I remember in my first year of college, I was lost. I picked my major (psychology) because it happened to be my favorite course in high school. Never mind that I’d only taken Psychology 101, a beginners course, and that was my exposure in it’s entirety to anything psychology related.
I did well in my courses, but I came to realize after only a couple of semesters that there wasn’t much I could do with a psychology degree. I wasn’t willing to think far enough ahead in my future to commit to taking my education farther than a four year degree.
I took the summer off and messed around for a bit, until I finally decided that I needed to choose another route. The way I did that? I asked my mom what I should take, and listened to her advice.
My mom, wanting the best for her daughter’s future, told me to go to Business school. She was concerned with my post-graduate employability. I ended up graduating with my degree in Business Administration. I’m glad I have such a practical degree, as I found a job during school and my education is an investment that has paid dividends. However, I wasted a year not knowing what I wanted to do, taking a program I ended up leaving. Here are some steps that I wish I’d taken to figure it out before wasting my time and money.
Don’t Go Straight to College
If you don’t know what to take in college, I’d advise to either take some time off to figure it out, or take some general elective classes that can be transferred for credit to almost any program at the school.
This will also give you time to get to know yourself a bit more, do some soul searching, and get some work experience.
Look at Your Interests
I am not sure I believe that you should try to make a living out of a hobby, but knowing what you are interested and what will keep you engaged will help you make a career choice.
You want to be able to take something practical that you can use, but that you are interested in.
Look at the Job Market
Before you make a choice, look at what types of jobs are out there on the job market. Make note of the volume of jobs that pique your interest. Look at the the job descriptions of the positions and find out what the requirements are. Can you get the type of job you want with the length and level of education you are wanting to take? Do you need a ton of experience?
Put special consideration into industries that are expanding rapidly. For example, there is a high demand for cybersecurity professionals right now and that demand is sure to grow in the coming years as new technologies are introduced and an increasing number of organizations require assistance in securing their data. In fact, it is estimated that this career could grow by 37 percent within the next ten years, so there should be plenty of jobs available for new graduates. There is currently a shortage of qualified individuals in this field, which makes a B.S. or M.S. in Cybersecurity a solid degree to pursue.
I’d also recommend looking into entry level jobs in that field. After graduation, finding a job in the field can be the most difficult part, so you’ll want to make sure there are plenty of entry level jobs to go around.
Take Career Counselling
Career counselling can be surprisingly effective to help you find out what you want to do. The career counselor will typically give you a personality test, which will put some light on your skills and interests. These factors will be looked at when matching you with suggested career paths. You may find that your personality matches a career option that you’d never thought of.
If anything, career counselling can give you some good insight into your personality and what might challenge you.
It’s hard to choose a major for college, because it seems so final. Knowing what you have to choose something that you’ll be doing for a big portion of your life is daunting, but if I had taken these steps I would have been better equipped.