Yeah, I guess most of the work in cool fields is "niche work around the cool stuff", but that's still a step up from niche work around boring and ultimately useless endeavours.
> I think your question is the same that I have - how can I use the skills that I already have, but applied to something more meaningful/beneficial, in a field or job that I would enjoy as well and would be intellectually stimulating to me - maybe even - gasp - a little bit fun.
Almost. I think I have enough mental capacity to pick up one or two additional skillsets beyond just coding, and I'd love to do just that.
The way I see it, most people with good programming skills tend to stay in the pure-programming companies (that's where the easy and very well paid work is today, after all), and other fields lack people who have strong coding background.
> If you're able to move to get closer to the job or niche you want, then if I were you, I would apply to all of the companies or organizations that move your heart and does what matters to you, and then lend the skill you have to that. If it means moving, well, then do it. There's a reason that aspiring country artists move to Tennessee, for example!
It's something I'm considering, but I decided to spend some time now getting the "lay of the land" and brushing up appropriate skills, instead of trying to jump into anything in the field and random and hoping for the best. I am aware of potential relocation needs; in fact, I've already been compiling a list of possible destinations, and got a preliminary agreement from my SO that we will relocate to a different town or country if there will be a need.
> Also, don't expect that you can totally get away from the politics of "business", because I know for a fact they follow you around, even at the more exciting places.
I find it sad, but I came to the same conclusion.
> Also, if you're like me, and have not much in the way of experience that would get you into such a place, other than your dev/tech skills.. I would start finding out as many ways that I can get involved in those communities so I could start learning. Go to JPL open house day in Pasadena... go to space related meetup groups.. start one if you can't find it... anything and everything until I was able to find my way into a place I fit.
That's the one big thing I want to spend 2018 on doing seriously.
Also a caveat of my situation: I'm from Poland, which means I'll be trying to take the European angle - ITAR & stuff is limiting possible involvement with US companies.
> One more idea, that I have had as well - make your own thing if you can't find it. Start your own "space research" or something org or company
For that I have a name and a logo already made when I was in high school :). "Technology...high, on the leading edge of life" was my dream for a long time now.
 - useless at best; sometimes it might actually be socially detrimental
 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zaaCgiIP7A