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May 9, 2007

Grad School

I've been wondering what the next step is going to be for me. After so much build-up towards getting a "real job" (and finally getting one), it's been nice to sit back and sort of adjust to that and enjoy it a bit. But in about four months I will have been here for a year, and I'm the kind of person that constantly wants to better himself, so I'm wondering what form my next step or few steps will take.

I'm not talking about changing jobs, its too soon for that by a couple years and I really like the one I've got - so why risk a crappier one with no potential for gain? I'm talking about things like certifications, advanced degrees, and career direction. Defining exactly what your next goal should be is as tricky as it is important, but finally having worked a while I feel like I'm better equipped to make those sorts of decisions now.

Things I've decided: I'm going to get the Microsoft Certified Web Developer cert. There are two tests for this, and I'm about half way through studying for the first. Also, I'm moving away from web design and toward more of a straight Software Engineer position professionally. At the same time that happens, I want to start doing some more freelance web development work, which will allow me to be creative with design without me having to dedicate my career to it. I'm just more interested in the "codey" aspects of software, and there's less of a ceiling on the SE side of things.

Things I haven't decided: A lot. MBA? Grad school for CS? And would grad school be local night classes after work, or would I try to get in to the best one possible and take off work for two years while I study? Also, where do I want to be in CS? The finance world is basically taking data, doing minimal manipulation, and outputting it. What about scientific or think-tank-type cs? physics modeling, etc? THAT would require a phd. and perhaps luck. And of course, there's the important question of how to make yourself outsource-proof.

From slashdot:
"Grad school is the snooze bar on the alarm clock of life."

I like that. While I'm not making any decisions for the immediate future (I'm pretty happy with what I got going on right now), it's good to be thinking about these things.... my subconscious knows a lot more about what I really want than my conscious does. Are other people (esp. recent grads) feeling similar things? What are you doing in response to those thoughts?

Posted by pedalboy at May 9, 2007 4:46 PM | TrackBack

I'm gonna go to grad school I think. Probably American Studies with an emphasis in popular music with, hopefully, a chair head who's into the hardcore and punk movements. Metal would be okay, but not quite as interesting, still okay.

I wanna end up teaching college I think. Caitlin wants to go to grad school too, maybe we can get married and go at the same time to save on tuition...

We'll see.

Posted by: Chase at May 9, 2007 7:23 PM

yep, same feelings. I just finished my first semester of grad school. I'm taking one class at a time at Arizona State while I work. They have a pretty good online program.

Posted by: Jon at May 9, 2007 8:55 PM

i'm in grad school now too. i didn't really want to be, but it just kind of happened. it's a ton of work and kind of sucks on top of being an emergency certified teacher and having no clue what i'm doing in my job, but i'm doing really well in my classes and i'll be done at the end of feb '08, so that's good.
anyway, it's a LOT of work and a LOT of money (unless you're lucky like jon and your company will pay for it), but i am glad that i'm doing it.

Posted by: jen at May 9, 2007 11:38 PM

I'm planning grad school after I put in a few years here @ GC. I sort of have a general plan and then roll with the punches of whatever happens... if something good comes along that will better me and better my experience in grad school, I'll probably do it. So I'm planning in 3-4 years to move to London and attend London College of Communication -- probably something in visual communication and design or something. Jessica will be going to London College of Fashion the too. I think these days you pretty much have to have a Masters of some sort to get any meaningful jobs. At least a Masters.

Posted by: Joel at May 11, 2007 11:04 AM

As of Saturday, I'll have been at my current job for 11 months. I've already begun the search for my next job. Not that I don't like my job. I just want to make the move to a daily newspaper when I can.

But I still want to go back to grad school. My goal is still to get an MFA in creative writing at some point. But I know what you mean about taking time off. An MFA will probably mean three years out of my career, but that might be ok, because newspaper reporting was just supposed to be a way to make a living by writing while working toward career as a "real" writer. And then there are low-residency MFAs. Lots of possibilities.

Anyway, long story short. I know your confusion.

Posted by: Dan at May 15, 2007 2:39 PM
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