Don’t let your schooling get in the way of your education
You probably consider yourself lucky that you go/went to university in the US.
In many other countries students are forced to choose their track of study, or their major, early on in their university experience, or even before they start. Here in the US the academic system believes that in order for anyone to be a ‘success’ they need to be ‘well-rounded’, so we have various core requirements, that don’t necessarily relate to our future goals. This give us more freedom to study subjects that we are passionate about.
For many years students in universities throughout the United States took all types of interesting, exciting and niche courses and degrees. One could explore their passion for music in “the History of Hip Hop in Brooklyn” or expand their knowledge of our world through “United Kingdom: To Hogwarts, Harry: An Intensive Study of Harry Potter Through the British Isles.” A student could start a love affair with Navajo basket-weaving, or earn a Bachelor’s in “Popular Culture”, utilizing his or her time at university to expand his mind and widen his worldview. And then sensibility struck, the bubble burst, and reality set in.
With the economic downturn, the job market became a tougher and more competitive place, and those job seekers in it had to learn how to stand out. Realistically, a BA in “Bassoon” wasn’t going to accomplish that. Headhunters and employers were seeking employees with marketable, real-world skills, and unfortunately, being the foremost expert on women’s fashions of the 1920’s wasn’t exactly what they meant.
It is a well-known fact that university tuition costs are sky-high, and students are realizing that it’s hard to justify these costs without having significant, post- college value. With bloated student loans becoming the norm, rather than the exception, it’s important that students (and their parents) see the light at the end of the tunnel, namely a return on investment. Pursuing a degree with long-term employability may not seem like the most romantic option, but it is the one with the most opportunity.
So it’s a return to basics at the university level. It’s about gaining bankable skills that add value to you as an employee, not just as a person. It’s about being familiar with areas like basic economics and accounting, obtaining fundamental computer and engineering understanding, and being knowledgeable about the world’s current affairs, so that you are able to present your best possible self to potential employers.
After all, as a potential employee, it’s much more important that you know what’s happening on Wall Street in 2016, than what happened in the Liverpool in the 1960s.
Business News Daily compiled a very handy list of the 14 most in demand degrees for 2016. Give it a a quick look and see if your career goals align with what’s in demand.
Business – 35 percent
Computer and information sciences – 23 percent
Engineering – 18 percent
Math and statistics – 15 percent
Health professions and related clinical sciences – 14 percent
Communications technologies – 11 percent
Engineering technologies – 11 percent
Communication and journalism – 8 percent
Liberal arts and sciences, general studies and humanities – 7 percent
Science technologies – 7 percent
Social sciences – 6 percent
Biological and biomedical sciences – 6 percent
Architecture and planning – 6 percent
Education – 5 percent