settle. Do what makes you happy. Do you want to look back in 30 years thinking "I wish...?"


'Somebody tell me why I'm on my own if there's a soulmate for everyone' :Natasha Bedingfield
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