October 23, 2021
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
Grambling State University
University of Oregon
Cleveland State University
Mount Saint Mary College
University of North Carolina Greensboro
University at Albany - SUNY
High Point University
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Utah Valley University
Grambling State University
College of Arts and Sciences
Yenumula Reddy: The biggest trend - students do not have enough hands-on, means they get but not enough.. F2F training helps a lot. During the COVID, F2F is very difficult even though we try to provide facilities. Internships became limited and work from home and students have limited experience with industry and work with mentors and other group students in the projects as they do F2F. Sharing their information with other students is limited during COVID.
Yenumula Reddy: Mini and large project implementation and work on group projects is very important. Presenting the results in the workshops, annual meetings will help to improve the students' confidence and meet other educators and share their experiences. Certification helps to get the good starting jobs.
Yenumula Reddy: It is entirely new world and lot of enthusiasm and many new faces. Try to adjust and socialize and try to have new friends. But, for a student had internship first day work may not much difference.
My students share their experience and I saw this difference between the student had internship and the one entered without.
But it is an unforgettable day.
University of Oregon
Department of Mathematics
Hayden Harker: Students should consider remote jobs if not going to graduate school. I suspect many businesses will keep some positions as remote ones.
Hayden Harker: For math majors, there are many jobs that specifically use mathematical techniques learned in a specific course and you don't prove theorems in jobs. However, these students need to be flexible and willing to solve many different problems even if they don't necessarily feel like a math calculation. Solid problem solving skills and logical thought process are some of the greatest assets for math majors.
Sathish Kumar Ph.D.: I think the coronavirus pandemic has only accelerated the technology trends such as digital payment, tele health, ecommerce, telework, elearning, AI/Robotics etc., All these accelerations of the technology trends only increase the demand for the graduates especially for the graduates majoring in computer science, and information systems/technology.
I believe the concept of remote work and remote meetings is going to stay and has changed how one would be working and the new graduated or the junior professional should try to adapt or build the skills to be successful in the new work environment.
Sathish Kumar Ph.D.: I can speak of from computer science/ information systems/information technology perspective, which are my areas of expertise. Due to the steady growth in cloud computing and remote workcertifications/licenses/courses related to cloud technology will have great impact as well as the certifications/licenses/courses in the Machine Learning/Data Science and Cybersecurity due to the growth in that space.
Sathish Kumar Ph.D.: While hard technical skills are needed to carry out basic job functions, soft skills such as verbal and written communication, critical thinking, and openness to other culture) are important to increase the professional's earning potential. Also, the professional should think how their work contributes to the bottom line of the organization and be able to communicate that value of their work to their employer.
Robin Rosenberg: Biggest Trends: Tele-health is here to stay. More mental health services have been provided electronically than ever before and that trend is likely to continue even after the return of in-person counseling. Many clients may find it far more convenient to obtain counseling from the comfort of their own home, or to eliminate the travel time. More providers are now comfortable with the technology. While tele-health is not likely to completely replace in person counseling sessions, just as in medical treatment it will create another option.
Robin Rosenberg: Certifications/Licenses/Courses--For anyone who is interested in a career in mental health treatment, graduate school and licensure in Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, or Mental Health Counseling is essential. For other professional careers at the Bachelor's level, courses or certification in care management is extremely helpful as that becomes more of the norm in the field of healthcare in general. Health insurance is changing, and one of the trends to keep costs down is to shift from a fee for service to a flat rate per patient. To make that financially feasible for the healthcare providers, there will be much more of an emphasis on prevention and wellness. Care managers will help to coordinate care and keep costs down by encouraging prevention, wellness, adherence to treatment for chronic medical conditions.
Robin Rosenberg: In social sciences, the salaries have gone up marginally. This is not a field for people who want to make a fortune, but it is a great field for people who want to make a living while helping other people with the most challenging aspects of life.
Dr. Stephen Frezza Ph.D.: YES. You will see more remote work for computing graduates. Consequently, the need for more remote teamwork experience with tools and projects will become more desirable.
Dr. Stephen Frezza Ph.D.: This will be largely dependent on the company and industry. Many computing divisions are going to be slow to pulling people back to the office, but the balance of costs and benefits will get looked at more closely. Will the fully remote new employee model stick? I might be on the hopeful side here, but I hope not. The struggle being a new employee is that you need to absorb the culture of the new company; corporate and team culture matters, and is much harder to develop remotely.
Dr. Stephen Frezza Ph.D.: In computing, this will still remain similar to what it has been: Competency development, e.g., both 'soft skills' of working well to make technology work well, and the 'hard skills' related to specific technology needs. The latter are always changing.
Apoorva Patipati Ramesh: - Shift towards jobs in the IT industry.
- More IT professionals coming back to attain higher education.
- Organizations more comfortable with hiring interns.
Apoorva Patipati Ramesh: For students, courses and certificates that provide hands-on experience in skills like Tableau, Python, R, etc. can have a very positive impact on job prospects. Some of our academic graduate certificates also align very closely with industry certifications such as CISSP, CompTIA Network+ etc. These are highly valuable assets to have.
Apoorva Patipati Ramesh: Per 2020 data, STEM occupations - the ones our students typically land after completing the MS degree - have a median annual wage that is more than double that of the non-STEM jobs. This gap has been and is only widening with time. A graduate from an MS program is typically being offered anywhere between $60,000 and $120,000 in wages depending on the years of work experience they possess.
Charalampos Chelmis: The pandemic seems to have changed the long-term planning and thinking of technologically advanced companies, so I wouldn't be surprised if many of the "big" employers start offering permanent remote positions. At the same time, other companies may still value regular face to face interactions. I expect such companies to keep hiring for "traditional" jobs, but perhaps they will chose to postpone the start date of new employees or ask them to start out as a contractors in order to balance out pandemic-related uncertainties. Similarly, given that in-person interviews and job fairs are being replaced by remote recruiting, job hunters need to both improve their online presence as well as master their communication skills to make a positive impression to prospective employers in a limited time phone or video interview.
Charalampos Chelmis: The interest in skilled computer scientists and engineers is still high, so well versed job seekers don't have much to worry about. Machine learning and data science related experience, software development skills and the ability to quickly adapt to new environments/technologies are be critical.
Charalampos Chelmis: Computer scientists and engineers have seen a steady growth in salaries up to the years before the pandemic. Although I don't anticipate this trend to slow down, entry-level positions and positions whose profiles include a significant portion of remote activities may incur reduced salary as compared to on site positions.
Dr. Michael Oudshoorn: I suspect that for Computer Science graduates that this is likely - in a positive sense. During the pandemic many businesses opted to have employees work from home for an extended period of time. Many of these organizations have found that productivity did not fall and they save costs. If no one goes into the office then you save money on cleaning, office supplies, utilities, and maybe even rent. I suspect that some employers will opt to continue having employees work from home after the pandemic is over and hence continue to save money. This creates an opportunity to develop software products to support these businesses either through the development of enhanced video conference and collaboration tools, or through industry specific tools to help increase productivity when one has remote workers. Also if you have staff working from home, then those staff members could literally be anywhere in the world, so this opens the door for graduates to work for an employee irrespective of where they might physically be located.
There was a large, and growing, demand for computing professionals before the pandemic www.bls.gov, and that need has not gone away! In fact, the demand for computing professionals such as Information security analysts is expected to grow by 31% in the next 10 years. There continues to be unfiled demand for computing professionals and the number of vacancies continues to grow paloaltoonline.com .
Dr. Michael Oudshoorn: Current growth areas are cybersecurity and data science. We live in a world where much of our activity and data resides in an electronic format. This opens us up to cybercriminals who can harvest that information and profit from it. Cybersecurity is the discipline that will help protect us from these cyberattacks and their impacts. Data is collected by companies at an astounding rate. These companies want to be able to mine that data for useful information. Data scientists are that with the skill to manipulate these huge data sets and make sense of it all. In addition to these two hot areas, the demand for computer science graduates continues to increase steadily. Almost every product we buy is computer controlled and increasingly products such as your car are less of a mechanical device and more of a computational device - it won't be long before we see fully autonomous vehicles in the road transporting passengers to wherever they need to be.
The certifications that will help graduates the most is a degree in computer science, cybersecurity, or data science. A bachelor's degree is the ideal start but increasingly graduates need to think about enhancing their qualifications to the Masters level just to deal with the changes in the discipline. Professional development courses are another big impact certification that can shown continuous professional growth and currency in the discipline.
Dr. Michael Oudshoorn: Earning potential is attached to 2 things: technical expertise and life skills. The technical skills are essential in order to do the job, but to be truly successful and move up the corporate ladder you need to demonstrate skills such as clear and concise communication, honest and ethical behavior, interpersonal skills, and leadership. Being a good team member and contributing in interdisciplinary teams are skills that cannot be underestimated.
Dr. Patrick Madsen: At this time, it is hard to know if there will be an "enduring impact" on graduates but I can say that there has been a big difference between what we saw during the "Great Recession" versus our current situation. With our current situation, I have noticed employers really making a good effort to continue their internship programs in a remote environment, create new online training opportunities for students, and new partnerships in the development of NEW internships for students. Our career center has really stepped up to the plate to show students the multitude of ways they can continue to build skills and "resume capital" aside from just traditional internships during this time and providing them the skills to "recession proof" their careers in the future.
Dr. Patrick Madsen: A "good job" is defined in many different ways and is somewhat subjective. Most people begin that conversation with "does it pay enough", but we have really seen students start to drift from salary being at the top of their list to more things like: does it connect to my strengths, does the company value what I value, do I see a "future" with the company or opportunity for growth, and the importance of work/life balance. In our line of work, we call this "Purposeful Work".
Dr. Patrick Madsen: What tends to help individuals do well in any field and increase their earning potential is to pay close attention to building a strong professional network, staying on top of the competencies/skills that the industry demands in candidates, and remembering to have a mindset of a "lifelong learner" - the future of work demands agile knowledge workers that are flexible to new situations and environments. The current pandemic is a perfect example of the need for an agile and flexible workforce.
Dr. Sayeed Sajal: During the pandemic, the biggest trends are online activities. It can be e-commerce, online teaching, remote learning, any works that the professionals can work from home. Health-related jobs and research are also getting more attention.
Dr. Sayeed Sajal: Certifications/licenses/courses that can boost the skills to support the key areas which I mentioned above, will have the biggest impact on the job prospects during the COVID19 pandemic.
Dr. Sayeed Sajal: I believe any decent job is a good job if one's passion and skills converge.