Going to school

my job is closing its doors Dec 31st and is offering 3 years of school what all should i take to make myself better with the glow forge?


It depends on what you hope to do with your Glowforge. Graphic design, industrial design, or pretty much anything with design in the title. Or, if you are hoping to run your own business based on the Glowforge, business classes may be very helpful, as well.

Sorry to hear your job is ending but I’m kind of jealous of the 3 years of school. My job was eliminated 3 years ago and all I was offered was as much part time work as they could give me. It has worked out OK but I would have loved to go back to school. Best of luck to you.


You could take poetry and your student ID will get you student pricing on professional software packages. So that’s a plus. But any class that teaches how to use a solid modeling program like SolidWorks would be a huge plus as would any graphics class. You may also want to consider the art department: textiles, paper, metal working, etc… should all provide ideas on what you can do with various materials as well as teach techniques. It’s then up to you to figure out how to make it better, faster, quicker with a laser.


Aw man…hate to see another business closing shop…we need to get some more jobs in this country, not more businesses going under. :worried:

I’m going to buck the trend here, and recommend something that does not have anything to do with the Glowforge.

Take vocational tech courses. What do we need in this country that we don’t have? More people who understand electronics, plumbing, installation, air-conditioning, management. Job site supervisors. Builders. These are the jobs that no one wants to do, there’s no cachet to them, but they are in desperately short supply, and responsible, reliable workers who do know how to do the job, and do it well, command a steady high-paid income, and will have more work than they can handle. (All the multi-millionaires that I know started in plumbing, A/C repair or wholesale supply, built their own businesses up from the ground, and most of them never went to college.)

Take a few courses in Spanish. (Site supervisors currently need to be bi-lingual. Being bi-lingual is also an asset in most of the service professions now.)

Medical technology and records. Dental hygienists - they are always working no matter what. (Serious shortage.)

Other Service Industries. Professional geriatric care. (The time is coming, and very very soon.)

Machinists. (That could be Glowforge related i suppose.) CNC machines. Any of the design software packages (Illustrator, Solidworks, CAD, 3D Printing) will help with that, but they will be included in the courses.

Three years of serious training in any of those fields will make you an “object of great demand” to employers. There are so many graphics design experts already that trying to break into that very saturated industry is only going to be economically feasible for the truly gifted.

Good luck! :slight_smile:


Was recently talking to a guy who runs a series of vo-tec schools and he was most proud of a recent ‘welding academy’ that he was involved with. Seems that they run a 12-month program where they drug test prior to acceptance, random testing during the program, and end-of-course testing --> seems that reliable, steady working, and drug-free job candidates are in very great demand and capture high wages. But I’m sure you already knew that. Best of luck!__


That was a very thoughtful, comprehensive, and well-informed list. Were I still of employment age and not loving being retired, that list would have been really useful to me, as well. :wink:


Are you in the USA? Might you be in California by chance? If so, here is an interesting website: Salary Surfer.

The site lists majors offered in CA community colleges with actual data of how much money people make before and after earning a degree (at 1 and 5 year marks).

Even if not in USA or CA, it might be interesting to take a look at the types of wages folks commonly earn per major.

Something to keep in mind - the data is for 2 year degrees. Many degrees are transfer preparation for students finishing a B.A. at a university. So, English, for instance, will show low earnings with an A.A., but that’s primarily because the students continue with college after graduation rather than getting a job right away.

Good luck!!


During a time I had a low point in my career, I went to see my GP for some related depression / anxiety issues because of it. I told him I was considering changing careers because it had stopped being as fun anymore. Perhaps one of the things that stuck in my mind the most was when he said, “You could get a job in the health care industry. There’s no shortage of people with health issues, and it only gets worse as you work longer in the field.” And sure enough, geriatrics is a booming business.

Lately I’ve been dating a doctor (specialist), and she’s a Type-A personality that strives off chaos. Depending on the level you want to go and the pay you’re looking for, it’ll differ by as much as $100K.

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Yeah, you pretty much have to be a Type-A to thrive on that! :relaxed:

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Look into course of industrial design maybe? learning cad, inkscape, solidworks and design principals is all covered in the program. ergonomics, sensory aspects of design, manufacturing process, package design, interaction design, business marketing are all the classes in the program. Some school offer 2 year diplomas

More of this! Tech field is needing people everywhere The pay is good but the tuition is insane. If I had an employer wiling to pay for it, that’s where I’d be.

Also like @caribis2 said, you can get great discounts on adobe products etc. just for being a student

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I have been thinking about my formal education. What I remember most and still remains a part of me was taught by excellent teachers. I had many that never engaged me. I had a handful that changed me for the better. whatever you decide check out the professors or teachers. I think we short change the role of the prof and focus on content or end product. Find a fantastic department of something you are even only minimally interested in. Let the teacher change you and you will become something greater than before. The surprise is worth it. I try to get my nieces and nephews to look at graduate school opportunities while doing bachelors programs. Hook yourself to a star and enjoy the ride.


Boy, I would love to spend a few years learning design - both graphic and industrial. I would definitely grab the opportunity to go deep in Illustrator and CAD if you can, along with the art and engineering classes to put them to good use!


Well, at 28 I looked at myself after being laid off twice when my companies/divisions closed - the second time the night before my wedding with no warning (working in IT/computer-science) and realized hey, I actually wanted to be a doctor (long back story involving SCUBA diving and a dislocated shoulder).

So I went back, took the premed prerequisites (very tough since I was a manager of an IT dept and running the software dev team) and then went off to medical school in the 90s. I have combined CS, making and being a doctor professionally (I do see patients, program and make sometimes all in the same day).

Don’t be afraid to make a giant leap if the thing at the end is something you want. Also don’t get rid of what you already have. I have colleagues who were writers and poets and do that and see patients, and I have others who are artists because that’s their background. Never just make a leap, but rather grow from what you have to some new superset.


Take courage.

Talk to the professors. And to the grad students. And to anyone who will listen to you at all.

But even more… listen to those people.

Show an interest in what people are doing, then let them show off for you. You learn amazing things.

Do not limit yourself to what is in the catalog and offered in official courses. Go pester people, or make yourself useful. The good learning and resources are out of the classrooms.


Good advice @jacobturner. My son just finished Syracuse in 3 years - his motto was “fill your bandwidth”. If you just follow the herd’s recommendations you’ll find a lot of free time on your hands that could be put to productive use. You have more capacity than the typical schedule and program will fill.


I’m in the same boat, retired and no longer of employment age. I might add, however, Commercial Refrigeration seems to be in short supply, and with a drug store on every corner pharmacy or pharmacy technician are also in demand.

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But pharmacists are no longer commanding the $ they used to and are now more of a worker bee than they were told they’d be when they went to school. The cost of becoming one now makes the PT route the smarter one from a ROI perspective.

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Guess that depends on where you’re working. In hospital, especially where I am they are not worker bees but an intricate part of the health care team. Invaluable!

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Sorry about my phrasing - it wasn’t a comment on their value but on how healthcare has changed their role. When I was growing up the town pharmacist(s) were right up there with the town doc(s) in terms of running their own businesses, town board members, Little League sponsors, Chamber members, etc. Now with the monster chains (CVS, Walgreens, etc) eating up every local pharmacy and even supermarkets getting into the mix, pharmacists are no longer the independent business folks they were and are almost all working for someone else who dictates their salaries, hours and locations. I still have a couple of independent pharmacist friends but they’re having a hard time surviving on a $1/scrip dispensing fee.

At the same time though, the costs of the education and licensing necessary hasn’t gone down - it’s awfully expensive to get your degree and your licenses & insurance. The ROI isn’t there like it was - decades of debt payments without the same salary levels (due to the CVS & megachain impacts) that used to be part of the package. The salaries are okay (110K avg I think) but there’s a fair amount of compression - not much more than about 25-40% delta between entry and 20 yrs experience. Other careers offer far more growth range.

To get there you need 8 years (mostly, there are some accelerated programs) of college to get your doctorate. That’s the better part of a half-million dollars just for school. How long does that take to pay back and oh, you want to get married, have kids, buy a house, etc. etc.?

We need more of them but we won’t pay for them. Sounds like teachers :slight_smile: