As we pass the first quarter of the 21st century, world events have massively changed the outlook for college majors and careers. Worldwide computer attacks have dramatically increased our need for cybersecurity, homeland security, information security, and digital forensics experts. The COVID epidemic resulted in increased popularity for nanotechnology, biomedical engineering, healthcare administration, epidemiology, and health informatics. The increasing number of Spanish speakers has fueled the demand for bilingual workers, particularly in the medical field as medical assistants or receptionists.
The climate crisis has created a demand for environmental engineering, sustainable energy management, renewable energy engineering, and power generation and renewables. The growth in digital currencies and blockchain development has led to growth in financial technology. Our aging population has created growth opportunities in gerontology, nursing, audiology, healthcare social work, home health care, and occupational and speech therapy.
As phones and computers have become integrated into our lives, new careers have evolved. Game Design and Esports Management are increasingly popular, as are degrees in digital marketing, social media, advertising and promotion management, web development, search engine optimization, and information technology. The massive shift to online shopping has created an enormous demand for those skilled in logistics and supply chain management, robotics, and systems engineering.
The need to reduce the carbon footprint of air travel and provide satellites has swelled the growth in aerospace engineering. The explosion of information and data has required greater numbers of data scientists, statisticians, and information technologists. The demise of traditional television and the growth of streaming has led to greater popularity for careers in visual editing, content coordination, broadcast engineering, and artificial intelligence.
One of the greatest unknowns, and concerns, is how artificial intelligence is going to affect careers of the future. Will careers in accounting, data security, and computer programming become obsolete? The careers least likely to be affected are direct service careers. Despite their many challenges in terms of compensation and working conditions, nursing and education will continue to be among the highest-demand careers well into the future.
To find out which colleges offer these majors, a school counselor, Shelly Krause of Rutgers Prep, has developed a wiki of college counselors’ responses. Jon Boeckenstedt, Vice Provost for Admissions at Oregon State University, has created a Tableau database using federal IPEDS education data on how popular each major is at different colleges.
The choice of a major depends on many factors, including whether you are planning to attend graduate school, what priority you place on salary and security, and how much you want to follow your dreams. Whatever you decide, your decision should be based on what that career will be like in years or decades, not what has been the case in the past or is in the present.
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