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Is it weird to choose a degree subject only because you find it fascinating? watch

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    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    The fact you accept for a given that a degree is required for a career is part of the problem. A degree isn't, and shouldn't be, required for a stable career. There are roles that require specific prior training, but the vast majority of these grad schemes which require a degree to apply for could just as well take school leavers, or people who have been working after leaving school for a while, and do just as well with them.

    When you view a degree as training either for one of those specific vocations which requires formal academic study, such as engineering and medicine (law is somewhat debatable as to whether solicitors really require that), or training to become an academic in that field. You will obviously want to be choosing the area you are most interested in for the latter area, and for the former you should be motivated by something other than money given the huge level of accountability.
    I dont really see the relevancy of your first paragraph? I did not say a degree is required to have a career or that people who dont have a degree dont have the ability to do well in a grad scheme (though they wouldnt get onto a grad scheme specifically as the company are asking for a degree.....). What I was saying is people should look at the places that people who do their degree can end up so they know the realistic career opportunities for them (and lets face it, most people go to uni and want to secure a 'grad' role after)

    The issue for your second statement is

    1. Not everyone who gets a degree in a academic subject wants to become a academic (there is a huge difference between enjoying studying a subject and conducting research in the field) so knowing the opportunities open to you would be incredibly helpful

    2. There are very few permanent academic positions vs the huge number of people looking for them so very few people that want those positions actually get one

    3. I am not saying people shouldnt try following their dreams (if they want to become a academic or whatever) but you should have a backup career or 2 due to the insane level of competition of such a career in academia
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    (Original post by madmadmax321)
    I dont really see the relevancy of your first paragraph? I did not say a degree is required to have a career or that people who dont have a degree dont have the ability to do well in a grad scheme (though they wouldnt get onto a grad scheme specifically as the company are asking for a degree.....). What I was saying is people should look at the places that people who do their degree can end up so they know the realistic career opportunities for them (and lets face it, most people go to uni and want to secure a 'grad' role after)

    The issue for your second statement is

    1. Not everyone who gets a degree in a academic subject wants to become a academic (there is a huge difference between enjoying studying a subject and conducting research in the field) so knowing the opportunities open to you would be incredibly helpful

    2. There are very few permanent academic positions vs the huge number of people looking for them so very few people that want those positions actually get one

    3. I am not saying people shouldnt try following their dreams (if they want to become a academic or whatever) but you should have a backup career or 2 due to the insane level of competition of such a career in academia
    If they are doing a degree they enjoy then realistically they are either aware of a potential lack of opportunity or are choosing it to continue doing what they enjoy after they get the degree.

    The issue is that you shouldn't have to get an academic degree to have a career, and if you don't want to be an academic why do a degree when you can just as well read books and engage your interests in your spare time? The degree doesn't offer any other benefit than quantifying this work, which if you're working in an unrelated area and we moved to a stage where a degree wasn't required to do even fairly menial jobs, it offers no benefit.

    Your comments about the supply and demand of academic jobs are not really that accurate. For some subjects, yes, demand outstrips supply - however this is typically due to lack of supply as a result of lack of funding (especially in "arts" subjects aka anything that isn't STEM or business related, this can be notable). For those other areas this is generally not the case - and "permanent" is a relative term.

    The concept of tenured positions is fairly anachronistic in general, and even in non-academic roles there are innumerable contract based positions which are typically renewed on a rolling basis. While the positions are technically contracted it would be unusual to not have that renewed provided you're doing typical work and your department isn't in the process of being defunded.

    Certainly there isn't an "insane" level of competition in academia, unless your field is say, Old Irish language and linguistics, in which case good luck.
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    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    If they are doing a degree they enjoy then realistically they are either aware of a potential lack of opportunity or are choosing it to continue doing what they enjoy after they get the degree.

    The issue is that you shouldn't have to get an academic degree to have a career, and if you don't want to be an academic why do a degree when you can just as well read books and engage your interests in your spare time? The degree doesn't offer any other benefit than quantifying this work, which if you're working in an unrelated area and we moved to a stage where a degree wasn't required to do even fairly menial jobs, it offers no benefit.

    Your comments about the supply and demand of academic jobs are not really that accurate. For some subjects, yes, demand outstrips supply - however this is typically due to lack of supply as a result of lack of funding (especially in "arts" subjects aka anything that isn't STEM or business related, this can be notable). For those other areas this is generally not the case - and "permanent" is a relative term.

    The concept of tenured positions is fairly anachronistic in general, and even in non-academic roles there are innumerable contract based positions which are typically renewed on a rolling basis. While the positions are technically contracted it would be unusual to not have that renewed provided you're doing typical work and your department isn't in the process of being defunded.

    Certainly there isn't an "insane" level of competition in academia, unless your field is say, Old Irish language and linguistics, in which case good luck.
    The bit in bold is a very naive statement

    Again I dont see the relevancy of the 'you shouldnt need a degree for a career statement' to my original statement but

    1. You can have a career without going to uni
    2. There are plenty of grad schemes that want a degree in any subject so thats why some people do a academic degree, so they can apply and secure those roles. It doesnt matter whether you think it is right or not that you should need a irrelevant degree, the fact is that you do need one

    From my own research into various areas of academia (within disciplines in physics, chemistry and maths) you are wrong about the competition part
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    (Original post by madmadmax321)
    The bit in bold is a very naive statement

    Again I dont see the relevancy of the 'you shouldnt need a degree for a career statement' to my original statement but

    1. You can have a career without going to uni
    2. There are plenty of grad schemes that want a degree in any subject so thats why some people do a academic degree, so they can apply and secure those roles. It doesnt matter whether you think it is right or not that you should need a irrelevant degree, the fact is that you do need one

    From my own research into various areas of academia (within disciplines in physics, chemistry and maths) you are wrong about the competition part
    I'm sorry but your comments on academia in those fields is just..patently untrue, and I'm speaking from my experiences in studying in those and allied areas to those, and doing EPSRC funded projects etc.

    Engineering, the physical sciences and maths (and CS which tends to be lumped in with the first or last normally) are by far and away one of the best funded area in academia, probably only behind cancer research if not on par. There are many positions to be filled - even outside of the research, as these areas which have gained massively in popularity among school leavers and haven't shown any sign in dropping off here (with continued increases in students taking STEM subjects at A-level), there is a considerably demand for lecturers, whether they research or not.

    While it's true certain very small and niche areas are extremely competitive in this realm (high energy physics, especially theoretical, perhaps some areas of pure maths; chemistry I'm not as familiar with but I imagine anything less industrially focused may be less well funded) to suggest as a blanket statement that they are ferociously competitive and unrealistic goals belies a great lack of understanding of the state of those fields. You can't look for any academic roles pretty much anywhere without running into an advertisement for condensed matter physicists (in various guises)...
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    I’ve chosen Diagnostic Radiography and I will follow it up with a postgrad course in sonography. Both really interest me, but also I know I can make a huge difference to people both as a student and once qualified.

    I chose the university based on my gut instinct and also which city will work for my family (we are moving for me to do this).
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    (Original post by stellaluna24)
    For my undergraduate studies I chose to study Criminology. I must admit, my choice was not based on anything concrete, just on the fact that I found the subject quite fascinating (I know, kinda reckless) even though I didn't know much about it. I ended up loving the subject (it made me more critical and increased my awareness of global issues) and graduating with a first class. Studying Criminology and analysing aspects such as cybercrime and financial crime encouraged my interest in the field of Cybersecurity. And guess what? I chose to continue my postgraduate studies in the aforementioned field. Again, my decision was based on my fascination with the subject, rather than personal aptitude or anything else. My question is: is interest in the subject, coupled with effort and hard work, enough for becoming good at it? Or is something as technical as Cybersecurity only suitable for programming or math geniuses?

    In addition: why did you choose your university degree subject? Was it because you found it interesting or because you were already good at it in high school? Or any other reason?
    I have an Undergrad in CS, and a Masters in Cyber Security. I have worked in the Cyber Security roles for about 5 years. I would say that people who did not do Computer Science, Maths or Electrical Engineering at undergrad, but did a masters in Cyber Security, ended up only getting entry level roles in Cyber security (like working on the support desk at a cyber security company).

    It's not impossible to be successful in Cyber Security if you haven't done an undergrad on CS/Maths/EE, but you will have to work incredibly hard to catch up on those sorts of grads. Otherwise you will be pretty restricted to the range of careers you can find in Cyber Security.
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    (Original post by jestersnow)
    I have an Undergrad in CS, and a Masters in Cyber Security. I have worked in the Cyber Security roles for about 5 years. I would say that people who did not do Computer Science, Maths or Electrical Engineering at undergrad, but did a masters in Cyber Security, ended up only getting entry level roles in Cyber security (like working on the support desk at a cyber security company).

    It's not impossible to be successful in Cyber Security if you haven't done an undergrad on CS/Maths/EE, but you will have to work incredibly hard to catch up on those sorts of grads. Otherwise you will be pretty restricted to the range of careers you can find in Cyber Security.
    Thank you, it's very useful to hear the experience of someone who's already working in the field. What would you say are the most important things that non CS/Maths/EE graduates should catch up on in order to be on a similar level compared to CS/Maths/EE graduates? In my Master's degree, in addition to the Cyber Security core modules, I have three foundation modules (Networking, Web Technology and Data Mining) as well as two programming courses in Python and Java, which are supposed to give a little bit of background to those coming from different degrees. What specific knowledge (that can be acquired in a CS/Maths/EE degree) would you add to these foundation modules?
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    (Original post by stellaluna24)
    Thank you, it's very useful to hear the experience of someone who's already working in the field. What would you say are the most important things that non CS/Maths/EE graduates should catch up on in order to be on a similar level compared to CS/Maths/EE graduates? In my Master's degree, in addition to the Cyber Security core modules, I have three foundation modules (Networking, Web Technology and Data Mining) as well as two programming courses in Python and Java, which are supposed to give a little bit of background to those coming from different degrees. What specific knowledge (that can be acquired in a CS/Maths/EE degree) would you add to these foundation modules?
    May I ask where are you doing your Masters course? Do you have a link to the course? That doesn't sound like the syllabus of a Cyber Security masters.

    You won't really need to learn about Java or object-oriented paradigm etc... that is more for writing code professionally. Instead your focus would normally be on low level programming languages (like C and an Assembly language) to understand how machine code manipulates hardware in a computational device. This is critical to understand Malware.

    Python is useful as its a scripting language of choice for most Cyber Security professionals (along with POSH or BASH). JavaScript is also essential to know due to the prevalence of XSS. Those are the languages you would see on a normal Cyber Security degree.

    Have you actually started your masters yet? It just sounds like a very odd masters if it's supposed to be focused on Cyber Security. As a point of reference, this is what a GCHQ Cyber Security Masters syllabus normally looks like:


    https://www.qub.ac.uk/courses/postgr...ty-msc/#course

    https://www.napier.ac.uk/courses/msc...duate-fulltime
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    (Original post by stellaluna24)
    For my undergraduate studies I chose to study Criminology. I must admit, my choice was not based on anything concrete, just on the fact that I found the subject quite fascinating (I know, kinda reckless) even though I didn't know much about it. I ended up loving the subject (it made me more critical and increased my awareness of global issues) and graduating with a first class. Studying Criminology and analysing aspects such as cybercrime and financial crime encouraged my interest in the field of Cybersecurity. And guess what? I chose to continue my postgraduate studies in the aforementioned field. Again, my decision was based on my fascination with the subject, rather than personal aptitude or anything else. My question is: is interest in the subject, coupled with effort and hard work, enough for becoming good at it? Or is something as technical as Cybersecurity only suitable for programming or math geniuses?

    In addition: why did you choose your university degree subject? Was it because you found it interesting or because you were already good at it in high school? Or any other reason?
    I think it's totally normal to pursue something you're personally interested in. I myself have applied to study Korean at university, simply because I love the sound of the language and I want to understand the culture better.
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    (Original post by jestersnow)
    May I ask where are you doing your Masters course? Do you have a link to the course? That doesn't sound like the syllabus of a Cyber Security masters.

    You won't really need to learn about Java or object-oriented paradigm etc... that is more for writing code professionally. Instead your focus would normally be on low level programming languages (like C and an Assembly language) to understand how machine code manipulates hardware in a computational device. This is critical to understand Malware.

    Python is useful as its a scripting language of choice for most Cyber Security professionals (along with POSH or BASH). JavaScript is also essential to know due to the prevalence of XSS. Those are the languages you would see on a normal Cyber Security degree.

    Have you actually started your masters yet? It just sounds like a very odd masters if it's supposed to be focused on Cyber Security. As a point of reference, this is what a GCHQ Cyber Security Masters syllabus normally looks like:


    https://www.qub.ac.uk/courses/postgr...ty-msc/#course

    https://www.napier.ac.uk/courses/msc...duate-fulltime
    I am doing my Master's in Italy. It is slightly different from a typical UK Master's degree, I guess it is better translated as a Professional Master's degree (the Italian university system offers both two years long traditional Master's degrees and one year long Professional Master's degrees, with the latter being aimed more at people who are interested in entering the workforce rather than continue with research, since they also offer a 4 months mandatory internship). Since the Master's website is in Italian, here are the core modules:

    Applied Cryptography and Access Control
    Network Security and Ethical Hacking
    Operating Systems Security
    Digital Forensics
    Cyber Intelligence
    Large Scale Network Analysis
    Mobile and Cloud Security
    Legal Aspects of Cyber Security

    In addition to the core modules there are also three lab modules:

    Laboratory of secure system configuration, device hardening and firewall management
    Laboratory of cyber security and risk monitoring for networks and applications
    Laboratory of secure application development (network, mobile, cloud)

    The Java course is supposed to be useful for the Mobile and Cloud Security module and the Laboratory of secure application development, since we are going to work on Android applications.
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    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    So we should just not do anything that makes life worth living, and simply exist as slaves to capitalism?

    I certainly hope you don't end up becoming a doctor, lawyer, or engineer with that attitude...I would hope the people in "useful" jobs would be able to empathise with those who do anything else.

    I'm going to call it though, and say this is the dumbest thing I'll read today...
    Obviously you can choose those courses if you want. Just don't expect people (particularly employers) to look on them favourably.

    Getting into the real world for a second - if everyone just did what made them happy, society would cease to exist. Supermarket shelves wouldn't be stocked, dustbins wouldn't be emptied, petrol pumps wouldn't be filled, schools would be without teachers, doctors surgeries would be without doctors etc.

    People generally don't do these jobs because it makes them happy. You do realise this, right?
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    I would chose what subject to do at uni if I love doing it, if I don't I don't take it
    If I am not sure which subject to do at uni I would do a subject which as snowman77 said leads me to a job that helps society
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    MBBS cos its the quickest way to a doctorate.... just kidding, bcos i wanna be a doc
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    Not at all , imo , you'll do well in life when you're working in a field that actually fascinates you.
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    (Original post by snowman77)
    It's better to choose a degree subject which will give you a job that is useful to society. Doctors, lawyers, engineers are all useful. A degree in English, Sociology, History or other arts subject is pretty useless to wider society. Doesn't stop people doing them of course, but they are essentially pointless.
    The majority of medical applicants get rejected, law is the most oversaturated market in the UK and engineers prospects differ massively depending on the type. The point is there's downside to all subjects. If you want to take it to the extreme, everything we do to an extent is pointless. People should just study what they want, not everyone wants to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer for 50 years, retire then die.
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    if you don't like/love the subject surely you're not going enjoy the course, get bored etc?
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    I think interest and effort are definitely enough...however, I think few people actually have an extreme interest in something they are so bad at that they can’t possibly do it...I was lucky because I chose my degree (English Lit/Psychology) because those were my favorite subjects (i.e. most interesting to me) but also because they were my best. Although, I was probably slightly better in History than Psychology, so I guess it’s a mix of interest and aptitude.

    I also think aptitude can be divided into short term and long term. Some subjects take longer to master than others, but once you master them you become proficient. Whereas in other areas you can be very good at the start, but then lack the skills/interest to sustain you...so maybe interest/passion is a mediating factor...?
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    I'd say it would give you that motivation to read around your subject which is a key component to succeeding at degree level. Though I still think you need to be practical when deciding what to study. The way I'd go about picking something to study is by interest then career goals and to try and align a subject that pieces both together. I also think it's bad advice to do something which you're passionate about as that'll change over time plus when you overlap work and passion it can sometimes be a good thing but from what I've seen is the majority of time you'll loose the passion you once had for that the thing you enjoyed. I'd rather do something that I had some interest in but paid a healthy wage so that I could use that money to pursue my interests.
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    (Original post by Anagogic)
    I'd say it would give you that motivation to read around your subject which is a key component to succeeding at degree level. Though I still think you need to be practical when deciding what to study. The way I'd go about picking something to study is by interest then career goals and to try and align a subject that pieces both together. I also think it's bad advice to do something which you're passionate about as that'll change over time plus when you overlap work and passion it can sometimes be a good thing but from what I've seen is the majority of time you'll loose the passion you once had for that the thing you enjoyed. I'd rather do something that I had some interest in but paid a healthy wage so that I could use that money to pursue my interests.
    I do see where you're coming from. im a mature learner, and I've recently come back to maths, which I've always loved. I think now is the right time to study higher and see how far I can go.
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    (Original post by RuthieG101)
    I do see where you're coming from. im a mature learner, and I've recently come back to maths, which I've always loved. I think now is the right time to study higher and see how far I can go.
    That's great. After sixth form I pursued a career as a professional golfer and it went from a passion into a nightmare. But since stopping that pursuit and doing other things my enjoyment for it came back and I look forward to playing it more than I ever did. That's why it's best to keep a passion as a passion and not confuse it with work. I think it applies to different things but generally something is a passion for a reason and when you force it to be a source of work it doesn't always end well.
 
 
 

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