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I'm a STEM field student, Should I get into engineering or programming and how do I decide really?

post #1 of 10
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I've always been a STEM oriented kid, but honestly I've never been good at independency or risk taking, and only good at being told what to do. Thinking about exact career details has always made me really nervous and panicky (I'm a millennial, and have aspergers to boot). I guess I fear not earning enough money to survive, and the idea of risk sounds mortifying. I've always liked math and computers, but just because I like messing with computers and software doesn't mean I'd necessarily like programming. And to boot most colleges only offer programming classes online or at like night. I mean engineering sounds more accessible. I always notice on programming forums like here that people are super independent and don't go to school, all this self teaching and doing random projects in hopes of building a portfolio. That sounds way out of my comfort zone. Is programming even going to remain a well paying job in the future?

I know this is a bizarre and personal thread, but I am getting to the point in my schooling that the overlap in math courses between programming and certain engineering majors are going to end.
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post #2 of 10
Quote:
I guess I fear not earning enough money to survive.


http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/rankings/the-100-best-jobs......I wouldn't be worried about money with both careers and it all comes down to what you like doing the most
Edited by ABD EL HAMEED - 4/15/14 at 5:42pm
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post #3 of 10

If you've got the time to learn programming, then do it. It's helpful in literally every career field, even if it's only a hobby for you. There is no down side at all.

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post #4 of 10
You've got PM
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post #5 of 10
I've done a lot of things, STEM-wise. Programming, kit development, engineering, quantum mechanics, string theory, small scale nanotechnology implementation, marine engineering you name it, I've dabbled in it. The thing I've found myself consistently going back to is game development. I love creating an environment; modelling it, texturing it, actors with animations, creating particle effects etc.. and it's so rewarding and fun that I've decided it's what I want to do for the foreseeable future. Have you ever played a AAA blockbuster and thought "man, these graphics are awesome" or "these game mechanics are creative"? It's even more fun being part of the team that made that.

Ugh, I'm doing it again, aren't I? Mumbling about an irrelevant hobby on a hardware forum rolleyes.gif

If you ever want to get into game development, or if you just want to try it out and see if you like it, PM me and I'll send you in the right direction - there's numerous disciplines to game development, most of which require competent programming skills (except the programmers themselves; you have to be a C++ grandmaster for that)
Edited by PolyMorphist - 4/16/14 at 12:17am
post #6 of 10
My brother, whom has aspergers, actually had problems trying to decide his major through out his first few years.
He seemed to decide on Accounting, this summer is when he will graduate with an MBA in Accounting.
(Just though I'd tell you this in case it interested you at all, he seemed to like how math was used.)
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post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by PolyMorphist View Post

I've done a lot of things, STEM-wise. Programming, kit development, engineering, quantum mechanics, string theory, small scale nanotechnology implementation, marine engineering you name it, I've dabbled in it. The thing I've found myself consistently going back to is game development. I love creating an environment; modelling it, texturing it, actors with animations, creating particle effects etc.. and it's so rewarding and fun that I've decided it's what I want to do for the foreseeable future. Have you ever played a AAA blockbuster and thought "man, these graphics are awesome" or "these game mechanics are creative"? It's even more fun being part of the team that made that.

Ugh, I'm doing it again, aren't I? Mumbling about an irrelevant hobby on a hardware forum rolleyes.gif

If you ever want to get into game development, or if you just want to try it out and see if you like it, PM me and I'll send you in the right direction - there's numerous disciplines to game development, most of which require competent programming skills (except the programmers themselves; you have to be a C++ grandmaster for that)

Can I send a PM too? biggrin.gif

I've fell in love with game development since I started working with Unity but I feel like I need more guidance smile.gif
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post #8 of 10
Honestly for job security sake... Programming. You may end up hopping from language to language... but there will never be enough software developers out there. The web industry is growing, cryptography, video streaming, networking..... the list goes on. Just about everything you touch pretty much has a bunch of code inside it, and its only going to be more prevalent.

Engineering is also a great choice too. Im not sure what the job market looks like for this position, but its still a good position. It mainly comes down to what you feel is more fun. Making a computer do whatever you want it to do, or being able to build something tangible. The people that i know that can do both are crazy successful.

As for the whole non-risk taker attitude, no worries the majority of society is like that. But as for being independent... i'm not sure what you mean by that, but the one thing to keep in mind is that you need to be able to make decisions. One of my bosses once told me there are 2 types of people who write code... There are Developers who design, build, and develop applications, and there are programmers where you give them a document and tell them to do it exactly like that. Developers are in demand in the US, programmers are typically the positions that are outsourced. If your talking about being a contractor.... no worries, anyone fresh out of college will struggle with that. Once you get experience and know what your doing and understand the game, you will see it as less of a risk and more of a lifestyle.
Edited by Mrzev - 4/16/14 at 10:38am
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post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ABD EL HAMEED View Post

Can I send a PM too? biggrin.gif

I've fell in love with game development since I started working with Unity but I feel like I need more guidance smile.gif

Sure, anyone can!
If anyone would like some information about game development, including training resources (books, websites, videos), just PM me and I'll sort you out wink.gif
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrzev View Post

there are 2 types of people who write code... There are Developers who design, build, and develop applications, and there are programmers where you give them a document and tell them to do it exactly like that. Developers are in demand in the US, programmers are typically the positions that are outsourced.
Yup, you will be able to get in as the 2nd type, but you won't make it up the ranks. If you have any sort of interest in technologies or programming philosophies you need to find out how to make that your niche and that can make you invaluable.
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