Your advice & experience on Jobs + pursuing my 2nd Major

Hey Everyone,

Sort of a random question I have here... But figured that Tom's Hardware has one of the more helpful & dedicated communities, and this would be a great place to gather some information. I'm a 25 year old, graduated from a decent private school with a degree in Business Administration. I currently work in a real estate office in San Francisco as a property manager (puke!). I make enough to pay my rent, have some fun with friends, and put a little bit away with every pay check, but it's NOT something I want to do for the rest of my life. It's insanely stressful, I have no product that I get to see develop (I think seeing a product develop over time is very therapeutic and healthy!), and the ceiling for my pay is not very high. I am, and always have been very competitive. I find competition motivating, and extremely fun. I was a competitive athlete, but repetitive knee surgeries have sort of made any career in sports unfeasible. I've always been a big computer/console gamer. I have a passion for computer games, and as I've matured, I've found a growing passion for the technology behind computer games. I also thoroughly enjoy finding different technology advancements that can really help our business. I used to consider myself pretty good with technology, but the more I've read about programming, the differences between certain computer components, and general computing... The less confident I feel. Sorry for all the fluff, but I figure in order for someone to give me good advice, they have to have a general idea of who I am, and what my interests are.

I've been considering going back to school to get a second bachelor's degree in computer science... I know there are a lot of computer science majors who are members on this site. Do you guys think this would be a good degree to couple with my business degree? Our world is run by computers, it only seems natural to have a very broad knowledge of how they work. Will this open doors for possible video game designing? Obviously, knowing different programming languages would be a huge help here. I'm far from artistically talented (If I draw a dog, it usually ends up looking like a hairy table.) It would be a dream job for me to come up with concepts for games, and have a team of people execute the programming. I could see a product develop from the figments of my imagination into reality! Woot! My two strongest skills in business are definitely interacting with people & ability to think creatively. I think I'd even enjoy consulting with businesses on the topic of technology, in order to find which technologies can help their business with the budget they have available.

I'd love to hear suggestions from those of you who are a little more experienced than I am! Hell, I'd love to hear what kind of jobs you guys have with your computer science majors!

As always, thanks in advance!

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More about your advice experience jobs pursuing major
  1. I'm an IT Recruiter here in the SF Bay Area and the Silicon Valley. I have recruited for eBay, IBM, Yahoo, Cisco, along with several other Fortune 500 companies.

    I've also had the pleasure of knowing a few game companies and their recruiters. I can tell you that based on what you wrote, you might be better off pursuing a general career in Software Engineering, and not necessarily game development. Game development is very stressful, but very rewarding. HOWEVER, the pay in the gaming industry is no where near what other companies pay for software engineers. Almost the entire gaming industry is below market because it's common knowledge that people take jobs in that industry because it's a passion, not because they want to make a lot of money.

    However, if you were to go into a more general software engineering field (web application development for example), you could get into a lot of great companies. Web Application developers are one of the highest in demand candidates right now, and they pay very well. A very entry level position can still pay $35-$40 an hour W-2, mid level candidates earn $50-$60, and expert level/Team Leads/Architects earn $75-$100 an hour depending on the technologies they're working with (e.g. JavaScript vs Flex).

    If you're going to make a big effort into development, start off with contracts. Contract and contract and contract some more, at least for 2-3 years so you have some good experience and project based work under your belt. At that point you could decide whether you wanted to stay as a contractor and just consult (more money, less stability, you get to decide when you want to work) vs full time employment (stability, benefits, paid time off, not as flexible schedule, usually not as much money).
  2. As a bus adm major with a competitive nature you should have a good idea about what entrepreneurship is, and you should know you don't need any degrees for that. My best advice is don't start from scratch. To be honest, I would say that 99% of the business majors I know would die in an engineering course.
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