Asked by Anonymous
Do you have any expectations for his career choice? And what does he want?
I was given a slot for accounting in NTU and had 2 years during NS to make a switch. It was my 3rd choice. I was toying with the idea of applying for my other preferred area of study. Accounting wasn't my choice.
My sister simply said, "you can take history/geography (any other subject interest) in your free time while taking accountancy (as a professional degree) but not the other way." And that one can achieve an honors, professional degree from a renowed business schools in 3 years sealed the deal.
I wanted to get out of school, as fast as possible with the lowest (time and monetary) cost - fulfil my job as a good Singaporean son, take the photo and then carry on with my (real) life. I didn't do well in school but graduated anyway. I was trying different things from online marketing to selling flowers on V day at Orchard Road.
Benjamin Loh, a local accounting grad and fellow Seedly community member, shares his experience:
A few key considerations:
On the other hand, the things computer science degree can achieve, one can do on their own time without risking staying in school. Quite honestly, I'm not sure our locals can code as well or fast as the Chinese and Indian undergrads that take the 1st and 2nd class honors in our local unis. My friend entered uni 2 years ahead of me graduated at the same time as he dabao (repeated) 2 sems worth of modules.
Suffice to say, a structured program may bring out the best in him in the shortest time - if he has a good computer science degree AND has side projects with many users, he can be a great programmer with Google with 6-figure annual salary in the first year. And I don't know many accounting grads who are paid as well in google as their computing engineers.
For me, the value of uni education is not the knowledge but in the building of the analytical mind, collaboration with others, project management, rigour in arguments, being professionally critical.
Being in a business school and specifically in accounting does mean that at some point, my friends will become partners in accounting firms, CFOs/CEOs, financial controllers with regional roles - some already are. The alumni link, network, all have value. If I need insights of the job market, internship opportunity for a relative - it's a phone call away.
This however, is not confined to accounting. Computer science have their own illustrious alumni, seniors, power connectors that can bring your child to Silicon Valley in double quick time. Why not right?
I guess the fact that you are asking on Seedly (age group 24-35 - mostly) shows your willingness to hear us out.
To be honest, no one can give you answers.
That's why I started the answers with questions. Your role in the entire conversation is to help him get clarity.
Communicate your pride, confidence and support for him through the way you talk to him (focus not the outcome, but the process).
Have confidence that having guided him well thus far, he will figure his own path - even if he might take a while.
I didn't pursue the lucrative career in accounting. But when I connected the dots backwards, my own interests, natural talents and inclinations are converging in my 30s. I'm not hitting where i think my potential is but I am grateful that I stayed my own course.
Some will only realise they are in the wrong place in their 40s, 50s. Not impossible. but will be harder to change then.
We have much to learn about parenting ourselves. You are almost done getting your kid to adult. It's something worth looking forward to. Jia you jia you!
Hi. This my first time posting as this question really resonate with me. For some background, I am a pharmacy undergraduate who took an interest in data science and have been picking up comp/analytics skills online.
Few point to take notes 1. What is his true interest? Comp sci is a board subject and he shouldnt switch just cause its in the hype right now. Ask him to find out more about the different roles available. It can be web developer, ios/android dev, backend, data sci like me or others.
Find out about all his available options. Switching definitely is one but there are alot others. Do not turn away from online learning, there are courses that you can take for free which are highly recognize ( you might have to pay a small fee for the cert). Post grad is also an option if he do decently well for his undergrad
Lastly as for job/intern. Its like the others had mention. You need some skill before company consider you for the position
Hello! I thought this resonates very strongly with me because I was once in this dilemma, and I saw many juniors of mine getting themselves stuck in the same situation too. So hopefully this advice helps!
Long story short, I was an engineering student. Really wanted to switch out of my course in Y2 because my passion towards engineering diminished over time. But I held back then because I thought the opportunities costs was too high (high school fees, time wasted etc.). Struggled through the 4 years and graduated, but regretted badly after that.
From then on, everytime my juniors approach me and we touch on this topic, my only advice to them is: Pursue your dreams.
As simple as it sounds, careful thoughts must be in place, because once you set sail on another path, it's critical that you work hard and "chiong" forward without looking backward ever again.
So how do you make sure that you don't regret your decisions when pursuing your dreams?
1) If your son is interested in switching to computer science, learning from the web (online coursewares, Google etc.) is a MUST. But that's insufficient. Programming is like another language. You need to practise it to be fluent in it. How? Find a horribly-mechanically-boring computer task, and try your best to automate it by writing some codes. Google's your best friend, and I can't emphasise on practising and more practising. Of course, undergraduates are busy, having to juggle with coursework, having the need for a life out of school, but there's bound to be some sacrifice when you pursue your passion.
2a) After being done with point (1), hopefully your son would have gain some confidence in computer science technicalities and it's rigour. Now, encourage your son to partake in an internship! Doesn't need to start from a extremely big firm, but hopefully through the internship experience, your son can have a deeper understanding of how people from different functions collaborate with each other. Coding from home and coding as a career in a corporate environment can be an entirely different experience. It's a pretty good opportunity to learn from other colleagues too!
2b) Grabbing 1 or 2 INDUSTRY-CERTIFIED certifications in the meantime can add credentials to your portfolio as well, which can give you additional advantage in the competitive job environment. But of course, time management is key.
If your son successfully went through point (1), (2a-b) without too much hair-pulling, nerve-wrecking hardships, then computer science is really a course, and a potential career for him! It's time to give him a pat on his back for all the hard work he has put in :)
But always keep your options open. Sometimes life throws a curveball at us and suddenly we may find opportunities presenting themselves at the least expected moments.
And last but not least, spend some time analysing all sorts of possibilities/contingency plans, options etc. It's a decision that not only affects his remaining undergraduate years, but possibly his first career as well, as he embark into the working world :)
PS: I'm now in a field totally unrelated to engineering, but it enables me to utilize what I have learnt (though I still don't like it) to make better decisions :)
It definitely won't be as easy to switch fields due to perceived lack of relevant skills and knowledge. 2 things that I can probably think of are these:
Take a 2nd major or minor with the university in computing if the school permits 2nd majors or minors. I personally do have a slight tinge of regret that I only took up 1 to 2 computing courses only in my final year of university course, as I actually found myself liking those modules over my opted 2nd major which was finance. By the way I am an accounting graduate.
Hope this helps a little!
Take a minor in computer science and start doing the comp science modules, if he can’t push himself to qualify for the minor, chances of him getting a job in that field is zero.
IMO, he can continue his current course first and go online to embark on some basic Computer Science lesson at home. This could perhaps help him better understand is computer science really for him before he officially enroll himself physically in the school.
Ask him to crash a comouter science class in the same school and see if he likes it first. He has no computer science training to get an internship yet.
Does he have friends in comp sci to help him get a taste of the major first? Or maybe take an elective module there to try?
Internships are generally hard to get if one doesn't have some basic knowledge in the field first, unless you have some connections somewhere.
Internship or shadow an accountant bah. But if it is too late to change, Com. Sci can always be self-studied. However you really need an aptitude for CS.
With no experience in IT he will have to start at some associate level, an internship would be the best bet.
if he can take a short leave of absents from the uni that would be good if not try to squeeze a intenship among the holidays
you should also ask him to take up online courses to see if he enjoys the topics. IT can also be quite dry.
Sometimes what we think we like may not be so after getting our toes wet.
Take a leave of absence and try to apply for an internship in that area! It'd be hard to get an internship but at least he can try!
Or he can borrow notes from a computer science friend and study it for a bit and see how he likes it
Sometimes we follow guts feelings.
Sometimes we wait and see.
There is no right or wrong answer.
What type is your son?
Do you have the money to change courses to try?
Could he instead try going for zero pay internship?