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5 Steps In Choosing The Right Degree And Creating A Feasible Career

University/college is the most exciting time in one’s life. There’s nothing more exhilarating for a young adult than moving away from home and leading an independent lifestyle. University is character building. In the same sentiment however University is life developing.

Enrolling on a University/College course is also the biggest decision you will make in your life to date and a decision which many choose the wrong path. I’ve seen friends enrol at University on any course they can manage just to ‘experience’ it. I’ve seen others take on specific, technical degrees, stumble through the course and then struggle to land the chosen role after finishing their studies.

There’s no right and wrong course to study. There is however strategic choices you can make which will contribute towards your life in the future. Degrees have always had an importance but choosing the right degree is becoming more important by the day given the Global economic climate conditions.

I speak from experience in choosing a degree which matched the future of business. It wasn’t a coincidence; it wasn’t a stroke of luck. I was aware of where business was moving and chose a degree which could make possible my future goals and aspirations.

Here are five steps which can help make your studies worthwhile and enable them to be a contributor in your long term career success.

Choose a Career transferable Degree:

This may be self explanatory but the type of degree you choose needs to be transferable to the real world of work. Many universities offer a qualification in ‘Art History’ which is a degree of style over substance. There’s obviously limited vacancies in the Gallery Curator field. Having a degree in IT for example would be transferable to a high number of internships and junior roles in the IT sector upon leaving University.

Your degree needs to have something of value to you once you leave University. It’s an asset, not just a piece of paper or a 3 year experience.

Study Business Trends:

You are 17 years old when you have to start making decisions on which degree you will take at University. It’s fair to assume you would need some help on this. Studying business trends, predictions for the next 3-5 years gives a strong indication as to whether your degree will still be valid by the time you graduate.

When I went to University I was already passionate about the Web and could see the avenue in which business was becoming stronger online. I knew a web based degree would give me a solid background when it came to graduation.

On the other hand however I had friends who chose a vanity degree and a vanity career. Many chose offline journalism, others chose psychology; both extremely competitive industries. Assessing where business is going, the future and how your degree falls into this is essential when enrolling on a course.

Pinpoint your desired job role:

Seek advice on the future of business/industry.

Seek advice on the future of business/industry.

I always knew I would work on the web. I was creating websites at the age of 14 and it was always a dream of mine to continue this as a career. I essentially knew my end goal. Although I now work predominantly in online marketing I had pinpointed a desired job role within the web sector meaning I enrolled on the right course in the beginning.

Everyone should harbor ambition and having a clear path to what you are looking to achieve will help you achieve the end goal you desire. You may stray slightly but by having a degree which covers a specific area in general you have room to move around within the industry.

Choose something you are passionate about:

How many parents help you choose which degree you should enroll on?…Many. How many parents actually know what their son/daughter is passionate about? Very few.  When I say choose a degree you are passionate about it has to be something which still matches the other points throughout this post. I always had a passion for the web. I didn’t always have a passion for search engines and how they work.

I have a friend who runs an extremely successful fashion blog. She chose to do an English degree as writing was another passion of hers. The key is to focus on a passion and then make sure it fits within the boundaries of a long term career.

My partner was always fantastic around child; she chose a degree in teaching.  The passion has to be transferable but if you can find something you have a strong chance of a long, fruitful career.

Degree of flexibility:

Choosing a Degree Course

The Degree course needs to be flexible across a number of job roles.

My degree was a generic web course which focused on design, marketing and analysis. It was painfully generic and lacked any depth however that flexibility enabled me to land my first junior role before completing the course.

Having a web background meant I was able to apply for any role which fell under the web umbrella. Furthermore I had ‘enough’ knowledge in each area to have a well rounded CV which most companies look for in a graduate. My initial ambitions were a career in web design however the flexibility of my degree allowed me to apply for a role within the marketing area of the web.

Poor examples of flexibility are studying a retail management degree. Given the precarious nature of the retail industry you are limiting yourself within a specific sector, a sector of which is currently on the downturn. Choosing a more rounded, closely related degree like business management would have allowed the graduate more flexibility in moving into less unstable sectors.

How successful was your degree?

From speaking with friends how worthwhile University was is largely split 50/50. How success was your degree in helping you gain the job you have today? How did your degree set you up for your life ahead? Was it merely the ‘piece of paper’ or the ‘qualification’ to get your foot in the door? Tell us your positives and negative of University academic life.

Main Image By: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffozvold/2253057253/sizes/l/in/photostream/

About the author

Ryan Gibson

Hey! I'm a 28 year old digital marketing guy residing in Leeds, England. My skill is in search marketing and I have gathered over 6 years experience of working on large multilingual campaigns for a number of FTSE 250 Organisations. After accepting a role with a business based in Singapore I began questioning traditional business practice and employee retention. This blog GenerationY.com was therefore born with focus on Y in the workplace. A millennial child at heart I aim to provide a voice for the 'misunderstood' generation and my goal is simply to change perception and corporate mind set on work/life attitudes; inspiring companies and individuals to seek change.


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