On universities, would you have been better to do technical school?

Discussion in 'General Off-Topic Chat' started by FAST6191, May 8, 2018.

  1. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    So I was watching a video

    In the end it posits that many pushed into universities today would have been better served by going to a technical school and going for a trade or something. Sounded like a good topic for a discussion.

    Possible points of discussion are the value of the course as far as employability, the value of the course as far as your personal satisfaction with the resulting career, the value of the course as far as getting you prepared for your field and of course the cost of such things will want to be considered.
    Similarly if you are looking at doing such things yourself, you opted for another path, or are part way through it then your thoughts are also welcome.

    Myself. I really dislike talking about myself but as I started this I should really put something.

    After the utter farce that was selection (careers facilities at high school/sixth form school were... I think I will go with the polite phrase of actively unhelpful) I went to one. I don't regret such things, at the same time though I went through before "top up fees" were a thing that ballooned prices in the UK -- I left after 3 years (standard length in the UK for an honours bachelors) with somewhat less than a year's part time salary in debt*. My friend went a few years later and after a year had more debt for that year than I had for the whole thing, a few years after that another person I know went and after three years had multiple times a very nice annual salary.

    *said debt being inflation linked, don't have to pay back if you earn under about 18000 I think it is, it is proportional after that cap, does not trouble credit rating and generally causes me no bother and no worries at all. It is not quite as nice for the others in my later examples but still nowhere near as bad as the horror stories I hear from the US.

    As for the other parts.
    I did engineering, specifically materials engineering (best way I found to describe it is at the end it left me a so so mechanical engineer* with a serious line in how materials work, are formed, corrosion/oxidation, their failures...).
    Engineering in the UK at the time looked like "we hope you like CAD" (computer aided design aka 3d modelling for things that have to work rather than look pretty in a game or video)... oh dear. I will certainly use CAD but the thought of spending every day in front of a computer playing with it and referencing specifications -- if of a day my hands don't have a tool in them then it has been a bad day. I also found myself "overqualified" to work in a testing lab or something similar and one time a literal quote from an interview was "if something strange happens we call the people in London".
    All that almost broke me actually, and if I knew I had an American style debt hanging over me it truly would have (or I would have done the "can't catch me, I am the son of a ginger man" routine).

    Career wise... I knew an awful lot when I had left. However it was the later postgrad course I did that really focused it all into one for me, or at least I think it did -- looking back at things I had learned earlier then timeline wise it might not have been all that that saw it "crystallise". The years and years of reading and doing since have also helped tremendously.

    Trades. Most of my friends do trades, as do/did most of my ancestors that I know of. Said people also taught me an awful lot. I like trades but at the same time I really dig the maths and the mindset of hardcore engineering. I have met several in trades that are my equal in such things but they have had to fight tooth and nail and do it all off their own back where I had it by default. Likewise the bread and butter of trades is quite often something I find boring.
    I also look at the trades and the people I know are often in the late 40s and 50s, I wonder sometimes how many would have been pushed into universities should they have been born a couple of decades later.

    Back to me I knew how to do things, and had otherwise picked up computers over the years, so I was doing for me, I eventually realised others are also bound by physics so might want their stuff to work or work better, and that things which are not made any more but people still like can also be fixed. Not a particularly lucrative path but then again I never cared for that anyway.
    x65943 and CallmeBerto like this.
  2. Lilith Valentine

    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolf-husky™ definitely not Lilith

    Sep 13, 2009
    Many moons away
    I actually had to chance to go to a trade school over standard high school and at times deeply considered following my dreams of working the tech field. But I ended up going to a standard high school because I didn't really think I would have kept the same interest my entire life and thus investing a job like that so young would have only put me on a path of self-loathing. Admittedly though I would have more than likely ended up in a better job with better pay and most likely avoided a lot of the horrible years I went through. At the same time I think I would have ended up rather bored with my life and just felt like the school was a waste of my time.
  3. x65943

    x65943 Dr. Rabbi Prince X, Sr., Ed. D.

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    Jun 23, 2014
    United States
    It feels like there is a divide between tradesmen and university men in the states.

    The poorer class tend to go trade, and there isn't much room for advancement.

    No rich man will be caught sending his child anywhere but uni. And uni is where you make the connections to go far in life.

    Definitely believe tradeschool is necessary and the right option for many people. But if you are reaching for the stars you pick uni.