Having trouble choosing a college major, stuck between finance and computer science?
I'm interested in computers and what makes them work but I also would be interested in learning about finance and economics and possibly pursuing a career with that. Please help if you know anything about either of these such as how much money I could potentially make, job opportunities, what each will be like, recommended amount of schooling, etc. Thanks.
Asked By: jake dry - 1/26/2013
Luckily for you, both of these professions are actually in the top-ten degrees when it comes to what students make their first year out of college in those fields. Computer science is around $70,000 and Finance is around $60,000, I think. But that shouldn't influence your decision as much as others.
I am a finance major and I love it, so I am going to be a little biased, but I can talk a little to that side of things.
I don't know as much about computer science, or what type of computer science you are into, but I know that within finance, pretty much everyone in the industry has to be well-versed in current technology. But it is all software-based. So if computer hardware is your thing, that type of position would be hard to find in a finance role.
However, especially on the investment/trading side of things, a ridiculous amount of very sophisticated software is used. I have some experience as an analyst in the finance world, and I can say employers LOVE it when you are handy with things like C++ or VBA. You will always be able to apply those skills in finance. It may not be in your job description, but if you understand things like that, employers will always see it as a huge asset.
As far as the types of courses you will see in finance... don't expect a lot of hard-hitting computer technology classes. There's a few different sides to finance. One has a more corporate/managerial focus, where you will be taught how a company functions at the executive level; why companies issue debt and equity, what capital structure is and how to strategically manage it, etc. Another piece can be more investment and banking focused. In these types of classes you will learn about indexes, stocks, bonds, futures and options, derivative instruments, how they are traded, mutual funds, ETFs, and things of the like. And then that kind goes hand in hand with finance in an international context. In those courses, you'll learn about commodities markets, currency, monetary policy an how it affects the value of currency, and things of the like.
As far as economics goes, my personal opinion is that economics focuses a lot more on politics than on finance, because things like government spending, unemployment, elasticities of oil, gas, corn, and other market-indicators are heavily studied.
To get back on point though, you will use a computer, and apply your knowledge about it, likely every day as a professional in finance. If you are a software engineer, however, I can't say you will ever find yourself in a role that deals with finance, specifically.
Of course, I am not completely objective here. You'd have to talk to someone who has been educated and worked in the field of computer science to get the whole picture here. Ultimately, find what you like to do and follow whatever is pulling at you the most. No one can tell you what is best for you. Your fortunate to have found an interest in fields that often work together closely and are good lifetime careers. Whatever you choose, I am sure you will end up on the right side of the tracks.
Best of luck!
Answered By: Garrett - 1/26/2013