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What degree should I get
Old 11-16-2016, 08:17 PM   #1
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What degree should I get

Hi everyone, Im wanting to go to college to get a degree but I really have no clue which degree to get. Right now I work 55 hours a week as a welder and after taxes I make about 30000. I dont think im making enough money to reach my retirement goal of 50.

I want to get my degree while im working but I just dont know if its possible with the hours I work. Im thinking about going to the local community college for my first two years and then transferring to another school for the last two.

Two important things about me: I'm very shy and have social anxiety; and I made very bad grades in high school because at the time I didnt care about my education so I didnt try.

A few degrees that I have been considering are: business, finance, accounting, forestry, history, and education.

Business and finance degrees seem like they would be good general degrees to get. Im sure they pay pretty well but im not sure if either career would be good for a shy person. I am pretty interested in investing and retirement planning so I thought these might be good degrees for that.

Accounting seems like it would be good for a shy person although im not sure. It sounds pretty boring but iv heard it pays well and I like the idea of a degree that has a clear career path.

I have always loved the outdoors and I like planting trees so thats why im considering forestry. Plus it seems good for shy people. The only downside is that I think it might be hard to find a job in forestry.

Im considering history because it has always interested me and its the one subject I easily made straight A's in, even without trying hard. But I dont really see a career path other than becoming a history teacher, which might not be too bad.

The main reason im considering education is because of all the time off teachers get. Even though the pay isnt the best I think the time off would more than make up for it.

So I to summarize, Im looking for a degree that will lead to a career that pays good, is good for a really shy person, and that is at least somewhat interesting to me. Also I want something that will be easy to find a job in. I would hate to pay all that money and give up all that family time and not even be able to find a better job. Thanks you very much for your time.
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Old 11-16-2016, 08:32 PM   #2
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If I were you, I would pursue a degree in the field that interests you the most. Getting a degree is a long haul while working at the same time. It can be done, but it's best if you have a passion for the subject matter and career path. It doesn't make any sense to pursue a degree and get a job in a field that you don't enjoy.
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Old 11-16-2016, 08:43 PM   #3
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I'm a big proponent of double majors. Or at least learning in two fields. One should be your passion. The other should be a field or skill with which you could easily find a job. They might overlap, or not. Right now, I'd suggest you consider learning to code.
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Old 11-16-2016, 09:02 PM   #4
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I have a degree in history. Tested out of everything. Never spent a day in school for it. So, I'd say it's an easy degree to get. But it's really only good as a minor or, as I in my case, I didn't need a job I just wanted a degree as a credential for my avocation of history. If you want money you'll have to go elsewhere.

I wish I could think like a young person I could be of more help but I haven't been young in over 20 years.

Something maybe some of the engineering types here could illucidate this.

I worked my whole life with people who had degrees in almost every field you can think of. Some of them said a pure math degree was extremely versatile and a"money degree" others said most employers considered it just another liberal arts degree. Unfortunately I never knew anyone who had an actual mathematics degree. Maybe this is one of those things that just comes in and out of vogue based on perceptions

It seems like it would be a good degree for someone who does not like having to deal with a lot of people. Lots of "Ivory Tower" / work at your own desk type work.

Cannot find the link now but there was a study indicating that it was one of the easier degrees to obtain. That might be the result of a self-selecting student group ie People who are already good at math or people who like math the way I liked history

If it were 1975 again I would opt to be either a mathematician or a truck driver
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Old 11-16-2016, 09:08 PM   #5
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I'm a big proponent of double majors. Or at least learning in two fields. One should be your passion. The other should be a field or skill with which you could easily find a job. They might overlap, or not. Right now, I'd suggest you consider learning to code.
Does it take any longer to double major than it would normally? Could you tell me more about coding please. Thanks
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Old 11-16-2016, 11:03 PM   #6
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Computer programming may be a good choice for a shy person; however, to be competitive in the job market you need some natural talent and mental stamina that not everyone has. But maybe you do!

A job in education may give you a pension if you can get the advanced degree required and stick with the job log enough.

Perhaps your community college has a short course or some other resource to help you decide what to pursue.

Also, are you getting help with your social anxiety? Learning to manage that might open you up to other career possibilities.
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Old 11-16-2016, 11:17 PM   #7
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I suggest software engineering. Good money and a lot of demand. Definitely a "have gun, will travel," type profession. There even was a time when you could break in with an incomplete degree and make a career of it...
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Old 11-16-2016, 11:26 PM   #8
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Does it take any longer to double major than it would normally? Could you tell me more about coding please. Thanks
Generally speaking, a curriculum of study for most majors includes a number of elective or cognate courses. In the case of elective courses, you get to pick classes in any subject matter that interests you. Whereas cognate classes usually have to be somewhat related to your major field. There are often enough elective/cognate courses built into a curriculum whereby with careful planning you can end up meeting the academic course requirements for two different fields without having to spend extra time to earn the second degree. If a second major is not possible, you can likely earn a minor in a second field which basically accomplishes the same thing.

I believe 'coding' is computer programming. In which case I have found that logic and math to be helpful.

You don't have to declare a major right from the get go. You might find your aptitude and/or passion after taking few courses. And let that be your guide in terms of a major.


Also, a two-year Associate's degree might be an initial goal especially if you are attempting to work and attend school part-time.
Hope this helps.
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Old 11-17-2016, 05:34 AM   #9
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Thanks for your responses everyone
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Old 11-17-2016, 06:41 AM   #10
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"You don't have to declare a major right from the get go. You might find your aptitude and/or passion after taking few courses. And let that be your guide in terms of a major."

I think this is your best advice for right now. And while going to school, go to speak to people at various companies/professions. You have a great story and attitude for approaching the head of an accounting department for example, and getting their advice. While it will take some effort to get over your shyness, once you reach out, I think it could become easier. It actually might lead you to your first job out of school if you not only use it as an interview of the person you contacted but you demonstrate your interest and maturity for making the life change you desire.
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Old 11-17-2016, 06:53 AM   #11
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I worked as a mechanical engineer in the chemical industry. I know several pipe welders that got training in CADD and became piping designers. Doesn't require a four year degree.

Engineering is a pretty lucrative degree these days. If you've been interested in welding, mechanical engineering can build on that. Or you can train to be a welding inspector or welding engineer.

My wife is a CPA. Accounting is a lot easier degree to complete than engineering, and there seems to be good demand for accountants. They also earn pretty well.
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Old 11-17-2016, 07:30 AM   #12
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I agree with Masuernom, try to utilize your contacts in your welding career. Another option that could tie in with that is project management.
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Old 11-17-2016, 07:52 AM   #13
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If I were you I would think about not giving up on your welding career so soon. It seems that your wages are incredibly low for a welder. Perhaps you could find another company to work for where the wages and benefits are much better. I know that if you specialize in stainless or aluminum your skills will be in higher demand therefore earning better wages. Also, if you are willing to travel there is much better opportunity.

You could also think about starting your own little welding shop. If you have the ability to fabricate and build rather than just weld two pieces of steel together there is tremendous potential in this option. I know of several welding shops that do very well. Perhaps you could specialize in portable welding. I have had to hire portable welding companies in the past and I remember paying dearly for these services.

If you choose the self employment option you will get to work in some capacity of the things you mentioned of possibly going to school for. You will get experience in business, finance, accounting, education, history not much in the forestry department unless you fix or repair forestry equipment. There are some nice tax benefits to being self employed and ultimately you set your own hours and write your own paycheck.

Getting into business requires some capital outlay but so does going back to school. Weigh out all of the options and cost and don't forget about the time spent studying attending class and the time it will take you away from your family. You could start working on your own as a sideline business nights and weekends to develop a client base before you actually quit your job to ease the transition.

There are no guarantees that going back to school will get you the life you are looking for. There is also no guarantee that you will find a job in your field of study especially if you want to live where you currently reside. This is an important decision take your time and do plenty of research before you move forward. In other words make your steps count you don't want to leap into something then find out that wasn't the right fit then do it again and again etc.


P.S. going from welding to an office type job seems fairly dramatic to me. Are you certain you want to go from working with your hands, building, fabricating etc. to sitting at a desk pushing buttons, crunching numbers and shuffling papers all day every day until you retire?
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Old 11-17-2016, 08:06 AM   #14
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So I to summarize, Im looking for a degree that will lead to a career that pays good, is good for a really shy person, and that is at least somewhat interesting to me. Also I want something that will be easy to find a job in. I would hate to pay all that money and give up all that family time and not even be able to find a better job. Thanks you very much for your time.
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Old 11-17-2016, 08:16 AM   #15
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Nothing wrong with being a truck driver. I did it for 6 years and earned approximately $50,000 a year each year. I was lucky to get a "good" truck driving job. I am also very shy and it was great to be alone in my work, and to have a straightforward assignment, no drama with coworkers, no overly complex tasks. It was kind of wearing, physically. As far as coding, I was a programmer for most of my career. You really need to have a natural talent for visualizing complex relationships in your mind and being able to see how everything affects everything else, and be able to see all those variables floating around in space and what they do to each other as things change. Some people are great at it and pop out the very complex code instantly and effortlessly, and make big, big bucks. I'm always hearing about so-and-so who is a web developer in some new language making 6 figures and is only 20-something years old. But maybe a degree is required for that. Don't know. Good luck, and if you hate coding, but you can do it well enough, you could do it for x number of years to get some capital, then do something else.
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Old 11-17-2016, 08:47 AM   #16
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Computer programming may be a good choice for a shy person; however, to be competitive in the job market you need some natural talent and mental stamina that not everyone has. But maybe you do!
20inTN, Can you sit down and work on an almost impossible puzzle (of any type) for hours and not realize it's time to eat yet? The puzzle could be "play" like a jigsaw puzzle, or it could be a "work" puzzle, like wanting to figure out the perfect way to get some welding done. If that sounds like you, then programming might make you happy.

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Nothing wrong with being a truck driver.
In today's economy, I agree. But if I were 20 and there were already self-driving cars appearing on the roads, I'd be a bit worried about making that a life-long goal.
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Old 11-17-2016, 09:55 AM   #17
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I suggest software engineering. Good money and a lot of demand.
+1 This would be a great area if you like the work. I am a ChemE, made good money, and will RE at 57. DW's family that was in software code writing did even better financially, especially in management.
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Old 11-17-2016, 11:46 AM   #18
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Another thing about programming is that the languages are constantly evolving. The guys I work with must frequently learn new languages. Sometimes they need to recode an entire application to work on a new platform. To be a successful programmer, you must be truly interested in keeping up with the latest trends in coding and enjoy being on a constant learning curve.
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Old 11-17-2016, 11:53 AM   #19
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I would meet with a good career counselor that can help by administering interest/aptitude tests and then interviewing and discussing with you the best areas to examine. That is what I did before I retired. Then when you get your choices narrowed down interview a few people that work in those jobs and ask them what they like and dislike, etc. Also the career counselor will have access to computer programs that tell what the pay and outlook are for various jobs in the area you want to live.
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Old 11-17-2016, 11:59 AM   #20
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I am with the others on going for something that you like.... but, if you are doing it for salary I would think forestry and history are at the low end... from what I hear, park rangers do not make much...


If you go the business route, do not go general business.... that is a throw away degree IMO... finance or accounting will get you in someplace even if you do not 'do' finance or accounting....

I will say that you will likely not get anything soon if you work 50 hours a week... I got an MBA while working, but it took me 6 years... I was not in a hurry though... but even if you were, you can probably take 6 hours a semester and 6 during the summer.. or 18 hours a year.... so you have 7 or more years of going to school almost every night...


I like the idea of using your current skills to move up... I have a friend who does CAD work and he makes good money.... not the same as someone with a degree, but still good money... and much sooner than getting a 4 year degree....


I am not trying to dash your dreams, but just putting out some info for you to think about...
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