For years, you’ve heard about the importance of a college education and were told that any job worth having required one. You heard that higher education was scarce, and a degree in any subject would set you apart from the competition. And, once upon a time, it was true—but in 2013, it’s not.
The current employment crisis is only partly due to the recession. Another part of the problem is that there are fewer and fewer science, mathematics and engineering graduates and more and more art, psychology and communication graduates. Since we are in the midst of the technology revolution, those numbers should be reversed.
A recent study from Georgetown University showed that liberal arts degrees were accompanied by low wages—for the duration of the employee’s career. A college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in art earns about the same salary as a community college graduate. That means those last two years at a four-year school have no value on the job market.
Ideally, college should be about earning an education, not just a job. Fortunately, there’s a way for you to get an education, study something you’re passionate about and help yourself get a job after graduation.
How? Just take these four classes:
All you need is one class. If your college breaks the topic into macroeconomics and microeconomics, sign up for micro; it has more use in a variety of careers. You’ll gain basic knowledge about the role of price, value and cost—economic principles that will enhance not just your career but your life.
It’s not just for mathematicians. Art gallery managers, retail clerks, non-profit executives and state senators need to be comfortable analyzing and interpreting numbers. In short, knowing how to work with numbers is helpful for any career—and your life, too.
3. Computer Programming
Don’t freak out. This class isn’t as intimidating as it sounds, I promise.
If you devote one semester to earning a broad understanding of a computer programming language—any language—this single course could be more rewarding in a future career than a half-dozen other electives combined.
People with computer programming skills reported finding employment during the economic downturn. What more do you need as encouragement?
4. Financial Planning
This course might be the trickiest to track down. Some schools require an introductory finance course as a prerequisite, and it’s different than what you’ll learn in economics. In financial planning, you’ll learn about budgeting and debt and how to project revenues and costs. Students can set themselves up for a lifetime of financial stability with these skills. The more financially savvy you are, the more mileage you’ll get out the money you’ll be earning in your new job.