4 answers

First, I am close to getting an AA in Computer Science. I want to say, today I went to my college program fair and asked a computer scientist, "Is there a lot of possibilities of landing a job with an Associates Degree in Computer Science?" His answer was, "Oh! most definitely". Then, he started to talk about programing. Later, I went to the Electrician booth and WOW!. They had two different company representatives hiring me before I even started! I work at a refinery and the contractors there that are electricians make 30 - 50 dollars an hour. I thought having STEM degree was going to land me a job right away and make more than a technician. At least that is what society told me. What happened?

Updated Long Beach, California

I avoided labor jobs because society has convinced me that those aren't going to lead me to a good job and its a dying career. Yet, as we speak, there about 2000 laborers at the refinery that make a more than an average salary. Engineers, IT, Business men not that many. #computer-science #engineering #engineering #job #computer

4 answers

Peter’s Answer

Updated Kent, Washington

I agree with Rod's take on things. An Electrical Technician will see a rather limited type of work, mainly installing or repairing. An electrical engineer will design new appliances and/or be challenged with many unique problems and applications through a career. Engineers generally have a more stable work situation (greater job security) while technicians tend to be more vulnerable during a down-turn in economic conditions, such as a Recession. If you want to be constantly challenged with a variety of problems and work situations, and have good opportunities for professional advancement, then pursue your college degree.

Xavier’s Answer

Updated Portland, Oregon

Cristian, Yes this can be disconcerting. But one doesn't go to college just to make more money (although it still typically helps in the long run). Your years in college gave you a broader view of the world and opened you up to more possibilities (including taking some additional training to become an electrician if that's what you would like to do).

But you presumably went into CS because this is a field that interests you. You'll end up happier doing something you like, and any other odd job even if they offer a greater starting salary. Moreover, you'll probably have greater opportunity to advance your career and expand into related areas such as AI, security, or whatever strikes your fancy once you start working.

A good starting salary helps, but ultimately do what makes you happy - money cannot buy happiness!


Rod’s Answer

Updated United Kingdom

Hello, the world of work does seem illogic at times. What you have described is not unusual, just surprising. When there is a lot of work then wages go up. You could be attracted by the wages of an electrician but there is not much variety in the work which is important when you are preparing to work for 50+years. Also there is not much opportunity for promotion and increasing your salary.

If you start in a job using a computer science degrees you may start with a lower salary but have more variety of work and more opportunity to earn more later on. But why not be an electrician for a few years and get some money in the bank!

G. Mark’s Answer


First, "labor" jobs are not mutually exclusive with the need for STEM knowledge. Second, the emphasis on getting a college degree has sometimes led folks to pursue just the degree and ignore the practical needs for the knowledge obtained. This has led to a dearth of skilled craftspeople in a lot of trades. Lastly, as a general idea, consider that it's not necessary that an engineer NOT be an auto tech. It's actually a great combination.