Advice to a Junior in High School?

d.w. harks dave at
Tue Aug 26 22:05:12 CEST 2003

On Monday 25 August 2003 05:57 pm, Howard Nease wrote:
> Hello, everyone. I would appreciate any advice that someone could give me
> on my future career path. Here is my situation:
> I am a bright Junior in a very well-respected private high school, taking
> almost all AP and accelerated classes. I am HIGHLY interested in
> technology, more specifically the field of Computer Science and software
> engineering. I have heard a whole lot about the fact that the market for
> software engineers nowadays is *HORRIBLE*, and that I should double major
> or perhaps go into a field of study in which I'm not very interested.
> I would be devastated were I to find the need to leave computer science. I
> love the subject, and I've wanted to be a computer scientist ever since I
> was 12 years old.
> Does anyone have any advice for me and my future? What should I study in
> college? Will the market for jobs get better? Do I have any hope at all of
> finding a decent-paying job in compsci? What languages do you suggest that
> I study (I'm already studying Python)?
> thank you very much for your help!
> --shn

As a junior in high school, rather than worrying so much about *what* to study 
in college, I'd suggest carefully looking at *where* to study. A Bachelor of 
Science in Computer Science from one school won't be the same as another -- 
try to think of what topics you're most interested in and find schools that 
have professors who specialize in those fields. They'll end up helping you 
decide what to study as you go, because they'll be able to see what your 
interests (and talents) are. (Something that your words on a mailing-list 
don't identify all that well!)

For now, keep all your grades up and start visiting colleges. Don't sweat the 
other stuff just yet...the school you choose will have a program laid out, 
and you'll choose electives within it, but it'll be pretty straightforward 
and will give you an opportunity to explore and figure out if/what you want 
to study in grad school.

Don't forget to enjoy the stuff you're learning, and don't sweat the job 
market thing. If you have the ability and the love of CS, supporting yourself 
will come along in ways you can never plan for. Just do what you love, and 
you'll be amazed at what happens.


d.w. harks <dave at>

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