When planning for an uncertain future, one must evaluate what degrees will be in high demand and provide the biggest payoff. This is especially true as struggling economies weather an unpredictable future. Now is a critical time for emerging industries that are posed to introduce new technologies and retool the business world for global impact. These businesses offer hints into what careers might bring on a bright future. It is smart to base your career goals on these hints to help determine what is right around the corner for some lesser traveled majors. The following is a list of the top ten degrees for the future.
1. The Internet of Things
In-demand jobs for the future include the IoT bachelor’s degree. The goal of this unique degree program is to boost critical thinking skills and a student’s ability to develop and maintain connected devices and networks in which they operate. From smartwatches to autonomous vehicles, these devices process and transmit data through the Internet. Knowing how to program these devices, connect them to the Internet, and implement cybersecurity and hardware design takes specialized training. And as technology continues to evolve, this specialized degree will be in demand. Courses seen in bachelor’s degree programs include data analysis, embedded operating systems, and sensors for IoT.
2. Health Information Technology
Health information technology degrees, such as the bachelor’s in HIT, equip students with the know-how of medical record maintenance and the systems by which they are kept. Earning a degree in health information technology can lead to lucrative jobs, such as health information managers, data analysts, and medical records research analysts. But to secure these roles, you will need a bachelor’s in health information technology. This major requires courses that explore topics in communication and technologies, healthcare data management, management of health information services, and professional practice experience. Typical bachelor programs in HIT require 120 credits and provide real-world, practical field experiences.
3. Information Technology
As an information technology major, plan on taking courses in business, communications, and computer science. While the focus is on information technology, courses in digital communications and web development will also be offered. Undergraduate IT degree programs offer specializations that allow students to tailor their studies to better align with career goals and personal interests. But regardless of your concentration area, strong communication and technical skills are required. This major is ideal for individuals with a strong background or interest in computer software and hardware.
4. Big Data
Recognized as one of the fastest-growing fields in the world, data science employs scientists and researchers in enterprises of all shapes and sizes. With its uniquely designed curriculum, bachelor’s degree programs in Big Data blend business analytics, computer science, and data science to provide students with well-rounded expertise. Focused courses and specialization options allow students to tailor their degree even further to align with career goals. These specialized courses cover topics in cloud computing, cybersecurity, databases, and high-performance computing. All undergraduate programs strive to prepare students for careers in the field of Big Data by providing a strong liberal arts foundation combined with technical and analytical study.
5. Artificial Intelligence
As an emerging field for the future, artificial intelligence has thousands of job openings each year but too few people to fill them. By earning an artificial intelligence degree, you will become qualified for entry- and mid-level jobs in the field. Expect to take courses in computer science and data structures. Other topics explored in the major include imperative computation, functional programming, and sequential data structures. Courses in ethics and social responsibility are also a major part of the program sequence. Once required classes are out of the way, students often participate in independent study and research projects in areas of interest like education, healthcare, or transportation.
6. Chemical Engineering
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a favorable job outlook and employment growth are expected for chemical engineers. In fact, employment of chemical engineers is projected to grow six percent through 2028, which is slightly higher than the average for all other occupations. As demand for chemical engineering services increases, more and more programs will accept qualified students to help prepare for the growing job market. The first step for a career in chemical engineering is to earn a bachelor’s degree. Courses cover topics like chemical process thermodynamics, operations and process laboratory, thermodynamics of mixtures, and transport phenomena.
While nursing can be an emotionally, mentally, and physically demanding career path, it is also one of the most rewarding. Nursing majors have a strong desire to help other people. And with compassion and personal reward comes a favorable job outlook and a promising career. In fact, registered nurses should expect a much faster than average employment growth over the next decade. For RN to BSN programs, many exist online. These programs may be completed in as few as three semesters or take up to four years. Courses may cover topics like RN community health nursing, RN evidence-based practice, RN health assessment, and transitions in professional nursing.
8. Construction Management
Earning a bachelor’s degree in construction management typically takes four years, though shorter online options are available. Online options are especially ideal for students working full-time and gaining valuable experience in the field. Courses taken in most construction management programs cover topics like construction project management, construction surveying, introduction to construction management, plan interpretation and quantity take-off, and statics and strength of materials. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of construction managers is expected to increase by 10 percent over the next eight years. A favorable job outlook combined with higher than average earnings make construction management a top degree for the future.
9. Electrical Engineering
A bachelor’s degree is required to become an electrical engineer. The degree may be earned traditionally or via online instruction. Most programs take four years to complete, while online bachelor’s in electrical engineering programs take two to three years. No matter the pathway, the degree yields favorable results. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual pay for electrical engineers is $101,250. But to earn a high wage, you’ll need an ABET-accredited degree, state licensure, and relevant work experience. While enrolled in an electrical engineering program, the courses you will take include circuits, digital design fundamentals, introduction to engineering, and more.
10. Biomedical Engineering
Biomedical engineering combines the knowledge of engineering principles with medical science to build and create computer systems and hardware and equipment and devices. To become a biomedical engineer, a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering is typically required. So, what makes biomedical engineering a top degree for the future? New developments in medicine and engineering. And as these developments emerge, new ways of improving processes within healthcare and medicine also surface. From designing advanced prosthetics to genomic testing, biomedical engineering will be needed for the future. The favorable job outlook and reported earnings will provide a strong payoff for those majoring in this discipline.