|Perl: the Markov chain saw|
It doesn't seem like money is the issue, but if you are making $100K at 23, my congratulations. It seems like you are looking more for a challenge than money.
You could switch into a programming-related field like network administration. It would ease you into a new set of challenges, while allowing you to utilize your current skill set. There is also no upward limit to your progress with the amount of specialties inside networking. And don't forget: Like the kid behind the counter at Burger King, you have all the power.
Or you can drive a big rig accross country, or run heavy machinery, or work on an oil rig, or charter tours on a boat to Fantasy Island, or be a pilot, or become an electrition, or an FBI agent (they use programming a lot), or a nameless drifter, or a kissing bandit...or a sea captain...no, no, a PIRATE! Yea. Wait, no, a Viking! Yea! Oh, with your mighty axe and pilaging horde, work would not seem like work. There are tons of places to plunder. Heck, Vikings haven't attacked the Americas in nearly a thousand years. The field is wide open! You can define your own challenges and salary range. I rue the day when Deprecated becomes Deprecated the Red!
Sorry, got off track. Opportunity is all around you. There are a million jobs that you can take in a million fields, if pay is not the issue.
Unfortunately, this may not be enough for you. You seem to be leaning toward the sciences. If you want to be Stephen Hawking, you have to go back to school and get started (although Hawking didn't take a math course past the age of 17).
Please allow me to impart these 4 points, though:
Good luck, and sorry for the tirade.
In reply to Re: Advancing oneself personally and professionally as a programmer (discussion)