Best degree for career

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by ns1234, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. ns1234

    ns1234 Member

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    hey guys, I have a sort of hypothetical question. If one wanted to land a government agent job (DOJ or DHS) after school, what would be the best degree, if one’s strengths or interests weren’t necessarily a factor? I’m thinking cyber security, but it seems like IR, criminal Justice, etc are also useful, but they also seem too general to be helpful at the same time. I think I know what I am going to study, I just wanted to her others’ takes.
     
  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Some general reading across all the SA forums will show various threads that discuss this topic, with all kinds of insights from various perspectives.

    - Relationship of major to military career and eventual civilian career - can be loose or tight. By this I mean you could major in Physics (or others), become a Marine communications officer (or many other specialties or services) and go on to an operational agent career with one of the “ABC” agencies. Or, you could keep a tight focus on cyber/IT/info sciences, try for that as your military specialty, and then build on that as a civilian as an analyst, project or program manager. Those are the general terms for the non-field-operational agent roles. Or, again, field operator. That’s a very broad brush.

    - Your leadership experience, resource management skills, security clearance, physical fitness, understanding of a life of service, willingness to go in harm’s way - that is very important to those looking to hire separating junior officers or officers retiring after a full career. Your college degree will be a long way back in the resumé by then, and only a part of your experience.

    - Be open to the journey. Have some short, mid and long-term plans, but be flexible. You will get many briefs along the way, meet people, have experiences, learn about things you’ve never heard of, find out what you are good at (and the converse), grow as a person, juggle professional and personal choices.

    - Focus on bringing your best to where you are right now. If you make that a habit, you will maximize the opportunities that will be open for you.

    - Lastly, two common quotes:
    “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.”
    “Man plans. God laughs.”
     
  3. TobyNorton

    TobyNorton Banned

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    Great advice, Capt MJ! I think that would help a lot.
     
  4. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    Most careers don't require specific majors. Some (e.g., medicine) may require you to complete certain courses to do graduate study and you may find it easier to get those courses if you select certain majors. But you can go to med school as an English major.

    My personal view for any college student (including those at SAs) is to chose a major: (1) that interests you, and (2) that you think you'll be good at. The interest should be obvious -- you'll be taking most of your courses in your major so you might as well enjoy that time. Do something you're reasonably good at b/c that will help with grades. And having good grades will make it easier for you to attend grad school, should you choose to do so.

    The above said, remember that the world is increasingly technical and it's important to have a general understanding of technical things in order to give yourself the broadest options. Thus, folks who choose majors like sociology, women's studies, English, philosophy, criminal justice, etc. -- AND fail to add some solid math and science courses to fulfill their distribution requirements -- may find their career options/incomes somewhat limited. This isn't an issue at SAs but can be at civilian universities.
     
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  5. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

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    BS rather then a BA.
     
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  6. LurkingQuietly

    LurkingQuietly Member

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    Knowing how to do a database backup (Email/text messages) seems like something the DOJ or DHS might be looking for.
     
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  7. MabryPsyD

    MabryPsyD Dr. G. 5-Year Member

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    Believe it or not, the determination of whether your degree is an art or science is predicated on your core and electives; not your major. I’ve seen people with a BA in Biology and a BS in Psychology. My BS is in Sociology and I have an MA in Information Technology Management. I laugh because my “soft” degree is a science and my “hard” degree is an art.
     
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  8. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

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    I hear you.

    My older son got a BA, he loved languages.
    My younger son did not love languages so much so he took Science classes instead and got a BS.
    Both got LA Degrees.
     
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  9. AF6872

    AF6872 10-Year Member

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    DD has a major in Chinese from USNA and now Captain, Company Commander, USMC. The doors are open to everyone whatever the Major.
     
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  10. Day-Tripper

    Day-Tripper 5-Year Member

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    Traditionally, FBI has loved law degrees.

    But most government agencies are amenable to hiring licensed attorneys.
     
  11. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

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    Here’s another advice to our future leaders, young men and women.

    If you know exactly the career you think you want to pursue as of now, concentrate to prepare for that field. But keep in mind that you’re not stuck in that academic and in that career. If you don’t know what you want to major but have an idea what you like, take a major in anything you like and you can learn the most from and enjoy.

    The truth is unless the job market you want to enter demands a specific major, you don’t need to major in that field. You will learn on the job more vocationally than any major will prepare you. You will have to pursue Masters and or PhD if you want to advance to a field grade officer or even be fortunate enough to be a general officer. If you want to pursue a civilian career in managerial positions you will need a masters degree, even better if you have an MBA. So in college take a Major you can learn explore and enjoy! If you’re attending any SAs, their common core engineering and STEM will prepare you for any STEM Masters if you decide to pursue that even if you were a Language or Poli Sci Majors.

    For example here’s what people studied and led their careers:

    General Officer Army - USMA International Relations. BS, MS, PhD. Infantry

    Colonel Army - USMA Economics. BS, Masters in War College. MBA. MI Commander and 101 Airborne

    CPT Army - USMA Aerospace/ME. BS. Harvard MBA. Quartermaster. Partner at BAIN & Company

    CPT Army - USMA Economics. BS. Harvard MBA. Army Finance. Associate at Morgan Stanley and Lazard Freres.

    CPT Army - USMA Management. BS. Columbia MBA. CoFounder/CEO of a StartUp.

    Cadet - Brown AROTC. Biology and Arabic Language. BS Candidate. Career Goal - Army Special Ops

    CPT AF - Boston College ROTC Slavic Language. BA. Intelligence, Cyber Operation

    CPT AF - USAFA Management. BS. Quartermaster

    Cadet - Yale AFROTC Chemistry/Premed. BS Candidate. Career goal - AF Medical Doctor

    Cadet - Yale AFROTC Poli Sci. BA Candidate. Career goal - AF Special Ops.

    CPT Navy - USNA Chemistry. BS. Nuclear Submarine

    LT Navy - Harvard ROTC Physics. BS. Nuclear Submarine.

    LT Navy - USNA Economics. BS. SWO

    LT Navy - USNA Economics. BS. Fighter Pilot

    Many of these Officers earned MBA and another Masters at the War College, for those going beyond 0-5, during their career for further advancement and promotion.

    My academics and career started in STEM Specialized High School in NYC. At a STEM HS, I majored in Electrical Engineering and Industrial Design. At a very respectable college and graduate schools, I majored in History and 2 Languages in College while taking STEM and Humanities Core. Earned an MBA and Post Graduate Studies in Finance and Marketing. My career crossed in High Tech, Consumers, Financial Institutions, and Private Equity. All landing in Analytical, Managerial, Managing Director, and CEO positions at Fortune 100 companies. And sat on boards and advisory group in corporate, government, military, Academic societies, and academic institutions.

    Life is short enjoy the learning, anything you like! Where you start is only the beginning. There’s plenty of opportunities to navigate to do things differently or deep dive during your career in the military government and civilian careers.
     
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  12. cb7893

    cb7893 5-Year Member

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    CPT Army (Next month, Inshallah) - Big 10 U AROTC Chemistry. Army Signal, Signal Officer for SF Group.

    Heavy math is the only part of the degree--but an essential part--critical to having success in Signal Branch. What you do with your electives (Comp Sci, Language) and free time (internships, summer camps, language immersion) is where you make yourself more attractive for higher speed deployments. This would be the case with almost any branch.

    What no one ever says on this forum is that there are many Officers who start the 20 year countdown as soon as they go active. They skate along with their peers wondering how the hell he/she still has a job. Even worse they aren't respected by their subordinates. This makes a very attractive environment for those who are inquisitive, fit, innovative, and know how to get the most out of the ranks that report to them. I can't think of a civilian job in which a freshly minted BA/BS gets the responsibility and access to resources equal to that of a freshly minted 2LT/Ensign. You're best off preparing to make the most your service obligation. During that time your future plans will almost unfold by themselves, whether it is a life in the Military, Graduate school, or starting a career in the civilian world .

    Given your career goals, none of anything you've read will mean anything if you can't get the security clearance.

    Whatever you study, make sure you love it and make it the focus of your attention. Broaden from there, again based on what you love.

    Best of luck!
     
  13. emwvmi01

    emwvmi01 5-Year Member

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    I am not sure on the part about the math being a requirement. Both BG selects from Signal this year went to liberal arts schools and majored in history. The technical piece needed for the branch is taught pretty effectively at Gordon to students regardless of academic background.
     
  14. cb7893

    cb7893 5-Year Member

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    @emwvmi01

    You are correct. Many non-tech cadets branch signal.

    Instead, I should have said that a strong foundation in math and at least some CS will make SBOLC much easier. Some instructors at BOLC are better than others. Also, the more a 2LT knows when arriving at his/her duty station the easier it will be to lead a team of E's, many of whom could probably teach at SBOLC.
     
  15. NTWLF ONE

    NTWLF ONE Member

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    I won’t speak for the other service branch’s or communities within the Navy, but if you want a “capstone” career opportunity in Naval Aviation, like Test Pilot School or CVN (Aircraft Carrier) Command, you need a STEM degree and a strong APC score which takes into account your grades in advanced Mathematics and core science courses like Chemistry and Physics. On this subject, I speak with prior knowledge and experience.
     
  16. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

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    This is good advice NTWLF ONE. So if you’re enrolled in NROTC or AFROTC you are required to take 1 year of Calculus based Physics and 1 year of Calculus. This is minimum. Most take additional classes in Aeronautics and Astronautics if interested in Aviation. Plus if Air Force related courses. If Navy, Navy related Naval Science, Propulsion and Navigation. So I believe enough basic science. Is already required by each ROTC. And you can still be an Econ or History Majors.

    But Army there is no such requirement in STEM if AROTC. But at West Point you have to have at least 1 semester of STEM in Chem Physics Calculus Engineering if majoring Social Science or Humanities. West Point recently scaled down on STEM requirement for non STEM majors because many struggled to pass STEM. USNA has the deepest STEM Core requirement which I highly respect and USAFA is equally demanding in STEM and includes a semester of Biology in 1C. In the SA world it is generally accepted by Cadets that USNA and USAFA attract academically gifted students in hard science and math where they have the deepest STEM core for all, therefore, attract those who enjoy and excel in STEM. Not the best place if you’re weak in STEM. Otherwise “Go Army.”
     
  17. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

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    On a small side note, I know few kids look at the Navy and Marine with romance due to their traditions and novelty, and many of us acknowledge that Navy and Marine have the best Class A to dress to impress. But if you cannot handle the Navy academics it’s the wrong service.

    Something my kid is also considering and is doing his due diligence including academics, service culture, primary place of work relevant to missions, and leadership opportunities in the service.
     
  18. NTWLF ONE

    NTWLF ONE Member

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    Sorry if I was misinterpreted..just taking those STEM courses as required by NROTC or USNA will not be enough for those programs. Everyone selected for my Naval TPS class had an engineering degree, whether they were commissioned through USNA, NROTC or OCS...