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Choice of Major Does Impact Jobs

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Replies to: Choice of Major Does Impact Jobs

  • JHSJHS 18405 replies72 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think cptofthehouse is being a little overbroad when she focuses on getting a STEM-type major, but right on with her message to plan for post-college employment all the time, and to make certain you are acquiring credentials that will help you get the kind of job you need. That varies with the kinds of jobs you are looking at, and also, frankly, with how much of a star you are. Be realistic.

    Also, it helps to think outside the box a little. My son -- a Sociology major, pretty much the quintessential unemployable/generalist social science category -- started way too late looking for his first post-college job, and didn't get an offer he could accept until late July. That offer, when it came, fit his skill set and interests well, but it didn't pay enough to live on or pay college loans. What it did, however, was make it possible to accept also a part-time job he had been offered in theater management (a big extra-curricular focus). With the two jobs, he could make ends meet, and position himself for better, more sustainable jobs in the future.
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  • mathmommathmom 32377 replies159 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I graduated from architecture school the year hundreds were being laid off from architecture school. In 2008 I doubt too many people were hiring real estate finance majors. I think the most important thing for kids in humanities and social sciences is to have summer work that gives them skills. My son had experience in scheduling people , running conferences, using Excel spreadsheets and managing people before he graduated. It still took a couple of internships to get a real job offer and by then he decided that NGO work wasn't really the direction he wanted to go. He went on the Officer Candidate School for the Navy where they didn't care what he'd majored in as long as he did well on their entry exam. (He got his first choice branch.)
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3367 replies168 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    But, doesn't everybody get the same advice, "If you're going to major in [fill in useless liberal arts subject here], then, are you prepared to become a teacher?" Nothing so concentrated my mind as a young 18 y/o than the possibility of having to become a NYC public school teacher!
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78233 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    JHS wrote: »
    I think cptofthehouse is being a little overbroad when she focuses on getting a STEM-type major, but right on with her message to plan for post-college employment all the time, and to make certain you are acquiring credentials that will help you get the kind of job you need. That varies with the kinds of jobs you are looking at, and also, frankly, with how much of a star you are. Be realistic.

    Of course, many new entrants to the work force have little familiarity with how hiring works. If their parents and other associates are not in similar kinds of work, that may be even more of a disadvantage, akin to first-generation-to-college students. But hiring for jobs is much more opaque and holistic than even the most opaque and holistic college admissions (and job hiring has much stronger and widely accepted networking/nepotism preferences than college admissions legacy preferences).
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 1366 replies35 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 6
    In a world that's constantly changing at ever faster pace, too much specialization isn't necessarily a good thing, especially for a young college graduate with long career ahead. Automation and AI will replace many jobs, even the ones that're still considered safe from automation today. A "generalist" with the right skill set and an ability to adapt, to specialize on short notice, and to reinvent himself/herself will more likely survive the world of tomorrow.
    edited September 6
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  • jzducoljzducol 734 replies12 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited September 6
    ^That's a lot of cynicism about job hiring. In STEM related fields the hiring is usually pretty meritocratic.

    I agree with OP's message that parents would be wise to remind their kids of job prospects of their college studies rather than just encourage them to follow their passion.

    Engineering/CS/math jobs are great equalizers for college graduates regardless of the programs or schools---a Princeton CS grad and San Jose State grad would have about the same chance at a Google engineering position. But the same cannot be said about an English major. If a Princeton English major cannot find a job in related field he can always try a decent paying gig in consulting, I-banking or etc.

    The reality is that for most non-elite college students without connections, a STEM major will go a long way to insure good job prospect after college.
    edited September 6
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2194 replies3 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The purpose behind college is to get yourself on solid footing to build a career. You have a whole lifetime to pursue further interests and passions. but while you're at it, you have something worthwhile to pay the bills. I made that mistake with my bachelors degree and I ended-up pigeon-holed in low paying jobs for several years. I finally went back to school and started a new career.

    The job market is more forgiving than you think. Few people who start careers stay there after graduating. Many change jobs, others change industries, it's very common for people to change careers. The key is to have something to fall back on until passions can be fulfilled. Some people can make a career out of their passions, but it's not that way with everyone.
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3367 replies168 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Few people who start careers stay there after graduating. Many change jobs, others change industries, it's very common for people to change careers.

    Doesn't that cut both ways? Why on earth would anyone spend tens of thousands of dollars on an education that only prepares them for the worst job one will ever have?
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 26754 replies174 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 6
    The purpose behind college is to get yourself on solid footing to build a career.

    sez you. :wink:
    edited September 6
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  • barronsbarrons 23047 replies1953 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I graduated with a degree in RE investments from a program rated as one of the top in that area. It was one of the few majors at the school that several IBs recruited directly for analyst jobs in NYC. So did many other top RE firms. Internships were plentiful and specific to the field. If you knew what you wanted it was a great place to be.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78233 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    blossom wrote: »
    Hiring is now opaque? Give me a break!

    It may be less opaque than it used to be, but it is still more opaque than (for example) college admissions.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78233 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Rivet2000 wrote: »
    coolguy40 wrote: »
    The purpose behind college is to get yourself on solid footing to build a career. You have a whole lifetime to pursue further interests and passions.
    gwnorth wrote: »
    Others would argue that the purpose behind a university education is to produce well informed upstanding citizens capable of rational and analytical thought.

    If a student plays their cards right they can, indeed, do both simultaneously. Problems *may* be introduced if they only do one.

    Of course, that assumes that they have decent cards -- parental circumstances and choices are probably the dominant factor in what choices one has for post-high-school education.
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  • mackinawmackinaw 3017 replies53 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 6
    Some of the arguments in the opening essay are simplistic or nonsensical. Take the diatribe against majoring in social science. Which disciplines might this include? In addition to core disciplines such as political science, psychology, geography, sociology, and economics, there may be applied majors in urban planning or other areas.

    Most of these disciplines have a strong math/statistics core. My son majored in econ, and he was very interested in applied math and statistics. Those skills and methods are the basis of a very successful career. Graduates in geography or urban planning who have skills in the use of "geographic information systems" (GIS), may have marketable technical skills. Those skills, perhaps combined with advanced training, will open some doors.

    A student who majors in just about anything as an undergrad but who has core analytical skills including writing and applied math and statistics can make a career in business (perhaps after earning an MBA), or a career in applied policy analysis, urban planning and administration, or other areas.
    edited September 6
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  • NorthernMom61NorthernMom61 4179 replies30 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I agree that "choice of major does impact jobs," as the OP titled this thread. BUT, I don't believe being in STEM guarantees success/financial security/whatever, nor does studying a more traditionally liberal arts major (I majored in psychology with a lot of biology courses) sentence a young person to an low paying or unfulling career. It is so much more complex than that and always boils down to the individual who has said degrees.

    I do know as a parent, that I rest well at night knowing that my daughter loves what she does and is making progress toward what she says/thinks her goals are at this moment in time (and these goals have less to do with income and more to do with contributing to health care in our society). She happens to be in a STEM field that she absolutely loves, but if she were miserable doing that I'm not sure that would be a good or healthy situation.
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