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I am a 2nd year iMSc in Computer Science student. I do like what I am studying but I don't know what job path I should choose. My third year is going to start soon and I need to pick a specialization but I don't know which field would best suit me. Please guide me, and if possible I don't want to get the general advice, that it's up to you, whatever interests you, or experiment with all the fields, etc. I am genuinely feeling struck like earlier I wanted to do data science, but then UI/UX designing and then game development caught my interest, now robotics is also interesting to me, and I also want to build a start-up of my own as well, rather than doing a 9-5 job but I have no idea how to start this is getting so frustrating, please help.

I want to do something creative, and also well-paid, there are many fields but now that I know I have to stick with one choice in a year. It's kinda scary.

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Subject: Career question for you

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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Aastha !

I thank you for reaching out for ideas about a specialty in Computer Science. It is a field that has so many options, so I can understand how you can be undecided.

Have you considered going into film/video/sound editing or working with CGI since you've said that you would like something creative ? Even working with still images, editing and enhancing them using your computer skills. This could lend itself to starting your own business too, as you've mentioned that you'd like to lend out your services eventually. I can't foretell the income part of it, however, it certainly would not be a typical nine to five routine as you've mentioned that you do not want that. You have already explored a lot and my advice is to keep trying different things and see what makes you feel the most creative.

Look further into your interest of robotics, too. You will eventually be inspired. The truth is that no one can tell you what you must do. Especially people who do not know you personally, so general advice like that is to be taken notice of. We all do decide our own path, after all, it's our life. You have chosen a very good, versatile field which has many areas to work in and I know that whatever you do choose will suit you well because you've explored. That's what it takes to make a decision, being well informed and self-directed. Make sure your interests are not limited to one aspect of computer work, especially if you plan to open your own business. Keep reaching out for advice here and at local computer oriented businesses where you live. You don't have to stick to one facet of computer work. You can always take classes online after you graduate, too. Think of the field as a multi-faceted career and think about several services that you may offer once you open your own business. When it comes to technology, you don't have to stay with one thing.

I hope that this has been some help. Best wishes to you in all you do !

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

BECOMING A VIDEO EDITOR https://blog.fmctraining.com/blog/how-to-become-a-video-editor
BECOMING A CGI ARTIST https://learn.org/articles/how_to_become_a_cgi_artist_career_degree.html
LIST OF SPECIFIC CREATIVE COMPUTER JOBS https://skillcrush.com/blog/tech-design-careers/
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Scarlett’s Answer

Hey Aastha,

As I'm sure you've already realized, there are endless routes you can take when studying Computer Science. You've expressed interest in a role that is creative and one that you can potentially do on your own schedule. It's hard to suggest specific specialized areas since they're not listed, but I definitely suggest taking on an option that will let you express your creative side. There are plenty of opportunities to be an entrepreneur in tech. One suggestion I'd make is showcase your work on on a platform whether it be social media or your own portfolio to build a community/audience. This is something you can do on your free time while still in school and can help challenge yourself creatively and technically.

Ultimately, the specialization you end up choosing doesn't trap you into one field/career so I would say pick the area that you feel you would have most fun with/be able to be creative with and go from there.
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Venkat’s Answer

Here is my simple take.
Build few basic project(s) in each specialization that you might be interested in. While doing the project jot down things like
1) How much time did you spend in building each project?
2)How much time did you spend enjoying building each project?
3) How hard was each project and what are the challenges you experienced?
4)Were the challenges more exciting for you to continue the project?
5) How creative are you with the project(how novel was it)?
6) Review your processes while doing each of these projects.

Then more thorough and analytical you are with these the better decisions could be taken.

These things help us understand the talent, passion/interest, and creative scale and probably can guide to choose an appropriate specialization.
Building these projects can also show some insights into how building startups are like. Do try to take up some internships at startups to gain first-hand exposure.

Also, while you can take a single specialization now, you can always change to another specialization in CS even in the middle of the job which many of my colleagues have done unless you are in academic research.
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Andrew’s Answer

From my experiences at work, and yes work is very simmilar no matter the profession, I can say is that you need to get experiencing doing what is it you believe you are interested in, this ideally is done through an internship with a company...as soon as you humanly can do it, because unfortunatly education doesn't hold the merit it really should given the price tag and the workplace in comparison to school is a whole other animal.

If you want to do a startup you likely need creadence from people to trust you not just in education by starting at working at a 9-5 and getting some solid understnading of the wonderful world of business.

Anyways here is my non-ChatGPT response to this question and is based on what I shoulda woulda coulda done before.

Andrew recommends the following next steps:

Get exposure: Apply for internships that lie within the general proximity to your interests. Try to see where the interests can intersect, for instance simulation software I think might be a cool field with likely better pay and work conditions than game development.
Absorb : When you get in with a company you will learn how the work interacts with other fuctions of the business. Certain industries are more involved than others but key thing is how they operate and deliver on a product is key.
Reflect: What disliked and what you liked about the experience will show you what you don't like for certain will point you to what. you do like. you likely will recalibrate
Connect with people : Get to know people in the industry you want to work in. Having friends at work makes things way better at work and when layoffs come and they will , that's the equity you buid outside your paycheck.
Don't be afraid: Fear is what held me back from doing what I really wanted and frankly could've done a long time ago. Making mistakes is how we learn and having the strength to move forward after them is how we grow.
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Victor’s Answer

The world of computer science is changing and I am not certain that even the "words computer science," are even that valid any more. Not to be discouraging, its just that we are now in the Internet of Things (IoT). Most all former computer networks will soon be digitized and turned into virtual devices. So, we won't be buying hardware and software anymore like we used to in the late '90's through early 2010's even.

Once Amazon Web Services (AWS) took off and started making billions with their cyber order processing model, it was on fro there on to become more cloud-based.

Then when COVID hit and people couldn't go to work and we had to have 6 ft of separation from each other, the rise in cloud technology demand increased many times over. We started moving towards a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) networks that allowed more and more people to go to work remotely securely and for longer periods of time. This combined with Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) have become the premier cloud models for people to go to work, stay online longer, and be cybersecure during their sessions.

My advice to you, is to specialize in being a Cloud Engineer. There are 3 major cloud providers: Microsoft, Amazon, and Google.

Victor recommends the following next steps:

Download free SASE ebook
Download ZTNA free for dummies book.
Download Prisma Access and Panoramas
Download all you can and learn as much as you can from AWS Solution Architect, Azure Solution Architect, and Google Cloud Solution Architect
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Patrick’s Answer

Aastha, it's perfectly normal to feel a bit swamped and unsure about selecting a specialization, particularly when you have a multitude of interests vying for your attention. As a second-year iMSc in Computer Science student, you've already built a robust foundation in the field. Now, it's time to refine your focus for your third year. Instead of the usual "pursue your passion" advice, I'll provide a more systematic strategy to guide you through this crucial decision-making phase.

First and foremost, let's tackle your varied interests in data science, UI/UX design, game development, robotics, and entrepreneurship. Each of these areas presents distinctive opportunities for creativity and innovation, not to mention the potential for financial success. To make a well-informed choice, I recommend doing comprehensive research into each specialization. Investigate aspects like job market demand, salary potential, necessary skills, and growth prospects in each field. This will assist you in weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each option and pinpointing which one aligns best with your long-term ambitions and dreams.

Next, take into account your personal strengths, skills, and predilections. Reflect on previous projects, coursework, and extracurricular activities to identify which areas you shine in and find most enjoyable. Consider the type of work setting you flourish in and the challenges you find most gratifying. This self-evaluation will help you whittle down your choices and identify the specialization that best matches your strengths and interests.

Once you've narrowed down your choices, think about seeking advice from professionals or mentors in each field. Connect with alumni, industry experts, or professors who can share their experiences and provide guidance on selecting a specialization. Listening to firsthand accounts of the everyday realities of each specialization can assist you in making a more informed choice and crystallize your career objectives.

Additionally, don't overlook the potential of merging multiple interests into a unique career trajectory. For instance, you could consider a career in game development with an emphasis on UI/UX design, or explore opportunities in robotics that incorporate elements of data science. Think outside the box about how you can use your varied interests and skills to create a unique place for yourself in the industry.

Finally, Aastha, don't let the fear of making a mistake paralyze you. Keep in mind that career paths are seldom straightforward, and it's perfectly fine to change direction and explore new possibilities as you go along. Have faith in your ability to adapt and learn as you chart your career path. By adopting a strategic and thoughtful approach to choosing your specialization, you'll be well-prepared to pursue a satisfying and rewarding career in computer science.
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Eira’s Answer

Hey

I work in UX Design and I have been seeing some really interesting things in AI and in particular the company NVIDIA is doing extremely well. They are hiring people fresh out of college paying well within 6 figure salaries! Maybe watch some videos from Jensen Huang on his GTC Keynote, Computex Keynote, and HPE Keynote. He is doing AI powered machine learning with robots. Could be some really interesting stuff there for you.

This company is doing amazing things and seem to be very creative. It would be a good idea to follow them and if you have the knowledge and brains it seems you do a career with them could be extremely lucrative especially with stock options.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Aastha,

As you navigate through your second year of iMSc in Computer Science, it's understandable that you might feel daunted by the myriad of career options and specializations that lie ahead. Nevertheless, it's crucial to choose a path that not only aligns with your aptitudes and ambitions but also resonates with your long-term aspirations. Here's an enhanced overview of the areas you've shown interest in, along with some advice to assist you in making a decision:

Data Science: This fast-evolving field revolves around mining valuable insights from vast data sets, employing techniques such as machine learning, statistics, and data analysis. It strikes a perfect balance between creativity and lucrative opportunities. If you find joy in handling data and untangling complex issues, this could be the ideal path for you.

UI/UX Designing: This arena involves crafting visually striking and user-friendly interfaces for digital products, requiring a mix of creativity, problem-solving skills, and understanding of user behavior. If you have a penchant for design and creating engaging user experiences, this could be a gratifying path for you.

Game Development: This thrilling field merges creativity, coding, and art to develop interactive games. It presents a variety of roles, from game designers and artists to programmers and producers. If you have a passion for gaming, storytelling, problem-solving, and collaboration, this could be an enriching career choice.

Robotics: This multidisciplinary field encompasses the design, construction, and programming of robots, demanding proficiency in computer science, engineering, and mathematics. If you're captivated by artificial intelligence, automation, and the transformative potential of robots, this could be an exhilarating field to delve into.

Start-up Entrepreneurship: Launching your own venture enables you to call the shots, work on groundbreaking ideas, and potentially make a significant impact. If you're a driven, self-starter with a talent for spotting opportunities and managing resources, establishing your own tech-based venture could be a rewarding career path.

To make a well-informed decision, consider these steps:

Self-assessment: Reflect on your strengths, weaknesses, interests, and values. Utilize online assessments or seek advice from career counselors to gain a deeper understanding of your personality traits and abilities.

Research: Delve into each field in depth, including job roles, necessary skills, and potential growth opportunities. Stay informed about industry trends, success stories, and hurdles encountered by professionals in these fields.

Networking: Forge connections with professionals in your areas of interest. Attend industry events, participate in online communities, and engage with alumni to gain firsthand insights into their experiences.

Gain practical experience: Immerse yourself in internships, projects, or part-time jobs related to your fields of interest. This will help you grasp the practical aspects of each field and assess if it meets your expectations.

Seek guidance: Reach out to your professors, seniors, or career counselors for personalized advice tailored to your background and goals.

Remember, it's crucial to remain receptive to learning and evolving throughout your career. Don't feel confined to one field; many professionals transition careers or blend their interests to carve out unique paths. Ultimately, your choice should be guided by your passion, skills, and readiness to invest time and effort into your chosen field.

May God bless you!
James Constantine Frangos.
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