Most universities are composed of typical colleges such as the College of Health Care Studies, Business, Education, and Liberal Arts. Within these colleges are various majors a student can choose, but how do you predict which courses will make you the most marketable in your field? Of course there is speculation that engineering careers or a medical degree will remain prosperous and lucrative, but are there other options? The technology revolution has drastically changed the career game by allowing rapid sharing of information, which in turn has transformed current job openings and will create new career paths that don’t yet exist. If you are a student, you can best prepare for your future by strategically choosing courses in these fields, and many of these courses are offered online.
Due to the recent passing of the Affordable Care Act; health care industry jobs will undeniably grow in the next ten years (govtrack.us/congress/bills). President Obama has mandated that all medical records in the United States be converted into an electronic format by 2014. This directive has and will continue to create an abundance of jobs for health care majors. The health informatics major combines information science, computer science, and health care. Students in this major may take courses in electronic health records, information systems, and programming to name a few. If you are undecided about which route to go in the health care industry, it would still be wise to take a few of the mentioned courses as electives or to research other courses. This experience will illustrate to employers that you are keeping up with and show interest in current health care events.
It is also incredibly valuable for business majors to interpret major trends in technology that will affect business and economics. According to Forbes.com, “Cloud computing will potentially generate at least 14 million new jobs across the globe within the next three years. Moreover, these business jobs may likely be in many areas outside of information technology.” Cloud technology has created entire new industries such as the ‘app industry’ which creates applications for smartphones. It is difficult to envision what other opportunities may emerge in the future as a result of Cloud computing technology. Its “pay-as-you-go” cost structure takes away the need to fund the building of hardware, installing software, or paying dedicated software license fees (Forbes.com). Cloud computing increases business revenue by decreasing costs, and therefore allows employers to increase their budget for marketing and innovation (which were areas that were cut back in the recession this decade). Courses in eMarketing, eCommerce, entrepreneurship, consumer behavior, and international relations will be a wonderful addition to your core business requirements. National and international business is done more through e-commerce, Skype calls, and social media efforts. Staying on top of technology trends is a must in this field.
Some of the most exciting changes are happening in the field of education. The influence of information and communications technology has modernized open and distance learning, and its acceptance by conventional institutions. Providing open, distance, and technology-enabled learning through national for-profit and not-for-profit providers is increasingly seen as the key to allowing mass access to higher educational opportunities (Walsh, 2009). According to Walsh (2009), “Higher education has expanded remarkably in recent decades. Growth is, by all measures, faster than anticipated. Projections gave 120 million students worldwide by 2020, but that number has already been achieved.” Fully online institutions with the highest level of accreditation are emerging, and traditional institutions are also quickly implementing online courses as a modality for learning. This change means that the demand for jobs in online teaching, curriculum development, instructional design, adult education, and training and development will increase over the next ten to twenty years. In order to sustain the growth it is imperative that quality teaching materials are created and a quality learning experience provided. Technology can be applied in any educational setting including pre-school level, K-12, and even in corporations. The courses that will best prepare you for future jobs or may be a great addition to your education degree are e-learning, advanced instructional design and delivery, emerging issues in educational technology, e-learning assessments, research design and methodology, and collaboration in an e-learning environment.
According to Forbes Business Magazine there are six courses you can take to supplement the degree of your choice and prepare for the workplace. Most of these courses will automatically be part of a business related degree, but may be optional to all other majors. No matter which major you choose or which career you are after, a broad perspective on understanding the context in which people earn money is priceless. Even with a liberal arts degree, mathematical concepts do not go away. They may be applied and utilized differently, but they must not be ignored during your college program. The courses listed are economics, statistics, computer programming, calculus, communications, financial planning, and management. Whether you go into business yourself or work for a private organization, a university, a non-profit, or a government agency, understanding the economy, how to manage assets, and how to manage people will increase your value as a new graduate entering the workforce. These courses also prepare you for graduate level work if that is an opportunity you would like to leave open.
Emerging technology and its application affects all fields ranging from health care, business, education, and liberal arts related careers in non-profit work, government agency work, marketing and public relations, social work, and counseling. Utilize your elective pool to add a minor, specialization, or strategically choose courses to supplement your degree. You won’t regret adding these courses once you graduate and enter the workforce!
Written by: Ashley Curry Ashley is a Career Services Specialist at Ashford University. What she enjoys most about her role is coaching current students and alumni so that they can utilize their education, find their true passion, and reach their goals. She researches career-related content to enable her to stay on top of current trends in different industries related to job outlook, median pay, and work environments.
References (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2013 from http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/111/hr3590/text (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2013 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/billconerly/2012/08/21/how-to-make-a-college-graduate-employable/ (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2013 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/joemckendrick/2012/02/22/6-shining-examples-of-cloud-computing-in-action/ Walsh, K(2009). Global Trends in Higher Education, Adult, and Distance Learning. International Council for Open and Distance Education. Pg 3-24
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