mansnothot
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So I'm thinking of starting a chemistry degree this year Bsc (only 3 years) and I know some people go into finance or technology companies with this degree. Would you say it is worth it for me to study this degree if I want to pursue a career in something not related to chemistry? I understand that chemistry is a difficult degree but I know that it will improve my skills and hopefully make me a stronger candidate when applying for jobs etc but what else can I do? I have a slight interest in chemistry, the science as a general and the maths side. I wouldn't say I'm purely passionate about it, but I do not know what else to study. Thoughts?

Thank you.
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mansnothot
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anyone? ty
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National Careers Service
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(Original post by mansnothot)
So I'm thinking of starting a chemistry degree this year Bsc (only 3 years) and I know some people go into finance or technology companies with this degree. Would you say it is worth it for me to study this degree if I want to pursue a career in something not related to chemistry? I understand that chemistry is a difficult degree but I know that it will improve my skills and hopefully make me a stronger candidate when applying for jobs etc but what else can I do? I have a slight interest in chemistry, the science as a general and the maths side. I wouldn't say I'm purely passionate about it, but I do not know what else to study. Thoughts?

Thank you.
Hi there,

Hoping I can offer some careers support here.

Some careers that a Chemistry degree can lead you to that are not specifically related to Chemistry are:

- Civil Service jobs
- Environmental careers
- Teaching
- Nuclear Engineer
- Patent Attorney

It's important to look at jobs you do feel passionate about and if Chemistry isn't something you're passionate about it's difficult for me to advise you to do this. Degrees can lead to all sorts of careers as some employers will just be looking for candidates that are educated to degree level, however it's important to try and pick a subject that is going to lead to you a career you really want to do.

Whilst you can change career later in life, the cost of education becomes more expensive the older you get. Whilst there's not really such thing as a job for life any more, is there a career sector you can see yourself working in for the next 50-60 years of your life?

Something else that is going to play a vital role in you finding employment after university is your work experience, are you thinking about doing work experience in something that is not Chemistry related whilst doing your degree?

It would be great to hear back from you to discuss further.

Sophie.
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Student-95
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Is there anything you have more than a slight interest in?
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ajj2000
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Can you take a year out and figure out what you are interested in and want to do?
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mansnothot
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(Original post by National Careers Service)
Hi there,

Hoping I can offer some careers support here.

Some careers that a Chemistry degree can lead you to that are not specifically related to Chemistry are:

- Civil Service jobs
- Environmental careers
- Teaching
- Nuclear Engineer
- Patent Attorney

It's important to look at jobs you do feel passionate about and if Chemistry isn't something you're passionate about it's difficult for me to advise you to do this. Degrees can lead to all sorts of careers as some employers will just be looking for candidates that are educated to degree level, however it's important to try and pick a subject that is going to lead to you a career you really want to do.

Whilst you can change career later in life, the cost of education becomes more expensive the older you get. Whilst there's not really such thing as a job for life any more, is there a career sector you can see yourself working in for the next 50-60 years of your life?

Something else that is going to play a vital role in you finding employment after university is your work experience, are you thinking about doing work experience in something that is not Chemistry related whilst doing your degree?

It would be great to hear back from you to discuss further.

Sophie.
"are you thinking about doing work experience in something that is not Chemistry related whilst doing your degree?". Yes I plan to get experience in fields not chemistry related but I feel like chemistry would help me build a good foundation of skills.
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mansnothot
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(Original post by Student-95)
Is there anything you have more than a slight interest in?
Not really no. I want something with a bit of maths but I don't think I would be good at something very maths intense. I have considered engineering but I know that I definitely do not want to become an engineer so is there any point?
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mansnothot
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Can you take a year out and figure out what you are interested in and want to do?
I am actually a first year student currently. I'm going to drop out and switch to the new course so I do not want to waste more time.
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(Original post by mansnothot)
"are you thinking about doing work experience in something that is not Chemistry related whilst doing your degree?". Yes I plan to get experience in fields not chemistry related but I feel like chemistry would help me build a good foundation of skills.
There are lots of ways to build a good foundation of skills but by taking a very specific degree subject such as Chemistry you do run the risk of 'pigeon holing' yourself into a specific career sector and if it's not one you're passionate about you may feel unhappy into the future or struggle to find a job you are qualified to do after university.

Doing a job you love and feel passionate about is something all careers advisers should encourage so our advice would be to spend some more time thinking about your future career path and picking a degree related to this. You're going to gain a range of skills from any degree subject that you do. When you combine your degree with relevant work experience your employment prospects are boosted.

You might find out Skills Health Check useful on our website - https://nationalcareersservice.direc...ur-assessments

You do need to complete the first 4 sections but you do not have to do the rest if you don't want to. It will generate an individual report based on the answers that you give and match you up to career sectors your skills, strengths and passions are matched to to help you research career ideas further.

Thanks - Sophie.
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_NMcC_
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Any Chemistry degree that is RSC accredited will be academically challenging, it's a hard science. So you definitely need to be a more than slightly interested in the subject of Chemistry itself if you want to come out with a good degree. It's as demanding as Physics/Engineering in terms of workload (having spoken with people studying those). I know this as I've just finished the BSci (and going on to do the MSci), I was (and still am) very interested at GCSE/A level in atoms, molecules and materials.

Some very sound advice above, you will be working in a career for 50yrs (likely more), retirement is not guaranteed. Every career will have it's boring bits, it's the bits that interest you that will keep you coming into work at 9am every day. If you are just doing a career for the money, It's likely you could burn out or leave within 2 yrs. So you should first be honest with yourself as to where your interests lie, (a lot of careers are actually better and more interesting than they initially sound).

Careers outside of Chemistry that are open Chemistry graduates (BSci)

Teaching (All levels)
Grad Medicine
Paramedicine
Accounting Conversions
Environmental Jobs (I actually applied to one this summer).
Civil Service
Patenting
Non Chemistry basic lab jobs - (e.g In environmental/waste processing).

I think the BSci is very versatile if you can get experience with it (I have experience in teaching through volunteering for example). I have heard of others doing work experience in Medicine alongside their e.g Biomedical degree and then applying for Grad Med/other courses. On it's own, It's an academic degree that will encourage you (gently) in the direction of research unless you do something on the side. The Bachelors degree alone is not worth what it was 30/40yrs ago (due to 'degree saturation') and even in Physics/Engineering/Comp.Sci, I feel you definitely now need something else (be it experience, higher qualification) to stand out from the crowd.

The MSci or BSci + Yr in the Industry I feel leaves the door 'fully open' to the following (and the others mentioned);

Chemical Industry Jobs (Analytical is in particular demand)
Research
NHS STP

If you don't enjoy Chemistry, I would advice talking to a careers advisor (like the above) or one at your university to try something else. Have you considered Biological/Biomedical degrees? Have you considered not doing a degree at all and taking an apprenticeship or vocation (something I looked at briefly when I was at GCSE also)? University isn't for everyone, you could be more than smart enough but simply not enjoy studying.
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mansnothot
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(Original post by _NMcC_)
Any Chemistry degree that is RSC accredited will be academically challenging, it's a hard science. So you definitely need to be a more than slightly interested in the subject of Chemistry itself if you want to come out with a good degree. It's as demanding as Physics/Engineering in terms of workload (having spoken with people studying those). I know this as I've just finished the BSci (and going on to do the MSci), I was (and still am) very interested at GCSE/A level in atoms, molecules and materials.

Some very sound advice above, you will be working in a career for 50yrs (likely more), retirement is not guaranteed. Every career will have it's boring bits, it's the bits that interest you that will keep you coming into work at 9am every day. If you are just doing a career for the money, It's likely you could burn out or leave within 2 yrs. So you should first be honest with yourself as to where your interests lie, (a lot of careers are actually better and more interesting than they initially sound).

Careers outside of Chemistry that are open Chemistry graduates (BSci)

Teaching (All levels)
Grad Medicine
Paramedicine
Accounting Conversions
Environmental Jobs (I actually applied to one this summer).
Civil Service
Patenting
Non Chemistry basic lab jobs - (e.g In environmental/waste processing).

I think the BSci is very versatile if you can get experience with it (I have experience in teaching through volunteering for example). I have heard of others doing work experience in Medicine alongside their e.g Biomedical degree and then applying for Grad Med/other courses. On it's own, It's an academic degree that will encourage you (gently) in the direction of research unless you do something on the side. The Bachelors degree alone is not worth what it was 30/40yrs ago (due to 'degree saturation') and even in Physics/Engineering/Comp.Sci, I feel you definitely now need something else (be it experience, higher qualification) to stand out from the crowd.

The MSci or BSci + Yr in the Industry I feel leaves the door 'fully open' to the following (and the others mentioned);

Chemical Industry Jobs (Analytical is in particular demand)
Research
NHS STP

If you don't enjoy Chemistry, I would advice talking to a careers advisor (like the above) or one at your university to try something else. Have you considered Biological/Biomedical degrees? Have you considered not doing a degree at all and taking an apprenticeship or vocation (something I looked at briefly when I was at GCSE also)? University isn't for everyone, you could be more than smart enough but simply not enjoy studying.
I have actually dropped from 1st year biology degree because its not for me. Too little maths and I feel like it doesn't push me enough to study. Most of the year I just spent relaxing and not even feel like I was studying tbh. I want to do something challenging and something that will keep me on my feet and I am certain I want to go uni because it will help me develop myself. I want to probably work in finance or an IT/technology company when I'm older which is quite different from a chemistry degree but I hope to gain enough experience through my careers service. What other degree would you suggest if I plan to go into one of those careers?
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(Original post by mansnothot)
I have actually dropped from 1st year biology degree because its not for me. Too little maths and I feel like it doesn't push me enough to study. Most of the year I just spent relaxing and not even feel like I was studying tbh. I want to do something challenging and something that will keep me on my feet and I am certain I want to go uni because it will help me develop myself. I want to probably work in finance or an IT/technology company when I'm older which is quite different from a chemistry degree but I hope to gain enough experience through my careers service. What other degree would you suggest if I plan to go into one of those careers?
'I want to probably work in finance or an IT/technology company'

Software engineering is a good degree from what I've heard and I see job postings for it pretty frequently (know people who have gone into it). As far as I know that's mostly learning programming languages and doing practical stuff, seems interesting. There's also Accounting, I think it's a bit boring but it seems to be in demand (perhaps for that reason!) and it would give you marketable 'hard-skills' in managing money etc. Actuarial Science (to do with Business Risk management) is very Mathsy (probability theory) and might be up your alley (and I've heard they pay well). Engineering is good also but you need to be strong with Calculus/Integrals. (You'll obviously get better answers though if you can find people who have done these subjects).

You might be best to try and get e.g A weeks work-experience in an area you're interested in before making any decisions? or Maybe it's better if you investigate further actual Jobs. Come up with a concrete list of real jobs you could be willing to work in and see where your interests lie, then come back to thinking about courses.

I can only offer advice though and it's up to you to decide for yourself.
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winterscoming
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'I want to probably work in finance or an IT/technology company'

Software engineering is a good degree from what I've heard and I see job postings for it pretty frequently (know people who have gone into it). As far as I know that's mostly learning programming languages and doing practical stuff, seems interesting.
So just to elaborate on that - There's certainly a fair bit of programming involved and that's obviously the most important core skill (Well, problem solving anyway -- something which goes hand-in-hand with programming), but there's a bigger picture around analysing, designing, creating and delivering software; so a good degree should cover many other technical skills beyond just writing the code. (And of course some non-technical skills about things like planning and project management)

Aside from programming, a big part of software engineering is about modeling real-world problems using data, storing it in databases, representing different kinds of data (e.g. structured data about "things" such as people or real-world objects, or maybe the kind of data you'd usually see in files like documents, images, video, audio, etc.). Then there are topics about handling that data to get the information that a user needs - e.g. searching, sorting, filtering, grouping, transformation, etc.

Then there are other things about how to create the UI/UX for an app or a website. Also, how to design software which needs to be secure as well as being quick/efficient, how to build more advanced solutions on top of other peoples' pre-built or customisable technologies (e.g. building a game on top of a game engine),

Another big topic is how to write software which needs to communicate across the internet or other networks, coping with problems like slow or unreliable networks, as well as the problems involved in getting different kinds of devices and applications to communicate and understand each other. (e.g. finding common standards/rules, or building code which translates from one to the other)

Then there are things about the quality of the software that people write - writing code which handles errors and failures properly, making sure that the code is written and structured in a human-friendly way so that multiple people can collaborate on the same code and build solutions together, learning good techniques and habits around things like testing and making sure there aren't any serious bugs or problems that would stop it from working or annoy the users. Also the art of what to do when a bug is discovered along with how to diagnose (debug) the problem and analyse its root cause.

Beyond just the software itself, there are technical skills for managing the code and the processes for turning the code into some kind of runnable and deployable package, then delivering the software into somewhere that users can access or install it. A lot of work often goes into automating repetitive/error-prone tasks to help get this job done properly and more efficiently. There's usually a need to understand the underlying platform that runs the software too (e.g. the device or operating system, or in the case of web apps understanding how web browsers work, and how web servers work, etc).

So there's a lot to learn in addition to programming, and tonnes of things which all come together in order to get software working even in a fairly small app; but a software engineering degree should cover many of those, and hopefully be fairly coursework-heavy because these are the kinds of topics which are best learned by physically sitting down and getting stuff to work through trial-and-error at the same time as reading/watching guides and working with other peoples' examples to see what they do and understand how they work.

One of the things that isn't necessarily involved very heavily in software engineering is Maths - but that's because most software isn't actually very mathematical, but then again software engineering can lead to topics like AI, Machine Learning and Data Science which are a lot more mathematical due to them being firmly rooted in statistical and probability modelling. Most software engineering degrees I'm aware of don't go into that very much - maybe as optional modules sometimes, but more often they seem to be topics for postgrad courses.
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mansnothot
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(Original post by winterscoming)
So just to elaborate on that - There's certainly a fair bit of programming involved and that's obviously the most important core skill (Well, problem solving anyway -- something which goes hand-in-hand with programming), but there's a bigger picture around analysing, designing, creating and delivering software; so a good degree should cover many other technical skills beyond just writing the code. (And of course some non-technical skills about things like planning and project management)

Aside from programming, a big part of software engineering is about modeling real-world problems using data, storing it in databases, representing different kinds of data (e.g. structured data about "things" such as people or real-world objects, or maybe the kind of data you'd usually see in files like documents, images, video, audio, etc.). Then there are topics about handling that data to get the information that a user needs - e.g. searching, sorting, filtering, grouping, transformation, etc.

Then there are other things about how to create the UI/UX for an app or a website. Also, how to design software which needs to be secure as well as being quick/efficient, how to build more advanced solutions on top of other peoples' pre-built or customisable technologies (e.g. building a game on top of a game engine),

Another big topic is how to write software which needs to communicate across the internet or other networks, coping with problems like slow or unreliable networks, as well as the problems involved in getting different kinds of devices and applications to communicate and understand each other. (e.g. finding common standards/rules, or building code which translates from one to the other)

Then there are things about the quality of the software that people write - writing code which handles errors and failures properly, making sure that the code is written and structured in a human-friendly way so that multiple people can collaborate on the same code and build solutions together, learning good techniques and habits around things like testing and making sure there aren't any serious bugs or problems that would stop it from working or annoy the users. Also the art of what to do when a bug is discovered along with how to diagnose (debug) the problem and analyse its root cause.

Beyond just the software itself, there are technical skills for managing the code and the processes for turning the code into some kind of runnable and deployable package, then delivering the software into somewhere that users can access or install it. A lot of work often goes into automating repetitive/error-prone tasks to help get this job done properly and more efficiently. There's usually a need to understand the underlying platform that runs the software too (e.g. the device or operating system, or in the case of web apps understanding how web browsers work, and how web servers work, etc).

So there's a lot to learn in addition to programming, and tonnes of things which all come together in order to get software working even in a fairly small app; but a software engineering degree should cover many of those, and hopefully be fairly coursework-heavy because these are the kinds of topics which are best learned by physically sitting down and getting stuff to work through trial-and-error at the same time as reading/watching guides and working with other peoples' examples to see what they do and understand how they work.

One of the things that isn't necessarily involved very heavily in software engineering is Maths - but that's because most software isn't actually very mathematical, but then again software engineering can lead to topics like AI, Machine Learning and Data Science which are a lot more mathematical due to them being firmly rooted in statistical and probability modelling. Most software engineering degrees I'm aware of don't go into that very much - maybe as optional modules sometimes, but more often they seem to be topics for postgrad courses.
Thank you. Doing a bit of research I have come to the conclusion that I would like to pursue a degree in this field. What good universities are there for studying it? and btw are u studying it yourself?
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David Tan
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Hi all.

I have friends who received their law degrees but ended up pursuing careers that are not related to law. They were attracted by the potential high salaries but they didn't understand how much sacrifice they need to make in order to climb the corporate ladder. In the end, they realised that there is more to life than earning a big fat paycheck. I understand that it is definitely not an easy choice for you.

I am a 35 year old Chemistry teacher who teaches 'A' level Chemistry. I hold a Master's degree in Chemistry, awarded by National University of Singapore. There are different branches of Chemistry such as physical chem, organic chem, inorganic chem, analytical chem and computational chem etc, just to name a few. In your first 1-2 years, you would be exposed to all these branches. You would begin to "specialize" from your 3rd year onward to earn your Bachelor's degree. If you choose to do one more year of project work, then you would earn yourself an Honours degree. Many of my former and current students asked me the same question that you are asking right now.

My advice is: 1) Do you know your interest? 2) Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? If you are weak in Chemistry and you choose to pursue it as your major, the process could potentially be very tortuous for you. 3) Why do you want to work in the finance industry? Are you attracted by the potential high income? If so, do you realise the potential sacrifice you would need to make in the future? 4) Last but not least, enjoy the learning process. You could always switch career if you feel that your initial choice wasn't the correct one. Don't stress yourself. Life is short, stay happy and bring joy to people and make this world a better place.

Cheers.
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winterscoming
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(Original post by mansnothot)
Thank you. Doing a bit of research I have come to the conclusion that I would like to pursue a degree in this field. What good universities are there for studying it? and btw are u studying it yourself?
I did study Software Engineering at Staffs Uni, but doing that as a job full time now (working in the C# language mostly).

There are a large number of universities with software engineering degrees - most software engineering courses cross-over to Computer Science anyway, so more than half of the modules you'd get would be the same as that university's computer science degree. (The main difference is that computer science would usually cover broader range of computing topics, particularly maths and computing theory).

Here are a few things to consider when looking at universities and comparing courses:
- If the a university has a lot of close ties to employers and industry partners, then that's usually a good sign for employability prospects and placement opportunities.
- Find out what the university is like in terms of supporting students seeking graduate jobs and placements, and how much help they'd be able to offer.
- A 12-month industrial placement (sandwich year) is really valuable, so it's a good idea to choose a course where you'll have that option.
- Software engineering degrees tend to be more vocational (i.e. more hands-on skills, more coursework, etc) so it's usually a good sign if the faculty staff includes some lecturers with significant industry experience
- Some degrees also include a chance to earn industry-recognised certification from companies such as Microsoft, Amazon and Oracle so these are worth having if you can get them.
- Find out what the university is like in terms of other events outside of the course itself - for example, tech talks, hackathons, competitions, etc.
- Try to find out about other students' experiences at the universities you're interested in; what they thought of the quality of teaching, facilities, etc.
- If the university also includes a large 'group' software engineering project at any point then this can also be a good thing because it's a really good way to get some experience on a collaborative programming project.
- Find out about the facilities - does the university use new/recent versions of programming languages and other tools/technologies?
- If the course also includes options for "Cloud" skills/technologies (e.g. Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud) then that's also a good sign.

Aside from that, the best thing to do see which universities you like the look of, visit their open days, and just try to learn more about them and whether the course and its content looks interesting/enjoyable to you.
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mansnothot
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Coming back to this. I am still considering chemistry as an option. However I do understand that it is difficult especially for the fact that I do not want to pursue a career in that field. I was thinking perhaps a better option would be to take a degree in something like pharmacology which would allow me a greater chance to gain more work experience in other fields than chemistry because I feel like for chemistry I would have to put more hours into studying?
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Bump ^
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