Taking up to four years of your time to complete and thousands of dollars paid in tuition and miscellaneous fees, pursuing higher education is no joke. Based on a report by the College Board, the median yearly cost of higher education at a public institution was a few hundred dollars short of $10,000 for in-state students. Out-of-state students, on the other hand, paid as much as $23,000. For a private university, the costs were significantly higher, with the median at $32,000.
While these figures are alarming and discouraging to students and families with limited finances, higher education remains a viable path to a better quality of life. If anything, this data should encourage you to look for degrees that are in high demand and can pay off your student loans once you get a job. Read on further as we discuss five degrees that are highly sought after.
Coming in at number one is a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance. The education offers students a wide business administration curriculum with a focus on finance. Students who have solid analytical and quantitative abilities are the perfect candidates for this career path. According to a report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, or NACE, out of all companies that were surveyed regarding their hiring plans and needs, 87 said they would hire professionals who had a Finance degree or background. A degree in Finance unlocks various career opportunities including financial consultation, finance management, commercial banking, investment banking, and real estate.
2. Computer Science
While money was the first on the list, people cannot argue that technology is not one of the highest in demand products today. As more and more futuristic tech capabilities are being brought to life by existing technologies, the demand for people to create, design, maintain, and repair them will continue to grow. A degree in Computer Science puts you right under the radar of both large tech companies and startup businesses. Google, Amazon, Uber, and Microsoft are only a few of the many companies continuously looking for software engineers and computer scientists to contribute to their growing empire. As a computer science major, you'll be learning object-oriented programming, data structures and algorithms, problem solving, discrete mathematics, and game theory.
3. Aerospace Engineering
With daring plans of not only going to Mars but actually colonizing it in the next few decades, demand for people who can build and design vehicles and equipment for interstellar travel is steadily increasing. Bear in mind that the cut-off levels for getting across admissions to get a spot at a college that offers a course in aerospace engineering is notably high. But for those who show real interest and passion for space flight and travel, some hard work and an Aerospace Engineering degree can land you the job position of your dreams. People who excel in mathematics and physics are the most ideal candidates for an aerospace engineering program, but soft skills including communication and ability to adapt are key.
4. Mechanical Engineering
Although software is all the craze nowadays, especially in the business sector, machinery and equipment that do the legwork are equally essential in achieving the work and output that humans need from technology. Mechanical engineers are the people called upon to make this happen. With a focus on engineering principles, a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering can arm you with the theories and hands-on skills to work proficiently in this space. A mechanical engineering degree will also expose you to mathematics, such as Linear Algebra and Calculus, as well as sciences including General Chemistry. You'll need at least 130 credits to complete this degree, more or less depending on the college you choose to enroll in.
5. Information Technology
A Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree consists of concepts including information security, operating systems, network administration, platform technologies, and human-computer interaction. Fundamental statistical concepts are also taught to students as well as business and management techniques. With a degree in IT, you can apply to a lot of different tech-related roles including, but not limited to, application analyst, business analyst, database administrator, games developer, IT systems manager, and multimedia programmer. As for soft skills, you'll need to have teamwork and leadership skills as well as ability to write precise and clear reports that will be used by team members to carry out their share of work. While IT and computer science are often used interchangeably, you should know there are nuances to these two fields of study. With a degree in Information Technology, you are trained to work on operating systems and computer hardware while a degree in Computer Science mostly concentrates on software and database design.