I'm Doing Really Well In College, But What Do I Major In?

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I decided to go back to college and I'm doing MUCH better than my first attempt when I was 18. Now I'm 22. I guess I just wasn't ready for college the first time around.

I would appreciate some advice from like minded people on WF about which degree to pursue.

Here's a little bit of information that might help you help me.

For the past 4 and a half years, I've been working full time, doing Web/I.T work for an Internet Marketing Guru.

I create sales pages, website/blog design, optin pages, set up split testing, affiliate management, help desk/technical support, banner ad management, manage his membership sites, video editing, come up with new ideas, etc.

With my interest and experience with Web/I.T. stuff, it makes sense to get a degree in I.T.

I also have an interest & passion for business and marketing. However, from what I've heard, those degrees are very general and not useful. Plus, I think if I'm going to be successful as a business owner, it's going to be do to my experience and things I learned through self education, not because I got a degree in it.

I'm also considering a degree called M.I.S (Management Information Systems). Basically, a career in this field would mean I communicate with the Computer Science majors and work with them on what the company needs in our software/technology, from a business standpoint.

Since the Computer Science majors have no idea about business, and the business owners probably don't have any idea about technology/software development, I would act as an interpreter and make sure the job gets done the way it should.

It's somebody who has both a good understanding of business and technology.

However, I'm not sure how the job scene is for somebody with that sort of degree.

Some people have told me that M.I.S sounds like a good degree, but they weren't too sure how many employers are looking for employees with a "soft" I.T. degree.

So I thought I'd come here, where I'm likely to find people who are more like me.

What do you guys think? I really appreciate any advice you guys have.
  • Profile picture of the author Roaddog
    With your interests and type of experience, I personally would major in software engineering. You learn a little about IM, see a need, design a bit of software, blah, blah and blah and you write your own ticket.

    Not to mention contracting your services to the mega monster software businesses, if need be.

    Working on or designing good software isn't going anywhere soon. In fact it will only get much larger. There will always be a need for new 'toys'.

    I'd go read some of the IT sites (the pros) and see what it's like dealing with some of these non tech people.

    My personal favorite is still the secretary that nailed her laptop to the desk because, if I remember correctly, she was told her computer needed securing. Then was flabbergasted that it "didn't work anymore".

    The reality of working with most everyday people is completely different to 'theory'.


    It's best to be as independent as possible...while one can never be completely independent S.E. is one way to get close.
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    • Profile picture of the author anthmyers
      Originally Posted by Roaddog View Post

      With your interests and type of experience, I personally would major in software engineering. You learn a little about IM, see a need, design a bit of software, blah, blah and blah and you write your own ticket.
      Hey Roaddog, Thanks for the advice! I appreciate it.

      The thing is, I'm not a programmer and I don't have a desire to be one. I love technology, I love web development, but the programming aspect of it just isn't for me. I compare it to art. You can't teach somebody to be artistic.

      Most successful programmers/software developers I know took interest in it from a young age and even taught themselves how to do a lot. My brain just doesn't work that way.

      I'm very good at editing code that has already been written. I have a very good understanding of the web and all things web related. However, I can't code from scratch and like I said, I have no desire to.

      Which is why I was considering an I.T degree rather than Computer Science. It's not as programming intensive.
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    How on earth do you expect us to tell you what you are interested in and want to do with your life? Designing your degree is as personal as changing (or not) your underwear.

    I took what interested me and FOUND a way to make it pay. I can't even imagine how miserable those years would have been if I had looked for what is currently paying the best and taking a lot of crap I could have cared less about just because it may pay a certain rate (if there are even jobs when you are finished).

    When I went to college, everyone wanted to hire generalists. A few years later, everyone was moving toward specialists even though none of the curriculum counselors saw that coming. They also told me not to pursue any computer ed. classes as I would have a secretary who would do the computing for me. This wasn't an adult day care center, it was University of Michigan.

    Do you want to trust advice that might be that good? Pursue what you love and if the jobs aren't there when you get out - make one.
    Signature

    Sal
    When the Roads and Paths end, learn to guide yourself through the wilderness
    Beyond the Path

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    • Profile picture of the author anthmyers
      Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

      How on earth do you expect us to tell you what you are interested in and want to do with your life? Designing your degree is as personal as changing (or not) your underwear.
      I really don't think you're understanding what I was asking, and frankly, you responded in kind of a rude way. I really hope you don't respond like this if your children ask you for career advice.

      I'm simply looking for Career Guidance by likeminded individuals. Sure, there is a career guidance center at most colleges, but those people don't know much about Internet Marketing, software development, etc. They only know what is written down in the course descriptions.

      I know there are alot of business minded people on WF and there are also a lot of tech geeks on here. I'm interested in both. So it seems like the perfect pool of people to ask for advice about which career to go into.

      I apologize if it seemed like I was asking for you guys to just choose a high paying career regardless if I'm interested in it or will dread studying it. That wasn't my intention.

      That's why I included my experience and interests... To maybe spark some ideas of careers and degrees to pursue that might be of interest to me. Maybe a fellow WF member knows of a really awesome career or degree that I never heard of yet.

      I appreciate the advice about doing what I love regardless of pay though, thank you.
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      • Profile picture of the author HeySal
        Originally Posted by anthmyers View Post

        I really don't think you're understanding what I was asking, and frankly, you responded in kind of a rude way. I really hope you don't respond like this if your children ask you for career advice.

        I'm simply looking for Career Guidance by likeminded individuals. Sure, there is a career guidance center at most colleges, but those people don't know much about Internet Marketing, software development, etc. They only know what is written down in the course descriptions.

        I know there are alot of business minded people on WF and there are also a lot of tech geeks on here. I'm interested in both. So it seems like the perfect pool of people to ask for advice about which career to go into.

        I apologize if it seemed like I was asking for you guys to just choose a high paying career regardless if I'm interested in it or will dread studying it. That wasn't my intention.

        That's why I included my experience and interests... To maybe spark some ideas of careers and degrees to pursue that might be of interest to me. Maybe a fellow WF member knows of a really awesome career or degree that I never heard of yet.

        I appreciate the advice about doing what I love regardless of pay though, thank you.
        I might have misunderstood your intentions.......as far as rude......blunt, curt but didn't mean to be rude. I probably sound more edgy in type than I do in person. LOL

        And I can see you getting ideas from others -- but after having my own path kinda distorted by advice from people who were supposed to be pros at advice -- I just wanted to make sure you don't do something you later feel was a wrong move because someone else swayed you onto a course you normally wouldn't have veered toward on your own.

        Kids? LMAO - you honestly think they'd have survived me as a mother?
        Signature

        Sal
        When the Roads and Paths end, learn to guide yourself through the wilderness
        Beyond the Path

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  • Profile picture of the author Roaddog
    Well, I can certainly understand that line of thought. It's good to know what one is not good at or interested in.

    I did thirty plus years in construction and mechanics, and to deal with people constantly that have no clue about how things work can be frustrating...to say the least.

    Not always, but too many times it requires the 'patience of Job'.

    The alternative is (of course) be the best at what you do and deal with more commercial type projects and deal with other professionals as much as possible.

    Anyway, it's a good deal you have the opportunity to go to college.

    Good luck in whatever you do.
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  • Profile picture of the author heenaalbert
    Go for digital marketing, its future dude.
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    • Profile picture of the author Bekah Howard
      Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

      How on earth do you expect us to tell you what you are interested in and want to do with your life? Designing your degree is as personal as changing (or not) your underwear.

      Do you want to trust advice that might be that good? Pursue what you love and if the jobs aren't there when you get out - make one.
      Originally Posted by anthmyers View Post

      I really don't think you're understanding what I was asking, and frankly, you responded in kind of a rude way. I really hope you don't respond like this if your children ask you for career advice.

      I appreciate the advice about doing what I love regardless of pay though, thank you.
      anthmyers,

      I think you missed the (very valid) point Sal was making. Only you can discover what your passion is. When deciding my major, I made the mistake of letting others over-advise me. They were a diverse group of people who knew me VERY well on both personal and professional levels (Family, Friends with different interests, Friends with similar interests, Instructors in my Interest areas, People in my possible "future careers", etc)

      Long story short, I majored in something I found interesting, but there is no way I want to do it for a living (Accounting if you were curious). Either Accounting or Math Ed. is what everyone pushed me towards. After graduating, I realized I really wanted something very different- either to be a Librarian, or maybe to be in the Video Editing field.

      The point Sal was making, and that I'm trying to emphasize, is that you cannot let anyone else make your decision for you. I let others decide that I was an Accountant. That was a mistake. I now have 4 years missing from my life, and paid well over $100,000 for a piece of paper I have put on a shelf. I didn't take responsibility enough for my future to follow my passion. Don't pass your future over to others to let them decide for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sunfyre7896
    I would either major in I.T. or Computer Science and Engineering with a minor in business. Or if you want to just go the computer route, go with I.T. and minor in C.S.E. It's up to you how much you want. The degree will help with the knowledge and the job. The minor will just help you with extra knowledge such as business or more computer applications.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by anthmyers View Post

    I'm simply looking for Career Guidance by likeminded individuals.
    Just a thought/observation, not a criticism, but guidance exclusively from like-minded individuals can sometimes, in these situations, be a little unchallenging, and limited both in scope and value.

    Guidance/suggestions from unlike-minded individuals can sometimes be much more interesting, stimulating, eye-opening, helpful and ultimately productive.

    Originally Posted by anthmyers View Post

    With my interest and experience with Web/I.T. stuff, it makes sense to get a degree in I.T.
    I look at this totally differently from you, it seems.

    I'd say that with your interest and experience in web/IT stuff, that should be the one thing that you don't try to get a degree in. You already have an interest and some experience with that.

    Don't you want your college education to broaden your perspectives and interests?

    Originally Posted by anthmyers View Post

    I also have an interest & passion for business and marketing. However, from what I've heard, those degrees are very general and not useful.
    Ah ...

    You're looking at it in terms of the degree being useful rather than the process and experience of education itself being useful? Well, I'd better say no more, then, because I don't qualify as a "like-minded individual". I'm your age, but I suspect we have radically different perceptions of the value and purpose of education.
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    • Profile picture of the author anthmyers
      Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

      Just a thought/observation, not a criticism, but guidance exclusively from like-minded individuals can sometimes, in these situations, be a little unchallenging, and limited both in scope and value.

      Guidance/suggestions from unlike-minded individuals can sometimes be much more interesting, stimulating, eye-opening, helpful and ultimately productive.



      I look at this totally differently from you, it seems.

      I'd say that with your interest and experience in web/IT stuff, that should be the one thing that you don't try to get a degree in. You already have an interest and some experience with that.

      Don't you want your college education to broaden your perspectives and interests?



      Ah ...

      You're looking at it in terms of the degree being useful rather than the process and experience of education itself being useful? Well, I'd better say no more, then, because I don't qualify as a "like-minded individual". I'm your age, but I suspect we have radically different perceptions of the value and purpose of education.

      I appreciate your feedback. I didn't mean to sound stupid, I'm just new to this college thing. I gave it a try when I was 18 and completely failed out.

      Now I'm back for my 2nd try and I'm doing really well. Actually, I've gotten 100% on every test this semester, so far.

      I chalk the first time up to just not being ready for college at the age of 18. I just wasn't the same person I am now.

      When I think of college, I think of it as a back-up plan, should my entrepreneurial dreams not workout for some reason. Which is why I look at it in terms of "usefulness".

      I understand that college is about a lot more than going, getting a degree, and that's it.

      However, I have so many interests and passions (Marketing, Business, Health & Fitness, Psychology) that I know I should be able to find something that is not only going to broaden my knowledge and help me grow as a person, but also prove to be useful. Does that make sense?
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    Well, anthmyers, I happen to be in I.T. I have been for about 30 years. A customer USED to say "This is what I want. THIS is what I **CAN** pay. THIS is the concept I want. I defer to your experience. What can you do to get this done." The programmer used to say "This is what I can do in your budget, here are proposed changes. Is that acceptable to you? Let's talk!". When accepted, the programmer was given access to a test environment or similar.

    What do they do TODAY? Well, a customer may be buying for someone else, and miscommunicate BOTH ways! The "programmer" is now RARELY what they were. The task is split up SO much! Different terms for what they USED to be are: Programmer, analyst, xxxxx developer, xxxxx DBA, xxxxx architect, etl expert, xxxxx administrator, etc....

    Hey, let's take my latest customer! NO, I am NOT kidding, this is the TRUTH! THEY said "We will hire you to Install/maintain our software at our customer. I asked to get onboarded about a month before the assignment." I get to the customer, and am NOT onboarded They say "It takes time". I am asked to find a problem, find it, and it takes them 2 DAYS to do what I could do in less than a minute! And they ONLY fix QA and REFUSE to fix production. At the moment I am waiting for something I could have done in less than a minute. Seriously, I gave them TWO commands that would take SECONDS to run that will fix the problem! I am now talking to somebody in MUMBAI to get the problem fixed. He found people that can fix one problem BUT, after discussing it, they must discuss the next day, and maybe MONTHS with people in the US! It is ridiculous. And 3 weeks+ to set up an email address? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    I have done similar things SINGLE HANDED in LESS than a DAY! HERE, they bind my hands, blind me, and even make me deaf, and it takes.....it takes.....Well.... It has been MONTHS so far!

    They do NOT need a translator, they need a POLITICIAN! One department EVEN had the audacity to basically ask for a BRIBE, from another departmentnt, to do their JOB!!!!! I STLL have NO DB access, and little access elsewhere. I basically have to try to peek in areas they try to lock me out of to try to find out what they are doing wrong, research, and try to suggest solutions and document.

    And you CAN'T properly translate if you don't know the language. Do you have to learn how to program? NO! But you DO have to learn the SAME computer theory, terminology and limitations/capabilities.

    And your analogy about the artist is WRONG! A programmer is NOT like an artist in this way! And programs are NOT like art in this way! A customer is like a hungry person. A programmer is like a nice cook. The customer does NOT necessarily know how to properly season/cook food, but they DO know what they like. The cook or programmer has to do their best to satisfy the need. The customer WILL accept something different from what they wanted, but only so far.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Fazal Mayar
    go for a mba in computer science rather then software engineering i guess? If coding isnt for you then forget some of these stuff
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    Blogger at RicherOrNot.com (Make Money online blog but also promoting ethical internet marketing)

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  • Profile picture of the author KevinK3
    i heard you throw around the term "useful"

    if you're looking for something useful, why are you even considering college? college is the furthest you can get from useful or practical.

    college = classes + degree

    you can learn what is in those classes from other sources: textbooks, internet, courses, seminars, programs, etc. however, you can't get a degree (a legit one, at least) in any other place but college. the real value of college is in the degree, not in the knowledge or education. you can find that elsewhere.

    as far as the whole major thing, please do yourself a favor and stop wasting your time trying to figure out your major. the truth is that your major will never encompass who you are as a person. all your passions and interests cannot be confined to a single major and you will only torture yourself by trying to squeeze yourself into a box. that is for 9-5'ers and cubicle dwellers. you have a broad range of passions and interests and seem to have greater hopes than just trading time for a nice stable paycheck.

    so yeah, forget this whole major bull****. majors are nothing but pre-predefined life choices. it is for the people who lack the self-awareness to turn inwards to discover what they want to do so they look at these external categories to self-identify with. the truth is that a major is a fairly narrow field by nature and trying to pick the right major is like trying to pick the perfect niche that you're going to do for the rest of your life. that's just not realistic. you're not going to be doing 1 thing for the rest of your life. eventually you'll get bored and want to do something else. even if you don't get bored, your passions will eventually lead you to explore another path (even if it's just as a side venture).

    anyways, my point here is that you shouldnt bother trying to look for the right major. look for your unique talents and gifts and mix those with your passions and use that to do something that creates value for others. solve problems. help people. create something useful that meets peoples needs.

    now you might be wondering who am i? i am a college graduate that went to a good private school and ran several different businesses while in college. well let me just say that you have made the right choice by dropping out and i wouldnt reconsider that decision if i were you unless you want to get a full time job working for someone else. if you do, go for it because you'll need the degree to get it. if you don't plan to work for someone else, no need to get that degree.

    what should you do instead? i would spend the time that you'd otherwise be wasting learning about useless stuff in a college classroom and i would start soul searching and learning about yourself instead. once you have a better clue of where your passions and gifts intersect, i would take that money that you would have wasted learning irrelevant and outdated theory that is no longer applicable in the real world and i would invest in mentorship or coaching from people that are actually IN the field right now and are successful at what they do, rather than professors who have been removed from what they're teaching for at least a decade.

    that's just my 2 cents.

    you seemed like you were sincerely looking for some advice so i thought i'd chime in and help. i'm actually in the process of launching a workshop around the college campuses here in chicago on how to figure out what you want to do with your life so it was fun exercising some of the key ideas in this post.

    hope this helps,

    kevin
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  • Profile picture of the author FreeZeo
    go for IT!
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  • Profile picture of the author gareth
    Project Management

    Project Management

    Project Management
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by gareth View Post

      Project Management
      Project Management
      Project Management
      That's triplicate content: is this "the new duplicate content", or something? :confused:
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  • Profile picture of the author Preben Frenning
    Looks like I'm quite the same as you to some extent.
    I started with IM when I was 17, learned a lot, and had it as my main hobby. (When others where playing football etc. I was reading about IM here)

    I have a great passion for it, and have tried a lot of different ways to make Im work for me. I even started my own offline IM consultant company when I was 19. - Now I'm 22.

    It didn't work out too well, because I'm a very social person, and I need to have people around me every day.
    I then started to work with sales B2B for a year, and decided to start my studies.
    Now I'm on my second year with my marketing studies, where I'm going to specialize in PR.

    Aside from my studies, I am the Marketing Manager of our student union, and I'm working on my own business with a friend aside from that.

    There, now you know me a bit.

    I would personally recommend you to study marketing if you want to have your own company. Marketing is the source of all successful business. Period.

    Starting with product development, moving on to employee motivation, moving further on to selling on a large scale, and ending up with your customers being happy repeat customers. All that is marketing. - It's the fundament of any business whether people know/approve it or not.

    It is indeed a general and broad study, but it's essential if you want to be a successful entrepeneur in my opinion.

    So I would recommend you to study marketing if you want to be an entrepeneur, but don't know with what. Other successful entrepeneurs i have talked with tells me that if they could choose again, they would have studied marketing instead of what they already have studied.

    BUT, if you want to start your own IT-consultant business or anything relevant to a spesific skill, study the skill and take courses in marketing instead, if you ever feel the need.

    My business partner and I have backgrounds from marketing, and simply wanted to start a profitable business related to IT. Now we are developing online booking systems for other companies.

    I hope that somehow helps! Feel free to ask if you have questions.

    - Preben
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    Content overload? Too many tabs open? Then
    check out my awesome tech startup! - It will make your life easier.


    Twitter? - http://twitter.com/Preben_Frenning

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  • Profile picture of the author hardraysnight
    anthropology sounds very interesting and not easy to spell
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  • Profile picture of the author Henry White
    Having been there, done that, I can assure you that nobody gets to the "good stuff" until graduate school.

    If you can, it might help to decide if you talked with students in those majors, better if you can talk with graduate students, and best if you can talk with graduates actually working in their major field of study.

    You might be intimidated by reading through the syllabi for the various programs, even moreso if you can get access to the textbooks and lecture notes. You may have to roughly simulate this through
    open course work - Google Search
    and the local public library.

    The upside, of course, is that between now and graduate, you have plenty of time to build a solid, profitable online business to keep you away from going into debt well into 6-figures, you won't have to take those physically grueling, minimum wage jobs or juggle your schedule to fit theirs, and you'll have plenty of "walking around" money for concerts, games, etc. while many of your classmates either won't be able to afford it or will be scheduled to work.

    Do it right, and by the time you finish grad school you'll be netting more than your professors!

    Bonus: I don't know that IT/MIS really qualifies as "evergreen" niches, but if that's your choice it's a slam dunk to stay current and relevant!
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  • Profile picture of the author dagaul101
    You could look for a Major in Internet Marketing or Web Design, heard there is a Masters in Internet Marketing
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