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I'M I COMPLETELY LOST IN COLLEGE?

I started learning to code in 11th grade but I was never into it. I participated in many workshops, different programs but I never seem to enjoy it. I love business, I love photography filmmaking I also love technology but not coding. My ultimate goal was a career in tech but it seems like I have to study computer science. For my other career choices, such as Business administration, Psychology, Finance, or investment I received a lot of feedback that it will be difficult because these industries are really competitive. I only did 1 semester in computer science last fall I'm trying to get back, what should be my main strategy to determine which major will fit me best? Thank You
Victor,
computer-science finance technology business

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Dexter’s Answer

Hi Dieulens,

I believe that all industries are competitive and that there is no "easy" career, with the exception of careers that you really enjoy doing. Your enjoyment of your job will make it "easy", and will allow you to do your best, which will give you an advantage over your peers. Thus, if you do not enjoy Computer Science, I would advise you to sit in some intro classes for Business Administration, Psychology, and Finance to see if any of those peak your interest.

One thing though, how many units do you have before you earn your bachelors? If you're really close to your degree, maybe it'll be more prudent for you to finish your CS degree, then pursue a MBA? Or maybe you can still target a CS major, but take some extra classes to get a minor in psychology or finance?

I wish you the best, and I hope you find your way.

--
Dexter

I stopped after my first semester last year, I will definitely take that in consideration thanks Dieulens V.

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Ajay’s Answer

Hi Dieulens,

First of all, it's totally fine where you're at. Clarity emerges when you go deeper into what draws you in.

I work in technology mostly in the area of embedded firmware development / security / APIs, but I've always had a leaning towards music, films and the arts. I've made short films, acted in theater, played guitar/bass with a band, moonlighted as a photographer, volunteered as a life coach, taught myself to DJ etc all while pursuing a full time tech job. I've thoroughly enjoyed doing these things and they have shaped me in becoming who I am today, even though I have not taken them up as a profession.

I invite you to read the book Ikigai, or to start with, take a look at this venn diagram from the book. You can google for Ikigai and this will pop-up, but here's a link. https://zekluu.com/en/self-development-ikigai-el-sentido-de-la-vida/
We must discover what we're good at, what we love doing, what we can be paid for and what the world needs. These can be vastly different things. In this process of discovery, you'll find your Ikigai - the culmination of all these. The sweet spot.

Hope this helps.

Good luck!
Ajay


Yes, stop and think about what I want to do is definitely worth it👍🏾 thanks Dieulens V.

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nithyapriya’s Answer

Computer Science is not completely about coding, coding is only part of it. Try to explore other parts of Computer Science such as hardware engineering, Data analytics etc. See whether any of these are interesting to you. If not, switch the path to whatever you love to do. You can change the fields at any point in time. Carrier should be something you passionate to do. Then you can explore wider field in that area. Otherwise If you choose to follow a field that most of the people takes, then in one point in time in your life, you completely feel lost and don't have any motivation to be successful in that field. So think deeply, do some research and choose a path which you love to do.

All the best for your future!!!!!!!!
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Rahul’s Answer

Hi Dieulens,

Don't force yourself to do something if you don't enjoy it. Instead, figure out what you DO want to do and think about how you want to get there.

You don't need to do computer science to have a successful career in tech. Many sales people, product managers, business developers, even C-suite folks don't know how to code.

Given what you said about photography, tech and business, you sound like a creative and commercial person. To be able to think outside the box and combine that with entrepreneurial spirit is a rare but rewarding combination.

I would suggest looking at something like Business administration. It will give you a broad and practical understanding of many topics, including finance, tech and others you listed above. It allows you to be flexible should you want to change course down the line, which is very common.

So what if they say Business administration, Psychology, Finance, or investment is difficult? Nothing is going to be easy anyway.

As the quote goes: "Feel the fear....... and do it anyway."

Happy to chat any time.

All the best,
Rahul
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Arvind’s Answer

There are two important days in one's lige. First one the day when one is born. Second the day when one knows what are they born for. If coding is not what you lile most there ate other fields as mentioned film making, business etc where you can excel. Yes but knowing computer science would certainly help you. And its a myth that computer science is only about coding, in fact coding is just one part of it. Explore other aspects of it as well. Wish you the best.
Regards
Arvind

Thanks for your answer, I will definitely do more research Dieulens V.

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Pramod’s Answer

Hi Dieulens,

It is good that you are questioning the choices you have before you. I feel you need to take a few days off and think over things you are good at.
Better to write down the choices, see what path they may take you down the years and decide which major(s) fit each of these paths.

Again, you need to enjoy the journey of your life and see that the major(s) that you take will hopefully make it interesting.
Life is not necessarily what you accomplish but how you shape-up as a person.

Coding / computer programming is just one part of your career [and career is one part of your life] and you need not fret if you are not getting it yet.

Since you are at a major crossroad in your life at this juncture, try to take a path that closely matches what you are good at, what interests you and hopefully gets you a good job that pays well.

As Jeff Bezos says, most of the decisions in life can be reversed if they don't go as per plan but since this once is not exactly reversible in a true sense, try to make a judicious decision.

All the best and may the force be with you!
- Pramod

yes I will take it in consideration, Thanks for your answer Dieulens V.

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Naomi’s Answer

I knew when I started college that I wanted to be an Accountant. I received my degree in accounting and worked in the field for 5 years. While interviewing for a Senior Accountant position, the CFO asked if I wanted to learn something new and I said yes. He hired me for a Production Support Analyst role which started a new career in IT. I have now been working in Application Support as an individual contributor and manager of a team for the last 16 years. I don't create the applications but support the end users once they are released to production. Quite a few people that I've worked with or have worked for me did not have IT or Computer Science degrees. They ranged from music to business to science.

If you do not like to code, I would highly recommend finding something you do like. It's important to your wellbeing to like what you do. Business Administration is a great place to start and can help if you choose to start a photography/filmmaking business later.
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Carolina’s Answer

Whether you are 100% clear or not that computer science is the way for you to go at this point, give yourself a chance with the other majors that truly spark your interest regardless of how 'competitive' they are. With respect to the photography and filmmaking- there are plenty of ways for you to continue to pursue this passion without a traditional full time program. Do some research on online / remote and self study programs available, (I've had great experience with the International Center of Photography and have self taught through Adobe and YouTube tutorials on using Premiere for videography). Many people in the field are self taught or get into it through passion projects. The most important thing to remember at this time is that you have options and to give yourself the chance to explore them without settling for what may *seem* like the 'safer' option.
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Janavi’s Answer

Hi Dieulens ,
Hope you are doing well.
Regarding your confusion I would like to share my own personal experience which matches with yours as per the beginning part of not liking to code, I am right now in my Third year of computer engineering and I would say it is not all about coding, definitely when you learn something new and get stuck for a while you start to develop a kind of fomo which I totally understand. Yes but coding is an integral part of computer science and cannot be completely ignored, well you can take this as a benefit of adding to your skills as it has great value. In computer science too, there are many domains to explore which are quite interesting. But, you have to overcome and talk and communicate with your professors, they would surely help you and when you start to learn new things as time goes you would enjoy it. Well, not all fields are easy and each profession has it's own struggles so not a piece of cake. If you know your passion, undoubtedly follow it. You are interested in Business, you can aspire MBA after pursuing computer science it will majorly help you. And, all the very best, life has many crossroads, be calm and choose your path wisely.

I really appreciate you take the time to answer, I will definitely communicate more with my professors Dieulens V.

Please check out the updated answer. Janavi Shirke

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Eric’s Answer

I have struggled a bit myself with coding. It can definitely be daunting. I am not sure what coding languages you have tried, but I think a great start is HTML and CSS. They are both pretty easy to pickup and intuitive. From there, it will be easier to jump into the more challenging programming languages. I highly recommend https://freecodecamp.org if you want to relaunch your coding journey. They have several different learning tracks, the ability to earn certifications, and tons of challenges to hone your skills.
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Sara’s Answer

Hi Dieulens:
It is totally normal to not be exactly sure what you want to do in college, I was an Economic major in college and wanted to be a lawyer since I was in 10th grade and I took the LSAT (admission test to get into law school) and I didn't do so well so that was out of the picture. Then I thought about being a teacher and applied to all these teaching programs but none of them panned out. I ended up working in Target after college and found my job at UBS about 7 years ago. You never know where life is going to take you. I never thought I would be working in the corporate world and here I am so its ok to not be sure what you want to do, the important thing is to find something you enjoy and are passionate about and trust yourself and good things will happen!
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Carson’s Answer

Hi. If your business school offers several paths such as finance, accounting, supply chain, and marketing, it may be best to go business and explore those classes. I am a finance major and I love it. I started out as a coding major and did not like it at all. Try to take classes in the different areas of business and see what you like best. Business majors aren't too specific so you'll have plenty of broad options after school.

Yes, I'd definitely check it out, thanks for your answer Dieulens V.

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Matt’s Answer

I am working at Dell now as a server program manager, but I never took computer science class. I had TV filming in my college, and studied Marketing in my master degree. It's great that you can match your career with what you learned in collage, but not a must.
You will realize the actual job is very different with what you learned from school.
The most important thing is to find out your passion, choose a right company/team might be more important than a job title.
You need to make sure you keep learning throughout your career life. Most of you knowledge and skill will be trained after school.
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Ryan’s Answer

Thanks for your question. Trying to figure out the direction you would like to take your career can be challenging while in school, but I would say that you are on the right track. The good news is if you are truly interested in a career in finance, programming skills are becoming increasingly important. I would recommend taking a combination of finance courses and computer programming courses (as well as math). If you build your skills in these 3 areas, you will find that there are an increasing number of job opportunities while at the same time a much smaller pool of candidates for those jobs. Good luck.
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Peregrin’s Answer

Everyone has provided some great advice. CS is not just coding, for what you have described as a possible cross-over with business, finance, etc... a business analyst is a great option.

I will give you my background for some context. I have double BA in Poli Sci and Russian Studies, I have a MA in Russian East European Studies. I spent have of my career managing IT teams, starting as project manager of IT projects, which really was a lot of Business Analyst role, then was given responsibility for managing my first global application. At the peak of my IT career, I had 70 staff located around the US and and India and had direct responsibility for maybe 6 - 10 large scale applications.

I now work on new product development. In an Agile or Scrum model, there is a big push to the Product Owner (a Scaled Agile term) who is responsible for the user stories, priority, and works both with the business side to create the user stories and understand their relative value, and the IT side to understand how big / feasible the user stories are and the like.

That all said, if photography and film are your passion, you might consider what type of lifestyle would you need to lead to be able to do them and live, because it is very true that if you are not doing something you love to do, you can get trapped, and lose an opportunity to follow that dream, because your life has taken on more (family, homes, children, etc...) to be able to start over.

Best of luck. Hope this helped.
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Audrey’s Answer

Follow what excites you most, what do you naturally think about in your free time? Those are great places to start
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Karen’s Answer

I wouldn't let other people's assessments of fields being "too hard" or "too competitive" steer you away from paths that interest you. There will always be someone who finds a career/major too difficult, boring, etc.. Utilizing your elective credits to take classes in diverse fields is always a good idea. Even if you don't end up pursuing a career directly involving some of the seemingly random electives you take, they help shape your unique perspective.

Settling on your major is not the most important career choice you will make, it will be just one of the many opportunities and choices you will be faced with. Computer science, business administration, and finance are all flexible options that don't force you into one specific job. For now, just look at the class requirements for each of these majors and think about which ones sound the most interesting to you. You will also have to push through some tough classes that aren't as enjoyable too, no matter what major you choose, so don't let one class or professor get you down.

That was really helpful and direct, I will definitely check some elective classes soon. Thanks Dieulens V.

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Gilberto’s Answer

Hi Dieulens.

In my opinion, you would need to focus on something that you really enjoy doing. As you comment you love business, technology, and photography, and in this case you have options, but which one is right for you? Is a thought decision, but try to make a path that matches what you love to do and you're good at, hopefully, that path will lead you to a good job that pays well.

I have some kind of situation in the past when I was heading to become an MD, I have the opportunity to experience it and in the end, I realize that was not something that I would love to do. Fortunately, I was taking computer science classes as well at the same time, and on this one, I feel really good because I was and still enjoying it.

Hope this message helps you.

I wish you all the best.
- Gilberto


Thanks I'll definitely take to that in consideration Dieulens V.

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Jochen’s Answer

Victor,

Based on my experience of someone who does not enjoy coding and does not hold a degree in computer science, but still made it to one of the best tech companies - here is my perspective:
1) There are job in tech which don't require coding nor a degree in computer science
2) Diversity is important - having a different perspective and background can be an invaluable asset to a team.

My advice to you is to focus on what you enjoy and make sure that you are doing it really well. This will likely mean that you will earn a good degree with a good average. This will open doors.

I never thought nor planned to get the job I have right now - after I got my degree I found an interesting opportunity and took it. Then I found another opportunity after that and so forth. My believe is that career and life are not a straight line that you can fully plan. Have a good idea what you want to achieve and what you like. Most importantly keep an open mind for opportunities that you find - so of my best choices were to take an opportunity that before I would have sworn not to take...

Essentially all interesting jobs are competitive - but it you enjoy what you do, this will ensure that you grow and have an interesting job.

Hope this helps,

Jochen
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Jeffrey’s Answer

Hi Dieulens,
My college degree is in History and I now work in Technology area. This is not the journey that I had planned. I wanted to originally wanted to become a tax lawyer, but for a variety of reason it did not happen that way. One of the best decisions I made was to switch my focus and therefore my major to something that I enjoyed vs something that I felt I needed to follow . As i pursued my degree in history I learned how to think critically and solve problems based the teachings of history. Several of my close friends followed similar paths that took them in different directions. I think a liberal arts or liberal sciences degree will be great for you so you can pursue different areas. That journey will take you to something that will be your passion and getting a job in a related field will then become apparent to you. Companies are looking for employees who have the right skillset that show you can make good decisions, be collaborative and are able to learn new things as they will have to train you on "their way" of doing things. So if you wanted to be a computer programmer college would give yo the basis, but your new company wil have to teach how to take the basics and tweak them in a way that follows their model.

Hope this helps and Good luck!


Jeff
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Phil’s Answer

I think it is important to choose a career that you will really enjoy. It is best to identify the things that you enjoy and are good at, then proceed to understand the career opportunities in that area.

Coding is just one small part of the tech industry: used by the engineers that actually implement the software. There are many other essential parts surrounding the raw software engineering. e.g. Business administration, finance, sales marketing, graphic design, ...

However even though your job may not require day-to-day coding, I think having experience in doing some coding is an important aspect of development.
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Gary’s Answer

Business is always a good place to start. A good variety of specialty areas and ultimately careers depend on a good understanding of business. I currently work in technology and started studying for my Associates in Computer Science, but I have a Bachelors and a Master's degree in business. Most things that technology builds come from demands of a business. Business is also a safe place to have your education if you decide to change direction in your career at some point.

Your career can be a journey rather than a destination. Let's say you work in technology. As you start working deeper in programming, you may find that you're more interested in networking or network architecture. There are so many different areas that you could eventually end up. Building a good foundation for yourself is important, with something solid like business. And then, never stop learning.

Gary
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