T Nation

Best Science Major For a Job

After almost 2 years after getting my MS in environmental science and not having a science related job not even as a lab technician, I’ve decided to get another major. I was wondering what the best options are.

I looked at biotech and it looks like that’s dying. Geology or geophysics looks promising because of all the oil business in Texas where I am. I’m not so sure about biochem but I’m giving it a little thought because I have basic chemistry and biology courses covered by my envi. sci. degree. Computer science is really big right now, but my previous degree wouldn’t carry over to it at all so it’d take longer and I’m thinking I might be hating myself while I do it.

Geology would have the most courses already covered from my envi. sci. degree so that would probably be 2 additional years of education.

Does anyone in the science fields know what the hottest degrees/jobs are right now?

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:
…but my previous degree wouldn’t carry over to it at all so it’d take longer and I’m thinking I might be hating myself while I do it…
[/quote]

This is called work. You’re not going to end up anywhere unless you get used to it.

[quote]theuofh wrote:

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:
…but my previous degree wouldn’t carry over to it at all so it’d take longer and I’m thinking I might be hating myself while I do it…
[/quote]

This is called work. You’re not going to end up anywhere unless you get used to it. [/quote]

For Pete’s Sake, more time getting the degree means more money I have to spend. That’s what I’m worried about, and I’ve already spent 7 years on education including a grad degree while being stalked by a sociopath with my health failing. It’s also a lot easier to put in a ton a of work while doing something you don’t absolutely hate.

Do you actually know anything about Computer Science or did you just come by to make baseless accusations?

Engineering. You probably already have taken advanced physics and high levels of math(trig,calc, etc). Market is solid and the money is good.

Geographic information systems

[quote]Scotto wrote:
Geographic information systems[/quote]

Interesting, there’s a graduate certification program at U of H that’s 5 courses long one of which I have already so 4 more I would have to take. I just wasn’t sure what the prospects of it were. It would tie into the degree I already have nicely too.

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:
After almost 2 years after getting my MS in environmental science and not having a science related job not even as a lab technician[/quote]

Why not?

What is it that’s held you back from getting a science related job? Is it the lack of experience? Is it a lack of good contacts in the industry? Is it an inability to distinguish yourself from the other applicants? Bad interview skills?

Take an objective look at where you are, what you offer, and determine the things that are holding you back. (I’m pretty sure it’s not the education. And I’m pretty sure that more education is not the solution.) Talk to some recruiters, figure out what it is that you’re “missing”, and figure out how to get it.

There might not be many jobs in that field, but someone has a job. Befriend some of them, figure out what they did to get there, get some ideas, and do that.

FWIW, a computer science degree isn’t worth much if you’re not a good and competent programmer by the time you’re interviewing. You don’t get hired to do “computer science”, you get hired to write software. Most schools don’t really teach programming either; if you want to be good, you pretty much have to do that on your own.

I’m certain that’s not the answer you’re looking for, but I hope you get something out of it.

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:
Does anyone in the science fields know what the hottest degrees/jobs are right now?[/quote]

Hottest?

My best friend is a physics major and has a high paying job in missile defense. He’s smart as hell so that probably helps too.

Since you live in TX, I think a no-brainer is Chemical Engineering.

Then go to work for a petroleum company and make some big bucks.

[quote]LoRez wrote:

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:
After almost 2 years after getting my MS in environmental science and not having a science related job not even as a lab technician[/quote]

Why not?

What is it that’s held you back from getting a science related job? Is it the lack of experience? Is it a lack of good contacts in the industry? Is it an inability to distinguish yourself from the other applicants? Bad interview skills?

Take an objective look at where you are, what you offer, and determine the things that are holding you back. (I’m pretty sure it’s not the education. And I’m pretty sure that more education is not the solution.) Talk to some recruiters, figure out what it is that you’re “missing”, and figure out how to get it.

There might not be many jobs in that field, but someone has a job. Befriend some of them, figure out what they did to get there, get some ideas, and do that.

FWIW, a computer science degree isn’t worth much if you’re not a good and competent programmer by the time you’re interviewing. You don’t get hired to do “computer science”, you get hired to write software. Most schools don’t really teach programming either; if you want to be good, you pretty much have to do that on your own.

I’m certain that’s not the answer you’re looking for, but I hope you get something out of it.[/quote]

Lack of experience and the field mainly. It’s a terrible major to have right now. When I started my major everyone was saying how great it would be to have and how many doors it would open and how much demand there would be yaddy yaddy da, but now it’s pretty grim for envi sci majors and my story is not at all uncommon among env sci grads. I’ve even requested to work for companies as an unpaid intern and get turned down in a hurry. I can’t even give my labor away lol.

I’ve actually spoken to accomplished people in the field and the problem is that my major is way too broad and I need to specialize more. The suggestion I was given is take more coursework in the area I want to focus in or even get another major that might tie into my existing coursework if I want to get into the field.

The other problem is that companies have been using people like biochemists and geologists and engineers for a long time and don’t recognize any value in an environmental science degree.

At one career fair, I talked to a lady and we were about to start talking about opportunities in the company and I told her what my major was and she straight up said sorry there’s so many of ya’ll our company doesn’t need that right now and there’s a lot of that going on.

Now, another issue is that because I haven’t picked up by anyone in this length of time, employers are looking at my resume and thinking why hasn’t anyone else chosen him yet… pass.

That’s good to know about Computer Science. I was thinking you just do the college thing, get an internship or coop, and boom get a job out of college… not quite haha.

[quote]Brett620 wrote:
Since you live in TX, I think a no-brainer is Chemical Engineering.

Then go to work for a petroleum company and make some big bucks.[/quote]

X2

I was gonna say petroleum engineering. No brainer. Big bucks straight out of college.

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:

[quote]Scotto wrote:
Geographic information systems[/quote]

Interesting, there’s a graduate certification program at U of H that’s 5 courses long one of which I have already so 4 more I would have to take. I just wasn’t sure what the prospects of it were. It would tie into the degree I already have nicely too. [/quote]
Im hiring

Have you considered getting a PhD? Not in environmental science per se, but if you get into a PhD program in one of the more specific and marketable biological sciences then you may be able to use some of your coursework to count towards it. It really is the only way you will get a job as a scientist, anything less then that and you will only get a job that is tangentially related to science. As for coursework that you can do to increase your chances of getting a job in a scientific field, there are some very good suggestions on here already but I will give some more specific information on each:

  1. GIS is a great field to be in right now. People are hiring for GIS left and right for the time being so if you are able to complete a graduate certificate in this, then that is a good idea. In addition to the standard course material for the certificate, I would recommend that you take undergraduate level courses on discrete mathematics (sometimes called discrete structures), linear algebra, and a complete introductory calculus sequence (1,2, and 3) if you have not already, a couple of introductory level computer programming courses such as a course on data structures and intermediate level java and maybe a systems level programming class and/or software engineering course to help develop your programming skills. You should be able to this in 2-3 semesters depending on how many of these classes you have already taken and it will make you an excellent candidate for GIS and computer programming jobs and you won’t have to get another full degree.

  2. Engineering/math/physics are all good undergraduate degrees (and amazing PhD candidates) to get and are pretty much interchangeable as far as the jobs that you can get with them, although if you want to be an engineer you usually have to take a qualifying exam (in the US it is the PE exam, but it is not that tough). The downside here is that you will have to actually get the full degree.

  3. Getting a graduate degree in one of the health fields is also a good idea, but you will usually need to complete the full degree as well.

I would say that if you are looking at doing this in the least time possible, then 1 is your best bet as long as you are good at programming.

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:

[quote]Scotto wrote:
Geographic information systems[/quote]

Interesting, there’s a graduate certification program at U of H that’s 5 courses long one of which I have already so 4 more I would have to take. I just wasn’t sure what the prospects of it were. It would tie into the degree I already have nicely too. [/quote]

If you can summon SteelyD from the ether I think he can give you some good perspective on this field. As usual Dr Matt’s advice is solid

Engineering would be great. This year, I have had two invitations to interview for positions simply by having an up to date LinkedIn account, even though I am already working a job(I’m an engineer). Many school offer environmental engineering, which I assume there is a lot of carry over from your major.

As Dr.Matt said, GIS is huge right now. You would have no problem finding a job in that field.

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:
That’s good to know about Computer Science. I was thinking you just do the college thing, get an internship or coop, and boom get a job out of college… not quite haha. [/quote]

That’s exactly what happened for my gfs sister, six figure job waiting for her at twitter when she graduates in the next few months.

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:
Do you actually know anything about Computer Science or did you just come by to make baseless accusations?[/quote]

I’m a PhD candidate in EE trying to finish a dissertation.

You don’t seem to know what you want to do or really care as long as you have a “science” job. You also said you want the most convenient and inexpensive route to put you into one of these jobs.

Not trying to be an ass, you just seem to want a new job, any new job.

If you don’t know how to code, it’s time to learn. Check out Coursera and there are a ton of free courses that will cost you nothing and teach you skills.

I also like the idea of building a portfolio, i.e. study something, make up an interesting project, do the project, and then make up some presentations and really sell what you’ve done. This will set you apart from a ton of other candidates, and if you’re really interested in the project, you will get “nerd” points from potential employers who think because you do the stuff for free on your own time, you’ll be a star when actually getting paid.

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:

I also like the idea of building a portfolio, i.e. study something, make up an interesting project, do the project, and then make up some presentations and really sell what you’ve done. This will set you apart from a ton of other candidates, and if you’re really interested in the project, you will get “nerd” points from potential employers who think because you do the stuff for free on your own time, you’ll be a star when actually getting paid. [/quote]

I have heard employers say the opposite. As in, they want a more rounded person and not somebody who spends all their free time writing code. In my experience, they want to hear you tell them that you are very active, like to volunteer, do things with friends, etc. in your free to show you do have a life outside of work.

[quote]Derek542 wrote:

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:

[quote]Scotto wrote:
Geographic information systems[/quote]

Interesting, there’s a graduate certification program at U of H that’s 5 courses long one of which I have already so 4 more I would have to take. I just wasn’t sure what the prospects of it were. It would tie into the degree I already have nicely too. [/quote]
Im hiring[/quote]

Great! I’m available, should I send you my resume!?