As jobs that were once in high demand are now making way for entirely new fields, areas of study that were once fundamental to our society are changing as well.
According to the CollegeBoard, in choosing a major the most important factor is interest level. Studying an area of interest will increase motivation and achievement alike. Choosing a major does not dictate a student’s career decisions, except in extremely specific circumstances such as nursing, accounting or engineering.
Liberal arts majors, for example, are seen as less marketable than areas of study like environmental science, engineering, and computer science. Technology continues to change the face of education and is constantly opening up new areas of study through its exploration of the world around us.
In addition to choosing a major for interest, it is recommended that if one plans to go on to graduate school, fulfilling that school’s particular course requirements is what one should focus on the most—not necessarily a preliminary major that will coincide exactly with the graduate degree you wish to pursue.
Most majors do not force an individual into a narrow field, but rather prepare us for a variety of careers.
In each field there are lucrative careers; but getting these highly valued careers is dependent upon what we do in our respective fields. Many students, however, seek careers predominantly based upon their value, and in these trying economic times, there a few careers that could be considered financially safer than others.
In “150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs” by Laurence Shatkin, the top three job categories (in terms of both earning potential and growth rate) are all computer and network systems related. Rounding out the top of the list are several jobs in the health-care industry, such as physical therapists, dental hygienists and veterinarians. Careers in the education field and government sectors are strong options as well.
Environmentally friendly careers are in high demand as the green industry is exploding.
According to the US Department of Labor, over $500 million has gone to the Recovery Act initiative in workforce training and development for careers in this expanding industry.
As the world population increases and places greater strain on our planet, this is going to be a highly sought after industry.
Many students worry that liberal arts degrees will not be the best tool in securing a financially safe job, however others feel differently.
“I am not worried about getting a job after college,” fourth-year English major Rebecca Aranda said, “that is a common stereotype that English majors cannot get a job after college but I feel that if you know what you want to do with it, it will work out. I have always known I have wanted to be an editor and I am willing to edit for anything, magazines, newspapers, books … I already know what publishing houses I am going to apply to after school.”
In an article by Maggie Jackson, the Boston Globe recommends finding specific careers to pursue. For example, the publication mentions becoming a “specialized teacher” or a teacher who is an expert in “math, science, special education, and English as a second language.”
The Globe also recommends becoming a “home health aid or nurse” for the older population who want their health care at home.
For guidance, Linda Drake, Interim Director of the UCI Career Center recommends that students use the UCI Career Center, an always available source of advice with mostly free services.
“Take advantage while you can,” Drake said.
The three steps that are recommended by the UCI Career Center to determine possible career choices are to learn about different careers, talk to individuals already working in the field of interest and experience the field.
The UCI Career Center helps students find an internship, volunteer position, a full or part-time job, or a position where the student can shadow a professional.
Coming up next month is Career Fest, a month long program featuring over 20 panels/presentations covered fields from gaming to federal government to human to bio-technology and science to animation and everything in-between.