Sunday, 13 July 2014

Degree Majors and Career Options - Part 2


One of the factor must be considered when choosing a degree major is career options. We have put together a series of guides for confused graduates seeking career ideas and options. In them we outline some key skills that are gained in each degree, and what you can do with them.

6. What can I do with an engineering degree?

If you’re close to finishing your engineering degree, and have no idea what kind of graduate job to look for, we might just have the answers for you.

Engineers tend to be clear thinking and logical. They can follow either instructions or design specifications to the letter. They can take on a lot at once, are prepared for a challenge, aren’t afraid of long hours and work hard in order to gain good results.

This guide should help you think about the skills you have, the jobs they can be applied to, and the options available.

Specific skills you will have gained include:

  • planning
  • patience
  • analytical thinking
  • presentation and other communication skills
  • numeracy, statistics and computing
  • capacity for detail
  • data analysis
  • logical thinking
  • problem solving
  • organisational abilities
  • project management
  • research skills
  • teamwork.
Engineering graduates would work very well in procurement and purchasing, or in supply chain management roles. Since candidates for these roles need to know technical specifications, employers are likely to prefer engineers over many other graduates. In addition, these roles recruit into graduate schemes, meaning that there is an easier transition from university into respectable business roles.

Other potential options include:

  • business and management
  • finance
  • fire prevention and safety
  • IT
  • law
  • management consulting
  • patent work
  • teaching and lecturing
  • technical sales
  • technical writing and training.
One thing many engineering graduates don't realise is that they can still pursue a commercial or business-focussed career within industry. You don't have to leave engineering behind completely


7. What can I do with an English degree?
English students have a lot to offer prospective employers, with more experience working in an inter-disciplinary capacity than colleagues from some other degree backgrounds.

While they may worry that their degree will be seen as a vague choice, in practice it will have given them a broad understanding of how to interpret texts that is potentially valuable in the careers market.

This guide should help you think about the skills you have, the jobs they can be applied to, and the options available.

Specific skills you will have gained include;

  • critical and evaluative thinking
  • self-management
  • excellent written communication
  • oral communication and interpersonal skills
  • research and analysis skills
  • ability to work independently
Though pay levels for English graduates may not be as high as those in other areas, many of the career opportunities it opens up can be particularly rewarding. Typical roles include publishing, academia or working with heritage and culture.

English graduates are suitable for many roles in the business sector, where they will be able to use their analytical and articulate thinking. What is more, their interpersonal skills should set them up well for a role in management. With some additional training, they could also consider jobs in teaching, journalism or acting. Other options include:

  • advertising account executive
  • advertising copywriter
  • arts administration
  • public relations
  • broadcast journalism, research or production
  • intelligence
  • sales and marketing

8. What can I do with a geography degree?
Geography graduates tend to be fairly open-minded and interested in the world around them. Like many social science courses, geography tends to attract balanced, sociable individuals.

Geography isn’t an obviously vocational subject like law or medicine, which means it can be a little scary for geography students to decide what to do when they graduate.

This guide should help you think about the skills you have, the jobs they can be applied to, and the options available.

Specific skills you will have gained include:

  • The ability to view problems from a number of angles.
  • The ability to write a professional standard document, as well as effective verbal communication.
  • The ability to work to deadlines gained from projects and fieldwork.
  • The independence gained from working abroad and producing a report in foreign conditions.
  • The ability to work in a group gained from fieldwork or project.
  • An analytical approach to people and their environment, which means that geographers should also have developed an objective aptitude for management.
There are a broad range of careers open to a geography graduate. You could do anything from working in the war room of a royal navy vessel, to working with the environment agency, running housing schemes, or working almost anywhere is the public sector.

With further qualifications or training, you could also teach geography, do urban design or town planning, or become a chartered surveyor. Other options include:
  • geological assistant
  • development analyst
  • country or rural planner
  • environmental consultant
  • cartographer
  • recycling manager
  • weather analyst
  • GIS analyst
  • park ranger
  • travel agent
  • soil conservationist
  • landscape architect
  • water/land manager
  • tourism 

9. What can I do with a history degree?
While history is a popular degree, at first glance it doesn’t lead to many obvious graduate careers. However, history students are naturally suited for careers in heritage, culture and tourism, as museum or art gallery curators, or in academia. The analytical skills and communication skills they pick up along the way should also be useful in business.

History students tend to be fairly down to earth, and are frequently as interested in the minutiae of everyday life as they are in the broader picture.

Some other skills they should have picked up include:

  • Good oral and written communication
  • Ability to put together a logical argument
  • Critical thinking
  • Objectivity regarding ‘right’ and ‘wrong’
  • Gathering, investigating and assessing material
  • Condensing or expanding facts, ideas and arguments
  • Using different types of sources to cross-reference
  • Basing conclusions on statistical research
  • Organising material in a logical and coherent way
  • Present information literally, orally and visually
  • An interest in culture
  • An ability to spot a train of events.
With a minimal amount of training history graduates would also be ideal for jobs in:
  • teaching
  • journalism
  • civil service
  • law
  • criminal investigation
  • archiving
  • libraries.

10. What can I do with a mathematics degree?

Employers tend to be keen on maths students, and see them as logical, numerate and committed. All of these are highly sought-after skills in the graduate jobs market, both in the finance sector and in other areas such as logistics, retail and consumer products.

This guide should help you think about the skills you have, the jobs they can be applied to, and the options available.


Skills you should have picked up include:
  • logical and quantitative thinking
  • numeracy
  • ability to handle tricky intellectual challenges
  • problem solving skills
  • statistical inference
Mathematicians are in high demand from software companies. If you can prove you can program, you are likely to be in as strong a position as a computer science or IT graduate when applying for roles with these organisations. However, they shouldn't let themselves become blasé; deadlines apply to everyone.

Other good career options for mathematicians include:
  • accountancy
  • actuarial work
  • banking
  • consultancy
  • insurance
  • intelligence and analysis
  • quantitative trading
  • design and development
  • statistical analysis
  • teaching

Next - Part 3 (Modern Language, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Physics)

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