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Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
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JiggyLordJr Offline
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Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
Background: I'm at a turning point in my college career, 3 years deep, where I need to definitively choose a major. I'm strongly considering pursuing a degree in Data Science. For reference, I'm enrolled in a cheap, public uni in a 1st tier city, where SJWs are not openly present; everyone's too focused on hustling for an internship/job. In other words, attending uni hasn't been half bad, and I've racked up professional experience (as well as some notches) along the way.

The sentiment I've gleaned from the forum is that many are against college, and there's even a thread against STEM degrees. Given the obvious bias of this thread, I thought it better to frame this discussion more objectively. From my limited understanding, it's far better to major in a technical field than it is to major in a liberal arts field, for obvious reasons. This article confirms my findings thus far:

Quote:The initial starting salary projections for Class of 2019 bachelor’s degree graduates strongly indicate that those with STEM degrees will continue to earn the highest starting salaries, according to results of Winter 2019 Salary Survey.

The top-paid graduates this year are once again expected to earn engineering ($69,188), computer science ($67,539), and math and sciences degrees ($62,177).

In light of these statistics, is a STEM degree ultimately worth it, especially if one is already invested in getting a degree? Assuming you don't rack up crazy debt in doing so, and the populace is not hard-left, is a degree in this field worth pursuing? Would be great to hear from those who have attended uni, as well as from those that carved their own path.
11-04-2019 07:32 AM
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Hell_Is_Like_Newark Offline
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RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
I spent the first five years out of college with an urge to burn my degree. Going into the work force with a bachelor of mechanical engineering (my school made one take graduate level engineering courses as an undergrad.. as a result.. you got a B.E. instead of B.S.).

The world I entered:

Recession with the dreaded "peace dividend". The job market was a horror show for new grads. With the defense industry in steep recession, newly graduated engineers were competing with senior engineers for entry level jobs. I saw electrical engineering graduates, who were at the top 10% of their class, working the checkout register at the local supermarket. To make matters worse (if you were a White or Asian male), Affirmative Action took many jobs off the table, as they were reserved for others (mostly women).

China became part of the WTO: Industry picked up and left the USA. Entry level engineering jobs went with them.

Companies no longer train / apprentice people (Griggs vs. Duke Power.. one of the top 5 worst SCOTUS decisions of 20th century is the reason for this). Jobs demanded very specific skill sets that you wouldn't get in college. Basically my degree in many ways was worthless.


My 20s was spent moving from one shit-show job to another, which was devastating to my morale.

What I did was, over time, develop a few specialized skills on my own (in part due to trying to start my own business at one point). I self-taught myself how to do energy modeling (one of the grad level courses I took helped with this). This got me a decent job at age 29. I kept working on my skill set which then led to by current (well paid) current job where I have happily worked for the past seven plus years. I am at present working on a new side project, that if it goes through, will land me really good $$$ in the next couple of years.

I keep adding to my skill set by gaining knowledge in specific fields. Specifically areas where I see economic opportunity (energy market related stuff).

Summary:

A STEM degree will put you in a better position to find employment. However, where you go and how far depends on how you apply your free time. Always be learning.

There are three ways to get rich in STEM:
1. Engineering sales
2. Engineering upper management
3. Entrepreneurship (be the out of the box idea guy)

I am working on #3 with some #1 mixed in.
11-04-2019 09:15 AM
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RoastBeefCurtains4Me Offline
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RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
(11-04-2019 07:32 AM)JiggyLordJr Wrote:  Background: I'm at a turning point in my college career, 3 years deep, where I need to definitively choose a major. I'm strongly considering pursuing a degree in Data Science. For reference, I'm enrolled in a cheap, public uni in a 1st tier city, where SJWs are not openly present; everyone's too focused on hustling for an internship/job. In other words, attending uni hasn't been half bad, and I've racked up professional experience (as well as some notches) along the way.

The sentiment I've gleaned from the forum is that many are against college, and there's even a thread against STEM degrees. Given the obvious bias of this thread, I thought it better to frame this discussion more objectively. From my limited understanding, it's far better to major in a technical field than it is to major in a liberal arts field, for obvious reasons. This article confirms my findings thus far:

Quote:The initial starting salary projections for Class of 2019 bachelor’s degree graduates strongly indicate that those with STEM degrees will continue to earn the highest starting salaries, according to results of Winter 2019 Salary Survey.

The top-paid graduates this year are once again expected to earn engineering ($69,188), computer science ($67,539), and math and sciences degrees ($62,177).

In light of these statistics, is a STEM degree ultimately worth it, especially if one is already invested in getting a degree? Assuming you don't rack up crazy debt in doing so, and the populace is not hard-left, is a degree in this field worth pursuing? Would be great to hear from those who have attended uni, as well as from those that carved their own path.

If you are already well on your way to completing a degree after being three years in, then a STEM degree is by far your best choice. However, a lot of engineering degrees take 100 credit hours or more, and have modified gen ed requirements to make room for so many hours on your major. You probably don't have time for this.
If you go after Computer Science, you'll also want to take some serious math courses. I'd recommend going after AI, since that's expected to be the big field for the next 10-15 years. Learn how to apply deep learning neural nets and complete a bunch of projects that will serve as a portfolio. If you do this, on top of learning programming in general, you should come out with some marketable skills. There's a huge demand for people who can do AI, and there are just not enough people with actual skills, so you can get in on the ground level.

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11-04-2019 03:43 PM
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afewgoodrats Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
I'm in your same situation. Halfway through a Bachelors in STEM field. At that point definitely finish and get the degree.
11-04-2019 04:58 PM
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Zenta Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
(11-04-2019 07:32 AM)JiggyLordJr Wrote:  The sentiment I've gleaned from the forum is that many are against college, and there's even a thread against STEM degrees. Given the obvious bias of this thread, I thought it better to frame this discussion more objectively. From my limited understanding, it's far better to major in a technical field than it is to major in a liberal arts field, for obvious reasons. This article confirms my findings thus far:


For what its worth, everyone I know in person that doesn't have a college degree wishes they did have one. Anyone saying that on the forum is confident they will make money some other way and that is great, but that doesn't always pan out. Having a 4 year degree opens up much more doors than not having one. I've even considered finishing my last two years at college(I was previously in IT so I didn't finish and just got certs instead) despite helping run a successful business now that in theory will provide me far into retirement, just to have have that piece of paper if shit ever hits the fan at least I can be qualified for more positions anywhere in the world.

The people I know without one don't necessarily have the drive to go out and so something great for themselves, but that being said they would be far better off getting a job that had a 4 year degree requirement than the stuff they work now.
(This post was last modified: 11-04-2019 06:52 PM by Zenta.)
11-04-2019 06:51 PM
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TigOlBitties Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
It's true that having a degree opens more doors, but it depends on if you want to open those doors in the first place. I have no desire to do the corporate thing, and would be perfectly happy in a less glamorous job that still has an excellent ceiling, with less hoops to jump through, social justice, lazy women, etc. You can also lie and say you have a degree. Many employers won't even check because degrees are a dime a dozen now. This would obviously not apply to STEM careers though.

Engineering, computer science and math are still very respected degrees, and substantially better than the other garbage at universities. Science not so much, but still difficult and respectable. If you want a career that requires a STEM degree, then I think it's worth it. STEM careers can still have bullshit, but less so than the other corporate/office nonsense.
11-04-2019 07:22 PM
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Cobra Offline
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RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
I've said it before and will say it again, but this time with an ironic twist. Read on.

Of course STEM is worth it. Why? What are your other options?

If anyone comsidering this can practically tell me if they have another better option, AND flesh it out into a pragmatic path, I would love to hear it.

Now, to my point. Sure, SJWs and lazy women exist but guess what? They exist everywhere. It's worse in professions that require minimal skill, so by not being in college you have a higher chance ending up around them every day probably for the rest of your life. This is another reason to make an upfront investment in a good college and a good program.

This is why I chuckle at the irony of those endorsing a path away from college when 9/10 chance is that if you avoid college you get closer and closer to SJWs and will probably become one yourself especially if you run out of resources and you have to rely on social welfare. Remember, most social welfare recipients never attended college. This is just fact.

Sleep tight.

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11-04-2019 08:53 PM
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TigOlBitties Offline
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RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
More motivated people are much more likely to attend college. Had they chosen a different path outside of college, I highly doubt they would be a welfare recipient. A college degree is not going to make some loser automatically motivated or financially literate either. This kind of thinking reminds me of the broads that whine about muh wage gap without actually looking deeper into it.

Let's say an 18 year old is trying to decide on becoming an electrical engineer or an electrician. Now obviously the engineering path can be a great one, but for whatever reason he doesn't want to go to college or he'd rather work with his hands more. He becomes an apprentice making decent money at a young age, saving and investing for retirement, and working toward a career ceiling with a lot of money and responsibility. There are also entrepreneurship opportunities and management roles as he gets older. Financially he's in a significantly better position than most people, including college graduates. The electrical engineer would have a higher ceiling, but early income/investing and smart decision making can make this less of an issue.

This kind of common sense is lost on a lot of college graduates who think their way is the only way. It will take decades for the "gotta go to college" conditioning to go away.

I can also assure you that there are very few women and SJWs in the high paying, merit based jobs that don't require degrees. Anyone that thinks these are minimal skill has no idea what they're talking about.

Don't let the bed bugs bite.
(This post was last modified: 11-04-2019 09:47 PM by TigOlBitties.)
11-04-2019 09:35 PM
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afewgoodrats Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
I know if I wanted to do trades, military, etc.. my parents would have a big issue with it. I think this is true for a lot of Middle Eastern/Asian/Indian families who want their kids to be Dahcta! Loya! Engineeha!
11-05-2019 12:52 AM
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SomeOneSomeWhere Offline
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RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
I'm pretty sure we're in end times right now, so you should rather think of building a cabin than prepping yourself to join the machine that is out to destroy you.





A lot of STEM will probably be replaced with AI within the next decade and whatever is left will be moved to the land of the chosen and then it's suicide booth time for you...





If you think I'm too blackpilled just learn a trade that allows you to maintain whatever exists as there won't be much new stuff being built after the next great recession.
11-05-2019 02:38 AM
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Post: #11
RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
Have you looked at metrics like availability of jobs and median salaries, on websites e.g. Glassdoor or Indeed? I would check data science vs other fields such as software engineer or hardware engineer (meaning electrical engineer).

Other areas of STEM might not be so in demand right now. I would focus on the hot fields and go where the opportunities are.

How good are your technical skills in general? Can you code? If you have the talent and are willing to go beyond what they teach in school and learn by build things yourself, then you can get ahead of the competition and do well in these fields.

What a man can be, he must be. --Abraham Maslow
11-05-2019 07:38 AM
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22qwert22 Offline
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RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
Do computer related Stem and engineering. DO NOT do science related stem unless you are among the top of the class. I have a BSc in BioChem. Canada had a very difficult time find something. I had an 80% average. I ended up working doing some basic data entry stuff.
(This post was last modified: 11-05-2019 08:53 AM by 22qwert22.)
11-05-2019 08:51 AM
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yeppels Offline
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RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
You should finish it, especially if you are almost done. There is no reason not to have that piece of paper. Like other posters said, it opens so many doors.

On top of this, software is eating the world: https://a16z.com/2011/08/20/why-software...the-world/

That article was written in 2011 and is still applicable now. Every single company in the world is using software, and if they're not, get in there and sell software to them that significantly increases the efficiency of their business. That means, every single company in the world needs software devs, database managers, IT support staff, QA, more niche specialties like Data Science, ETL etc etc etc. I am a software dev and I have been for 5 years, and let me tell you it's never been a better time to be one except maybe right before the 2000 dotcom bust. But now, the industry is much more mature and much more stable. If you can code and you are actually good at it, and have good communication skills, you will never be out of work.

Sure you'll hear about "tech" companies like Uber, WeWork etc. propping up a bubble, but those aren't really tech companies.

Quote:A lot of STEM will probably be replaced with AI within the next decade

The only thing AI does better than humans is process gargantuan data sets with extremely close guidance and input by humans. Working in STEM, you will

1. Be creating this AI
2. Be using this AI to help you do your job better

If you are skilled labor, and your job requires critical thinking, and you are good at what you do, you are not in danger of being replaced by AI. Instead, AI will enable you to do your job better than ever before.

Yea sure if you have a degree in STEM but you do some kind of repetitive task that requires no creativity and minimal training, you might be in danger. Don't be this. Always be learning and developing new skills.

I would say the alternative if you're more interested in starting a business, is to get a degree in Business (MIS or finance), and self-teach yourself coding to build your own product without having to hire someone else.
(This post was last modified: 11-05-2019 10:44 AM by yeppels.)
11-05-2019 10:37 AM
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open source Offline
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RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
Peter Thiel interview in 2014
https://conversationswithbillkristol.org...ranscript/

Quote:even though there’s always this sense that STEM, we need more STEMs for science technology, engineering, math. I suspect even STEM is a bit of an abstraction. And probably the only engineering fields that are doing really well are computer science and maybe, at this point, petroleum engineering. And most other areas of engineering have been bad career decisions the last 40 years.

When I was an undergraduate at Stanford in the 80s, probably the top engineering profession was electrical engineering and that was – it was not a great field to go into. You’d work in these very large companies and the semiconductor revolution kept going for a while but it was probably not that good a career decision. And electrical engineering was still much better than say nuclear engineering, aerospace engineering where things like this which were – which were really catastrophic decisions for very talented people to go into. So even though rhetorically we always say that we want more science and engineering people, in practices, these have been extremely tough fields.
(This post was last modified: 11-05-2019 11:18 AM by open source.)
11-05-2019 11:17 AM
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IWantSpamandEggs Offline
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RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
Me personally, I graduated with a degree in science and two years after my degree I truly hate where I am. My friends who graduate in the same year feel the same. If it was years ago I would say go for it, but in this time, it doesn’t mean crap. You need at least a masters degree to be able to get anywhere. (I am assuming math degrees will have a similar experience). My friends in engineering and the technology fields are doing fine, but the money could still be better. Of course we live in the states with all the big tech and engineering companies. Since you’re in your third year, you might have time to change majors. If you can’t you have to stick through it and use your time to either change career pathway or improve yourself . Me personally I’m working on entering post undergrad with a focus on business or medicine, after getting my life together.
(This post was last modified: 11-05-2019 02:32 PM by IWantSpamandEggs.)
11-05-2019 02:31 PM
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BoiBoi Offline
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RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
I graduated with an engineering M.Sc. with focus on energy about 2 years ago. It was very easy for me to transition into the workforce. I had multiple offers and now am in the top 20-25% of my city in terms of income. My job is interesting enough and I don't work crazy hours. Occasionally, I travel internationally.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with my choice and think that (energy-related) engineering is a good field to be in these days. Think about it, humankind will always depend on energy/electricity and even if/when the robotic/AI revolution happens, you should have no problem finding a job in the field.
11-05-2019 02:54 PM
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JohnQThomas Offline
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RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
The pros and cons are many; since you’re this close, might as well finish. The one thing not to do is claim to have a degree that you don’t have. Employers check, later if not sooner—and they’re not okay with fraud. (Neither, I hear, is God.)
11-05-2019 03:24 PM
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Zenta Offline
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RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
(11-04-2019 08:53 PM)Cobra Wrote:  I've said it before and will say it again, but this time with an ironic twist. Read on.

Of course STEM is worth it. Why? What are your other options?

If anyone comsidering this can practically tell me if they have another better option, AND flesh it out into a pragmatic path, I would love to hear it.

Now, to my point. Sure, SJWs and lazy women exist but guess what? They exist everywhere. It's worse in professions that require minimal skill, so by not being in college you have a higher chance ending up around them every day probably for the rest of your life. This is another reason to make an upfront investment in a good college and a good program.

This is why I chuckle at the irony of those endorsing a path away from college when 9/10 chance is that if you avoid college you get closer and closer to SJWs and will probably become one yourself especially if you run out of resources and you have to rely on social welfare. Remember, most social welfare recipients never attended college. This is just fact.

Sleep tight.


Yeah exactly. People in here posting how hard it is to find a job with their degree and how miserable they are, do they realize how much harder that is without one in the first place? Thats what most people who steer people away don't understand. Coupled with the reality that most people just simply aren't going to skip college and with their pure drive alone strike richness. Theres plenty of people that go down that path and have nothing to show for it but that welfare check they end up relying on.

And yes you can do a trade and thats great if you go down that path, make sure you pick one that doesn't destroy your body completely at least or try to have a plan to starting your own business in the trade so you can hire people to destroy their bodies for you. I work in a industrial real estate and see and known plently of contractors and most of them hurt. Also a large amount of them are ex-junkies. My mechanic friends in their 30's already act like their close to 50's and wish they did something else. Take with that what you will.
11-05-2019 07:03 PM
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PhenomKing Offline
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RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
(11-05-2019 02:38 AM)SomeOneSomeWhere Wrote:  I'm pretty sure we're in end times right now, so you should rather think of building a cabin than prepping yourself to join the machine that is out to destroy you.





A lot of STEM will probably be replaced with AI within the next decade and whatever is left will be moved to the land of the chosen and then it's suicide booth time for you...





If you think I'm too blackpilled just learn a trade that allows you to maintain whatever exists as there won't be much new stuff being built after the next great recession.

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11-06-2019 11:52 PM
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Easy_C Offline
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RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
(11-04-2019 08:53 PM)Cobra Wrote:  I've said it before and will say it again, but this time with an ironic twist. Read on.

Of course STEM is worth it. Why? What are your other options?

If anyone comsidering this can practically tell me if they have another better option, AND flesh it out into a pragmatic path, I would love to hear it.

Now, to my point. Sure, SJWs and lazy women exist but guess what? They exist everywhere. It's worse in professions that require minimal skill, so by not being in college you have a higher chance ending up around them every day probably for the rest of your life. This is another reason to make an upfront investment in a good college and a good program.


Sleep tight.


I'd also tack on something else, and I'm sure you'll second me on this coming from a professional background.


The single best flexibility you'll find out there is a STEM major with a business minor. You see a lot of people with science undergrads in places like the big investment banks, consulting shops, or any name-brand production firm you care to name.

You will never see someone with a non-STEM degree in a STEM job.



I say do it because you aren't really closing off any options with a STEM degree assuming you have the work ethic necessary to maintain a 3.5 GPA.
11-07-2019 12:18 AM
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kubrixrube Offline
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Post: #21
RE: Is a STEM Degree Worth It?
I may sound immature. But I believe most college majors, unless in very technical field such as medicine or law, should mainly be seen as opportunities for networking. Maybe the main deciding factor should be pursuing the path that will give you the most realistic chances of living the life you would like to live.
11-07-2019 01:26 AM
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