Cool College Majors: Liberal Arts with an Edge for Emerging Occupations

Posted March 11, 2013 by
Sharon Jones

Sharon Jones of Career Thought Leaders

Can you imagine designing websites for CBS prime time shows such as CSI and Survivor or holding the title of ‘Game Guru’ at AOL? 

Would you like to evaluate global threats such as terrorism, cyber-crime, or human trafficking for agencies such as the CIA or FBI?

If you are fascinated by liberal arts subjects (e.g. graphic arts, geography, history, foreign languages) but concerned about finding a job, score major marketability through liberal arts with an edge.

Some interdisciplinary college majors prepare you for new and emerging occupations. These academic programs may make you especially attractive to employers due to a shortage of qualified applicants.

The Department of Labor has identified industry sectors with new and emerging occupations. Some of these are in industry sectors related to the liberal arts: geospatial, IT, homeland security and education. This blog lists examples of universities with innovative majors targeted to these growing career fields.

Occupations, Majors and Universities

Geospatial

Emerging occupations: geospatial information scientists and technologists; geographic systems technicians; remote sensing scientists, technologists, and technicians

According to Government Technology Magazine, geographic information systems (GIS) are used in 80% of governmental activities, such as city planning, transportation, disaster recovery, and disease prevention. GIS skills are also in demand by environmental consulting firms, utilities, and other employers.

Universities/Bachelor’s Degree Programs

University of Texas- Arlington

  • B.S. in Geoinformatics

Northern Arizona University-Flagstaff

  • B.S.  in Applied Geospatial Science

Western Illinois University-Macomb

  • B.S. in Geography (Concentrations: Computer Cartography, Remote Sensing, and Geographic Information Systems)

Information Technology

Emerging occupations: web developers, web administrators, video game designers

You have probably used computer games for entertainment, but a growing number of “serious” games have been developed. They are used in corporate training and recruiting, military simulations, university admissions, health care (exergames), city planning, engineering, and politics.

Universities/Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Savannah College of Art and Design boasts that its graduates have “triple-threat credentials as artists, designers, and programmers.” The Princeton Review has ranked the University of Southern California as the #1 U.S. undergraduate degree in  game design. The University of Utah’s 2011 graduates all worked on games that shipped, a major achievement sought by employers.

Universities/Bachelor’s Degree Programs

University of Southern California-Los Angeles

  • B.A. in Interactive Entertainment
  • B.A. in Animation and Digital Arts

DigiPen Institute of Technology-Redmond, WA

  • B.S. in Game Design

Savannah College of Art and Design-Atlanta and Savannah, GA; Hong Kong

  • B.A. in Digital Media (Concentration in Game Development)
  • BFA in Interactive Design/Game Development

University of Utah-Salt Lake City

  • B.A. in Entertainment Arts and Engineering

MIT has a highly ranked program which may be targeted to a student’s interests. However, it does not offer a degree in game design.

Homeland Security

Emerging occupations: intelligence analysts, business continuity planners, security managers

According to U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, America is at risk of a “Cyber Pearl Harbor.” The Department of Homeland Security plans to fill approximately 1,000 cybersecurity jobs by 2013.

Colorado Technical University, Online/Denver, CO

  • B.S. in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  •  B.S. in Criminal Justice-Forensic Investigation

James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

  • B.S. in Intelligence

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

  • B.A. in Homeland Security Studies

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • B.A. in Peace, War, and Defense

According to UNC, “Students interested in federal work in the defense and intelligence fields are strongly encouraged to pursue advanced study in a ‘strategic language’ such as Chinese, Arabic, Urdu, Farsi, or Russian.”

Education

Emerging occupations: distance learning coordinators, instructional designers and technologists

Bachelor’s degree programs in instructional design are uncommon compared to those offering a master’s degree.

Universities/Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Western Illinois University-Macomb

  • B.S. in Instructional Design and Technology (Areas: Instructional Multimedia and Web Production; Technology Applications in Instructional Simulations and Game Environments)

University of Southern Mississippi-Hattiesburg

  • B.S. Instructional Technology & Design

If these majors are not available at your college, review the curricula that are closest to your career objectives. Select courses and related internships to develop marketable skills. Additional institutions offer advanced degrees in these subjects.

In future blogs I will share more undergraduate and graduate degree programs to help you prepare for emerging occupations. What careers interest you the most?

By: Sharon Jones

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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