Making Decision

Today technology is changing the global economy in favor of skilled workers. Greater skill requirements mean that more education is needed in getting good paying jobs. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), fifty years ago, 45% good paying jobs did not require college education. Today 75% of good paying jobs require at least a bachelor degree and 8% even requires an advanced degree. This fact indicates that a college degree is NO LONGER a luxury BUT a requirement for good jobs in this globalized world..

Most companies consider people with college degree as the most capable of adapting to the new global economy and are willing to pay higher salary to hire them. According to the 2010 job market study, people with college degrees earned 70% more than people with only a high school diploma. Additionally, those with college degree are less likely to be unemployed, and more likely to get a new job faster when the market changes. The study also found that all over the world, the rate of student going to college already double in past ten years. It means that in every country, the numbers of college student are increasing faster than expected and competition for jobs will be fierce in near future. Therefore, a college education is a necessary and if possible, you should go to college to get educated and to build a career that will help you in this competitive world.

To college students, selecting a career in this changing time is NOT easy, especially when technology and market are changing fast. There are so many fields of study, so many choices, and so many new areas that they must know. That is why students must constantly checking, reviewing and keep their study options open to market demands. With the internet, students can get information faster, easier if they are actively focusing on their careers. However, the questions are: How many students are checking market opportunities to identify what industry needs? How many students select career that will makes them feel comfortable when graduate? How many students know what they want to achieve in life? How many students choose careers that fit with their abilities? In this globalized word, you cannot be passive and hope for the best but must be ACTIVE in determine your own future. Of course, there are students who let their parents make decision for them. Unfortunately some parents do not know how to investigate current market information, many based mostly on what happened during their time when they were in schools, which may not be current anymore. Some students are following their friends' advices, BUT not all advices are good. Some students only select fields that are easy to ensure that they can pass tests and get degrees, regardless whether there are demands for that skills or not.

As college students, YOU are responsible for YOUR future. Only YOU can decide if a particular career is right for you. Once you made decision about a potential career, try and imagine yourself in that job. Can you imagine yourself do well in that job market environment? Are there any negative issues in that job for you? Do you think that you will be happy in that job? Would you be able to do that for many years? Would you be happy doing that kind of job? Please remember that you may not know what you like or dislike the work until you actually are involved in it. You can always change your mind again, but at least you have tried your best in making decision about your future.

For students who have not make up their mind yet, DO NOT just select any field of study randomly BUT Investigate by asking: Does the field lead to better career choices? Is there market demand for that field? Is it easy to get job with that degree? What is the average salary for that job? Will my needs be met if I earn that salary? What are other options? Is it easy to switch jobs in that area? No matter how much information you get, you will NOT have a real "feel" for the area that you seek until you talk directly to someone who is working in that field. You must ask your family, your friends who may know of someone who works in the area that you are interested in, contact them and ask questions.

The most important idea here is: It is YOU who make decision about YOUR future. There is no one who can tell you what to do and what you are best suited for. Your parents, your family, your professors, your counselors, your friends can ONLY help you. It is YOU who must select your field of study and career choice according to YOUR ability and future plan. Please remember this: Only YOU can really decide your future. You must do your own SELF assessment, know what you want, know what you are capable of, know what you will be happy with. If needed, take time to conduct your own investigation to search for the types of jobs and careers available today and in the future. Start your investigation by reading about the varying types of work and what each opportunity provides. Of course, this is difficult as no one can give you a quick answer. Today, there are so many information available, in books, in newspapers, on the internet, from school library, from websites etc. You must find them, review them, investigate them and make decision for your future.

As college students, you are no longer a child but an adult. You must assume your own responsibility for your own future. You must investigate different types of work, different fields of study, different careers for something that match what you are looking for. If you find one that interests you, put it on your list. For example, if the teaching profession interests you, you could put it down as a career in education that may lead to job as high school teacher. If you like to travel abroad than you must find something that allow you to achieve that. For example, a field of study in foreign languages that may lead to jobs as language interpreter, or job in import/export business etc. DO NOT select just one field but several areas that interest you and put them on your list. Once you have a list of several choices, you must carefully review it several times to identify if anything really interests you. Of course, every time you look at your list, you may notice something different which is normal but pick one of the careers that interest you most. Go and find out more information about it, whatever you find out, write it down. Ask yourself what does that job entail and what skills do you need. Talk to people who works in that field and see if they will give you more information. Try to imagine yourself in that job, what are your daily routines? What are some of the challenges? What do you think your job would be like? Do you like the travel that is involved or do you prefer that the job has no travel? Do you like the "feel" of that job in your mind? Can you see yourself doing that job for the rest of your life? This will help you eliminate some careers on your list so that you can concentrate on the others. Eventually, you will find something that suit you the best and you make your OWN DECISION.

I believe selecting the field of study in college is probably the first important decision that you have to make for yourself. You are holding your future in your hand, the next step would be set goals for your study and achieve these goals but that would be topic of another blog.


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University
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