December 11, 2020
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.
University of Michigan
Department of Naval Architecture and Marine EngineeringWebsite
Dr. David Singer Ph.D.: The pandemic caused a downturn in the oil industry and has impacted the cruise industry. Traditionally both industries provide a large number of summer internships to our students as well as permanent employment. While these markets have experienced hardship, our students have had no issues finding a job. Over the last five years, there have been large increases in defense, marine alternative energy, maritime autonomy, marine digitization, and U.S. market commercial shipbuilding. Our students have just taken jobs in those fields instead of traditionally going to the higher-paying oil industry.
Dr. David Singer Ph.D.: As someone who has been in the industry and hired young engineers, GPA only matters if it is terrible. The three skills that matter most are the non-academic transferable skills, grade trend, and involvement in the field. You hire a young engineer based on their potential. The real questions are their potential, whether they have the base knowledge and skills needed to exercise their potential, have they demonstrated a passion for the field, and have acquired softer transferable skills such as writing, speaking, and emotional intelligence.
Non-academic transferable skills include volunteer work, leadership activities, teams, etc. Anything outside of class in which they are actively involved would have provided them the experiences needed to achieve personal growth.
However, when I do look at a person's GPA, the question I always ask is, why? Suppose students have a lower GPA because they messed up during their first year but got high grades in their junior and senior years when real naval architecture education occurs. In that case, the trend is good, and their GPA does not correctly reflect their potential. On the other hand, if they did well in their first and second years but did not do well in their junior and senior year, this would raise a red flag. That is an alarming trend.
Dr. David Singer Ph.D.: The coasts and D.C.