Updated 11/20/2012 05:00 AM
Money Matters: Engineering, computer science viewed as strong college majors
A recent study found those with a bachelor's degree are more likely to find work than those with a high school diploma. In addition, certain majors offer the most opportunities and the biggest paychecks. YNN's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
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Looking to land a good-paying job out of college? Rob Franek of the Princeton Review says the biggest demand and highest starting salaries can be found in two fields.
"Engineering and computer science," he says. "And that's right around the $60-61,000 mark."
A recent career fair at Stevens Institute of Technology proves he's right on the money.
"First for us would be computer engineering," says Adam Grare, a software engineer with PHD Virtual Technologies.
"Software development, financial engineering, those types of roles," says Christina Kosakowski of Pershing.
"Mechanical engineers, engineering management, chemical engineers," says Ellyn Griggs, a contract manufacturing planner with L'Oreal. "Anyone with a problem-solving knack."
Because of Stevens Institute of Technology's strong focus on math and science, Career Development Director Lynn Insley says many of these seniors will have job offers by the end of December. It's great news in a lackluster economy and a good lesson for high-school and even middle-school students.
"If you have an interest and a talent for math and science, make the most of that talent," Insley says. "We really see the engineering degree as the degree that's most valued right now and it will be for the foreseeable future,"
"Even if you are not doing a technical engineering route, I think the problem-solving ability will help you in any industry," Griggs says.
But what about those who major in something less focused or less technical? With college costs rising and student debt along with it, many have been asking if a college degree is even worth it. Insley says absolutely, especially in this economy.
"Those graduates with a college degree, they have not been hurt nearly as much as those who do not," she says.
In fact, a recent study found that while the unemployment rate for 2012 college grads was 6.8 percent, that number shoots up to 24 percent for recent high school grads. Franek concedes that a bachelor's degree can be an expensive piece of paper but he stresses it's worth its weight in gold or at least dollars.
"Students with an undergrad degree will do two things," he says. "One, they will likely make $1 million more over their lifetime than a student without that undergraduate degree. And two, that student with a college degree will be more nimble to move on to different types of jobs than a student without that undergraduate degree."