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  1. #1

    Changing careers from business to software eng/dev because of formal dress code avers

    I graduated almost a year ago with a degree in Industrial Engineering. Since then Iíve had a job that requires a business casual dress code (no surprise with my degree). Since my childhood Iíve had a severe subconscious aversion/anxiety disorder with formal clothing fabrics, buttons and collars. Conditioning/systematic desensitization did not help. I estimate that my discomfort caused by business casual dress codes is equivalent to a annual monetary loss of about $10,000 to $30,000 post-tax; itís about equivalent to half the typical discomfort of constantly hearing/watching fingernails scratching a chalkboard.

    Because there are a lot of software engineer/developer jobs out there that enable you to come to work in casual attire, I want to change my career path.

    The following options present themselves to me (ranked according quick judgment):

    1. Masterís Degree in Computational Science and Engineering from the Berkeley - Specialization in Simulation/Modeling with data analysis and some scientific algorithms: Difficulty: Hard, Opportunity Cost: -$80,000, Starting Salary: $77,000
    2. Bachelorís Degree in Computer Science from CalTech: Difficulty: Medium, Opportunity Cost: -$115,000, Starting Salary: $60,000
    4. Distance Learning Degree from Baker College (web development or CS or DBA) or other distance learning +certifications for various technologies: Difficulty: Easy, Opportunity cost: -$35000 (plus -$80000 if not working), Starting salary: no idea
    Opportunity cost refers to the cost of the studies (including potential living expenses) and the lost salary during years of study.

    Iím frugal: I invest almost everything that doesnít go into living expenses.

    The objective is: maximize profit. The constraint is: have a very high chance of getting a job that allows casual attire when applying to a random sample of relevant jobs.
    Please state factors that I ignored, a general recommendation, or a pointer for a forum/professional-group/organization that has more relevant information. The key question to hone into is probably: Will a graduate degree in Computational Science & Engineering (Specialization in Simulation/Modeling with data analysis and some scientific algorithms) offer close to the same odds of a casual dress code job as a generic CS degree?

    I posted this thread in another forum. Please do not judge it as spamming - I simply want to maximize my chances of getting a good answer. Furthermore, I know there are people who simply canít understand how severe an anxiety disorder to something so trivial can be - please refrain from that short and banal post.

  2. #2
    Administrator Expert
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    679
    tripleCitizen - Without a CS background, I can't speak to your question regarding the graduate degree.

    However, I can address your concern in general about workplace and attire.

    The tech industry is one of the few that is a good fit with casual attire. Startups are the classic examples. Even Google has a casual dress code. And, of course, working freelance/remotely/from home/etc. allows a casual dress code.

    Just worry about building your qualifications the best you can. The better your qualifications, the more options you'll have - including choice of workplace.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Thanks for letting me know about the dress code situation at the IT landscape, CleeIB.

    The key question I still need to answer, however, is which of the three options build's up my qualifications in the best possible way.

  4. #4
    Administrator Expert
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    679
    tripleCitizen, the answer regarding how to build your qualifications in the best possible way depends on your goals. Degree #1 might go further towards one goal, while degree #2 might go further towards another. The only goal you have stated so far is "casual dress code workplace", which is frequently available in the IT industry.

    You have already done much of the work with some cost-benefit analyses of your options. The analyses apply generally; now you need to apply them to your specific goals.

    I recommend asking your question in forums where IT professionals specialize. A quick Google search reveals a good number of options for you. Good luck!

  5. #5
    Yes, you are correct in that each option will further different goals. As banal as it sounds, the proportion/abundance of decently-paid casual dress code jobs is really the key goal I have set for myself.

    The problem is I don't know whether scientific computing/computational engineering jobs allow you to come in in tshirt+jeans.and whether the CSE degree qualifies you for regular/mainstream software developer/engineering jobs or not.

    I already posted in a few IT forums but I haven't gotten a good response yet


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