To all my Arts and Crafts majors out there, this one is for you. A recent article from the Wall Street Journal touts the disadvantages of picking a major according only to the perceived demands of the job market. Instead, the article says that if students want to have the greatest chance of landing a job after graduation, they should broaden their horizons and diversify.
This goes against a lot of what we hear now-a-days. Most of us were told when we entered college a couple years ago that the economy may or may not be slowly going down the drain, and we have to be realistic in college: just study something that will get you a job when you graduate. Well, turns out a lot of the practical and specific degrees might be doing students more harm than good.
The problem is that no one knows what the job market will look like three or four years into the future. With the constant flood of new technologies and a still-shaky economy, entire fields of work can shift rapidly, making once sought-after careers nonexistent and vice versa.
When you focus all your studies on incredibly specific classes, you miss out on the opportunity to take classes and sharpen skills—like writing or general logic—that can be applied to any field of work. In the end, if the cards don’t fall correctly and suddenly no one wants to hire a petroleum engineer or a pharmaceutical marketing specialist, said student is going to have a lot fewer marketable skills for other career paths.
Now, maybe you want to scream at the next person you pass in the hallway “so WHAT am I supposed to study then?!???” (I’m not saying I’ve been there… but I’m not saying I haven’t). Luckily, the WSJ has a few solutions for us.
If you want to pursue a specialized degree, wait until as late in your college career as you can to declare it. Take general or foundational classes for at least a year or so until you can get a better feel for what the job market might be like when you graduate.
And it’s all about work experience. Search for internships in fields you like—employers care more about that than uber-specific majors.
Well, at least this is what they’re telling us for now.
What do you think? Should students go for specific degrees or should they keep a wider range of options open?