Saturday 12 July 2014

Degree Majors and Career Options - Part 1

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.

1. What can I do with a biology degree?

Biology graduates would work well in any job where data handling or research skills are important. These jobs would not necessarily have to be restricted to science based employers.

There are plenty of careers available to biology students, but since there isn’t a single obvious path, sometimes it can be problematic deciding what to do after graduating.

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:
  • time and self-management
  • data management, analysis and interpretation
  • concise and accurate writing and communication skills
  • research skills
  • organisational skills
  • presentation skills
  • ability to identify and predict trends and patterns
  • ability to interpret and evaluate events, information, and ideas
  • computer literacy
Other options include:
  • agriculture
  • banking and finance
  • environmental consultancy
  • hospitals
  • human resources
  • medical writing
  • patents
  • pharmaceuticals research & development
  • regulatory affairs
  • sales and marketing
  • science journalism
  • teaching
  • water and environmental control.

2. What else can I do with a business studies or economics degree?
What if you’re a business studies student or graduate and you’re not sure that you want to pursue a career in business? Or you may like the idea of working in business but struggle to work out exactly where to go.

Economics and business students typically have good commercial awareness; one of the qualities highly sought after by recruiters. What is more, they are able to effectively apply their knowledge of industries to the job.

Whether you want to know what your options are, or whether you are looking for alternative careers you can find some ideas here.

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

Over the last three or so years, you should have gained the following skills:

  • Analytical ability
  • communication skills
  • understanding figures
  • problem solving
  • ability to think logically
  • presentation skills
  • report writing skills.
One of your options is to join a scheme with one of the big graduate recruiters. These will often provide professional training as well as experience and a decent salary.

You could also pursue the less obvious opportunities with SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises). If you’re particularly entrepreneurial you might even consider starting up your own business.

With further qualifications and training you could also consider moving into the following areas:

  • management consultancy
  • trading
  • teaching, particularly with head-teacher roles
  • chartered accountancy
  • advertising
  • investment banking
  • bank management
  • retail buying
  • distribution and logistics management
  • insurance underwriting
  • marketing executive
  • consumer products
  • market research executive
  • personnel officer
  • public relations officer
  • retail management
  • sales.

3. What can I do with a chemistry degree?
Chemistry students tend to have a busier schedule than many other students, with lectures in the morning, laboratory sessions in the afternoon, and more lectures in the evening. This means that they have to have better timekeeping skills, more commitment, and a lot of interest in their topic – which makes them very employable when it comes to looking for a graduate job.

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:

  • critical and evaluative thinking
  • communication and interpersonal skills
  • research and analysis
  • good problem solving skills
  • discipline and a good work ethic.

The good news is that chemists are in high demand right now, with many needed to push development in sectors that involve science and technology. Some of these include:

  • agriculture
  • aerospace technology
  • biomedical
  • biotechnology
  • chemical diagnostics
  • environmental consultancy
  • pharmaceuticals
  • research and development
  • scientific publishers.

4. What can I do with a design degree?
If you’ve just graduated, or are still studying for your degree in design, you may be wondering just what kind of jobs you will end up with. If this is the case, then this guide is for you.

Design students are lively and full of ideas. They’re likely to watch movie credits with interest and a critical eye, own Apple products and laugh at people who use comic sans – and they also typically have a range of skills that are highly valued in the graduate jobs market.

The skills that design graduates are likely to have to offer include:

  • logical thinking and problem-solving
  • project management
  • research and editorial skills
  • presentation and other communication skills
  • computer skills
  • hands-on project management
  • creativity
  • software skills
  • an eye for detail.
Obvious career options for design graduates include web design, interactive media and video editing.

Other possibilities include:

  • interior design
  • film and television production
  • fashion design
  • editorial roles in printed media
  • sub-editing
  • product and packaging design
  • advertising
  • landscape gardening.

5. What else can I do with an education or teaching degree?
If you’re studying education and you’ve realised that a career working with children in schools isn’t for you, you may be wondering what to do with your degree. This guide will help you think about the skills you have, the jobs they can be applied to, and the options available.

Teachers are natural leaders, and are well suited to management roles. Another obvious career option for graduates with education degrees is teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) or teaching English as a second language (TESL). You’ll need to get a suitable qualification to do this.

Teaching is a tough profession, and it’s not for everyone. Newly qualified teachers often find the first year in the job particularly hard going. If you’re in this situation, and are thinking about a career change, remember that you’re not alone and many others have found it difficult at first, before gaining confidence with experience.

You should also have developed the following skills:

  • time management
  • problem solving skills
  • communication skills
  • management skills
  • lateral thinking
  • bravery
  • altruism
  • humility.
Other potential career options include:
  • social work
  • civil service
  • consulting
  • publishing
Next - Part 2 (Engineering, English, Geography, History and Mathematics) 

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