Ask the Experts

Major Mayhem

Do not use my name in this. My parents and friends are asking me what I am going to major in. How do I decide?

Your anonymous question is one of the most common on campus.

There is a basic misunderstanding about this decision. Your major does not dictate your career choice. It will be affected in unpredictable ways by social and technological changes. Many careers that flourish today, did not even exist ten years ago. The most important thing you can do in college is to be a dedicated student. What skills should you have when you graduate, that will help you succeed?
Campus recruiters agree on these interpersonal skills, when interviewing new graduates.

1. The student is a team player. They can work in a group to solve a problem.
2. Can bring a new perspective to a problem, with an education in non-traditional subjects.
3. Ability to work in a dynamic environment.

No, there is no major for this. A piece of advice that Steve Jobs shared was “do something you are passionate about.”

If you are a math magician, an engineering degree gives you more opportunities than entering the manufacturing sector. You learn how to solve technical problems, which has application in pretty much any industry.

On a more non-traditional path, study sociology. Does this help you enter the business world? A marketing degree can help you analyze a problem. It cannot give you the creativity to solve it. Sociology is no longer a soft subject. It is a tool sought in creating new Internet businesses. According to Internet executives, our search engine optimization industry seeks students with non-traditional education. We have to pioneer new services to succeed in the marketplace.

Your major does not have to be a linear path to a career. What did you learn at school today, Johnny? I learned how to learn.

Dr. Todd Curtis wrote the definitive guide, Parenting and the Internet.