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How do you explain your degree? I type.





davidv
How do you explain to someone what your degree is about and what you do within that chosen field of study in a succinct way?

I have a lot of friends studying in different fields and many of which always seem to ask me:

Quote:
"David, you're studying computer science... so you fix computers?"


To which I respond: NO! I do not fix computers. I wouldn't have the slightest idea why error xyzw is prompting you a message without a solid 5mins on Google search. I don't know why your operating system won't install, maybe you should call tech support and have them settle it for you? I'm. Not. Help-desk. Although, I will help if you ask nicely Smile

Quote:
If you don't fix computers, what do you actually do?


Response: err... I program and analyse algorithms...

It's about here where they lose interest and they stop asking. Sad

So now, whenever someone asks me what I do in my chosen field of study, all I say is: "I type".

How do you explain your degree or job?
standready
I never get asked what a mechanical engineer does except for younger children. Then I reply that a mechanical engineer designs things like (pointing at various items around us at that time). They usually reply "cool!" laugh
Ankhanu
Mine's pretty simple, as I have a degree in biology... I study organisms and how they interact with their environments. It's pretty straightforward.
Ghost900
Sometimes people ask me to help them with networking or technical related work as I am a graphic designer. Since I know the basics of networking and such I am able to help them but it has nothing to do with my degree so I just explain that my degree is focused on making graphics, not setting up servers.
Helios
Really depends on the degree and who's asking...
I studied electronics, and it's pretty obvious what an electrical engineer does.

If I had a degree in philosophy maybe then it'd be appropriate to ask "what's your job?" Laughing
Now I'm just joking, of course Smile No offence philosophy majors!!!
c'tair
I also study Computer Science and people usually say stuff like "oh, so you fix computers" or "oh, you're a geek". I used to be a little angry like david, because that's the same as if you said "I'm studying medicine" and someone said "oh, so you learn how to treat cuts", but then I got over it because I noticed people don't do it out of spite but because they simply really have no idea what a computer science major does after that, they only have very vague ideas built from having their computer repaired and movies about hackers lol.

If they're close friends, I actually explain to them the complexity of the area of knowledge, but if they're just acquaintances I just tell them I program and know how to fix stuff.
davidv
Quote:
I noticed people don't do it out of spite but because they simply really have no idea what a computer science major does


You're probably right but they can get very ignorant sometimes so I end up just saying something rude about their degree and steer the conversation to some other topic. Smile Still though, I've had some encounters with older people (in their 60s - 70s) and when I tried to explain what I do, they give me a weird look Embarassed
SonLight
Assuming that the job (or at least a lot of the jobs) done by computer scientists is to "fix computers" is not too far off the mark, although it is in the opposite direction compared to the top of the field -- people are thinking about the old and the broken. Telling them that you make good computers work better is closer to the mark of the ideal computer science job.

Yes, I fix computers by writing new apps for them. I teach computers to do things they couldn't do before.

One of my most useful skills is the ability to track down program bugs. In that case, I am indeed fixing it because it's broken -- but no, I'm afraid I can't fix that maddening glitch in your program if it's proprietary and you don't have the source code. If you used an open source program, I could find a forum or file a bug report where we might get it fixed, not just for you, but for everyone who uses it.
GoldenEagle
I optimize manufacturing processes to make products with lower defectivity rates than would typically be created.
deanhills
davidv wrote:
Quote:
"David, you're studying computer science... so you fix computers?"


If I were a computer science student, I'd probably say "yes" .... not only fix them, but learning how to perfect the whole world of computers too.
Very Happy
missdixy
I explain my degree like this: It's a mixture of psycholgoy, sociology, anthropology and biology.

I explain my job like this: I give people information about cancer and help them find resources.

Although both are actually a bit more complicated than that Razz
ExMachina
No degree yet, but both my undergraduate and graduate will be pretty self-explanatory...veterinary medicine. Razz
deanhills
ExMachina wrote:
No degree yet, but both my undergraduate and graduate will be pretty self-explanatory...veterinary medicine. Razz
What is veterinary medicine? Kids may not know what it means, so how would you explain it to them?
Very Happy
powers1983
Currently it's quite easy as working on a WLSR car.

But usually my job is project management based and since everyone has heard the term (but doesn't understand usually) they just nod and off they go. For kids though I usually just say I'm working on whatever project I'm involved in at the time.

If they ask about the degree i did Aerospace Engineering so just say I studied the design of aircraft so most people are happy with that.
kayako20
I didn't have this trouble to explain my degree because I majored in international trade and economic, so I don't need to explain as you can clearly understand what the major includes.
ExMachina
deanhills wrote:
ExMachina wrote:
No degree yet, but both my undergraduate and graduate will be pretty self-explanatory...veterinary medicine. Razz
What is veterinary medicine? Kids may not know what it means, so how would you explain it to them?
Very Happy


Ensuring the health and well being of small animals (specifically dogs and cats) through the practice of good nutrition and treatment of injury and disease.

Or the small children version: taking care of puppies and kittens! Wink
davidv
deanhills wrote:
davidv wrote:
Quote:
"David, you're studying computer science... so you fix computers?"


If I were a computer science student, I'd probably say "yes" .... not only fix them, but learning how to perfect the whole world of computers too.
Very Happy


When I hear people say "I fix computers for a living" I instant think "oh... helpdesk".

"Is it plugged in?"

"Have tried turning on and off again?"

Even though I'm studying computer science and I know "fixing computers" can mean so much more. I've also noticed that a very large majority of IT people only work with hardware and again hardware = helpdesk (even though I've studied a bit of electrical engineering and "fixing" means so so much more) and so by saying "I fix computers", I add to the misconception that all IT people are helpdesk and those that program sit in front of a computer and play games all day (not to say I don't do that Razz). At least, that's what first comes to mind.
deanhills
@davidv. I guess if one looks at it, Helpdesk does make up a lot of a computer scientist's job. I'd imagine if a computer scientist is good at explaining the How To's at the bottom end of things, he'd be excellent at the top end as well. Not all IT people are good communicators, but when you find one, he is actually an exceptional computer scientist as well.
davidv
deanhills wrote:
@davidv. I guess if one looks at it, Helpdesk does make up a lot of a computer scientist's job. I'd imagine if a computer scientist is good at explaining the How To's at the bottom end of things, he'd be excellent at the top end as well. Not all IT people are good communicators, but when you find one, he is actually an exceptional computer scientist as well.


You don't need a CS degree to be helpdesk. If anything, you are way over qualified if you end up working as helpdesk and not a developer. You can literally walk out of high school and apply for one and if you've had experience and have a decent I.T background, you'd probably get it too. My friend that graduated from high school last year is doing exactly that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help_desk

Quote:
A help desk is an information and assistance resource that troubleshoots problems with computers or similar products.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_science

Quote:
Computer science or computing science (abbreviated CS) is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems.[1][2] Computer scientists invent algorithmic processes that create, describe, and transform information and formulate suitable abstractions to model complex systems.


Two very different sub-fields in I.T. It seems that you are part of the group that has this misconception that they're both very similar when they're not. I for one really don't like dealing with troubleshooting. I like math, logic, analysis, programming, algorithms... not helping someone connect to the internet because they don't know how to.

If someone is good at computer science, why waste their talents explaining trivial tasks to average users? Let someone else that wants to do that, do that.

There's so much depth to computer science and I don't think it's fair to combine helpdesk and computer science together into a single entity even though they're in the same field. It's like saying civil engineers and electrical engineers are the same, they're engineers but oh how wrong that is. That's why I get frustrated when people assume that all I do is fix trivial problems like connecting to the internet when in fact that's not the case. I play games too Razz
Insanity
I also do computer science and I basically just do computer stuff. That seems to be the simplest way to go about explaining it.
nivinjoy
A good thought indeed.. Anyway, I have completed my Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering.. So in that context a question like the following would be funny..!!

Quote:
"Nivin, you studied mechanical engineering... so you fix machines?"



Then after my Bachelor's degree i went to do my Masters degree in Computer Aided Design [CAD].. So the following question would be sarcastic, i guess..

Quote:
"Nivin, you studied CAD... so you draw pictures in computer?"


Always it depends on the mentality of people, or the way they think about our degree or courses. Because to a Graduate in Hotel & Catering Management one may ask...

Quote:
"Hey man you cook for others..don't you?"


So people thinking good about the degree may ask in a better way and others make sarcastic comments.

This is what i feel..!!
missdixy
deanhills wrote:
ExMachina wrote:
No degree yet, but both my undergraduate and graduate will be pretty self-explanatory...veterinary medicine. Razz
What is veterinary medicine? Kids may not know what it means, so how would you explain it to them?
Very Happy


"I make the boo-boos of puppies and kittens go bye bye!"
deanhills
missdixy wrote:
deanhills wrote:
ExMachina wrote:
No degree yet, but both my undergraduate and graduate will be pretty self-explanatory...veterinary medicine. Razz
What is veterinary medicine? Kids may not know what it means, so how would you explain it to them?
Very Happy


"I make the boo-boos of puppies and kittens go bye bye!"
Priceless!!!!
Very Happy
loremar
I took chemical engineering but dropped out.
It suppose to design products using unit operations in chemical industry. I dunno. To be honest, it is soooo ill-defined to me.
loyal
davidv wrote:

Response: err... I program and analyse algorithms...

It's about here where they lose interest and they stop asking. Sad


Because they don't understand. You need to explain what that means, and how that applies to things people use in life.
Zuex
I also study Computer Science, I just tell people straight what I do.

I've had someone say "So is that more in depth towards physics?".

When people see "Science" they think: Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
rajpk
hmm
i am also softare engineer

you can reply to people that ask questions from you.
simple is you reply

I am not hardware engneer i am software engineer ..and i make/ write software programs...not fixes hard drive ...ram rom
you should goto hardware mech

i think it is very simple:)
Ghost Rider103
Thread moved to Jobs and Learning.
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