Technology or Liberal Arts?

Technology or Liberal Arts?

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I have always had two interesting, but opposite loves. I have always found myself referring back to computers and philosophy in my everyday routine. I would usually spend hours reading and analyzing Plato’s doctrines or tinkering with the insides of my custom made PC, sometimes both at the same time. However, if ever asked which one I would like to pursue as a career, I would have to stop and think about it. Both computer science and philosophy have a lot to offer, but at the same time, a lot to dislike.

There are advantages and disadvantages for getting a computer science degree. Computer science is a growing field that isn’t slowing down. Companies are constantly looking for young bright gurus who know how to understand and handle the amount of new information being created every day. Even in this current economic situation, people who work with computers have very stable jobs. We as a society are at a point where we rely too heavily on computers to accomplish tasks for us, and cannot just simply stop using them. Financially, computer science also looks promising. Since computers are alien to most people, the fact that there are a small percentage of people that actually understand computers, people who know are considered to have a “unique” set of skills. So employers are ready to give fat paychecks to anyone that has proven that they are experts in the field. Since I have had previous jobs in this field, I can confirm that there is good money in it. For example, being a junior in a high school I was given a part time job (which later became full time) which started me off at $9.25 an hour. This later increased as they saw how skilled I was. On the other hand, despite all of these positive reasons, computer science has a very promising outlook as a job for it is quite boring and dull. I would find myself hating my job and myself as I type away at a keyboard inside of a cubical. It does not stimulate the body or the mind and I would find myself looking forward to simple things, such as being first to get to the fresh pot of coffee, as a source of excitement. As well as not enjoying my job, my degree would be outdated within a few years. Which means though I may have been working for a company for multiple years, a young naive college graduate could easily take my place.

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This is a very glum perspective of my life in the future.

Philosophy on the other hand is the exact opposite. Philosophy pays less but is more enjoyable. The pay for someone with a philosophy degree is far more minimal than that of a computer science degree. That is because there is no real job that really requires the type philosophy we learn in classrooms. Knowing Aristotle's and Socrates' definition of what life is would not help companies progress forward and automatically puts me at a disadvantage. If I were to get a job, it will most likely be teaching, which does not pay much at all. Becoming a lawyer is a possible option for having a philosophy degree. However, though law requires people to think analytically and outside of the box I would have to go to law school and study there, which is even farther out of my area of expertise. Employers also may frown upon the fact of you having a philosophy degree while applying to a job. Since you do not acquire a particular skill, employers will be cautious of accepting you and giving you a position. It is understandable that they will question your work ethic; philosophers have never really given an impression of hard workers and are thought to simply sit and think and question rather than actually work. Just as it is important to computer science, being able to enjoy my job is playing the biggest factor of my decision. With a philosophy degree everyday would be a new learning experience for me. I would realize different things in the world that I have not known before hand. I would not be confined to the routine world that the majority of people mindlessly follow. With a philosophy degree I would be doing something that I love, so that I would never have to a day.

Even after sorting through some of the pros and cons of getting a Philosophy degree or a Computer Science degree, I still cannot be sure of what I want to do. So my choices come down to this: live a boring wealthy life, or a poor happy one. In this day in age a person cannot live life without proper funding, and since I aspire to be good financial support to my family, is probably the biggest factor to me. I have lived the majority of my life in poverty and I do not wish to go through it again. I could only hope that I would make enough income that it would counter react the stressors that I would go through at work. Regardless of what may happen I imagine myself being able to stand the burden of every day work, so I am able to support myself and family. This is why I have decided to choose computer science as my intended career path.


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