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What career(s) should I look into?

Hello, I'm Kylie. I'm currently a sophmore, and feel like I should start looking into careers. Though, I don't really know where to start. I do know what I do want in a job, just not very sure what jobs meet my needs. I would love some guidance on where to start!
I know I am asking for a lot in a career, and those wants may not be very realistic. Please be honest with me if my dreams aren't very possible to achieve, or if I'm asking for too much. I won't get offended.

-First, I love to design and problem-sovle. I'm the type of person that needs to be always doing someting. I would love to hop into a career that allows me to work on something new everyday. I do have experience when it comes to graphic design, photoshop, etc. But, I feel like I should be working on something more "physical," something that I can touch and feel. I love to work with computers and computer programs, but to be able to also work on something more traditional would be nice.
Though, when it comes to designing, I do need to be able to have some creative liberty. I thrive when I'm able to work independently, I can work within a team though, and can take critisism and suggestions.
I'm an over-achiever, and love to challenge myself, so much to the point where I could probably say it's an addiction of mine. I love to throw myself into tough situations, or dive into a challenging question, and find a way to overcome them.
I'm happiest when I have my brain thinking, questioning, pondering.
-Second, I would love to have a flexible schedule. I sadly get burntout very easily, and need time to "cleanse my mind" if that makes any sense.
-Third, if it's possible- I would love to have a salary that allows me to live comfortably in Los Angeles. I know that's a lot to ask for, but it's my biggest dream. I was born in LA, my whole family's from LA, I would love to move back.
-Fourth, I struggle when it comes to communicating, negotiating, etc. I'm autistic, and have had a stutter my whole life, so do what you will with that information. A job that allows me to talk to coustomers and such probably isn't the best for me.
I do love talking to people though, I just suck at it. It's a skill i've been working on, and hope it's something I can master down the road.
-Fifth, lastly- Here's some interests of mine that I know could defenitley make a career out of, though don't know if they match me or my values.
I love the concept of transportation, as well as urban planning. I also love architecture. I do have some other interests, though nothing I can make a career out of.

I'm sorry for it being so long! And asking for so much in a career. I guess I just want to have some image of what I could be or do in the future. I don't want to finish high school, without a clue of what I want to do next. That makes sense, right?
Be as brutally honest as you need to :)

Thank you comment icon Kylie, you've done an amazing job asking this question. It's fantastic that you're starting to plan in your sophomore year! Reach out to your school or guidance counselor. Explore options like job shadowing or a work release in your field of interest. This will connect you with individuals who can truly assist you in making your career decision. Best of luck! Marlyce Campbell

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Subject: Career question for you

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How’s Answer

Kylie,

I know the rest of the answers here are all sunshine and rainbows – yes, you are asking for a lot, especially in the short term coming out of school and landing an entry level job.

You are going to have to play the long game here if you want to get all of the things you want.

1) As a career you might look into working for a sign shop or architectural modeling firm. Both would allow you to use your design and problem-solving skills but also involve working with physical materials. The sign shop in particular likely has more different types of jobs with faster turnaround times, so you may be able to work on different things daily.

2) If you want a flexible schedule you will likely need to freelance, and eventually run your own business.

3) The only way to make real money in a creative capacity is to have a super-specialized skill and little competition or own your own business.

4) You can use online services like Upwork and Fiver to find freelance jobs. You can set your price or place a bid on offered jobs with no back and forth. Typically, communication with clients is through an online message service which should make it easier for you. The work will have a due date attached to it but you can work whatever hours you please as long as you meet the deadlines.

While you are letting the systems do the negotiating, take time to hone your in-person negotiating skills.

Pricing strategies are interesting in their own right and you may find it stimulating to discover methods to lead people into making choices that in the end are less work and more profitable for you.

5) The careers I mentioned in #1 should fulfill these interests.

In summary:

1) Get your specialized education
2) Take a part time job with a smaller company to build your skills and learn how the business operates
3) Once you have the skills, switch to full time freelance to take control of your work/life schedule
4) Get known in your community for what you do, so that when someone needs something done, they think of you. Volunteer, donate, serve on boards, etc.
5) Start your own business for full control over scheduling, pricing, and profit.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hey there, Kylie!

It's absolutely fantastic that you're already pondering about your future profession. It's crucial to take into account your passions and abilities when looking into potential career avenues. From what you've shared, there are several job possibilities that seem to match your goals and interests.

1. Industrial Design: As an industrial designer, you'd be in charge of inventing and developing ideas for a vast array of products, ranging from everyday objects to intricate machinery. This job is all about problem-solving, creativity, and the chance to work on physical products. You'd be part of the whole design process, from the idea stage to prototyping and testing. Your skills in graphic design and Photoshop could be a real asset here, as they're often employed in the early stages of product design.

2. User Experience (UX) Design: UX designers are all about enhancing user satisfaction by making a product more user-friendly, accessible, and enjoyable. This job requires problem-solving skills and a deep grasp of human behavior. Even though it might not involve physical products, UX design gives you the chance to work on a variety of projects and face new challenges every day. Your experience in graphic design could be a real plus here, helping you create visually attractive and user-friendly interfaces.

3. Product Development Engineering: Product development engineers play a key role in creating and refining products across a wide range of industries. This job blends design, problem-solving, and practical work, as engineers often get involved in the prototyping and testing stages. Given your interest in working on something more "physical," this career path could give you the hands-on experience you're looking for, while letting you use your design skills on real-world products.

Bear in mind that it might be tough to find a career that ticks all your boxes. But by diving deeper into these options through internships, informational interviews, or job shadowing, you can get a clearer picture of what each field involves on a daily basis.

And remember, it's perfectly fine for your career interests to change over time. Staying flexible and open-minded is key as you continue your exploration journey.

Top 3 Authoritative Reference Publications or Websites:

Harvard Business Review
The Muse
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Wishing you all the best and more!
James Constantine Frangos.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hi there, Kylie!

It's fantastic to know you're beginning to venture into the exciting world of career exploration! Starting early on this journey of discovering your future is a brilliant move. From what you've shared, you have a keen interest in design, problem-solving, and a diverse work environment. Let's dive into some potential careers that could be a perfect match for you.

1. Graphic Designer: If the idea of design and problem-solving excites you, you might find your calling as a graphic designer. In this role, you'd be crafting visual concepts, either digitally or manually, to convey ideas that engage, educate, and captivate consumers. The projects you'd work on could range from designing logos and websites to creating advertisements and packaging. As a graphic designer, every day brings a new project, offering plenty of variety and a chance to flex your creative muscles.

2. User Experience (UX) Designer: UX designers are the architects of enjoyable and meaningful user interactions with products or services. They blend design, psychology, and problem-solving to boost user satisfaction. As a UX designer, you'd conduct research, build wireframes and prototypes, and work closely with developers and stakeholders to ensure the final product meets user needs. This field is full of constant challenges and diverse projects, perfect for problem solvers.

3. Management Consultant: If you relish problem-solving across a broad spectrum of industries and crave new challenges daily, you might consider becoming a management consultant. These professionals assist organizations in enhancing their performance by identifying existing issues or inefficiencies and suggesting improvements. They collaborate with clients from various sectors on a range of projects, including strategy development, process optimization, and organizational restructuring. This role demands strong analytical skills, adaptability, and critical thinking.

These are just a few career paths that align with your interests, but remember, there are countless other possibilities out there. It's always beneficial to explore different sectors, job roles, and engage in conversations with professionals in fields that captivate you. This will give you a clearer picture of the day-to-day tasks, required skills, and potential career paths in those fields.

Always remember, it's crucial to choose a career that resonates with your passions and interests. When you love what you do, you're naturally more motivated and fulfilled. Also, remember that career paths can change and evolve, so don't hesitate to explore new avenues and adapt as you continue to grow both personally and professionally.

Top 3 Authoritative Reference Publications/Domain Names Used:
1. The Balance Careers (www.thebalancecareers.com)
2. Indeed Career Guide (www.indeed.com/career-advice)
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics - Occupational Outlook Handbook (www.bls.gov/ooh)
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Daniel’s Answer

Internships are a great way to better understand which profession best fits your interest. I thought I wanted to be a financial advisor until I did an internships at a large brokerage firm. I then did two technology internships and felt they were more interesting to me. I have worked in technology for the past 30 years and I love the challenges we face every year.
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Sachin’s Answer

Hey Kylie,
You've asked a brilliant question, one that many high school students, and even those already in their careers, often grapple with. Here's a piece of advice: start by recognizing your true talents. Self-honesty is key here. It's easy to mix up what we love doing with what we're genuinely skilled at. For instance, you might have a deep passion for art and dream of making it your career. But when you objectively compare your abilities with others in the field, you might realize you're not quite there yet. This realization is crucial, Kylie, especially if your goal is to earn a substantial income. To achieve that, you need to excel in your field and stand out from the crowd. So, my suggestion is to focus on enhancing your existing talents and consider making a career out of them.
Thank you comment icon Hey Sachin, this is an interesting perspective, but it relies on a few assumptions and doesn't directly answer the question. Do you have any career suggestions for someone who is interested in art, graphic design, computers, architecture, and challenging themselves? Gurpreet Lally, Admin
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Melinda’s Answer

Hi Kylie,

First of all, you are great at written communication, especially for your age. You are very wise to factor in how much a job pays and the lifestyle you want to have. Based on the way you have described yourself, I think you would be an excellent commercial architect. There is a lot of variety to what you would be doing every day. There are times when you are creating new ideas and designs. There are times when you are at the computer using CAD programs, executing your designs. You will spend time updating yourself on the latest trends, materials, and building methods. You will be communicating with clients. You will be outside at the project site overseeing the work. Every new project will be an exciting new challenge. Depending on your specialty or focus, you might get to travel to new places. Architects can make very good money, relative to the area where they are based. In L.A. a successful architect would be well paid.

I think it is important to get out into the work world before you make a commitment to any career path. Part-time jobs after school and during the summer give you an opportunity to learn what working is like, explore different working environments, and develop a strong work ethic. A lot of young people today are entering the workforce without being prepared to work. They show up late. They goof off. They leave early. As a result, they are not successful. Working hard, especially when you are just starting out and trying to rise higher, is so worth it long term.
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Curt’s Answer

Hi, Kylie!

As James mentioned, UI/UX design is an up and coming field and certainly is challenging and requires good problem-solving skills. From what I've seen, it also looks to pay pretty well.

Although I'm not really knowledgeable in this, working in the movie industry as a prop or set designer, or as an art director may be something to look into. These may satisfy the things you enjoy and living in L.A. would be ideal. Just a thought.

Best of luck!
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Sheila’s Answer

Hi – thanks for your great career questions! My background is in the automotive industry, so I will comment from that perspective. With your drive to problem solve, your interest in computers, your interest in designing, and your comment about transportation – a couple automotive related roles come to mind.
- CAD (Computer Aided Design) Designer – In my recent role, we had a great need for CAD designers for future advanced projects covering all areas of automotive and defense design – vehicle body/exterior, interior, chassis, propulsion (including battery design), thermal, and electrical. This role leverages technical problem solving and design creativity.
- Engineer – there are many engineering type of roles (software, mechanical, electrical, industrial, systems, etc) that may be of interest. This role is also in demand and leverages problem solving and creativity.

Best wishes as you explore options for your future career.
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TRAVIS’s Answer

I would try a lot of different things. You can express your artist side with content creation or freelancing while you are still in school. Join lots of clubs that catch your interest. The main life lesson is to never stop learning. If you know how to always learn more stuff you will always be able to take on new challenges.
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Laura’s Answer

Hello Kylie!
I'm very happy for you to start thinking about your career, being a sophomore in high school is a great start, and decide what you want to do. After reading over your criteria for a potential career I HIGHLY recommend you look into doing some career research/job shadowing in career routes that interest you. For example, you said you love design, problem-solving, working on something new, and working with computers/their software; you sound like you might want to try job shadowing a graphic designer. Also, you said you want to work with something that you can touch or feel, you could look into the career path of an artist/illustrator. An illustrator could work with physical mediums like canvas, paint, colored pencils, etc., and also in a digital setting with Adobe Illustrator or Procreate. Another career in the same field is a web designer or web developer as they also work with computers, and if you don't mind the coding aspect, this might be worth looking into as well.

The last career that I would recommend for you, I don't know much about this one as someone told me about it, but it might be a perfect fit for you to look into, it's called a medical transcriptionist. A quick Google search, says that this profession uses an electronic device and takes voice recordings from a physician and health care staff to build a formal report. The part that might be for you is there are positions where you can work remotely from home or anywhere. If you want to know more, here's a link to an Indeed article about it: https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/how-to-become-a-medical-transcriptionist.

You also did mention loving architecture so, I looked on Indeed, and they have a list of alternative careers for architects; here's the link for you to look at: https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/alternative-careers-architects. Some of them you may want to look into as they may require communication, which you said is not a strength of yours (I think you have great communication skills 😄), but I completely understand wanting to have a career where you talk to as little number of people as possible.

I hope this helps you to start doing some research into what you want to do, and that you not asking too much about your career it's perfectly okay to want to have standards as it's something you hope to be doing for a long time. The last thing you want is to be in a career field and job that you don't like and it doesn't fill your needs, it is so much better to be detailed in what you want than be vague or have no clue in what you want.

Best of luck on your career search and I hope you find something that you are passionate about and love!

-Laura M.
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Ellen’s Answer

Hi Kylie
It is really good that you are thinking about your future. Having a career direction before you leave high school is a great target, but even if you don't know exactly what you want to do, that is OK; you can still develop your interests and skills while in college. You have identified some varied interests. You have a clear idea of your social strengths and the type of work environment you feel would be best for you. You sound like you have a lot of enthusiasm and you are willing to work hard. You are also appreciative of other people, which is indicated by your recognizing that your request may be longer than other students. All of this will be really helpful in your future career search.

I say "future" career search because, as a sophomore in high school, you have some time before you need to start looking at colleges or universities and thinking about what you want to study, and how that will lead to a lifelong career. Your interests may change during this time; you will also gain new skills, experiences, and knowledge. Plus, with technology developing so quickly these days, there may be new careers coming about in the next few years that no one has heard about yet. And, on the other hand, a career that you are set on now might morph into something else by the time you graduate. We live in some pretty exciting, but volatile times in terms of careers.

So my advice is to think less about the future right now, and more about your current interests. I suggest you take the list you wrote above and show it to your guidance counselor, or to a teacher or other adult in your school whom you trust. See if they can help you identify opportunities at your school in terms of classes, clubs, or other ways where you could you apply and develop your interests and skills. For example, as a retired art teacher, I would recommend some studio art classes for "hands on" experiences, as well as any other classes that are similar to the old fashioned "shop classes". If you like architecture and building things, the Drama club in your school could probably use your help making stage sets. See if your school has some sort of a Robotics team that you could join. I don't know the offerings of your particular school, but I'm hopeful you can find opportunities to participate in while developing your interests.

Best wishes! I hope this helps!
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Karen’s Answer

Hi Kylie! I think it’s really great that you have taken the time to reflect on your strengths, what you like to do and what you want out of a career. That’s really important! My advice is that it’s totally okay for your career interests to evolve over time based on what you learn about yourself and based on how careers are evolving as well. Businesses are rapidly changing, so be open to see what careers are emerging from technology! The conversation here and the suggestions made by others are a great start.
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