I get to do some perl programming in my job, which is electronic engineering (EE). I like EE because I like to build things, I love math, and I like things that are difficult and complex.
You can get a good job with a four-year EE degree. Biology-based jobs seem to be doled out to an insider's club of PhDs, while many highly-educated people do an inordinate amount of low-level work. EE isn't like that.
For the past 20 years I have had assignments that were primarily EE hardware design, embedded system firmware, software design, and system design.
Currently I am doing hardware system design. Perl programming is a fun part of my job because I can use it to help automate my design tasks. I also use perl to glue together disparate tools, and I invent new tools for my own use. Without pesky users, software is quicker, easier, and much more fun to write! I learned this the hard way when I had an assignment writing commercial CAD software.
If you are tired of software, avoid pure digital design. It is too much like writing software in a proprietary language with a really lame compiler.
The most important thing is to find something that you can really enjoy. A hot market in a particular area will not last as long as you would like your career to. There are many reasons not to chase a quick buck. For example, when a job market cools down, you're left to compete with people who are there because they are passionate about their work.
Right now the EE job market is poor, but it has always been a cyclical business, so I expect that it will come back.
When I was in school, chemical engineering was *hot*. Oil companies offered high salaries just like dot coms did recently. The whole future of civilization itself revolved around the oil supply! Six years later it was a distant memory. Many hot careers burned brightly for a short time.
It should work perfectly the first time! - toma
In reply to Re: Advancing oneself personally and professionally as a programmer (discussion)