Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Career Advice, Part II

To follow up on last week's posting, some more fundamental career advice for young people is needed. Here are key two points:

1) When choosing curricula on which to focus your studies, go broad as is usually recommended, but also go narrow.
Someone who is "well rounded" is a better problem solver, but you still need to be able to do something. At the basic level, firms don't hire people to think. They hire people to do something. So you need an in-demand skill to get in the door.

2) Choose a focus which increases your choices, not limits them.
If you earn a PhD in the psychology of Chaucer's writings, then you might be able to teach literature. If you earn a PhD in physics, you can work in research, you can model derivatives on Wall Street, you can do several types of engineering, you can invent new ideas that change the world. Or you can teach. An engineer can either sell or do engineering. A humanities major can sell (if the engineer helps out on technical issues.)

Please tell your children these things.

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