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Old 4th November 2008
DrJ DrJ is offline
ISO Quartermaster
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Gold Country, CA
Posts: 507

Originally Posted by TerryP View Post
Currently I live with my mother, two dogs, a newt, and a loud parakeet. (needless to say, I do most of my stuff when everyones asleep!) Likewise, I'm in the position that if I don't work my current job, that puts my mother put of work.
That still counts as "non-traditional," since you are not a deduction for your parents, you hold a job, and you have life experience. You are not the typical 18-year-old kid who has just graduated from high school.
This [working on a research project] seems like a great idea, I don't think I could see to much of it that revolves around networks, without programming them. Then again, that would actually be fun... ;-)
It is, actually. And it exposes you to areas that you do not know.

Right now you love networking, and that's great. You may have found something that you want to do for a long time. But how about something that you don't know, like bioinformatics? There you use information from DNA or protein fragments to determine what genes are turned on or off in an organism. You take that information, do the database searching, and combine it with models for DNA or protein expression. It is mostly computer work, with some biology thrown in.

Another case might be structural modeling of proteins as they are modified. If you replace one group with another, how does the structure change? What does that do to its physical properties? A friend of mine did that sort of work 10 years ago, and it lead to a genetically-modified protein that is the best-selling detergent enzyme in the world.

The point is that there are whole worlds of things that you in all likelihood would never be exposed to unless you are either very lucky or go to school.
Coming from you, I would take that seriously :-) (that Tech is great)
Most of the state research universities are pretty decent. It turns out that GA has invested a lot of its prosperity into Tech, and it is world class these days. Sort of like what Texas did with UT Austin.

That's not to say that you can't get a good education at the next tier down -- the undergrad-oriented schools -- you certainly can. It is harder, though.
I don't really want to take on more debt then necessary at one time; goes against my mental structure.
That's a decision only you can answer, and it depends on a lot of things. Financially, a BS in computer science earns in the $50K to $55K range right out of school; you would have debt in the $20 to $25K range (though that could be lower if you work your butt off). Run the numbers to see if it works for you if you compare it to what you would get otherwise.
My head just thinks in terms of mm, inches, feet, metres, kilometres, and lightyears so I write in it - odd for an American I know, but I haven't read much Sci-Fi that uses yards.
OT, but for distances less than a meter I use metric; greater distances I use English. Volume (other than filling the gas tank) is always metric. Then again, I usually work in microliters or less, and in nanometers and micrometers.
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