Life can hit you pretty fast. One moment you're a kid, and then all of a sudden you're being pressured by family and teachers into picking your career path. Hopefully you were able to get at least some sort of idea as to what kind of work you wanted to get into before graduating from high school. Studies have shown that those who pursue higher education can earn as much as $200,000 more in a lifetime than those who do not. It kind of makes taking out a student loan seem worth it, doesn't it?
Well, even if you did enroll in some sort of higher education, it won't be long until you feel the pressure yet again to make another life choice. This time, it's choosing a major. Unfortunately, this choice can be just as challenging. Not only is the job market continuously changing, but just like a career path, there are many options to choose from. With that said, here is some advice on how to choose a major.
Focus on You
No matter what major you choose, you will want to keep one thing in mind: yourself. Focusing on what interests, skills and values you have should be your main guide for choosing a major.
Think about what areas of study you actually enjoy learning about, and what subjects you do well in. This will give you a good idea of what major you will want to choose because you will have an interest in what you are learning.
Also, know that you are more than capable of making that decision on your own. Instead of thinking about what other people may want you to major in, focus on what you want to major in. Although others may have the best intentions in mind, only you can truly know what you are good at and interested in.
Do Your Research
Before deciding on a major, you will want to get a good idea of what the future of someone with that major looks like. Ask yourself questions like "what kind of jobs are out there for that specific major? What kind of work environment, growth and income those jobs offer?" It should be relatively easy to find out the answer to these questions online.
Networking is one of the best ways to perform this kind of research. Talk to other students who are also majoring in that area, and ask them what the courses are like. What do they like and don't like about what they are learning? Another good source is a graduate with the same major. If you can find someone who majored in the same area and is now working, you will be able to get a lot of information about what you can expect after graduation. You may even want to shadow that person to get first-hand experience into what the work environment may be like.
The pace in which technology is advancing is incredible. Unfortunately, these advances have been affecting the security of many job fields for some time now. Most manufacturing jobs have experienced this, but positions outside of the manufacturing world have been affected as well. From pilots to cashiers, advances in technology have decreased jobs in almost all sectors. Therefore, it is important to think ahead before you choose a major. If you have a certain career in mind, ask yourself: could a computer do that job one day?
Fortunately, advances in technology have added jobs to the market place, too. There are many majors out there today that have a focus on technology in one way or another. Picking this type of major is a great way to reduce the risk of having a job that eventually becomes obsolete. If you have no interest in technology, don't worry. Many majors still have excellent opportunities in the market place.
The major you choose will have an important impact on the future of your career. There will still be some room for flexibility in your career. So, don't stress out about how to choose a major too much. Some majors are more specific, but some are also very general, too. Some colleges and universities even allow you to choose a second major or a minor. This is a great way to keep your options open. Either way, it is important to know that you will still have opportunities to steer your career in the direction you want it to head. Stressing out never helps.
The Bottom Line
When it comes time to start thinking about how to choose a major, don't stress out too much. Just focus on yourself. Think about the things you are good at and interested in. Also, think ahead and do your research. You will want to get a good idea of what opportunities certain majors may offer. Doing diligent research will give you many insights into any questions you may have about an interesting major.