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Interesting Computer Science Jobs?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the do-something-you-love dept.

Education 352

mattskent writes "I'm currently a junior in college working towards my Bachelor's degree in Computer Science. As such, I'm starting to look pretty seriously at jobs in the IT/Computer Science field. I've spent plenty of time working entry-level IT jobs doing various kinds of help desk type work, and so most of the exposure I've had to the field is related to support of other people's computers. I enjoy helping other people out, but I'd rather not be plugging things in and restarting computers the rest of my life. Although the possibility is growing on me, I don't think I would particularly love to write code all day for a living either. What are some interesting jobs that you've had or heard of that I could look into fresh out of college with a Computer Science degree?"

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Cum swallower (-1)

Reikk (534266) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304735)

You can be a cum swallower for someone with money

Help Organize an Open Source Project (5, Insightful)

alain94040 (785132) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304769)

Let's see. You'll get a CS degree but don't feel like writing code for a living. That's a tough one.

Are you a "people" person? All those introverted geeks need to talk to each other, make decisions and agree on stuff. Something that they (on average) do very poorly. You would have a career in product marketing, since you understand the geeks and can talk to them.

If that makes sense to you, then short-term, your best bet is to join an open source project and volunteer to *organize* stuff. Not code, but organize. You'd be amazed how badly needed it is for most projects.

the elephant in the room: How to Make Money with Open Source? []

Open Source? (0, Flamebait)

The_Abortionist (930834) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304855)

Open source projects are not run professionally. I don't recommend getting involved with them as a career move.

How about joining the Microsoft campus instead? Learn about the full software engineering cycle. Now, that would be something!

Re:Open Source? (1)

slugtastic (1437569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304905)

Wha... Oh, you're just a troll.

Re:Open Source? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305481)

You're right because you're more likely to find people who don't like to code working at MS which explains the quality of their software.

Re:Help Organize an Open Source Project (1)

JeffSh (71237) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304895)

thats not a job, thats charity.

Re:Help Organize an Open Source Project (4, Funny)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304911)

Are you a "people" person? All those introverted geeks need to talk to each other, make decisions and agree on stuff. Something that they (on average) do very poorly. You would have a career in product marketing, since you understand the geeks and can talk to them.

Oh great, set him up for an eventual meeting with the Bobs!

Well-well look. I already told you: I deal with the god damn customers so the engineers don't have to. I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?

Re:Help Organize an Open Source Project (2, Insightful)

powerslave12r (1389937) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305007)

"All those introverted geeks need to talk to each other, make decisions and agree on stuff. Something that they (on average) do very poorly."

That's a gross generalization. If you're comparing professions to a beach boy or a lifeguard, then yes. Amongst the "office going" professionals, no. My set of CS friends are far more outgoing and fun than people from quite a few other disciplines. Bad generalization.

Re:Help Organize an Open Source Project (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305161)

In a corporation that would be a manager or business analyst. Since you're looking for a job, you can start as a business analyst [] , helping the business side of a company determine what software should be built and help run the project. At an entry-level position you'd basically help with communication and project management between the IT department and rest of the company.

Development Isn't Just "Writing Code All Day" (4, Insightful)

bwoodring (101515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304775)

If you're any good, you'll spend a lot more time understanding problems, designing solutions and finding good techniques for factoring code. If you do nothing but "write code all day", you're a shitty developer.

Re:Development Isn't Just "Writing Code All Day" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26305441)

it's also writing code all night. Yay for caffeine

Re:Development Isn't Just "Writing Code All Day" (2, Interesting)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305459)

you can say the same about business analyst jobs - understand the customer's problem, design a solution (preferably one that dosn't require large rewrites) and understand how to get the solution in that doesn't screw the existing system. It can be a lot harder than cutting code!

I think the OP would prefer a job in test, he likes helping people out and a good tester is just that - someone who helps development make better code by pointing out the errors and problems with their code. He;d also get some interaction with code, even if its just to write test harnesses and tools.

So QA or Test is my recommendation.

One additional language you might consider... (3, Funny)

richardkelleher (1184251) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304779)

With the current state of the industry and the world economy, have you considered taking Chinese? It might be useful since so many jobs are being outsourced to that region of the world.

Re:One additional language you might consider... (1)

fortapocalypse (1231686) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304857)

Better than that would be to work in India or China. You'll be a step ahead of your peers.

Re:One additional language you might consider... (2)

eclectro (227083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305225)

With the current state of the industry and the world economy, have you considered taking Chinese?

Alternatively, he could learn Spanish so he could talk with coworkers at his McJob. Some even require it now.
Estoy trabajando en mi español

Re:One additional language you might consider... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26305311)

Being multilingual brings many opportunities in the filed of Information Technology...
However, the way the US economy is going in relevance to IT jobs...One might suggest moving to India... :D

Whatever you do... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26304791)

Don't become a sysadmin.

Entry-level-ish positions (5, Informative)

Stile 65 (722451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304795)

Rather than tech support, there are other non-coding IT jobs out there.

  • Systems admin (on servers)
  • Network admin (routers and switches)
  • Network security admin (firewalls and IDSes)
  • Storage engineer (SAN/backup solutions)
  • Web engineer (webserver management specifically)
  • Mail admin
  • Combinations of the above
  • Much much more

A lot of these could be junior-level in a big enough organization, or in a company where you're a junior consultant sort of person. Usually you work up to that type of position by doing helpdesk first, so it looks like you're ready to move on to something similar.

Re:Entry-level-ish positions (1)

janeuner (815461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304871)

Along this line - you could look for a job at a colocation site. Most run 24/7 support, so they are always looking for folks that are willing to do nights/weekends. They usually have to deal with a wide variety of problems, which should provide some well rounded experience without too much repetitive work.

Re:Entry-level-ish positions (1)

Stile 65 (722451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305057)

Absolutely, or any other type of operations center (NOC, SOC...). Great experience, you get extra pay (shift differential) for nights/weekends, and there are always jobs available because turnover is high (gain experience and move on to a better job).

Re:Entry-level-ish positions (3, Insightful)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305023)

Just make sure you work as an "apprentice" for a good 3-5 years. Nothing worse than coming across a guy who developed his/her own way of doing everything. You will be way ahead of the curve in the parent's areas if you learn from someone who has been around the block a couple times. You will learn much faster, and become a much better admin in any of those areas. You will also have a much smoother career (fewer headaches from learning experiences).

Re:Entry-level-ish positions (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305447)

I don't know, there are definite benefits to those "learning experiences" once you've recovered from the 16 straight hours of panicked desperation trying to recover the Exchange databases you've just accidentally blown away by formatting the wrong LUN on the SAN (Not that I've managed that personally yet, but I've certainly been part of the panic).

As with anything, you need to strike a balance between taking all the advice and instruction from someone more experienced than yourself and doing things on your own so that you truly learn how they work.

Seriously? (2, Informative)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305445)

I don't know of ONE good sysadmin that doesn't have programming knowledge of some decent degree.

Do you want to run everything you do manually? Do you want to go into tedium on a regular basis to do regularly scheduled tasks? The whole point of a GOOD sysadmin is that they don't do SHIT, they just automate the hell out of their environment and let it go.

That goes for Windows as WELL as *nix.

If you want to be a good sysadmin, learn how to program. Whether it's bash/perl/python, or VBScript or Powershell.

I might be biased, and not the best expert, but... (5, Informative)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304817)

Get a double major or minor in biology. People who can handle bioinformatics or the computer side of structural biology are in really high demand. Not saying it's moreso than other fields, but I do know you can write your own paycheck with that crossover.

I also don't know if you'd find that interesting. I do, and knowing that your job is working towards the cure for cancer or whatever the goal is I think makes some of the more menial tasks more interesting, but that's just me.

If you're not looking to add a major or minor, you can still likely get into that field and learn whatever you would need on the job about bio. They're that desperate.

Re:I might be biased, and not the best expert, but (1)

toppavak (943659) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305371)

Seconded! If you're ok with doing some coding but want a very technically interesting line of work, take some classes in bioinformatics or, better yet, systems biology if you have the math background (typically at least one semester of differential equations and possibly some linear systems). You could easily get a job as running a lab's high-performance computing requirements. If you're interested in further studies down the road, that kind of work experience positions you very well for a masters or doctoral program in a multidisciplinary field of study. If taking those classes isn't an option for you, find a faculty member that does that kind of work (look in CS, EE , bioengineering/biomedical engineering department, biochem, microbio, or bio for faculty) and get into their lab. Most of these guys will do anything they can to get someone with a CS background and you'll almost certainly be able to get full-time work with that lab or many others like it once you graduate.

Not a lot of options (4, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304827)

If you don't want to code, then you're in the wrong degree program. There's really only 3 entry level jobs for CS people- programming, testing, and system administration. All 3 of those require at least some coding (the first being all coding). Testing breaks down into low paid monkey work and SDET positions where you're expected to code almost as much as a programmer. There's various types of management and liason type jobs that require a technical background, but without at least a few years experience you aren't qualified for them. If you really hate coding, your options are really sys admin or a quick change of majors.

Re:Not a lot of options (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26305209)

Maybe OP wants to be a manager in a big software or services company.

You have to admit, his/her writeup sounds like the background of a lot of technology managers...

Re:Not a lot of options (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26305541)

I love how all the naysayers like you look that much stupider when all the posts around you have useful info.

Why bother posting? Go do something else.

Why are you getting a CS degree? (4, Insightful)

merreborn (853723) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304829)

Most people go for CS degrees because they want to work in IT, or write code.

You may want to take a step back, figure out what you *do* want to do with the rest of your life, and switch majors.

exactly (3, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305029)

Exactly. If you really enjoy computing, but have found the industry isn't what the hobby was, and you're a people person (which it sounds like you are), then you might enjoy a different application of your skills, like teaching IT (or even teaching math). But for god's sake, get out of the subject altogether, if it doesn't interest you. Sometimes it's hard enough to enjoy when you have a passion for it.

Re:Why are you getting a CS degree? (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305111)

In a few years he will realize that pay is inversely related to the creativity or interest of a job.

Re:Why are you getting a CS degree? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26305537)

I agree. The field does not need yet another person with little talent for, nor interest in, the kinds of things that people in computing actually do, but who has heard there's big money here. The kind of person who probably wants to skip right over the hard work part and get to be a manager real quick so he can make even more money. The kind of person who hasn't noticed that there are a lot of people out there just like him and they all want that manager's job.

Worse yet, these kids flood the universities and make it tough for the talented ones to succeed - since the trend seems to be to make the classes easier and give everyone good grades.

And then they get hired and write (though not consciously) for the Daily WTF.

Repeat repeat repeat (5, Insightful)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304831)

How many times is this question going to be asked on slashdot?

Gonna save some people some time here

CS is no more about computers than astronomy is about Telescopes.

There are many accomplished IT admins who use their CS knowledge on a daily basis, I am one of them.

CS is not Coding.

CS is more about Math.

If you want to stay pure CS you need to find R&D departments or go for your PHD.

CS is a great degree but isn't going to get you far when getting a job because most managers don't understand its purpose.

Find out what you love doing and do it, chances are, CS prepared you to do that thing.

Mod parent up (3, Informative)

Sta7ic (819090) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304957)

My CS degree has proven itself useful more for the math and science background than for the programming. Sure, there's a lot of code punching involved, but setting up the problem to write programs for have all involved understanding what it is I'm supposed to do. When you end up working regularly with various types of scientists and engineers, your job is more that of a digital blacksmith, to hear what someone wants and to design the tool that will do what they need ... and then either hammer it out, or look over what they've done and hammer it into a more efficient and accurate piece of software. Employers do NOT want mechanical code-punchers. If you want to get a good CS degree, you need to be able to either comprehend complex problems and figure out solutions for them with the assistance of engineers who HAVE the problems, or you need to be good at designing programs and understanding the design of projects you get tapped for. Code becomes where the rubber meets the road, but it's a smaller part of the whole picture.

Re:Repeat repeat repeat (1)

Nebu (566313) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305217)

There are many accomplished IT admins who use their CS knowledge on a daily basis, I am one of them.

Out of curiosity, what CS knowledge do you use on a daily basis as an IT admin? I'm a programmer with a CS degree, so I only have a vague idea of what IT admins do. The only stuff I can come up with in what I imagine an IT admin job is like are:

  • Theory of computation (i.e. deterministic finite automatons, turing machine, context free grammars, etc.) -- to determine what is and is not possible to accomplish via shell scripts and regular expressions (so you don't waste time attempting thei mpossible).
  • Divide and Conquer/Boolean search (i.e. very generic debugging skills) -- to quickly isolate a problematic piece of hardware, or software configuration.

The other stuff I learned (compiler theory, multithreading, data structures, big O notation, design patterns, etc.) all seem inapplicable to what I imagine a typical IT admin job is like.

Re:Repeat repeat repeat (1)

inflex (123318) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305253)

Sad that "CS" has become poisoned at a lot of centres and is no longer about the science and has become more of a code-monkey training program. I was searching in vain for a while there in the replies hoping to see if someone else would point out the distinction and glad to see that you did :)

I for one did my CS back in 1990 and the non-programming bits have long since proved their worth (algorithms & complexity being one of the most useful of all).


I repeat myself, when I'm distressed ... (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305299)

CS is no more about computers than astronomy is about Telescopes.

You forgot a couple:

CS is the hole in the doughnut.

CS is the whole doughnut.

CS is Dijkstra yelling "surf's up!" to submariners.

The financial industry? (1)

Nine Mirrors Turning (33252) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304837)

This may sound crazy given the current times, but what about the financial industry? There are a host of interesting problems to work on: high volume, low latency transaction systems for the stock market, low latency network applications for information feeds between various parts of the financial world, high reliability systems and so on.
And when you grow tired of coding, there are always a spot for a coder turned project manager (they are rare and seems to be treasured).
I ended up in the financial software trade by accident and I've never regretted it.

Web development possibly? (1)

djveer (1179631) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304841)

With web development you are coding but you also get to spend a lot of time with various departments and people organizing various aspects of the site you're designing. Web development has a lot of creative aspects too for things like creating images, interactive media, and user interfaces. Just my two cents. -djv

Why are you a CS major? (3, Interesting)

1729 (581437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304845)

I enjoy helping other people out, but I'd rather not be plugging things in and restarting computers the rest of my life.

As a junior-level CS major, do you really think that's what CS grads typically do?

Although the possibility is growing on me, I don't think I would particularly love to write code all day for a living either.

Then why are you majoring in CS?

Re:Why are you a CS major? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305401)

I enjoy helping other people out, but I'd rather not be plugging things in and restarting computers the rest of my life.

As a junior-level CS major, do you really think that's what CS grads typically do?

As someone who apparently read what he wrote, do you really think that's what he thinks? Reread, taking the whole context into account. "I've spent plenty of time working entry-level IT jobs doing various kinds of help desk type work, and so most of the exposure I've had to the field is related to support of other people's computers. I enjoy helping other people out, but I'd rather not be plugging things in and restarting computers the rest of my life." That's what he's doing right now, in the IT field but without a degree. He doesn't want to keep doing that for the rest of his life, and asking what to do when he gets the degree. At no point does he say anything to suggest that's what he thinks CS grads typically do.

Although the possibility is growing on me, I don't think I would particularly love to write code all day for a living either.

Then why are you majoring in CS?

Possibly because he's interested in Computer Science? Perhaps he even wants to become an actual computer scientist, rather than just using the degree to get a high-paying coding job.

If you're really, truly interested in CS, you really need to get a post-graduate degree as well. Best advice, get the Ph.D. and a good professorship somewhere. Most of the real computer scientists I know are absolutely atrocious programmers, but luckily that's not their job, and they frankly have a lot more fun than most coders...

McDonald's or grad school? (0, Flamebait)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304853)

Since I majored in Spanish, I heard plenty of jokes like, "So, do you want fries with that?" and "What are you going to do when you graduate, go to grad school?" Therefore, when I met an engineering student one time and asked her what she was planning to do upon graduation, I practically fell out of my chair laughing when she said "I'm going to grad school." (Which totally spoiled my chances at dating a very pretty woman, but the laugh was worth it, in retrospect.)

But the McDonald's thing might not be such a bad idea. If you work in a job as an end user, you learn a lot about how not to do things in computer system design. But whatever you do for the first few years of working, you will be doing something else a few years later. It's a lot easier, though, to go to a support job from development than it is the other way around (which is the route I took).

Re:McDonald's or grad school? (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305117)

The McDonald's thing isn't a bad idea...if you have NO other options on the table (or you are considering working for them in a corporate level). Being a college graduate should open up many doors to help prevent needing to consider a job like that.

Speaking from a few years of experience in that area, one can learn those end-user interactions in environments much less strenuous and rewarding than those.

sysadmin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26304883)

I'm a sysadmin right now... had done a bit of desktop support... a bit too much that is.

as a jr sysadmin you'll be exposed to a broad range of hardware, software and networking equipment as well as the entire range of users... developers, sales people, execs...

From there you could figure out which of these directions you'd like to move towards.

Desktop Support is a dead end... I learned that along the way.

Don't mix your dreams with your career (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304891)

I'll tell you what, no matter what job you are working, it's still going to be a job. I like my job, I get to figure stuff out, I try new technologies all the time, but at the end of the day I am still doing it because I need to pay the bills (eat, rent, etc). There's always going to be an element of misery (dealing with coworkers, getting up in the morning when I'd rather sit at home and play Smash Brothers, debugging......that's a big one. Can't finish your code without debugging it).

Working isn't about 'fun' or 'entertainment' or 'what I want to do.' If you really want to work, then something is strange about you. Working is about surviving in a cold hard miserable world, it's about being self-sufficient, it's about producing something of value. Those all feel good, but you aren't working to have fun (even though work can be fun sometimes!), you are working to survive.

Don't confuse work with your dreams.........what do you REALLY want to do? Only in rare people is it something you can make money doing. Do you want to help starving children in Africa? Be a beach bum? Travel the world? Live the life of an eternal frat boy? Get married and live a quiet life? Whatever it is, focus on that, and your job will help you with it. Otherwise, if you make your job your life, it will just weigh you down and make you miserable. Work sucks, but you can still be happy. Life sucks, but you can still have fun.

That's my advice. YMMV

Re:Don't mix your dreams with your career (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304989)

Best... advice... ever!

Life in a cage (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305005)

Working isn't about 'fun' or 'entertainment' or 'what I want to do.'

It isn't? It sure is for me. At least "What I want to do". Sometimes it's not fun or entertainment but those are very different things. Anything else is putting yourself in a cage 50 hours a week, a cage for which you have the key but few people chose to leave.

I don't even think it's all that rare or hard to be able to do "what you want to do". The hard part is figuring out what that is... but if you think you know that should be at the TOP of the list of things to look for in a job.

Also consider that thinking that companies are the only source of jobs, is a great way to limit your options and your own potential. Leave nothing out including the prospect of starting your own company.

Re:Don't mix your dreams with your career (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305277)

That was the single best posting of advice in this entire thread. If I had moderator points, I'd definitely give you a boost!

Re:Don't mix your dreams with your career (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305479)

As hard as it is to get a job doing what you want to do, it's much harder keeping a job that you don't want to do. Finding a job you want to do is all about survival.

If you really want to work, then something is strange about you.

Perhaps, but then I know a lot of very strange people. (Of course, I already knew that...)

i know what you DONT want to do.. (4, Insightful)

mattsqz (1074613) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304897)

..and that is IT technician at a call center. at least the company i work for, i am solely responsible for keeping 500 pc's, all associated switches and servers etc up and running - and i am surrounded by people with double digit iq's - or to put it another way, i'm astonished that i havent brought my kalashnikov to work yet. almost anything is less stressful than dealing with hundereds of idiots that cant figure out that a mouse wont work if it isnt plugged in, or elderly hillbilly management from oklahoma that thinks thousands of dollars worth of equipment grows on electric trees, and that months of work can be done in 2 days. i hope they fuckin fire me. at least then ill be able to look for another job and still have a govt check to pay rent while i do so.

Re:i know what you DONT want to do.. (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305289)

i hope they fuckin fire me. at least then ill be able to look for another job

Maybe you're not that much smarter than these people then, or at least not very wise ;-). Everyone knows that it's much easier to find a new job while you've still got one than when you don't, even more when you've been fired, furthermore from a shitty job. There's a saying out there along the lines of "the first day of a job is the day you start looking for a new job"

Re:i know what you DONT want to do.. (1)

mattsqz (1074613) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305381)

or maybe im looking for an easy way out. i dont have the time for look for another job, being on call 24/7 and major projects always overlapping..cant quit, bills need paying. im more or less stuck in hell for now.

Net Nanny / Firewall Link checker (1)

beacher (82033) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304903)

I always thought that the people who got to add urls to the kiddie / work filters would have an interesting job.

It's been said before. There are things you just can't un-see. How much would you pay someone to surf the nastiest content on the net? Would you really hire people who enjoy it?


easy solution (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304913)

If you think you'll be bored writing code for other people, start your own company.
The downside is you will almost certainly be poor for a fair while until things get established, but the mere fact that you are working on your own company can make that easier to cope with.

I've started a consultancy myself, rather than go for a standalone product. I'm not sure if I'll keep it up, I may go to work for a rather good company I know (great guys) and branch out on my own again later.

I have to say that setting my own timetable, and working when I want is pretty nice, even if I do work rather hard.

Writing code all day (3, Insightful)

77Punker (673758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304919)

I just got my BS in CS in May and have been writing code all day for the last 4 months. It's really not bad (at least where I work) and it's nowhere near as difficult as doing real CS. CS homework is hard, but implementing business rules after you already "get" CS is no problem.

One thing to keep in mind when job hunting is that recruiters don't know what they're looking for in a developer. They ask for all kinds of scary qualifications that don't mean shit. Bluff your way through a phone screening and keep in mind that 9 out of 10 people they're interviewing can't write a simple factorial function, let alone do it recursively.

If you've never used a relational database before, learn about those. It's not difficult, but you need to know about it because you will use it.

Re:Writing code all day (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305063)

have been writing code all day for the last 4 months


implementing business rules after you already "get" CS is no problem.

No, indeed it is not hard. However, as someone who has his computer science degree since 1998, I'll tell you that business rules get boring fast. You haven't been doing this even for half a year. I have been doing business rules (for big banks, insurance companies, governmental institutions) and I tell you: it's the same every time, just slightly different. First time, it's fun, the next 768 times you want something challenging.

Essentially it is: form -> business rules -> database. Alway, alway, always.... After 10 years I'm sick 'n tired of it. I chose to stay a programmer so it is my own damned fault, but the other option was becoming a project manager and I'm not that much of a people person.

Re:Writing code all day (1)

77Punker (673758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305177)

My work sounds alot like your work and I could see this getting too boring after a while, but I imagine there's a whole other world out there of software in the categories of CAD, art, video games, embedded, scientific, and other boxed software that don't need all those forms and databases.

Re:Writing code all day (2, Insightful)

james_shoemaker (12459) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305263)

Essentially it is: form -> business rules -> database. Alway, alway, always....

    Ever think of writing some sort of engine to handle that rather than writing the same code over and over again?

If you're a US citizen ... (2)

hargrand (1301911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304921)

... and think you're able to get a security clearance, the US Department of Defense is looking for CS types to work information operations. Recommend talking to a local recruiter to see what might be available.

How about Systems Administrator/DBA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26304929)

I'd recommend you focus on the server side of the house and think about managing large applications and/or databases - both careers are suited for your degree type. I've personally worked in both fields and like you, I hate working on PCs. Just my two cents!

Wrong Major? (2, Interesting)

God of Lemmings (455435) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304937)

"I don't think I would particularly love to write code all day for a living either. " You may be in the wrong major. Computer Science is no more IT than automotive engineering is auto maintenance. Without that love of coding, which by the way, you should already have by now, I can't say you'll get very far. Perhaps you should be taking IT classes (if offered) or MIS or some variant, but then your faculty adviser should have pointed this out already.

Research (4, Informative)

lgbr (700550) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304943)

During my junior year of my computer science degree, I picked up a job working for some chemistry professors at my university. We've worked on everything from new drug discovery algorithms, force field simulations, and smart statistical analysis methods. This kind of work developed software that can wind up in the hands of every pharmaceutical company on the planet, make huge breakthroughs with hydrogen fuel cells, and math code that can play the stock market. I am the world expert on linear algebra based recursive partitioning algorithms for predicting the tight binding properties of compounds to the 2c9 enzyme. This all was an incredible exercise in everything from software design to calculus to organic chemistry. As the only computer scientist in a group of chemists and mathematicians, I was the expert in my field which gave me a lot of freedom in how I went about my work.

There is a surplus of jobs on your own campus, and it's well worth it to stick around for a few months after graduation to do some amazing work and get some great references. Best of all, if your work is viable and marketable, you may form a start-up company out of it.

Re:Research (1)

Nick Fel (1320709) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305179)

Or better yet, pursue a PhD in an area of computer science you're passionate about. If you like helping people, the intersection between technology and society is a fascinating place to work.

Crossover Position (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304951)

I have a strong IT background in addition to being educated in Engineering Physics. My last two positions have been "crossovers". My engineering background allows me to participate in product development. My IT background speeds up the product lifecycle by giving me the power to effectively communicate project needs to the IT department. This makes the cost of product development go down and helps engineers/developers get what they need to do their jobs well.

Anything (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304961)

Just a note, any major that has to do with math and/or logic opens a lot of doors. You can program or do sys admin stuff (since you seem to like computers though your CS degree need not apply - but it won't hurt either).

You can also chase a law degree. Focus on Intellectual Property Rights if you want to stay on top of tech.

Otherwise, you sound like you're just starting out. IT jobs range from sys admins in small companies or departments in large companies (or colleges) but can also be more focused - mail admins, database admins, cluster admins, security (whole other ballpark there), networking, auditing, etc etc.

The company is more important than the job (2, Insightful)

enharmonix (988983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304963)

Not that you'll read this, but from my own (similar) experience, you will have a more rewarding career with a better company than with a "better job." Get a list of good companies (like the Fortune 100) and start at the top and work your way down. The way companies treat their employees will affect your happiness level much more than whatever it is you actually do for them.

Re:The company is more important than the job (1)

mattsqz (1074613) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304971)

"The way companies treat their employees will affect your happiness level much more than whatever it is you actually do for them." damn skippy!

don't worry, you won't write code all day (5, Insightful)

StandardDeviant (122674) | more than 5 years ago | (#26304969)

As a professional developer with about a decade of commercial experience, I can assure you that you won't be writing code all day in many jobs. You'll spend at least half your time writing TPS report coversheets, attending meetings, writing reports about attending meetings, attending meetings about reports, and occasionally meetings about meetings or reports about reports. Figuring out how to answer the latest hare-brained question from the suits with the shitty data to hand (abortions of SQL and/or one-off hacks with a scripting language go here) takes up another twenty-five percent of your time. Twenty percent to thinking about lunch, eye-balling the hot MOTAS in Accounting or HR, sneaking in the side entrance so Lumbergh doesn't see you, and you're looking at five percent of your time going to real actual coding/work.

You may think I'm pulling your leg, and you also probably laugh rather than cry when you read Dilbert. Don't worry, by the time you graduate you'll probably be old enough to legally drink and that really helps take the edge off.

Hope that helps! :D

Re:don't worry, you won't write code all day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26305099)

Why was this tagged Funny?

Re:don't worry, you won't write code all day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26305323)

I'm a SysAdmin with a BSCS for a company that is nothing but S/W development. (R&D company for gov contracts)

What StandardDeviant said is about as close to the truth as you will ever see here on /. Though he did leave out the "WRITE, REWRITE, and REREWRITE REQUIREMENTS" part of the job, and the "WRITE, REWRITE, and REREWRITE the TEST PLANS" as well, but you get the point ;)

And the final last thing StandardDeviant left out, is "eye-balling the hot MOTAS in MARKETING". O. M. G. HOTTNESS.

Anyways, on topic, as a SysAdmin for a small company I do write code, but that is less then 5% of my "yearly" duties, and it's mainly either vbs or bash scripting. (with some php for the marketing team on request...mhm)


Re:don't worry, you won't write code all day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26305345)

Haha, well put.

I've found in my experience being out of school for the last 2.5 years (graduated with a BSc in CS) that the skys the limit. The piece of paper says hey I'm not a dummy, i can program, i can read, write, do maths, etc..

But not much more..

The thing that can really get you in a sweet spot is if you can an internship or coop with a company for a semester or three. Then you can figure out what you like, what you don't, and then be in great shape for graduation day. Experience and a degree is the key.

That being said, just do what you want, the more experience you have in whatever type of computer subfield you like, the better. Plan on being a specialist or a generalist if you like that idea. If you can't find a job in what ever specialized field, get a job as an IT admin (generalist job that gives you lots of great experience and EVERY company has them), and then start up your own company with some friends!

Final thought, a CS degree is very general, so the sky really is the limit with what you can do with it. If you have no direction you'll probably end up in help desk or as an IT admin at a computer somewhere, which can be a pretty sweet gig.

Good luck

Data analysis (1)

travisb828 (1002754) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305013)

While you are still in school you should take a few statistics classes. Data analysis tends to be a specialized thing, but I find it interesting. More and more things are being stored in databases. More companies are starting to use all the information they have on their customers to classify them into categories. For example, I recently found out that I was a low retention priority to Bank of America. Any time one of their customer service reps pulls up my account they will see what i mean to the bank and probably wont try that hard to keep me as a customer if I threaten to take my money elsewhere.

Some links to point you in a direction [] []

Business Analysis/Project Management? (2, Informative)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305035)

I'm a senior in a five-year Computer Engineering program, so I'm not sure how much help this will be for you.

I just recently finished a long co-op assignment doing business analysis, and if you are not one that likes to do a lot of coding, but likes organizing big technical projects and talking with many different areas of a business, then this might be a good route to consider.

I personally did not like it because I'm the type that likes helping out in what I do best and love most: getting "down 'n dirty." I've also dealt with a lot of people who only understood technology and computing from a surface-level standpoint, which is often just right for a business analyst (not too technical to sour the project setup, but not too business-oriented to be lost in the way of things).

Good luck!

why is the fraudulent stock markup the headlines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26305039)

we thought that scam was over, with some of the perpetrators on the way to jail. what a difference a day makes? eye gas it's all about your perception, combined with the greed/fear/ego catalyst, that makes us keep doing (the same) less than useless stuff, whilst ignoring our purpose for being here/anywhere.

Career choices for computer science students (1)

ForexCoder (1208982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305051)

System administrator/Network administrator - if you like playing with hardware Sales Engineer at a software company - if you like to travel and interact with customers Software Development Management - if you like telling people what to do.

CS degree but don't want to work with computers (4, Insightful)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305067)

Although we don't need any more of them, the answer to your question is the Project Manager path to IT management.

You would add a PMP certification and for fast track an MBA, then talk enough Java buzzwords to get by. Being able to prototype Windows screens with VB or C#, lay out web pages, and SQL query databases like your problem log will make you a star.

Before you know it you'll be a CIO.


Re:CS degree but don't want to work with computers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26305497)

the Project Manager path

Also, be aware that some companies call this position a "Program Manager" instead of a "Project Manager". For example, at Microsoft, Program Managers are the folks who dream up new features and decide which features to cut if the schedule slips. []

This reminds me... (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305097)

I've spent plenty of time working entry-level IT jobs doing various kinds of help desk type work, and so most of the exposure I've had to the field is related to support of other people's computers. I enjoy helping other people out, but I'd rather not be plugging things in and restarting computers the rest of my life.

of why I decided to become a mechanical engineer and not a computer engineer or computer science major. Of course, here I am, sitting at a desk writing code all day.

Systems Design? (2)

Ohio Calvinist (895750) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305101)

If you're not into the trenches of hardcore coding all day and have good customer service/documentation skills, maybe consider System Design (often called Business System Analysts in places I've been). You'll probably need to be good at Visio or other charting tool. In my experience you're taking the customers goals and designing the structures to meet their spec and some screen layouts and passing them to the software developers to implement them. You'll probably have some QA/testing responsibilities too. This can incude the database structures, hardware resources, visual/UI, etc. I haven't gone down this path because I am infinitely better at reading scribbled code off a napkin than a use-case or anything like that. I have friends that like it and are gunning for Project Management gigs in the long run.

If you're really good at desktop support and have any experience or are a fast learner, a Jr. system administrator role is a good choice too; managing mail servers; SANS, etc... other more traditional operations/IT gigs. You'll have minimal programming generally other than some scripting which you'll do mostly out of trying to minimize repeatitive tasks.

The biggest thing is that there is no right-or-wrong answer, and you're not married to it forever. I started in desktop/helpdesk to may my way though school, then went to system administration and quickly realized I don't like getting screammed at when poorly written IBM software we purchased doesn't give us 100% uptime on aging hardware with poorly written integration by hack programmers. I've always liked programming and had done enough "on the side" to land a programming gig and am much happier though my code isn't landing spacecraft or anything. Whatever you do, don't settle for something you're not happy with; and if you find a really good working situation (stable, good boss, good co-workers, not too bad of a commute) think long and hard before jumping ship for an extra 10K a year.

The IT Crowd (1)

b1ffster (628989) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305115)

Download 4oD, and watch series 1, 2, and 3 of the IT Crowd, online. This will make you laugh and make you want to commit suicide instantaneously, unless you are a ginger good looking bird, or are Irish, or a geek with an afro with a parting. They even feature Slashdot in their shows! See if you can see which one!

Do you like to travel? (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305135)

Technical liaison to off-shore companies. You won't be a code monkey or sitting in front of a computer all day - which I hate myself. I would start with the big Indian players first and try the eastern European players first.

I think that would be better than sales for you, but then again, if you're a people person, technical sales can be very lucrative.

Start a company (1)

Facetious (710885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305137)

Read [] , then apply [] .

Adult Entertainment (1)

rascanban (732991) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305159)

Actually worked for an Adult Entertainment company for about 18 months. Great experience - high-demand web programming is like Broadway for coders. Where else can you have an audience of a few million every day?

Re:Adult Entertainment (1)

77Punker (673758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305223)

So...employee discount?

Perhaps try being a project manager (1)

mrflash818 (226638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305169)

If you do not think you want to code all day (which is why I went to school to get a comp. sci. degree), then perhaps a 'supporting' field, like project management?

Then you could work in I.T. of almost any company, and work with programmers, software, and such.

Positions (1, Informative)

br00tus (528477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305189)

The positions which are out there are generally these in a large organization -
The lowest end position would probably be help desk. This is a "level 1 position". If you have a BS in Computer Science you should avoid this position if possible. The position that is a step up from this is a Windows Systems Administrator. This is a "level 2" position. There are also UNIX Systems Administrators. This is a level 2 position as well, although it is generally considered a little bit above a Windows Systems Administrator. There are also more esoteric systems administrators like Mainframe administrators, but I'll stick with the more common positions. Years ago, there really were not a lot of storage administrators as it was considered just a function of a sysadmin, but storage administrator nowadays is 80% of the way to being a real, common position like the others (only 80% because 95% of ads for storage admins ask for some Windows and/or UNIX sysadmin experience).

There are other administrators as well. Network administrators deal with switches and routers. DBAs deal with administering databases.

Then there are programmers. While there's a lot of talk about how a good programmer can program in any language, they are pretty much divided by language. I would say Java is #1 right now. The #2 language would be C# (and from the little I know, most ASP.NET is done in C#, but my familiarity with this is limited). Then there's other languages as well - C, C++, PERL, Python etc.

Then there's security people. They usually sit by themselves and no one knows what they're doing.

At level 3 are engineers. They usually do engineering and architecture, have a decent amount of experience and know a lot. They can be found on the administrator and programmer side of things.

As I said, this is at larger companies. At a small company with few IT people, you can wear many hats. I am mainly a UNIX sysadmin, but I have been a Windows sysadmin (from NT 3.51 to now), a network admin running Cisco switches and routers, I have done security, putting access lists for network access. I have also installed and managed databases, and even done some programming, although the programming I've done has been automation scripts you'd expect a UNIX sysadmin to write.

There are pros and cons to each position. Sysadmins generally work from 9 to 5, but are more or less oncall 24/7. Programmers usually don't get called in the middle of the night, but unless you're lucky you often have to put in long hours at the office, especially if they're near a deadline of going live on a big project milestone. Choose your poison.

Computer Science is dead, become a lawyer (2, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305193)

I have been writing software since the 1970s, and there isn't much left in the field for "work." There may be "research," into things but the average "job" is tedium.

"Computer Science" as it were, is nothing more than a craftsman tool belt. There is no "science" left. It is all the fashion of end-user application. Web sites, social networks, e-commerce, etc. No one in the field is producing great work (and making great money) any more.

I've been interviewing candidates for the last 15 years and "computer science" is a joke. The universities are teaching a trade, not a science. Kids barely understand the mathematical basics of how a hash table works. Don't even get me started on twos-compliment arithmetic or how to evaluate algorithms.

Sure, the desktop processors and environments do a lot for you, but maybe you'll want to do something interesting some day with different types of devices like PICs.

In the end, you'll have to learn about something else, like banking, medicine, civil engineering, accounting or some such to be able to write software for those fields, but since those fields currenly pay better, why not go there first?

Re:Computer Science is dead, become a lawyer (2)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305443)

Your info is wrong. CS majors make more money than any other 4-year degree.

Also--2's compliment? You must be joking. They don't emphasize knowing how to solder or replace vacuum tubes today, either.

Also, Computer Science is a misnomer. Since the 1970s, 99% of these scientists were really just software engineers. They weren't developing novel new algorithms, just putting together code to help business do its thing.

Sysadmin at a university or college (1)

trollebolle (1210072) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305211)

You say that you don't want to write code all day. I'm also guessing that you would like a job that is interesting and varied, with a minimal amount of seemingly unnecessary and boring stuff. Try getting an sysadmin job at a university or college, preferably a large one (many students and employees). Universities and colleges do a lot of varied work/research, and if you're lucky you'll get involved with many interesting projects. They also have a tradition in using open source software. You may even get paid working on FOSS. In my experience, universities can also be in the forefront in using new technologies. The work is important, but not important enough not to try new stuff. This type of work often attract smart, interesting people so it's a fair bet that your colleagues will be smart people that can really learn from.

w and get an MSCE (1)

isdale (40622) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305237)

Get an entry level programming job and work on a computer engineering or software engineering masters degree. Or try for an MBA.

Getting into IT can be a one way trip. It is hard to get back to programming/cs aspects after you get labeled as a network tech or help desk person. See previous threads on topic here on /.

My experience was working for several years while struggling to get an MS. I did work IT/support (got stuck) and it was only happy serendipity (and good connections) that got me back into software development. Getting my masters was more for the resume build than learning. I did learn, but the MS was a lot more important when it came to finding contracts and working DARPA projects.

Computer Science - Love Code or Leave it (4, Insightful)

DrTime (838124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305281)

Coding should not be more than 30% of a job. We need people than can read specifications, turn them into requirements, design an architecture, model solutions, code, integrate, document, and debug. I am sorry, but the talented and rewarded people are the ones that can do it all. The ones that can't code and prefer to administer systems are the easiest to replace.

Where I work, we do embedded software that runs close the hardware, operates in critical environments, must work every time, run for years, and be secure. The guys I give the highest performance ratings (raises) to are the ones that can design, code, re-use code, and solve problems.

I haven't coded in 5 years and miss it, so I came up with a project for home to keep me current and have fun with. I can see not wanting to do it 8 hours a day, but any true CS geek deep down enjoys it like solving puzzles and playing games. Coding is problem solving. It should be enjoyed and done well or not at all.


michaewlewis (1362339) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305297)

Take a look into SCADA. You can get into programming PLC's, working with dataradios, programming control software like wonderware or inillusion, networking, sysadmin....
Check out jobs with water treatment plants, companies with assembly lines, prescription drug makers, etc.

The visual effects industry (4, Interesting)

iamnotaclown (169747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305321)

I've been working in the visual effects industry since I graduated (~10 years ago). I started for a small studio writing scripts to automate common tasks. Since then I've:
- built a distributed render system on top of open source software
- written animation tools for artists
- written software for animating, simulating, and rendering fur
- learned Houdini, Maya, RenderMan and many others
- written shaders
- written many, many plugins and tools in various languages

I'm now managing a team and have discovered that it's hard to find talented software developers with a solid grounding in mathematics and computer science who have the skills to work in VFX. There are plenty of hackers who can put together a MEL script, but few who actually understand the underpinnings of the systems involved.

If working on VFX for film and TV shows sounds interesting to you, look into developing your skills as a Technical Director (or TD). The skills I look for in a TD are:
- understanding of the 3D pipeline (modeling, texturing, rigging, layout, tracking, animation, lighting, rendering, compositing)
- technical competency in the software used (Maya, Shake or Nuke, Renderman or Mental Ray)
- solid background in programming (scripting, understanding of OO design, C++ desirable, Python especially)
- solid understanding of Unix as a technical user
- ability to learn and master new technologies quickly
- ability to empathize with artists and understand their perspective as a user
- strong mathematics background is highly desirable
- experience in digital or traditional filmmaking also highly desirable

The people I've worked with in the past usually fall into one of three categories:
- have a degree in computer science (or related), minored in fine arts (or just had the interest), and then took a college program in 3D
- smart people from a completely different background who taught themselves both 3D software and programming
- artists who took a college program in 3D, who then taught themselves programming

I recommend the first option, or if you're persistent enough, teach yourself the software at home and start networking online.

If you have a masters in computer graphics, mathematics, or physics, another job open to you is that of the Shader Writer. Shader writers build either complete shading systems or components that model how light reacts with materials. These models are not usually physically accurate (although that is becoming more of an option now). Things to look into:
- ambient occlusion and color bleeding
- subsurface scattering
- procedural texturing and modeling
- shader anti-aliasing
- global illumination techniques
- shading languages such as RSL, GLSL or Cg

Competent shader writers are HIGHLY sought after and very well compensated.

Check out the job postings at Pixar, Industrial Light & Magic, Sony Imageworks, Rhythm & Hues, and Dreamworks Animation for more info. Also check out the forums at and

Nonprofit Sector (paid, and for good cause!) (1)

davecrusoe (861547) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305347)

Depending on your affiliation and social interests, you might check out the nonprofit sector. While "nonprofit" seems at first to imply that you "don't make any money", that's not always the case.

Some nonprofits, for instance, are near the cutting-edge of social technologies and outreach and/or graphic design.

Others, for instance, are building and maintaining robust and impressive virtual communities with expansive software packages that need development.

In all cases, instead of feeding a corporate machine, you're supporting a cause - either directly (by working with people) or indirectly (by programming a piece of software, for instance, or maintaining servers). These causes really, really need support from CIS-capable individuals.

We see a lot of every kind of organization - one way to get involved in a small way is to take on volunteer projects we have listed at [] Just now, for instance, NPR listed some help they need - [] .

But there are other ways, too, to get a foot in the door - check out Idealist and Craigslist for job listings at most major nonprofits -- and the best of luck! --Dave / CK

Sys Admin, Consulting, Application Support (2, Insightful)

TheGreatOrangePeel (618581) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305367)

First and foremost: DO NOT ACCEPT CAREER JOBS YOU WILL NOT ENJOY. I made the mistake of grabbing a VisualBasic 6 job when I'm a Linux and C++ guy. Now I've 4 years experience (3 in VB6+DB2, 1 in Linux/KSH scripting + Netezza Database warehouse) and I'm having a VERY tough time using that experience to land anything that I might actually enjoy. Your first couple of jobs define the path of your career in both the short and mid-term which then makes it easier to steer it the way you want in the long-term.

I suggest a sys-admin role. In the right place, you'll do some shell scripting, update hardware and (politely) smack the occasional end user. I'll let others speak on this as I've only seen it from a distance and don't have much hands-on with it.

Another possibility (and I REALLY really hate to suggest this, although it might be better suited to you than me) is go into a consulting firm under the Consultant or Solutions workforce. As a consultant, you'll do some paper pushing (eventually you'll help design how major, high volume applications) and some coding. As a Solutions Consultant, you'll be mostly coding.

The advantage of both types of consulting positions is that you'll do something for 6-12mo. and move on to a new project. The disadvantage to both is you'll find yourself with twice the number of bosses (Office space, anyone?). One set of bosses for The Client and another for Your Consulting Company. Personally, this drives me crazy. Also, you don't get a whole lot of say on what client you'll be working for which can be a big problem (e.g. non-smokers working for a major tobacco company ... nothing like your boss lighting a stogie in a meeting).

As a Consultant, you'll have to travel (plus or minus, depending) and make quite a bit of money. On the flip side, you'll have longer hours and more stress.

As a Solutions Consultant, you'll have less stress and it'll be easier to stay at home, but you won't make as much.

My final suggestion is Application Support. You'll do a little coding, a little debugging, interact with users who are knowledgeable about how the process should REALLY work (assuming the organization is well structured) and get the occasional amusing service ticket like, "Have the magical elves in APP-land fix the claim again."

Just look at what you like. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26305389)

Here's some advice someone gave to me.

First decide what you like about CS/IT more. Coding, Admin, Servicing. If you don't like the applicable side, look at the theoretical side and continue your education by doing a masters by research (or something).

Then decide on a subject you enjoy. Eg: Math, Billing, Astronomy, Making Cheese, Etc. And if you could do it for fun.

After all this, think about what you could do with these two things and see if it's available. If not: Rince, Repeat.

Or, remote locations -- (1)

davecrusoe (861547) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305407)

... such as [] McMurdo Station, or [] the Kerguelen Islands, both of which need CS people for interesting scientific opportunities (and are way, way out of the way). Check out the employment pages of both for more info on their jobs.

If you can dream it... (1)

EddyPearson (901263) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305437)

Newsflash: You are not going to be hired into an Ultra-Cool Managerial role at some NASA-come game-studio straight out of college and with no experiance.

Given the chance get into a good development role bite their hand off to accept, if you pass these up you'll only end up doing some crappy support role, and thats a few years wasted.

Once you've proved your metal as the best god damned programmer in the place (great personality too!) then you'll find yourself in a position to go in whatever direction you want, only now with the respect of your peers and the experiance needed to really do the job well.

During your year or two as a programmer, you can decide what you want to do next based on the first hand experiance you'll gain of each respective role, it is a win win.

System Verification (1)

cetialphav (246516) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305455)

I went into system verification (e.g. testing). At the right organization, this is a really interesting and challenging job. When your company makes a system that sells for a few million dollars and consists of dozens of racks of equipment and is expected to have 99.999% uptime, testing is not something that you hand off to interns. My field was telecom equipment, but there are other fields that have highly complex products where testing is just as hard as product development.

The thing I liked about the job was that I was able to understand the product and its application much better than the software developers because each developer only had a narrow view of the product. I was also able to use my software development skills to develop automation tools to make my testing easier, but I never had to spend all of my job only programming.

As a tester, I had two views of products and the business. I could understand how customers use things and what their expectations and needs are and measure how the product meets that. I could also see the development side and understand the engineering tradeoffs being made and help do low level debugging of system failures.

While in school, I had no idea that there were jobs like this. Most test jobs are crap, because it is considered grunt work and given very little respect. But at the right place, it can be a great way to use your technical skills without just hacking on code all day.

Technical training (1)

hwyhobo (1420503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26305457)

I enjoy helping other people out, but I'd rather not be plugging things in and restarting computers the rest of my life.

Then technical training might be perfect for you. However, you can't get there straight out of college. You have to pay your dues (get some experience) first. I think that as long as you know what your goal is, you can treat it as part of preparation and enjoy it, whether it is QA or tech support, or netadmin.

Technical trainers are sought after, reasonably well paid, travel (sometimes too much), mix with a lot of different people, and rarely get bored.

Sounds like something you would enjoy? Well, then start earning your stripes. It will be worth it.

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