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  • College Major... can't decide

    I am a 25B currently at Fort Gordon for AIT, and I am wondering what I should study in College. Should I study something that goes along with my MOS (I was thinking Comp Sci/Electrical Engineering and maybe getting some IT certs), or possibly study something else unrelated that I might be a bit more interested in (Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering). I was searching around on this subject and found out that my clearance is valuable as far as DoD Contractor employment is concerned, and I was wondering if this is true and what majors are most sought after in gov't contracting. Are there any 25Bs/25 series soldiers on here that had success in civilian employment after finishing school? I am definitely trying to study something math-intensive, since that is what I am the strongest in as far as academics go. Thanks in advance for any advice.

  • #2
    Re: College Major... can't decide

    I am a 255A Signal Warrant Officer that has been working in IT since the mid-80s when IT support was mainframe computers, dumb terminals, 8" floppy drives and magnetic cartridges.

    My Associate degree is in Computer Information Systems; Bachelor in Information Technology and now a Master of Science in Information Technology focus on telecommunications.

    An IT degree is worth gold and an Engineering degree is great too.

    Personally speaking, I know many IT professionals who received their undergraduate degrees in disciplines besides IT. One person had a Fine Arts degree who was one of the best network engineers I ever met.

    Study what makes you happy but gauge where you want to be be five years from now.
    Last edited by Chief Kemosabe; March 15th, 2013, 08:57 PM.

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    • #3
      Re: College Major... can't decide

      Originally posted by nolls1 View Post
      I am a 25B currently at Fort Gordon for AIT, and I am wondering what I should study in College. Should I study something that goes along with my MOS (I was thinking Comp Sci/Electrical Engineering and maybe getting some IT certs), or possibly study something else unrelated that I might be a bit more interested in (Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering). I was searching around on this subject and found out that my clearance is valuable as far as DoD Contractor employment is concerned, and I was wondering if this is true and what majors are most sought after in gov't contracting. Are there any 25Bs/25 series soldiers on here that had success in civilian employment after finishing school? I am definitely trying to study something math-intensive, since that is what I am the strongest in as far as academics go. Thanks in advance for any advice.
      You have the right idea.

      In this case, you should go with Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or Electrical Engineering. There is Information Technology, but in my experience, it's not as rigorous.

      I was a Computer Science major. If I could do it all over again, I would do Electrical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science. However, this hasn't caused any issues.

      It took less than a month from applying online to being extended a formal offer from a major defense contractor.

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      • #4
        Re: College Major... can't decide

        Polo08816, do you mind me asking why? Any big advantages of studying Electrical Engineering as opposed to Computer Science?

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        • #5
          Re: College Major... can't decide

          Originally posted by nolls1 View Post
          Polo08816, do you mind me asking why? Any big advantages of studying Electrical Engineering as opposed to Computer Science?
          You will learn more math and you'll be able to apply for almost any "engineering" job with confidence, all the while learning 90% of the stuff the CS guys get (if you care to). The remaining 10% is stuff you can pick up via self-study or on-the-job training. On the other hand, making up the difference in mathematics/physics between a CS and EE track is not something you're just going to "pick up" unless you're four or five sigma above the mean IQ.

          Either way, you can't lose. As long as you don't major in criminal justice; then, you don't even get to play.

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          • #6
            Re: College Major... can't decide

            I was an Electrical Engineering Major in 1985, then Marketing/Finance in 86, then film making that same year lol. I worked on the film DESTINATION UNKNOWN. My name appears in the end credits. But finally Computer Science in Fall 86. Back then it was all programming (Pascal) and logic. In Electrical Engineering, I despised the Chemistry and higher Math requirements. Yes, IT with later changes in the curriculum were less of a study burden.

            Good article attached.

            http://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated...echnology-jobs

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            • #7
              Re: College Major... can't decide

              Originally posted by nolls1 View Post
              Polo08816, do you mind me asking why? Any big advantages of studying Electrical Engineering as opposed to Computer Science?
              Also, when its time, go visit a degree counselor at your school and they can provide the full monty.

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              • #8
                Re: College Major... can't decide

                Originally posted by Chief Kemosabe View Post
                I was an Electrical Engineering Major in 1985, then Marketing/Finance in 86, then film making that same year lol. I worked on the film DESTINATION UNKNOWN. My name appears in the end credits. But finally Computer Science in Fall 86. Back then it was all programming (Pascal) and logic. In Electrical Engineering, I despised the Chemistry and higher Math requirements. Yes, IT with later changes in the curriculum were less of a study burden.

                Good article attached.

                http://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated...echnology-jobs
                I would add that once you have a BS EE/CS/CE, the MS Information Technology is simply a "check box" for most employers.

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                • #9
                  Re: College Major... can't decide

                  Would it still be relevant to get an Electrical Engineering degree if I chose to work in IT instead on engineering? I haven't made up my mind as to whether I want to work in engineering or IT, so I want to keep my options open. As a 25B I may want to try and use the training to leverage myself into IT depending on the opportunities/pay. On the other hand I have been interested in engineering (electrical/mechanical) and heard it does pay a little better than IT.

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                  • #10
                    Re: College Major... can't decide

                    Originally posted by nolls1 View Post
                    Would it still be relevant to get an Electrical Engineering degree if I chose to work in IT instead on engineering? I haven't made up my mind as to whether I want to work in engineering or IT, so I want to keep my options open. As a 25B I may want to try and use the training to leverage myself into IT depending on the opportunities/pay. On the other hand I have been interested in engineering (electrical/mechanical) and heard it does pay a little better than IT.
                    Yes. Yes. Yes. Electrical and mechanical engineering are probably the two most versatile degrees out there right now. You will be eligible for almost any job, provided you're willing to do a little bit of self study to augment what you're taught in school. Learn as much software development as you can and maybe even take some courses in finance/econ while you're at it.

                    For example, I have a degree in mechanical engineering but I work in quantitative finance. I got the job because I understand technical engineering problems and I taught myself a fair amount of programming as well.

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                    • #11
                      Re: College Major... can't decide

                      Ok, so it is definitely appropriate to study EE while considering an IT career? If you don't mind me asking, what were your reasons for studying mechanical engineering? Anything somewhat related to your MOS? Better job prospects? Sorry for all of the questions, I am just trying to formulate a plan for once I get out of AIT and start school, because I don't want to waste any time deciding what I could/should do and not regret picking the right path to head down.

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                      • #12
                        Re: College Major... can't decide

                        Masters for management/director level stuff. Or you have money/time to burn.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: College Major... can't decide

                          Originally posted by nolls1 View Post
                          Ok, so it is definitely appropriate to study EE while considering an IT career? If you don't mind me asking, what were your reasons for studying mechanical engineering? Anything somewhat related to your MOS? Better job prospects? Sorry for all of the questions, I am just trying to formulate a plan for once I get out of AIT and start school, because I don't want to waste any time deciding what I could/should do and not regret picking the right path to head down.
                          I chose my major because I'm interested in math, physics, and their application to problem solving. It had nothing to do with my MOS (I was an 88M before OCS). It's my belief that there is no compelling reason to align your military and civilian occupations.

                          That said, my choice of major was especially easy given the fact that my interests coincided with a course of study that makes it very easy to find a high-paying job. Do not believe this nonsense about jobs being difficult to find; they're rightfully difficult to find for those who choose to study garbage for four years and expect a 60k/yr job. They want something for nothing. If you major in a technical/quantitative field and choose your electives thoughtfully (software development and finance are good bets), you will be able to leave the gate at 60k/yr with no problems. If you have a security clearance you could easily start at 70k or better.

                          Note that those salary estimates are for relatively moderate cost of living areas. Don't take it from an anonymous (sort of) poster on a message board, though. Do your own research. But I am speaking from experience.

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                          • #14
                            Re: College Major... can't decide

                            Originally posted by jwarren View Post
                            I chose my major because I'm interested in math, physics, and their application to problem solving. It had nothing to do with my MOS (I was an 88M before OCS). It's my belief that there is no compelling reason to align your military and civilian occupations.

                            That said, my choice of major was especially easy given the fact that my interests coincided with a course of study that makes it very easy to find a high-paying job. Do not believe this nonsense about jobs being difficult to find; they're rightfully difficult to find for those who choose to study garbage for four years and expect a 60k/yr job. They want something for nothing. If you major in a technical/quantitative field and choose your electives thoughtfully (software development and finance are good bets), you will be able to leave the gate at 60k/yr with no problems. If you have a security clearance you could easily start at 70k or better.

                            Note that those salary estimates are for relatively moderate cost of living areas. Don't take it from an anonymous (sort of) poster on a message board, though. Do your own research. But I am speaking from experience.
                            I can confirm jwarren's numbers.

                            His case is exactly what I experienced out of undergrad with a BS Computer Science from Rutgers University - New Brunswick. I went from job requisition submission to final offer in hand in under a month. This was for a software development/integration position at a major defense contractor in the Mid-Atlantic region.

                            I don't completely agree not aligning your military and civilian occupation. My experience is that unless you are some type of genius in your graduating class or you majored in some engineering that is in-demand by the energy sector, the defense sector's comp and benefit package will be the best and the corporate culture will be far more reserve friendly.

                            You're look at something similar to this:

                            $70,000+/year salary
                            $10,000/year tuition reimbursement for grad school
                            27+ paid vacation days
                            10+ paid military leave days
                            differential pay for call to Active Duty
                            excellent heath care benefits such as supplemental insurance on top of TriCare Reserve Select

                            If your employer sponsors you for a TS clearance or higher, you're looking at a raise of at least $10,000/year just based on that alone.

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                            • #15
                              Re: College Major... can't decide

                              No doubt Nastynate17. It's good to be versatile and swap out hats once in a while.

                              However, I believe IT is one of the few areas where the experiences and training gained from the military (especially the invaluable security clearances) translates really well into the civilian world. Be it private sector or another form of government. One of my IT forums contains a bunch of guys who are prior service 25 series or are from the Air branches. We continue to see newcomers that have either just graduated AIT or just got out and are looking how to transition.

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