get to work in your major?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by falcondriver, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. falcondriver

    falcondriver Member

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    My ds is in the position of having to make a decision as he has multiple appointments. So as we try to come alongside him in the decision making process, I am seeking the answer to a question. What are the typical opportunities to work in one's major? eg: He is interested in electrical engineering or something similar to that. I have done fairly extensive research on USMA and have the impression that whether you study engineering, history or Arabic, you are most likely to be crawling on your belly through the dirt/sand leading troops in combat. So if you do your five and separate from the military, does that mean you are trying to find a job in the civilian world with a stale degree and no experience in it?

    So since I have no direct experience with the Navy, I was wondering if some of the sage posters on here could give some direction as to the likelihood of a guy with an EE degree to actually do some EE type stuff?

    Even if this isn't possible, he is still committed to the academy route and is looking forward to serving his country. We are very proud of him and all his future classmates.
     
  2. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    There are many related threads, posts on this topic. The broad-brush, general answer for USNA ...virtually no direct connection in most cases between major and professional assignment. There are some variations. Med students virtually are virtually all chem majors. There are approximately 10 in this category in any given class, i.e. that go to med school. The answer is that it is highly likely EE majors would be generally and even specifically using engineering knowledge, but it is coincidental, i.e. EE majors are not assigned to electrical engineering assignments. Pilots are more likely to be political science or international relations as aero engineering. Arabic majors might be NFOs or SWOs ...there simply is little/no connect.

    In fact there are a very few who leave SAs because they want a very indepth oceanography or ME program ...and they simply will not get it at a SA. It is a very broad, lock-step curricula for virtually all majors with very little flexibility and no real depth in most majors. Conversely, the education in terms of leadership, intellectual and self-development, academic exposures to unbelievable professional persons, etc. is literally mind-boggling. There is NO comparison between an engineering or IT degree from MIT and USNA. Both have there merits and their prestige, but in terms of real growth and substance ...they are apples and oranges. I always chuckle to hear ..."I'm trying to decide between Princeton and Navy."

    Like saying ..."I can't decide if I want a lear jet or a lamborghini sp? Both are fabulous and totally different things. Which only goes to tell me that candidate has no clue yet what he/she really wants.
     
  3. mademu

    mademu Member

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    Needs of the Navy.
     
  4. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    The USN is a technical service. However, I think it's more accurate to say that you will "use" your major -- especially with certain service selections -- that that you will "work in it."

    Nuclear power is extremely technical and those with engineering and math/science backgrounds have a much easier time. Aviation has certain technicalities but a humanities major can do just as well in the long run. Conventional surface is somewhere in between. USMC is more like the USA in that your major isn't as relevant.

    That said, having an engineering degree can only help you in life as the world becomes more technical. If you are really, really smart as a mid, you can qualifiy for certain graduate programs to continue your studies. If you decide to get out, you have that great education and can work in your field at that time. The 5 yrs (or more) won't be that detrminental -- at least that's what my engineering friends tell me.
     
  5. osdad

    osdad Member

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    After 9 years or more in the military, I'm hiring you for your leadership/management skills not your technical currency. I don't want you "doing EE type stuff" as much as I want you to run departments or projects. Your ability to learn has been clearly established, you're confident and poised, and because of your degree, you do "speak EE" so you're a perfect mid-level manager.
     
  6. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Excellent posts above. If falcondriver's ds departs the service sometime in his 20's, he will be a "JMO," junior military officer, a highly sought after commodity by Fortune 500 companies for the traits noted above. Many companies have special JMO hiring and career pipelines, because they know exactly what they are getting.

    Sure, you can be engineering all the way, but it can also be a launching pad, combined with leadership, resource management skills and established military track record of performance, for a wide range of careers. The Navy does have Engineering Duty Officers, who specialize in things like overseeing ship design and building, or aircraft maintenance oversight. Going to USNA provides the technical underpinning to succeed in an increasingly technology-driven battle space. There will be many choices along the way for falcondriver's ds to delve deeper into engineering disciplines or to explore new paths.

    Educational benefits for veterans provide oppportunities to get current on needed skills.

    I had a sponsor daughter who was a USNA English major, and of course, received a B.S. She went on to a logistics/transportation career as a Marine for 7 years. After working with a placement group that specializes in feeding departing JMOs to civilian companies, she is happily placed with an internationally known tire company as a systems and process engineer as a mid-level manager. She was hired for all the skills she brought to the table, with enough engineering know-how so she could operate in the manufacturing environment. She's had 2 promotions already, is headed for an international assignment and is on the fast track. She has several senior mentors at the company, including 2 WP grads and a VMI grad. The moral of this little sea story is that there is a wide range of options out there, and if falcondriver's ds finds himself wanting to immerse himself in disciplines that require engineering, there are those avenues. Should he not, but want to use that B.S. later on to help him be fluent in a technical work place, no problem there.

    Though I think I wandered somewhat from the core issue of the thread, I know many parents, unfamiliar with the immense value of a JMO to the business world, will read this who have perhaps been wondering about "how will my kid eventually get a job with a history major and knowing how to drive a ship but no other work skills."
     
  7. cpdibari

    cpdibari Member

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    My father got his B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering both on the Coast Guard (USCGA '88). While he was assigned once during his twenty year career to a civil engineering unit, the bulk of his time was spent as a manager. He retained his technical background and works in the field of power generation, but as a manager.
    I assume the experience is similar in the Navy. In fact, the mission of the United States Naval Academy revolves around developing good officers who will be able to handle themselves in a variety of service assignments.
    Therefore, I believe it is important to understand that while I may aspire to be an economics major at USNA, I won't have the same degree in economics as someone who graduates from Princeton. However, if I do plan to "do my five," and get out, I will have a better experience as a manager than any of these individuals.
    In terms of quality of life and earning potential post-service, many of my father's classmates have applied their technical majors as managers. If you want to learn a "directly applicable" skill i.e. drafting for engineering, then perhaps the enlisted side is a better fit.
    Ultimately, as it seems to be me, the best managers will know a little bit about everything, and the service and military academies in particular do just that.
    Granted, this is just my two-sense. I don't claim to know much of anything. It's just what I've observed as I go through my options with my father and compete for a USNA appointment. Best of luck!
     
  8. falcondriver

    falcondriver Member

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    Thanks for the helpful responses. This will be beneficial in the decision making process. We have been blundering through the application process and with no one in our immediate family having any military background it has been a steep learning curve. DS currently has an appointment to USNA and USMA and has LOAs from USMMA and USAFA but doesn't have the corresponding nominations. I feel like he could still get appointments to either of those if the academies scrounge around for nominations. I don't think at this point he can make a wrong decision, just want him to find the best fit for his abilities and desires. Thanks again for all the useful input.
     

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