Post # 1
First off, I’m a high school student and made an account just to make this post. Like a lot of people during high school, I have a small idea on what I want to be when I grow up. After googling questions and advice pages, I’ve landed on this site. I like the atmosphere here and I’m hoping I can get some help since everyone on this site are real people out there in the working world.
Anyways all I know is that I want a career that makes at least 60k, as I want to be able to take care of my family from back home. I really don’t mind any courses my high school offers, but if I had to pick I would say I particularly like business and technology courses. My school offers something called an “SHSM” which allows me to specialize in a technology career pathway during my grade 11 and 12 years, however the courses set in the SHSM program cannot be changed and I must do the courses they pick for me. I am in grade 10 and I’m panicking if I should take this program as it would help me get into university, but I’m scared I’ll end up changing my mind and be stuck doing the program for the rest of high school.
Sorry about the blab, I’ve ranted a lot to the school guidance but he was not much help, basically just told me to follow my heart and all that crap (excuse me). So, if you don’t mind sharing, what is your career and how much do you make a year? Did you know what you wanted to be in high school? Also, if any of you are in careers related to the business or technology industry, what is your career specifically? I did a career quiz and liked the sound of an e-business consultant, marketing specialist, or something in communications where I can advertise for companies using technology.
I guess my dream is to have a career with a high ranking position and making 100k and without working crazy hours, owning a nice house, bringing my family overseas to Canada, settling down with a lovable hubby (hehe!) and having children.
It would mean so much for your reply, I would be so grateful. My course selections are due in a few days and I’m one of those last stragglers still so unsure.
Thanks sooo much
Post # 3
I’m an engineer in Canada making double that a couple years out of university. I work in oil and gas in Alberta which is great – lots of other young engineers at my company and lots of training/travel opportunities. And only a 4 year undergrad degree!
Post # 4
A lot of it depends on where you’re living. FI makes over 60k, and I should/will be (just started two weeks ago, so it’s not gonna be a 60k sort of year, but my salary is just above), with undergrad engineering degrees.
We both have a BS in Computer Engineering, and I also have one in Electrical Engineering. I decided in high school that I wanted to do CpE, it was a toss-up between that EE, and CS. I took a pre-engineering course, and one of our assignments was to research fields we were interested in.
The area we live in now has a per capita income of ~$31k, median household of ~$60K, and median Family of ~$75k. It’s a small town/heavily rural area in the southern US. I have single friends that are making somewere between what FI and I make, but since they live in Northern Virginia/DC/Baltimore/other civilized/populated areas, they have less to play with.
Is 100k without crazy hours possible? I didn’t think it was.
Post # 5
@Pinkmoon: what kind of tasks does an oil/gas engineer do? And by travel opportunities do you mean you often have to work away from home many days at a time? What parts of your job do you dislike? I’m really interested in your career as it seems you enjoy it lots, the pay is great and you didn’t have to stay in university for too long! Thanks for the reply!!
Post # 6
@surkim: There is a computer engineering program at my school that is also very popular that I am considering, however I can’t think of any careers that combines computer engineering and business? I enjoy the two the same amount and a friend of mine who has been researching his possible future pathways since elementary tells me that it would be wise getting into a career involving business, as there will be more opportunities. I live in Toronto area and it seems most computer engineers make about the same as someone in say marketing, but their salaries increase faster, is that true? Thank you for your post!!
Post # 7
@sara39: I am a researcher for the government and my fiance is an electrical/computer engineer. We both have masters degrees and made $60k by the time we were 24. FI made double that when he was 30 and I hope to make well over that by my 30th as well.
Post # 8
Engineering and Technology are very vague terms. Even Computer Engineering vs Computer Science have huge differences. Can you specify exactly what you mean when you say you enjoy technology courses?
I’m a Software Engineer (Computer Science major) at a financial services firm. It sounds like what you might be interested in. PM for more details.
Post # 9
Your market will depend on a lot, and if you’re willing to relocate, what areas will support the industry that your degree is useful in.
I live in Seattle, where a $70k salary is the average. Most people driving this average are software engineers (google, amazon, redfin, lots of video game companies and Microsoft are all here). A lot of the software engineers that I hired and worked with started $55-70k out of school, with the studio tech director earning $205k/year. Most worked 50-60+ hours as exempt employees.
I work for a fortune 500 company as a corporate recruiter and I hire mostly finance professionals. Many earn close to six figures after 5-7 years of experience, but with regular overtime.
I started out of school at $40k and 5 years later I’m $58-60k after bonus. All of my friends who started at $60k out of school were either in sales or engineering.
Post # 10
I make over $60k and work in government. However, in NJ 60k is not a lot of money AT ALL.
Post # 11
What classes you take in high school matters very little****
*** So long as you fulfill all the minimum admittance requirements for colleges you apply for!!!!!
If you wish to attend college, look up the admission requirements (ex: 3 years of high school math, 3 years of high school science….) Make sure this technology program covers all the minimum requirements for the colleges you wish to attend!!!
GPA and SAT scores matter too. SAT in particular. Study that shit.
Most higher paying jobs require extra education like college or vocational training. I recommend going to college and majoring in a general STEM field.
STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
Anything that fits in any of the above categories will make money if applied at the right job so do what you want within those fields. Keep it general–instead of “marine biology” or “theoretical mathmatics” major in “biology” or “mathmatics”. It’s not an assurance of a well paying job (like if you became a math teacher at your local grade school) but even moderate success can lead you to a secure income.
There are a multitude of occupations that fit into STEM. I reccommend following your dreams in college but if money is very important to you, follow your dreams within these fields.
BTW as a little addendum: Social Science is included in the S part of STEM. I majored in Sociology, thus putting me in the luxurious category of STEM. However, I did not apply it correctly, followed my dreams, and now I’m on food stamps with a stressful job. My fiance also majored in Sociology, but he went the statistics route and will make much more money than I ever will (unless I get my Phd and publish a bestseller about my experience saving poverty America while on foodstamps).
The important thing to note is that at any time I can change EVERYTHING. Being in STEM, I can turn around and become a researcher or psychologist and make a ton of money if I wanted to. It is important to do what you like but also important to keep your options open.
Post # 12
@sara39: I work in production engineering so I look at a field of producing wells and maintaining their integrity and looking at uplift opportunities. There are also different areas to work in like drilling the wells, designing the completion/workovers for the wells, and exploring brand new areas.
The field I’m responsible for is a 3 hour drive from our head office (where I live) so I go there about once a month for a couple days at a time. And tomorrow I’m headed to Denver for a conference. It’s not a ton of travel but it’s nice to get to travel to different places. I went to Europe last fall for training actually which lots of people would enjoy. And I go to Houston a couple times a year.
I don’t really dislike anything… sometimes the projects are challenging and places you have to travel aren’t ideal, but luckily that’s really just the minority.
Post # 13
@PlumeriaSplash: You could not have said it better. Both my father (strongly pushed us to the social sciences) and my father in-law (strongly encouraged his kids to engineering and teaching) have saidd “liberal arts is to grow your mind, but math and science pay the bills”. I have my undergrad is sociology (a social science) and politics (not political science, so it is a humanities). Most people I graduated with made $30k if they could get a job. I went to graduate school for public policy (so training in politics, economics, statistics, and computer programming) and most of us who use the econometrics (statistics + theory) portion of our degree make over $60k. Social sciences, if you are training in applied econometrics, pay great if you have the writing and critical thinking skills to use them.
My best advice would be to take the hardest classes you can manage now. Take as many advanced classes, especially in writing, math, and science. In college, you can decide to go the engineering route (as my FI did), or at least get a double major of a degree in either math or a basic science (I recommend physics or computer science) and something that forces you to write a lot (politics and history). These will give you the skills you need to succeed.
Post # 14
Hi, Sara. I think you are asking the wrong questions. First off, are you interested in technology/sciences? If so, then yes, pursue those specialized classes. If not, then focus on other classes that you enjoy and do well in them.
Colleges look for well-rounded students with strong interests in a particular field (whatever that may be) and good grades as well as extracurricular activities.
I made over $80K for several years, but absolutely hated the work and was miserable no matter what company I worked for. I just didn’t like the work.
Finally, I decided on a career change. I absolutely know I’m going to love the work once I graduate (I’m in school again), but I’m going to be making half as much in my other job.
Don’t associate a high salary with success and happiness.
Post # 15
It really depends on the salaries in the location. Salary vs cost of living is a biggie! You may get paid more in a different city, but could actually get less money in reality due to higher living costs.
DH & I are both computer programmers (him: COBOL & Java for a company that does mutual fund processing; me: C# for a children’s hospital) with Computer Science degrees. We each make in th $55-60K range. We both graduated with our BS in 2006, so both have some work-experience under our belts too. (Right out of college he made $40K and I made $38K.)
Don’t expect to make big bucks right out of college, you’ll be very dissappointed. And don’t expect to have an 8-5 job you leave at the office and get paid $100K. Higher pay comes with higher-responsibilty jobs; which usually entails working more than the standard 40 hours. You have to prioritize your career/money goals with your family life. For example: Do you take the lower paying job that gets you out of the office by 5pm to spend time with your family, or do you take the slightly higher paying job that requires you to put in 60 hrs a week?
Post # 16
First off, money doesn’t equal success or happiness. I’m very fortunate in my work in the fact I’d still be doing it even if it paid less. Like pinkmoon, I am a production engineer too, but my field is about an hour from my office so I can go any day I want and still be home by 6. It’s an amazing challenging job.
Engineering is always a good choice, but I’m biased in that direction!