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When the time comes to choose major, many college students are always in splits; whether to go for a subject they're most interested in or choose a major that will prepare them for a lucrative job after graduation. The best part is it's often possible to do both.
As per a report made by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce in 2015, 4 in 5 undergraduates choose a major that is connected to strong job prospects. Here are eight hot areas you may want to consider.
1. Mechatronics Engineering
Standing at the juncture between mechanical and electrical engineering, mechatronics is an interdisciplinary field that teaches students how to build and control mechanical devices like motors and robots and how to take sensor data and turn it into commands.
As per Industry professionals, Mechatronics has a huge growth prospect in modern technology, especially autonomous driving and robotics. There are a handful of institutions offering a dedicated mechatronics major; most undergrads specializing in the field do so under the umbrella of mechanical engineering which typically covers courses in 3D modeling, dynamics and control systems.
In general, engineering grads have the highest median starting salary is close to US$ 66,500, as per a 2018 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Petroleum engineering, mining and mineral engineering, and chemical engineering are other fields of engineering with great earning potential.
Besides taking courses in accounting, finance, marketing, business law, and management, business majors often require students to work on team projects involving real-world case studies and participate in internships or gain hands-on experiences, including on the job work experience by working with industry partners. It's one of the most popular areas and a majority of the universities abroad provide a plethora of business programs.
It is observed that at the bachelor's degree level, eight of the 10 top majors in demand by employers are in the business category, such as accounting, marketing or sales. Also, there is a growth in the new business practices that includes managing complicated workspaces in different work environments globally. International business and finance are 2 key areas whose combination attracts maximum wage and has annual job growth. Thanks to the global expansion of companies and the need for dynamic employees who can navigate the standard business practices and customs in different locations.
3. Computer Science
Computer science field is no longer restricted to computer programming. These days, computer scientists are involved in everything from creating cutting-edge educational tools and driverless vehicles to doing sophisticated data mining in health care to making advances in cyber-security, robotics and artificial intelligence. With digital innovation and its influence across various sectors, new products are digitally driven; creativity and innovation in computer science is the future.
According to the latest data published by NACE, the class of 2018, CS degrees are expected to command a starting salary of about $66,000. By 2026, jobs in computing and information technology are expected to grow nearly twice as fast as the average for all careers, adding more than half a million new jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The purpose is to prepare a whole new future generation of computer scientists to create innovative designs for new algorithms, various applications, languages, and new systems that will enhance productivity. Strong undergraduate programs in computer science include those at the Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California, and many more.
4. Data Science
The world is run by data and we are in an era where data is easily available and vastly used to make decisions based on the empirical data. Those experienced in the subject are at the forefront of predictive analytics – helping companies like Google and Microsoft improve their search engine functionality. They are providing the doctors and clinicians the tools to more effectively customize medical treatment to individual patients based on specific data points. The data scientists also do play a key role in risk assessment in the credit card industry, allocation, and optimization of various resources in environmental science and also in public policy.
Indeed, by 2020, the number of positions for data and analytics experts in the U.S. is expected to increase by 364,000 to a total of more than 2.7 million, according to a 2017 report from a labor market analytics company.
There are a large number of universities who are offering majors in data science. The University of California, University of Maryland, Arizona State University to name a few in the US
5. Cognitive Science
This is a relatively new interdisciplinary field that blends elements of psychology, computer science, philosophy, neuroscience, and linguistics. In other words, it studies the mind, its processes and the nature of intelligence. There is growing demand towards this program amongst the students.
There's an emphasis on how to think critically and engage in constructive problem-solving activities across industries. Graduates in Cognitive science majors can go on to work in health care settings, such as in hospital administration or as research coordinators in labs; neuropsychological testing centers; business-related careers such as marketing; and the technology sector.
Schools with dedicated cognitive science programs include the University of California—Berkeley, the University of California—San Diego, Rice University in Houston and the University of Pennsylvania.
Healthcare is the fastest-growing sectors in any economy across the globe and it has a large skill gap and plenty of job openings for advanced clinical care. Also, this occupation where the demand will not get affected by technological innovation. In fact, the nursing field is projected to add more than 64,000 jobs in the US between 2016 and 2026, according to the BLS, a 31 percent increase.
As part of the undergraduate curriculum, nursing majors take classes in pharmacology, biostatistics, pathophysiology, chronic health assessment, and health promotion. Students also need to participate in clinical rotations working with real patients alongside physicians and other health professionals. Students also tend to work in the simulation labs, which offer a safe environment for students to practice hands-on skills and procedures in real-time.
Strong undergraduate nursing programs are offered at various universities across the globe. Some of the renowned universities are Cardiff University, UK, the University of California—Los Angeles, USA, University of Adelaide, Australia and many others.
7. Pharmaceutical Sciences
Pharmaceutical sciences is again another field which will always need the human touch. Undergrad programs in pharmaceutical sciences aim to prepare students for technical positions in the development, production or sales divisions of drug companies or for a career as a pharmacist or pharmaceutical researcher. With a B.S. in pharmaceutical sciences, a student can work as a pharmacy assistant or in the regulatory affairs, or technician or in sales for drug companies. After gaining a foundation with courses in math and science, pharmacy majors progress to advanced coursework in drug design, mechanisms of drug action, toxicology, quality assurance, regulatory compliance and other issues.
Pharmaceutical sciences or pharmaceutical administration have the only non-engineering major among the top 10 ranked by wages according to research. Universities that are offering a bachelor's in pharm sciences, majors study the chemistry of medicines and drug delivery systems, drug regulatory issues and ethical concerns related to regulatory affairs.
8. Human Resources
There is no replacement of humans in this increasingly automated world; every organization needs these professionals who handle hiring, training and other employee relations tasks for companies or organizations. This field is another one that is transforming because of data. The increase in the use of people analytics to drive HR decisions and growing scope of employee assistance programs offered by global employers are in trend. Any organization that employs manpower needs HR professionals to help recruit, retain and engage its employees. The graduates majoring in Human Resource management usually get jobs within six months of graduation.
If you looking forward to study abroad then plan ahead to meet international deadlines.
Image: University of California, Berkeley