First, let me say that I understand so much can change in just a few years that I can not hold any plan down to certainty. I am currently accepted to a 6 month mentorship program with a Data Scientist as my mentor, and I have never held a job before. I am also trying to get accepted into a local Junior Software Engineering apprenticeship through Lauchcode alongside my mentorship. After this, my goal is to get accepted to a 2 year Corporate Analytics Professional Development Program or get hired as an Associate Data Scientist with a Bachelor's Degree. That is my current plan set in stone.
However, I have been told repeatedly that the type of degree you get can serve as a barrier to entry for employment.
If you do not have a degree in the specific field and related work experience, people are likely to question your usefulness. Thus, I have a specific scenario that might become my future:
I have a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics and a Minor in Computer Science.
Suppose over the next three years I obtain one to two years full time experience as an entry level Associate Data Scientist. Next, I decide to enroll into an Aerospace Engineering Master's Degree, and I simultaneously work three years part time in Data Analysis and Software Development as I complete the degree.
The Master's Degree I entered had a research thesis option, and I decide to specialize in creating, testing and simulating Embedded AI Control Systems for autonomously flying unmanned aircraft. I complete my research thesis, do an internship with an Aerospace Company, and try to get / find time for a Data Science internship.
I will always take at least six courses in Random Stochastic Processes, Machine Learning Theory, Deep / Reinforcement Learning, Bayesian Statistics, High Dimensional Statistics, Generalized Linear Models, Data Mining, Computer Science, and Data Wrangling no matter the degree.
After graduating, I would try to find employment designing embedded AI systems in aircraft. If I really enjoy the work, there's a good chance this becomes a PhD in something like embedded AI flight controls for evasive maneuvers and I do another two internships while trying to put a small Data Science spin on my research.
How would you evaluate someone as above with just a Master's in Aerospace Engineering once they reached out to make an employment pitch after applying for a Data Science position at your company with a reference?
What if this person made a pitch and applied with a reference to the same position at your company while having an Aerospace PhD and three years experience in Aerospace Industry?
What could excite you about a person studying Aerospace, and what might they lack vs. other candidates?
I really like the idea of Aerospace and want to seriously try it out. However, I'm afraid of the fact that Aerospace Engineering only has an expected 5% to 9% job growth with 3000 new jobs over the next 8 years. I want to be versatile.