Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
Many have incorrectly attributed this statement to the ancient Chinese sage Confucius. The earliest match located was published in the “Princeton Alumni Weekly” in 1982. This journal quoted a Professor of Philosophy named Arthur Szathmary as the originator of the saying. However, Mr. Szathmary attributed the words to “an old-timer” who was not identified.
Ideally, you want a job you love, however there are other considerations. Such as, will there be a job when I graduate? Will this degree translate to a job that is in demand? The optimum scenario is to pick a major you have a passion for and use it to secure a well-paying job with excellent employment prospects. This article will answer these questions.
Most importantly, a bachelor’s degree is valuable. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveyed 169 major companies in 2016. Of all responding companies, 98% said they intended to hire graduates with a bachelor’s degree. Among the top bachelor’s degrees deemed most attractive was business administration and management. The same number of respondents declared they would consider graduates who had earned a degree in accounting attractive job candidates. The latter may be attractive to Fortune 500 companies, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants will grow at 10% through 2026.
The same survey reported that M.B.As are the most desirable hires in the coming year (2017), with more than 26% of employers stating they intend to bring holders of that degree on board. Finance degrees (25%) and Accounting degrees (23.6%) were next on the desirable master’s degree list from respondents.
With the world running on technology, it makes sense that this would be a hot job market. It is. U.S. News & World Report places Software Developer as #1 with a projected addition of 253,000 jobs. Most software development jobs require bachelor’s degrees in computer science or software engineering. These programs have significant math requirements that include a sequence in calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra.
Another in-demand job in technology is a DevOps Engineer. He/she is an information technology (IT) professional who works with software developers, system operators, and other production IT staff to oversee code releases. The role calls for someone who has the necessary hard and soft skills that are required to overcome the traditional barriers between software development, testing, and operations teams. Organizations in the financial services, insurance, telecommunications, retail, manufacturing, transportation, healthcare and the public sector have all begun implementing DevOps processes.
The average pay for a Development Operations (DevOps) Engineer is $90,361 per year, according to PayScale. Experience in this profession can boost the median salary by 24-41%. The respected employment site, Glassdoor, lists the average income at $138,378 in the USA. This site has postings for 24,107 available jobs in this field as of April 2018.
One of the most in-demand professions is a Registered Nurse. The BLS projects an addition of 438,100 jobs from 2016-2026 with a median income of $68,450 with a Bachelor’s (BSN) degree. The expected 15% growth rate is much faster than average. And the unemployment rate of this profession is a meager 1.2%.
Low unemployment equates to high job prospects. There are other healthcare jobs with low unemployment. Respiratory therapists have an unemployment rate of 0.8%, according to U.S. News. This group is projected to add 30,400 jobs in 2018 with a median salary of $58,670. Higher paying jobs exist in occupational therapy and physical therapy. Their respective salaries are $81,910 and $85,400. Both these professions have an unemployment rate less than 1%. Physical therapy is projected to add 60,000 jobs in 2018.
Another popular field is engineering. The best for job growth is a degree in civil engineering. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the scope of the profession is “the design and maintenance of public works such as roads, bridges, water and energy systems as well as public facilities like ports, railways, and airports.” Specialties include architectural, structural, transportation, traffic, water resources and geotechnical engineering. Most degree plans study fluid mechanics, construction materials, construction engineering, transportation engineering, structural engineering and geotechnical engineering.
The BLS projects the addition of 32,100 jobs through 2026. The profession has a 1.5% unemployment rate and a median income of $83,540.
Operations research analysts use their quantitative reasoning skills and ability to think critically, solve complex problems, and provide solutions. Companies hire operations research analysts to improve their business practices by performing a variety of tasks, such as studying cost effectiveness, labor requirements, product distribution, and other factors involved in their day-to-day operations.
For an entry-level position as an operations research analyst, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, such as the Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Sciences and Operations Science, is required. Your most relevant coursework will be in statistics, calculus and linear algebra, but supplementing those with political science, engineering and economics classes will be an asset given the interdisciplinary nature of this occupation.