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Old 07-28-2012, 05:00 PM   #1
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Default WTF am I doing with my life?! New career.

So I'm about 6 months away from getting out of the military. I had a great plan of getting out and going back to school at UT Austin for Farsi. Since I'm fairly fluent in Farsi it would be pretty easy.

But lately I just don't really know what I want. I've thought about computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering... Just not sure if I'm up to it. I'm smart and can learn quickly, but I've been out of school for 8 years now, math seems like some joke someone made up during HS to **** me off. I liked it when I did it in school, but I have definitely forgotten most of it.

I really only planned to do Farsi because it will be easy. I'm basically at a graduate level already, and it won't take much effort. The thing is I'm very analytic and don't enjoy much of the speaking/interaction portion of the learning. I like to sit, think, and tinker. Which makes me think something in engineering would be better suited.

Any one with experience in the above fields feel like chiming in? Or maybe someone going to school in that field right now? I know there have been threads like this before, and I'll search, but want to see if there is some new stuff related to this.

The G.I. Bill will pay for most of the college, and I can probably transfer in to most any college, although Texas/Cali/Minnesota/Illinois would be the areas I will be looking.
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:19 PM   #2
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I'd go to UT and major in Vaginology
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:22 PM   #3
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That ---- would be win. Unfortunately that field is overflowing.
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:24 PM   #4
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---- bitches get money. Profit....
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:25 PM   #5
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CS is exploding, and I had considered ME, EE, and a few other fields, but ended up with CS due to substantially better prospects.

As for math, well, if you don't excel at it, CS is definitely not the best choice. If the university is worth a ----, you'll end up having a math minor in just required math classes - a surprising amount of CS majors just end up dual majoring in math. If the program is good, you end up halfway there anyways. Hell, I'm going back to Uni and picking up a bachelor's in math as a side-benefit of my master's in CS, so....

Yeah. If you don't excel in math, you may want to rethink CS.
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:29 PM   #6
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Do you have a security clearance? Since you know Farsi there would probably be some jobs to be had working for one of the the three letter agencies. If I could go back and get a different MOS I'd get something that would get me a top secret clearance fo sho.
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:37 PM   #7
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I was great at math in HS. But like I said I would have to relearn most of it. I am proficient in Python, and at one point was in C++ as well. All self taught. I consider myself a computer nerd and was into penetration testing for quite a bit, specifically wireless networks. BUT, the military has really taken most of my time the last 6 years, so my proficiency is dwindling.

I'm just trying to figure out if it is worth starting basically over. I'm 26, and feel like if I do I'll be too far behind the power curve :/
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:56 PM   #8
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You need to be great at math now, FRT, unless you want to spend 3-4 years doing constant math, math, and more math. And if you don't excel at it by the end of that 4 years, you kind of wasted your time in a CS program for 4 years tbh...
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:58 PM   #9
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Where do you want to live later in life? If you go with Farsi that will probably limit you to around the DC area. I would say go with a BS in Computer Science and a minor in Farsi. With those the 3 letter agencies will eat you up. Then if you get tired of DC you can move to most places with the CS degree.
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:26 PM   #10
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Stay in, do your 20. If you're tired of the Air Force (because they're ****) and looking for a change, any other service would snag you up quick with a nice bonus.

Screw the GI Bill until you need it. Instead, apply for a ROTC program and get back in as an officer. There is no civilian job you could possibly get that would equal the pay and benefits over the next 10-15 years as going to college on the military, then getting commissioned, then knocking out your 20 and retiring... then getting a real job with your immense skillset and security clearance.

The downside to a military career is obviously deployment, but as long as you've married the right woman, that ---- is mostly a breeze. Being retired at 45 with companies lining up waving 6-figures in your face is worth it in the end.
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:33 PM   #11
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Air Force? I'm Army son. Deployed to Afghanistan on an LLVI team, killed bad guys with my M4 and intel. I've done my time

I'm ready to move on. The military was always a stepping stone for me, I've reenlisted once already, and it's time to GTFO.

Anyways I'm probably gonna just stick with Farsi, or maybe a Middle Eastern Studies degree, and keep up with my Farsi on my own time. Blaen is right, getting proficient at math is going to be a task of it's own. I can do a lot more for this country as a civilian than as a Soldier.

Lars, don't mind DC all that much. I'd like to be near family, but the East coast isn't bad at all. Location isn't that big of a deal to me.
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Old 07-28-2012, 07:07 PM   #12
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What I'd throw out at you then FRT is a CS minor with a Farsi major.

There's no reason you cannot switch to a CS major later if the math end works out super well, and if you have security clearances, I would imagine Farsi major + CS minor would be "OMGWTFYESSSSS!"

But, and here's the big catch. A cs major (Not minor) requires a very high math ability to really get your money's worth out of it. There's zero reason to hire someone that is poor or mediocre with math with a bachelor's degree over someone who doesn't have it - in CS, you are going for the math background and theoretical background (...which requires said math background* to really grok...), not to learn how to code, and you sound like you think a good CS degree is to teach you how to code. That's not what a good CS program is typically about - if you know how to program in C++ at a high level of skill already, you are one, maybe two quarters ahead of the rest of the class, and if your math skills are poor, well, you are many quarters or even years behind the rest of the class.

(Edit)*: As a frame of reference, for admission to the CS program in the previous university, you had to take Calculus 1 with a C+ or better and a 2.75 or better GPA, and at my current, they want Calculus 2 with a 3.0. This is before they'll even let you into any CS classes beyond basic "intro to programming" type courses.

Last edited by blaen99; 07-28-2012 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 07-28-2012, 11:03 PM   #13
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I figured CS would be pretty math intensive. I'm thinking I'll just stick with Farsi and try to take a few math classes to see what I remember.
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Old 07-28-2012, 11:21 PM   #14
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Do something you enjoy, thats whats really important. Something where you could retire in 20 years would be nice too, but I'm not saying you should go for a career in the military.
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:13 AM   #15
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Chai daghe, dai chaghe.


(75% of my friends are Persian)
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:20 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shearhead_3:16 View Post
Do you have a security clearance? Since you know Farsi there would probably be some jobs to be had working for one of the the three letter agencies. If I could go back and get a different MOS I'd get something that would get me a top secret clearance fo sho.
Along the lines of "where would you like to live later in life" is the question: would you mind moving a lot? Would you be prepared to support a family on one income?

If you work for one of the three letter agencies (aside from maybe the DoD), you can expect - especially early in your career - to potentially have to move around a lot. Maybe less so for the analysts vs the agents, but the probability is still high.

Moving like that makes it difficult for the spouse to have a career as they keep having to pick up and move based on you.


If you are okay with all of that, I think the above ideas of the Farsi major with some other kind of minor sound great. If you decide CS is not where it's at for you, look at Business or see if there is some information technology and business hybrid like information systems management.

Good luck!
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:37 AM   #17
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I'll be following your journey closely, Alex.

Have you thought about being an MLI? I know you're just coming off of an instructor assignment, but maybe..

I'm thinking more and more about staying in, being an MLI (or, learning PF) and trying to get to an assignment where I can use my language before I get out, picking up 7, etc. Might go warrant yet.

But I'm sure you've weighed your options if you were to stay in. Best of luck, and like I said I'll be following your adventures.
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:22 AM   #18
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FWIW, I'm the same age (for another day) and just completed my first year of a ME/EE combo. Same story no physics or calculus for 7 or 8 years prior but I'm making it.

A side benefit to being older is that you are way more serious about your studies, while maintaining my home and family on top of the 10-14hr school days I'm in the top 10% of my class.

I was worried about some of my math skills as well but after first semester my brain fired up again and I'm doing fine.

YMMV but don't defeat yourself before trying if that's what you really want.
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:16 PM   #19
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Yea. Well I'm in the middle of helping out in the Mojave desert for the next 3 weeks, so I have some time to think about it.

Lots of advice I've been getting from family and friends, now just need to figure it out.
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Old 07-29-2012, 07:48 PM   #20
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If you like to tinker, have you ever thought about embedded/firmware engineering? I get the best of both worlds in CS and EE, plus I get to play with awesome ---- all day. (also: none of the douchbaggery that goes along with the web development crowd).

The only downside is that the job prospects aren't quite as plentiful as other forms of software engineering.
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