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stormguy80

Reconsider majoring in meteorology!

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It seems to me a lot of the arguments that the OP made could be said about a lot of jobs. For example, automation. Does it worry me some? Yes. However, there's few jobs out there that aren't subject to being automated. My dad is an airline pilot. I'm not sure if there will be any airline pilots in 50 years. My uncle works on the railroad. Will trains be completely automated in 50 years? Low-level jobs are susceptible, as well, such as cashiering. A lot of office jobs could probably be automated in the future. Middle-management is susceptible. Even a salesman is susceptible if you believe something like the "Manna" story by Marshall Brain could happen.

I know the environment is not great, but it's hard to see me doing anything else outside of something related to aviation and that's certainly susceptible to automation. You just have to do what you love and it will hopefully work out. NC State is a good engineering school and there are more jobs available in the engineering sector, but I just can't see going through four years of boring classes related to engineering and then working at a boring engineering job. The only engineering which I would be interested in is aviation engineering.

That was a bit long-winded, but while the OP has valid points, I just feel like he's being a little reactive based on some sort of personal experience he had.

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That says it right there, in bold. What are they going to say? We are really struggling and aren't showing much growth?

But yeah, I will also say with private weather experience of my own they are doing better as long as they can sell to their potential customers the cost/benefit and that paying now will save a lot later.

But because of this, competition is also growing a lot amongst private sector companies and therefore margins are generally down. A lot of state DOT contracts are bidded contracts, for instance, and often times they MUST take the lowest bid (regardless of quality of product as long as certain stipulations are met in the contract) from a private company. What does that mean? The lowest bidder wins and eventually even these private companies really aren't making a lot of cash. Throw in the massive supply of mets to the tiny demand and private sector companies can generally get away with paying much less with smaller benefits.

The key for a private company is to show WHY the client SHOULD pay for a forecast. You can get a reasonably accurate, basic forecast for your area for the next 7 days for free, anywhere in the country, from the National Weather Service. A private company has to show WHY THEY are better and WHY the client should pay!

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I majored in in meteorology for a year before changing to journalism. I heard all the same things while I was in school, but I switched for other reasons to another very competitive field. However, I was fortunate enough to land a decent job with competitive pay and benefits three months after graduating.

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I graduated with a degree in Atmospheric Science back in 97, worked very briefly as a forecaster, but saw things were tough in the fields, so went back immediately to get a masters in Information Systems. I have been in that field ever since and keeping this as a hobby, but also looking for ways of possibly mixing the two fields together somehow.

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Although the economy certainly has declined in a lot of white collar fields, I still see meteorology as extremely competitive and in general offering jobs where the total compensation does not keep up with inflation. There are some great meteorology jobs out there, but from my experience they are very few and far between. More so than other professional and science based fields.

I did a bit of freelance and part-time work in the field after getting my degree, but my mind was made up in my junior year I wanted to be involved in a career that wasn't so competitive and where the fruits of my labor weren't so "under appreciated" (not the right words, but the best I can come up with at 9:30 at night after a Browns loss and two Christmas Ale's).

Meteorology is a lot of fun and I really enjoy it, but mainly as a hobby. I'm glad I had the foresight to think about other careers because I don't think I'd be content as a full-time meteorologist. Most people have significant life changes in the first 10 years after college, like moving, family, marriage, kids, mortgage, etc. The fact is if you appreciate family life (living close to relatives) and having a decent middle class lifestyle doing it through meteorology is going to be very challenging. If you don't love it and breath it, and if you can't imagine living it, loving it and breathing it when you are 35 then start looking in other directions.

I was talking to a friend who also graduated with a degree in meteorology about 10 years ago as well. He worked for the NWS and eventually left because he hated the shift work, and now like most meteorologists is doing something totally different, but as he was getting his M.S. he realized meteorology wasn't as important as it was when he was 19. Anyway, I think we both regret getting our degrees in meteorology. It's always great to have something to fall back on, and personally I don't think meteorology is a good degree to fall back on.

It's a great hobby though. :rolleyes:

There is no right or wrong answer. Everyone has their own needs and wants, and obviously some will succeed and flourish in the field and never look back. For most graduates in meteorology though, well, they will fail. I wish colleges would do a better job at giving realistic career prospects to potential meteorology majors, but I'm guessing their first agenda is making $$$. I also hope meteorology majors have enough foresight to think what will be important in their lives 10, 20 and 30 years from now.

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You guys keep telling yourself that but the evidence suggests meteorology is one of the worst in terms of making a career out of it. Yes, other fields have some of the same characteristics such as lack of jobs but I would argue with meteorology its far worst than most since most peoples definition of "tough finding a job" means tough finding a job within 1 hour of where you are living (say in LA, New York or whatever) whereas with meteorology it can mean not being able to find a job anywhere. Also, other fields have the automation issue. The thing is with meteorology, its all these issues rolled into one. Also, its not so much about my experience, though I admit I have had some tough times, but what I've see many others go through and what I know for fact is happening at these sweat shops and not just to a few people. This isn't just me who's saying this. All the evidence is there. Just read this: http://www.ucar.edu/governance/meetings/oct08/followup/head_and_chairs/john_knox.pdf. Ask anyone who has worked at Weatherbank or accuweather or Fleetweather. I'd love it if I was wrong but the evidence strongly indicates I'm not.

It seems to me a lot of the arguments that the OP made could be said about a lot of jobs. For example, automation. Does it worry me some? Yes. However, there's few jobs out there that aren't subject to being automated. My dad is an airline pilot. I'm not sure if there will be any airline pilots in 50 years. My uncle works on the railroad. Will trains be completely automated in 50 years? Low-level jobs are susceptible, as well, such as cashiering. A lot of office jobs could probably be automated in the future. Middle-management is susceptible. Even a salesman is susceptible if you believe something like the "Manna" story by Marshall Brain could happen.

I know the environment is not great, but it's hard to see me doing anything else outside of something related to aviation and that's certainly susceptible to automation. You just have to do what you love and it will hopefully work out. NC State is a good engineering school and there are more jobs available in the engineering sector, but I just can't see going through four years of boring classes related to engineering and then working at a boring engineering job. The only engineering which I would be interested in is aviation engineering.

That was a bit long-winded, but while the OP has valid points, I just feel like he's being a little reactive based on some sort of personal experience he had.

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You guys keep telling yourself that but the evidence suggests meteorology is one of the worst in terms of making a career out of it. Yes, other fields have some of the same characteristics such as lack of jobs but I would argue with meteorology its far worst than most since most peoples definition of "tough finding a job" means tough finding a job within 1 hour of where you are living (say in LA, New York or whatever) whereas with meteorology it can mean not being able to find a job anywhere. Also, other fields have the automation issue. The thing is with meteorology, its all these issues rolled into one. Also, its not so much about my experience, though I admit I have had some tough times, but what I've see many others go through and what I know for fact is happening at these sweat shops and not just to a few people. This isn't just me who's saying this. All the evidence is there. Just read this: http://www.ucar.edu/...s/john_knox.pdf. Ask anyone who has worked at Weatherbank or accuweather or Fleetweather. I'd love it if I was wrong but the evidence strongly indicates I'm not.

You are beating a dead horse as a figure of speech. You made your view point known in your first post.

The positives and negatives have been discussed and are typically know unless you live under a bridge in this industry.

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Exactly. And the irony is, these private companies who sell their product as being better than the NWS have the mets who aren't as good or don't have as much experience since anyone who can gets into the NWS where the pay and benifits, etc..are far better.

The key for a private company is to show WHY the client SHOULD pay for a forecast. You can get a reasonably accurate, basic forecast for your area for the next 7 days for free, anywhere in the country, from the National Weather Service. A private company has to show WHY THEY are better and WHY the client should pay!

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They are known by most in the industry but not by most who are in school and as long as their are people who keep insisting that "its like a lot of fields in that way" or "just work hard / do the right things and you'll be ok" people reading this will choose to believe the positive posts at their own peril.

You are beating a dead horse as a figure of speech. You made your view point known in your first post.

The positives and negatives have been discussed and are typically know unless you live under a bridge in this industry.

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They are known by most in the industry but not by most who are in school and as long as their are people who keep insisting that "its like a lot of fields in that way" or "just work hard / do the right things and you'll be ok" people reading this will choose to believe the positive posts at their own peril.

:deadhorse: :deadhorse:

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I think their are alot of facts hit on by stormguy80.

It is for these reason I have more respect than ever for those who are meteorologist today. Not so much on-air meteorologist, I got a glimpse of that with an intership awhile back....more so for private and govt. mets today. The sacrifices made to carry on within the profession, the hours, the stress, the overall underappreciation financially can really wear on a person.

I made the decision to walk away from the profession after 5 years in the private sector. I enjoyed what I did more than any job I will ever have, but EVERYTHING else about it slowly drained my desire to continue as a meteorologist. I had no desire to relocate out of the general location where I was living, nor did I feel like working the number of hours I did which took a toll on my personal/family life.

I was able to find a job in a totally unrelated profession, one that I could have gotten straight out of high school most likely, making ten thousand dollars a year more than I made while being a meteorologist. Add onto that, sleeping nights, holidays and weekends off and my battery was able to recharge after about 6 months at my new job.

After going through what I have, when I look at those meteorologist out there today, I know they are all busting their asses and care about their jobs probably more than anyone in any other profession. Its a damn shame they aren't rewarded for it like they should be but I give them all the credit in the world as they continue what they are doing.

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They are known by most in the industry but not by most who are in school and as long as their are people who keep insisting that "its like a lot of fields in that way" or "just work hard / do the right things and you'll be ok" people reading this will choose to believe the positive posts at their own peril.

It's ok, sometimes people have different opinions than other people. In fact, it's actually completely normal.

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stormguy - not sure you are qualified to say anything more than meteorology is amongst the most competitive fields to try and make a living in. Seems like you will only be satisfied if people say it is "the most", period. You made your point, time to move on.

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You guys keep telling yourself that but the evidence suggests meteorology is one of the worst in terms of making a career out of it. Yes, other fields have some of the same characteristics such as lack of jobs but I would argue with meteorology its far worst than most since most peoples definition of "tough finding a job" means tough finding a job within 1 hour of where you are living (say in LA, New York or whatever) whereas with meteorology it can mean not being able to find a job anywhere. Also, other fields have the automation issue. The thing is with meteorology, its all these issues rolled into one. Also, its not so much about my experience, though I admit I have had some tough times, but what I've see many others go through and what I know for fact is happening at these sweat shops and not just to a few people. This isn't just me who's saying this. All the evidence is there. Just read this: http://www.ucar.edu/...s/john_knox.pdf. Ask anyone who has worked at Weatherbank or accuweather or Fleetweather. I'd love it if I was wrong but the evidence strongly indicates I'm not.

It is common knowledge that schools are graduating more students than there are jobs, and by a very large margin compared to other fields. Combined with the competitive nature of meteorology to begin with, not to mention the economy right now, this does make meteorology one of the most competitive fields out there. It's hard to be an astronaut, too. And don't even get me started on trying to be an NFL quarterback. Meteorology is a dream career for many, and that's another big reason for the stiff competition. You're up against people with a major passion for job they're applying for. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket. As many have suggested, a backup plan is advisable. It shouldn't be a huge burden to do so, considering that most of the advice given here already entails diversifying yourself and expanding your skill set.

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I majored or thought about majoring in meteorology at _______________________, but __________________ informed me about the crappy job market, so I ended up majoring/minoring in ________________ . It was a really great choice for me because I ended up getting a great job in the ____________________ industry; now I make $______________, own ____ cars, and have a __________,000,000 square foot house. Great hobby though.

/thread

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I'm currently a non traditional student (returned to school at 28 - now 30 years old working on my first B.S.) and I can tell you that after 10 years of working in corporate America and running my own businesses that there is no such thing as a slam dunk manner in which to attain employment. It is hard out there and its a grind for the vast majority of people so it should come as no surprise that this is the case with recent graduates of meteorology programs.

The math for incoming graduates if obviously poor. There is no way around that. The fact remains, as many people in this thread have stated, that although there are many graduates that doesn't mean you have to place yourself as an average graduate. There are so many ways to distinguish yourself amount the job seekers from the obvious of doing well in your classes and getting excellent grades to doing your best to network and meet people. Attend every conference you can as an undergrad and meet people there. Help out with research at your institution in any way you can and seek out opportunities such as internships.

The results in your job search are largely a function of the kind of work you put into yourself before the job search even begins.

When returning to school, my plan as to get a B.S. in Atmospheric Sciences but unfortunately my significant other attained employment in an area with no schools offering an undergrad AS degree. That forced my hand into entering an Environmental Science program but in the end I think I may come out all the better for it. That being said, my end game was never going to be the B.S. but at the very least an M.S. although a PhD is really what I would like to attain. I assume that I'm like many of you who post/read on this board. I have a huge desire to understand the atmosphere but I'm not limited to interest in that field. I have quite a bit of desire to learn about many aspects of all earth/physical sciences and if I have to be pragmatic in the end and choose a route outside of atmospheric science but within the general realm of earth science I don't think I'll skip a beat.

Ultimately its a scary time to be looking for a job in any profession.

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For all the complaining about just GETTING a job being a problem, my experience myself and among others is that often times the 2nd or 3rd job is the harder one to get...the reason being the field is so low paying, as a result even though you might have strong experience after 4, 6, or 10 years alot of the hiring companies are going to tend to go for the less experienced guy they can pay less money too.

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The math for incoming graduates if obviously poor. There is no way around that.

Ds get degrees, at least that was the case at my university, some of the bigger ones like PSU, OU, Wisconsin that is not the case, notice to all....if you are weak in math I'd strongly advise going to one of the smaller schools, they tend not to have the C or C- requirement for core courses and generally are more forcast based....nobody is going to ask for your transcript the majority of the time outside the NWS and even if they do they could give a rat's booty about your Ds in math if your Met class grades were good.

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Ds get degrees, at least that was the case at my university, some of the bigger ones like PSU, OU, Wisconsin that is not the case, notice to all....if you are weak in math I'd strongly advise going to one of the smaller schools, they tend not to have the C or C- requirement for core courses and generally are more forcast based....nobody is going to ask for your transcript the majority of the time outside the NWS and even if they do they could give a rat's booty about your Ds in math if your Met class grades were good.

Good news for me... :P I just got a C- in Calc 1.

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I can't remember what I got, it was either C-, C or D+...I know that much.

Yeah I think its a given if you are a Met you do poorly in calc. I got a C in calc 1, a C- in calc 2 and Calc 3.

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The results in your job search are largely a function of the kind of work you put into yourself before the job search even begins.

I agree, at least to some extent.

One of my friends works at a college career services office. She told me that many students skip the workshops/events that are offered beginning sophomore year and afterward and only show up during their senior year (sometimes spring semester!). At the risk of being overly blunt, if that situation is representative across many campuses, it shows a lack of urgency and foresight on the part of students to explore/develop career options at a time when extra preperation is essential. Waiting until the last year simply won't cut it. Others will already have made contacts, developed professional networks (and alumni can be helpful in that respect), had concrete internship/volunterr/parttime experience, etc., and will be at an advantage. Companies will tend to choose a candidate with somewhat of a proven track record than another applicant simply based on first or second-impressions from interviews. In the current climate where companies are even more risk averse than average and many are relying more on temporary workers, concrete experience and relationships are of paramount importance. Ultimately, a student who has demonstrated a capacity to work well at an organization e.g., via an internship, is at a qualitative advantage over another who lacks similar experience. Such experience is probably the best predictor as to how well that student will perform once employed, hence the risk of employing him/her is less than doing so for a student who lacks such experience.

Finally, as noted previously, I don't minimize the challenges facing today's generation of college students. The difficulties getting into the workforce are deeply worrying. Nonetheless, an engaged student can increase his/her opportunities, and those increased opportunities can raise the prospects as to whether that student will be employed immediately upon graduation.

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I quit my idea of being a MET after my first year in college. The math I needed was RIDICULOUS.

I am SO glad I got out.

I have a good job that I like and I am making more now than I would have being a MET.

I can still have meteorology as a hobby. No problem with that.

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The key for a private company is to show WHY the client SHOULD pay for a forecast. You can get a reasonably accurate, basic forecast for your area for the next 7 days for free, anywhere in the country, from the National Weather Service. A private company has to show WHY THEY are better and WHY the client should pay!

There is a LOT more to private forecasting other than just predicting the temperature and precipitation, etc. weather elements out to 7-10 days. There's a lot of value in extended range forecasting, as well as client-specific forecasts that are tailored to their needs, whether it be power, trading, production, risk and safely, agricultural or anything else that the clients need a weather forecast for (both nationally and globally). Imagine if the thousands of companies that receive specific discussions and get daily client calls all decided to call the NWS for more information.

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Ds get degrees, at least that was the case at my university, some of the bigger ones like PSU, OU, Wisconsin that is not the case, notice to all....if you are weak in math I'd strongly advise going to one of the smaller schools, they tend not to have the C or C- requirement for core courses and generally are more forcast based....nobody is going to ask for your transcript the majority of the time outside the NWS and even if they do they could give a rat's booty about your Ds in math if your Met class grades were good.

I've never heard of a school allowing you to get Ds in your core courses. I thought it was the same everywhere... I know here you need at LEAST a C for any prerequisite or course required by your major. And while they may not ask for your transcript I'd still wager it is better to have good grades. :P

Yeah I think its a given if you are a Met you do poorly in calc. I got a C in calc 1, a C- in calc 2 and Calc 3.

That's not necessarily true. ;)

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LOL

What I meant by my statement was not that all mets did poorly in math courses but that the number of openings compared to the number of graduates was not in our favor as has been pointed out in this thread.

I will say this, however. I'm never worried what a potential employer will think of my transcripts. However, I do want to present the best transcript possible for my graduate school applications and I don't plan on having Ds in any core classes. I don't think many Mets should be thinking of a B.S. as a terminal degree, but thats just my opinion.

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I also have to LOL at all of the C/D grade discussion going on... I would have abandoned ship if I was getting those kind of grades in calc. The last two years of your met degree involves quite a few advanced calc-based atmos courses, so you'd better know how to do it! Sure, you use very little of it (if any at all) once you're out forecasting, but that doesn't mean you're allowed to walk away with Cs and Ds in core classes and expect to be favored in the job market.

EDIT: Also, it CERTAINLY won't fly if you go on to grad school (if you can even get in with those grades). Most colleges require that you maintain a B average in your graduate courses... at least in atmos.

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LOL

What I meant by my statement was not that all mets did poorly in math courses but that the number of openings compared to the number of graduates was not in our favor as has been pointed out in this thread.

I will say this, however. I'm never worried what a potential employer will think of my transcripts. However, I do want to present the best transcript possible for my graduate school applications and I don't plan on having Ds in any core classes. I don't think many Mets should be thinking of a B.S. as a terminal degree, but thats just my opinion.

My comment wasn't directed at you, fwiw. I understood what you meant. And yes, I agree with your post. Best of luck to you and congrats for going back!

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I also have to LOL at all of the C/D grade discussion going on... I would have abandoned ship if I was getting those kind of grades in calc. The last two years of your met degree involves quite a few advanced calc-based atmos courses, so you'd better know how to do it! Sure, you use very little of it (if any at all) once you're out forecasting, but that doesn't mean you're allowed to walk away with Cs and Ds in core classes and expect to be favored in the job market.

EDIT: Also, it CERTAINLY won't fly if you go on to grad school (if you can even get in with those grades). Most colleges require that you maintain a B average in your graduate courses... at least in atmos.

graduate courses are a joke compared to what you are put through in an undergraduate curriculum. Also, as you know, the calc courses offered by the math department is much different then the actual applied equations of an advanced level met course. Of course the theory is the same, but when it is actually applied to something that makes physical sense (as opposed to just solving problems), it is much easier.

FWIW, i sucked horribly in my undergraduate math classes, but was able to maintain decent grades in my met courses. Went on for my masters and my GPA went up by a full point.

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