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Forget college. Learn a trade.

MillionsKNives's Avatar

05.20.2014 , 03:28 PM | #11
Quote: Originally Posted by Sidenti View Post
I went to college for journalism and computer science. Every time something mechanical breaks around the house, I regret my choice. Add that to the fact that the job market is hell for professionals while tradespeople get hired left and right? I'm left with only one conclusion:
It seems odd to me that you would mention a bad job market with Computer Science. As far as I'm aware Software Engineers rank pretty low on unemployment rates.

MazakMatsura's Avatar

05.20.2014 , 04:03 PM | #12
There is a good special on youtube from Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs), and This website for some good information.

I'm half and half on the subject OP.

My little background: about 12 years ago I left my former job at a gas station to apply for an assembly job at my local factory, with zero experience. 2 months into that, I bid in for a general CNC position, basically, I'd press a green button 600 times a day.

2 years later I saved up enough to go to a 2 year technical college, I was not taught much more than I didn't pick up in 2 years being on the job, but now I was certified in my field. Long story short, I no longer work for that company, and was approached by my current employer. I am no longer running machinery on a floor, I'm designing and customizing CNC machine centers for factories that make parts for Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Harley Davidson, and Mercury Marine.

Going from 8 dollars an hour to a six figure income in 12 years, with a rough ~6000$ down is pretty damn good.

My point is this, Yes LEARN A TRADE, even if it's something to fall back on, if you enjoy it, learn all you can about it, take hands on experience, and classroom study wherever you can get it. Find something that interests you that's IN DEMAND. An English major with a minor in Medieval Erotic Poetry will NOT do you any favors in life.

Here's a vid we made ~ 2 years ago
(╯)╯︵ ︵ ︵
The Ebon Hawk
Love Ryan Davis 1979-2013

cymonguk's Avatar

05.20.2014 , 06:06 PM | #13
I wouldn't worry too much about the in demand, that helps of course, but most trades are in demand if you are any good. Getting your first contract in the trade is the hard bit. Best if you can have a show piece or experience that you have gotten for free. My French polishing is in demand already because I am keen, hardworking, anal (!) and finding a good local person is hard. I only needed a couple of chances, with pictures on my pages and people search for me.

Daekarus's Avatar

05.22.2014 , 08:27 AM | #14
This is one of my pet peeves. The existing educational culture has tried to make a Bachelor's Degree into highschool part 2, and they've mostly succeeded. We now have a young workforce that is both educated in fields and material that is useless or that they can't use in real life, are entering the world with a significant debt burden, and a degree that no longer differentiates them as especially qualified. A significant portion of the students I met in college had absolutely no business there, and the liberal arts students were the worst - hey, I have a liberal arts degree so I can say that.

I have been privileged to work with tradesmen for the last 10 years, and I'll tell you what - those country boys might not know any lines from MacBeth or what a Six Sigma process is, but even the young ones usually have more useful life skills than a frat house full of undergrads. This also applies to most farmers I've met - they are competent people who know their business and how to make their way in life.

The frustrating thing for those suckered into believing that college is the only option other than being poor forever and working in poor conditions is that college degrees aren't getting people jobs or paying more money in many circumstances. Within a relatively short time at a company, a CNC machinist can easily make more than an engineer. Diesel and auto mechanics are almost worth their weight in gold anywhere they go. The point stands about welding - I'd never choose that - but there are plenty of trades where demand simply isn't being met. It's literally a crisis we've created ourselves which will only get worse as the older generation leaves the workforce. You think it's expensive getting your car worked on or your toilet fixed or custom cabinets made now, just you wait. It'll get worse.

I am one of those odd individuals that works in industry (I am a CMM programmer) while holding a BA rather than a BS. I'm thankful for my degree in some ways, but in my daily life it's essentially useless. Everything that matters I have taught myself, whether it be programming, drafting, building computers, working on cars, refinishing furniture, or almost anything else I do. And since I'm surrounded by tradesmen in much of my extended family, that makes me one of the least capable members of the group in many circumstances.

Don't get me wrong, we need college graduates, but it would be far better if 80% of the students that graduated with a liberal arts degree (don't get me started on degrees in dance or the like) had entered STEM-H fields. We need people that produce something if we're going to get our economy back on its feet.

Whoops... wall of text crits you for 100,000 damage. Well, I did say it was a pet peeve...

Ehbuse's Avatar

05.22.2014 , 12:57 PM | #15
As a trade worker ( plumber by trade, drywaller by force .. Only plumbers will get the joke ) I can tell you this, only enter trades IF IT SUITES YOU. Nothing worse than getting incompetent trades people. Ask yourself if it feels right

cymonguk's Avatar

05.22.2014 , 01:06 PM | #16
I heard a unionist in the UK, and CNC company explain that they now have trouble attracting the skilled and bright people they did. When my Dad was young the poorer kids who were smart didn't go to university/college, instead they would go on to become skilled tradesmen.

They had the smarts to be the next generation of hand finishers, machinists and shop floor engineers, nowadays those people go on to be managers, and the next layer down go on to be tradesmen. A number of the big engineering firms have been saying this for years and that the skill pool is diluting.

I wouldn't worry too much about the skills gap, one of two things will happen:

a) people will reskill when they realise that being a plumber pays better (this happened quite a lot in the UK with grants)
b) immigrants will do the work that we are unwilling to do.

MishraArtificer's Avatar

05.22.2014 , 01:06 PM | #17
Who would have thought that we'd be having an honest discourse on College vs. Trade School and the advantages/disadvantages of each...on a webforum of a video game.

The internet is a mighty strange place.
Quote: Originally Posted by CosmicKat View Post
Twiki (with or without Dr. Theopolis), Muffet, and Wesley Crusher could form a boy band and do a Buck Rogers/BSG/Trek crossover tour, then crash on a remote asteroid, meet up with Doctoor Zee, and save themselves by making a spaceship out of random Cylon debris... and it would still be less stupid than Jar Jar. referral link!

Adaliaya's Avatar

06.05.2014 , 04:55 AM | #18
[QUOTE=cymonguk;7433827]As an old man, at 40, I will tell you a couple of things that life has taught me:

1) Do what you love. It doesn't matter how much you earn, honestly, getting up in the morning and thinking "I hate my life, I hate my job" is no fun. If this is you now, get out as soon as possible before it destroys you. You are better to earn $100 a day doing something you love than $500 doing a job you hate. Trust me I have done both.

2) If you can't do what you like right away, find a way to make the job you do currently work out better. I changed from being employed by the worlds biggest corporate to being a consultant contractor. I now go to places and work for 3 months, get paid what I would have done in 6 months, then don't work for 2-3 months.

2.1) Whilst you are not working learn some real skills something you really want to do. I have begun learning skills such as woodworking, furniture restoring, French polishing and cabinet making. I know I will be able to use those skills.

3) Learning a trade isn't for everyone, indeed you would be better telling people to not go to school or learn a trade but to go play a sport all day long (baseball, basketball, football, golf, snooker, etc), as with ten years practice you are going to be pretty good and the pay off can be way more than any normal job. I repeat read number one.

4) Don't think anyone you work for will show you any loyalty, all those hours you put in ? Meaningless, when the redundancies hit, no-one will even look. Be loyal to you, friends and family, they are the only ones who will be there for you through it all. Be selfish in protecting that group, if moving, changing, or dumping on your company/boss/colleagues will help you, do it, no one else will even give you a second thought. Sad but true!! Some of my best "colleagues", of 10 years, were only too willing to crap on those around them when it came down to it.

5) Go work in a hospital or finals days care unit for a short period, even a weekend and ask some of the old people there what their advice is, what they would do different. You know what I heard?

i) I wish I had spent last time at work, and more time with my family. Not one person ever said I wish I spent more time with my boss.
ii) I wish I hadn't fell out with my friend, or i had got back in touch with them. Once you are on your deathbed it is too late to have regrets.
iii) Don't live with regrets because you are too afraid. Jump for everything, find ways to make those things you want happen. I wanted to live on a farm, with animals, I could never afford that even on my wages ( a farm here will cost you upwards of 5 million), but I kept my eyes open, read things, got papers and magazines from where I wanted to live, and I found an old farm being rented in my ideal area. Surrounded by 500 acres and with space for al the animals I could want, yes I made sacrifices, yes it wasn't ideal in many other ways, but I couldn't be happier with it,

You are going to be doing something every day for 60 years to put food on the table, try and make it something you will enjoy.[/QUOTE
Very true now just hope my choice was right one B-)