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Kinda Conflicted on Career Choices?

nicksaiz65

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I can't sleep so I'll keep this as brief as I can.

I'm a college student studying Computer Science, and I'm also a violinist. I graduate next semester. I play in a band, in orchestra, and I love music more than almost anything.

I'm following AMS' advice of getting a degree in STEM, and moving from there. I know the logical thing to do is to get my nice career, get my nice paycheck, and do music on the side to bring in even more income and follow my passion.

But whenever I think of going into programming in the work force, something in my heart wants to go into music full time and put my all into it? Logically, I know that's a very bad decision cause I'll end up broke and barely able to pay back student loans. Like making $20,000 a year as opposed to $60,000 lol. I like programming. But whenever I think about having a full time career and only doing music on the side, I feel a bit of discord and tension in my heart somewhere. Sorry if that's too mushy but that's the best way I can describe it. Like I'm "not being true to something in myself" as Pook says.

You know how our brains make rationalizations? Something tells me that this is just a very clever rationalization to get out of doing the hard work of programming, and I just need to man up and do what I need to. Don't get me wrong, I like programming, but I'm not sure why I feel this conflict when I think about my future. Logically, which is how I should operate as a man, I know that I need to get a good education in STEM like AMS said, and then get my music money on the side, as well as pursuing my passion that way.

I just wanted some thoughts from the guys around here on this purpose type stuff. Any way I can crush these feelings and act logically? Thoughts?
 

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stormrider

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I was a stem major then switched to the business side and now I work for the state that has nothing to do with stem or business.

I think youve been conditioned too much by society into believing life is linear. You might end up as a dating coach on YouTube for all you know. Just look at the amount of dating coaches that said “man I used to be an office chode making 6 figures but I was never happy. Now I get to travel around the world and hit on women all day and have nerds pay me for it.”

The important thing is hard work. Effort and attitude. It’s not about what you will end up doing. It’s the person you will become. You might end up in Africa trying to raise money to bring water to villages. Life is unpredictable.

But what person will you become? Will you become someone with an indestructible mindset who gives 100% effort or will you be a half a$$ed victim your whole life? The first guy will make money REGARDLESS but he will also become a great leader, and the second guy MIGHT make money but he will become a loser mentally and spiritually.
 

samspade

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First, to thine own self be true. Always.

But you have to reflect on what that means for you.

Second, there is no shame in earning money to pay bills. Read this. Law #1: Don't starve. Otherwise you can't pursue anything.

Third, the "do what you love" cliche is very American, very late-20th Century, and very bourgeois. Yes it helps if you avoid doing something that makes you miserable. But people in other cultures don't see a career as this all-encompassing definition of one's life. It's a way to earn money to enjoy life. News flash: You can still do what you love, as a hobby or a side gig.

Fourth, and this is not to discourage you...there is a very big difference between pursuing music as a hobby and making a career as a musician. If you want to make it a career, you'll be playing and practicing not when you feel like it but when you're paid to. You'll need good business and publicity sense because nobody will be as invested in your success as you, so half the time (if not more) will be spent on promotion. You may wind up on the road. If you want to play in an orchestra, the top jobs will be chairs that musicians hang on to like a pope, and they'll be unionized in some cases. Again, it won't always be convenient....a friend of mine plays tuba, and he gets random calls to fill in from orchestras in different cities, so he has to decide whether to ditch his family for the weekend on the fly and earn the money. (He has a day job.) If you want to play in a small band, you'll deal with the personalities and interests of those other individuals and have to make compromises. And like you said, you may make less, especially early on.

In spite of all this, I really do believe that people achieve the most success when the goals they pursue make them happy. That could mean any combination of hobby, job, etc. You could even work as a programmer and fold that into your larger goal of music. Stormrider said it well: Hard work, effort, and attitude are what count and will be telltale signs you are on the right path. Another writer I read said something like, if you're so busy working on your passion that you won't even get up to take a dump, you know you've found it.
 

BeTheChange

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If you're going to go the "follow your dreams" route you need to be ruthless.

Give yourself a definitive timeline, say 2 years. If you don't make it within that period then you can pursue a career in programming knowing you gave it your best shot.

I decided to go in the other direction. In other words, building a source of passive income that would slowly allow me to focus on my actual passions and provide me with the options to retire from the rat race and do what I actually want in life at a relatively young age. I'm aiming to achieve complete financial independence by the end of next year. I'll be 32. That may seem old to someone just graduating college but it's another 48 years of doing what I love (based on average life expectancy). Well worth the trade off IMO.
 

Papa_smu

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I don't see where the conflict is here. The market for software development is super hot right now. Because of that you have a lot leverage when it comes to benefits (paid time off, lax work environment, etc.) where you can squeeze in time to work on your passions. In fact, there's a good portion of software developers out there that have a passion and talent for music.

Why is it that you cannot do both?
 
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nicksaiz65

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I don't see where the conflict is here. The market for software development is super hot right now. Because of that you have a lot leverage when it comes to benefits (paid time off, lax work environment, etc.) where you can squeeze in time to work on your passions. In fact, there's a good portion of software developers out there that have a passion and talent for music.

Why is it that you cannot do both?
Now that you mention it like that, I think you're absolutely right. Working from home is a thing I see a lot of engineers do as well.

I've been doing lots of reflection on it, and I'm finally 100% sure that programming is what I want to do. I really love it. Even if it makes me wanna put my head through a wall sometimes lol. It's 1/2 of my purpose and I'm glad I finally realized that lol. The fact that you can make really good money from it is just icing on the cake.

So I now know exactly what my purpose is, and what I need to work towards.

My band always asks me if I want to go full time with them. They always painted it in such a binary way lol. Like music or programming. They say that because they plan on going on tour I believe.

I think the smart thing, like you said, would be to do both. Plus, if I combine both incomes, not only will I be doing what I love, but I'll definitely be making 6 figures a year. Good way to get my paper right.

I was so frustrated by some of those lower level courses, it took me like two years to realize that I had already found my purpose lol.
 

nicksaiz65

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First, to thine own self be true. Always.

But you have to reflect on what that means for you.

Second, there is no shame in earning money to pay bills. Read this. Law #1: Don't starve. Otherwise you can't pursue anything.

Third, the "do what you love" cliche is very American, very late-20th Century, and very bourgeois. Yes it helps if you avoid doing something that makes you miserable. But people in other cultures don't see a career as this all-encompassing definition of one's life. It's a way to earn money to enjoy life. News flash: You can still do what you love, as a hobby or a side gig.

Fourth, and this is not to discourage you...there is a very big difference between pursuing music as a hobby and making a career as a musician. If you want to make it a career, you'll be playing and practicing not when you feel like it but when you're paid to. You'll need good business and publicity sense because nobody will be as invested in your success as you, so half the time (if not more) will be spent on promotion. You may wind up on the road. If you want to play in an orchestra, the top jobs will be chairs that musicians hang on to like a pope, and they'll be unionized in some cases. Again, it won't always be convenient....a friend of mine plays tuba, and he gets random calls to fill in from orchestras in different cities, so he has to decide whether to ditch his family for the weekend on the fly and earn the money. (He has a day job.) If you want to play in a small band, you'll deal with the personalities and interests of those other individuals and have to make compromises. And like you said, you may make less, especially early on.

In spite of all this, I really do believe that people achieve the most success when the goals they pursue make them happy. That could mean any combination of hobby, job, etc. You could even work as a programmer and fold that into your larger goal of music. Stormrider said it well: Hard work, effort, and attitude are what count and will be telltale signs you are on the right path. Another writer I read said something like, if you're so busy working on your passion that you won't even get up to take a dump, you know you've found it.
Yeah I know exactly what you mean Sam. I think I'm going to take @Papa_smu 's advice and do both to the best of my ability. I love music, but I've seen firsthand what it means to be a starving musician and how stressful it is. Idk if I'm about that life lol. I love both.

And I see what you're saying when you say it's a completely different ballgame doing music full time. I just like being a part of something and playing/writing music. I don't necessarily like the haggling over prices part and arguing with people/promotion part lol.

And I've heard it's deathly hard to get an orchestra job. I really like playing in orchestra but who knows if I'll be able to land a job like that.
 

nicksaiz65

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I was a stem major then switched to the business side and now I work for the state that has nothing to do with stem or business.

I think youve been conditioned too much by society into believing life is linear. You might end up as a dating coach on YouTube for all you know. Just look at the amount of dating coaches that said “man I used to be an office chode making 6 figures but I was never happy. Now I get to travel around the world and hit on women all day and have nerds pay me for it.”

The important thing is hard work. Effort and attitude. It’s not about what you will end up doing. It’s the person you will become. You might end up in Africa trying to raise money to bring water to villages. Life is unpredictable.

But what person will you become? Will you become someone with an indestructible mindset who gives 100% effort or will you be a half a$$ed victim your whole life? The first guy will make money REGARDLESS but he will also become a great leader, and the second guy MIGHT make money but he will become a loser mentally and spiritually.
I didn't realize you were a STEM Major too. What concentration? And what do you do now?

Yeah, I'll endorse that. Hard work is the only way to get anywhere. I'd say it should be part of your value system as a man.

You'd probably disagree with me but that dating coach lifestyle sounds like a dream lol.

Gotta be that first guy. Excellent post, very insightful.
 

Lookatu

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I've been doing lots of reflection on it, and I'm finally 100% sure that programming is what I want to do. I really love it. Even if it makes me wanna put my head through a wall sometimes lol. It's 1/2 of my purpose and I'm glad I finally realized that lol. The fact that you can make really good money from it is just icing on the cake.
I'll throw this in only because you are young and don't necessarily need the stability of older guys. I've been in the industry for years.
Based on the fact that you want to do your musical gig and also programming, I'd really recommend you looking into just being a contractor for now. It will allow you to leverage your own schedule and location(location independent sometimes). Also the office politics can be comical and career damaging at times. Like if you had a narcissistic and toxic boss that keeps you down in some way or prevents you from advancing as fast. Contracting jobs can pay more too. If you are under 25, you can still leverage being under your parents health insurance. You have the leverage of being temp meaning you can walk away at anytime so they know that and have to treat you a certain way if they find you do good work. It can also work against you as they can get rid of you anytime. But the fact that you are very passionate about programming, I'm positive you will be a shining star in the industry. Just know when to bail once that passion fades or goes away and look for a plan B. I started out with the same passion but after xx amount of years, I'm looking for my plan b now.
 

Bible_Belt

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As was said, combining the two skill sets is the sweet spot. Think about the needs of musicians that could be met by new software or apps. There's your side hustle to keep you sane while you work the 9 to 5.
 
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taiyuu_otoko

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There's plenty of demand for DAW plugins and plenty of that demand is filled by musicians/programmers.

I'm on a couple email lists for software instruments/plugins, and they've always got new stuff.

plugin boutique / ADSR / KVR etc.

The entire EDM industry is software driven (ableton push, kontakt, etc.)
 

ubercat

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Plan C work arse off to get good at coding for a while. Go contracting. Between contracts gig.

Plan D run as hobby gig locally and upload to radio and platforms hope to go viral with one hitl like Amy shark or tones and I did. But make sure u have a couple of great follow up tracks ready.

BTW u can amp up plan C by going digital nomad freelance from web and live I Thailand or anywhere else cheap and pleasant with hot local chicks. This makes the contract money last longer so you can spend more time gigging and producing. If I was a young guy I d be trying to build a life between Asia and Europe. The knowledge, languages and pvssy you d have would be insane. And even if u went back to USA you d permanently be worldly and exotic.

I listen to pro musician interviews sometimes on my commute. They often say things like yeah we re big in Japan. Seems good to have multiple markets. Very doable. Look up travel hacking. Pop up for gigs in your chosen countries when the flights r cheap

BTW Nick kudos again on being so open minded. Most young guys u can't get good advice in there with a crowbar. You have a helluva collection of (slightly dodgy) uncles here.
 
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I can't sleep so I'll keep this as brief as I can.

I'm a college student studying Computer Science, and I'm also a violinist. I graduate next semester. I play in a band, in orchestra, and I love music more than almost anything.

I'm following AMS' advice of getting a degree in STEM, and moving from there. I know the logical thing to do is to get my nice career, get my nice paycheck, and do music on the side to bring in even more income and follow my passion.

But whenever I think of going into programming in the work force, something in my heart wants to go into music full time and put my all into it? Logically, I know that's a very bad decision cause I'll end up broke and barely able to pay back student loans. Like making $20,000 a year as opposed to $60,000 lol. I like programming. But whenever I think about having a full time career and only doing music on the side, I feel a bit of discord and tension in my heart somewhere. Sorry if that's too mushy but that's the best way I can describe it. Like I'm "not being true to something in myself" as Pook says.

You know how our brains make rationalizations? Something tells me that this is just a very clever rationalization to get out of doing the hard work of programming, and I just need to man up and do what I need to. Don't get me wrong, I like programming, but I'm not sure why I feel this conflict when I think about my future. Logically, which is how I should operate as a man, I know that I need to get a good education in STEM like AMS said, and then get my music money on the side, as well as pursuing my passion that way.

I just wanted some thoughts from the guys around here on this purpose type stuff. Any way I can crush these feelings and act logically? Thoughts?
Let me give you two pieces of advice I wish someone gave my sorry ass 10 years ago.

1) The term career is about as specific as the term vertebrate. Fish,Humans, Birds and Whales are all vertebrates but they have not a lot else in common. I started in hospitality management and now work in fintech. who the hell would've predicted that lol

2) Markets (and accordingly jobs) change faster and faster over time. What you need to figure out first is the domain of things you like (programming, violin, other things) and the things you cant stand doing for more than 10 mins ( lets say counselling people in my case) The more specificity you get on those two axes the more you'll realize you need one type of job and need to not have another.

2B) Lateral shifts in careers are more and more common now. My formal training has very little to do with the 80/20 of the tasks in my job that directly account for me being effective.

Cheers!
 

metalwater

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sounds like hedging. do the one you love to do and become the best of the best at it. it is ok to hedge for some time until you decide. for the money... both of your choice can do well. I know for sure that software can get you into 500k plus jobs as time goes past and music, a lot more if your one of the best. you need money... but keep in mind that statistically suicide is higher percentage as wealth increases. money does not buy happy. in either choice relationships with ppl will define your ability to succeed.

either way, when the money starts rolling save and invest right away as much as you can. the rainy days come when you don't expect it.
 

nicksaiz65

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Plan C work arse off to get good at coding for a while. Go contracting. Between contracts gig.

Plan D run as hobby gig locally and upload to radio and platforms hope to go viral with one hitl like Amy shark or tones and I did. But make sure u have a couple of great follow up tracks ready.

BTW u can amp up plan C by going digital nomad freelance from web and live I Thailand or anywhere else cheap and pleasant with hot local chicks. This makes the contract money last longer so you can spend more time gigging and producing. If I was a young guy I d be trying to build a life between Asia and Europe. The knowledge, languages and pvssy you d have would be insane. And even if u went back to USA you d permanently be worldly and exotic.

I listen to pro musician interviews sometimes on my commute. They often say things like yeah we re big in Japan. Seems good to have multiple markets. Very doable. Look up travel hacking. Pop up for gigs in your chosen countries when the flights r cheap

BTW Nick kudos again on being so open minded. Most young guys u can't get good advice in there with a crowbar. You have a helluva collection of (slightly dodgy) uncles here.
How hard is it to do freelance code? I had considered looking into that. I know you have to be really good at programming to do it.

I most definitely want to travel once I get my cash up. It'd be great for all the reasons you listed.

Thanks man. This website has had a really big impact on my life. It really helps me out, you guys are great
 
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nicksaiz65

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There's plenty of demand for DAW plugins and plenty of that demand is filled by musicians/programmers.

I'm on a couple email lists for software instruments/plugins, and they've always got new stuff.

plugin boutique / ADSR / KVR etc.

The entire EDM industry is software driven (ableton push, kontakt, etc.)
It's funny you mention that. My ultimate software dream would to be to work at a company developing music plugins. For Computer Science personal projects, I'm going to implement a soft synth this summer. Probably in C++.

It kinda sucks how as soon as I'm about to graduate, my school releases a track in Music Technology lol. I totally would have minored in that.
 

Papa_smu

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It's funny you mention that. My ultimate software dream would to be to work at a company developing music plugins. For Computer Science personal projects, I'm going to implement a soft synth this summer. Probably in C++.

It kinda sucks how as soon as I'm about to graduate, my school releases a track in Music Technology lol. I totally would have minored in that.
You got the programming knowledge to build these type of applications. Just do it.

We don't know what else to tell you.
 
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