College students often have trouble finding rewarding employment after graduation but there are numerous high-paying industries with negative unemployment fighting over their peers. While recent graduates don’t have too much trouble finding employment, according to a study by CareerBuilder more than half (51%) of recent graduates end up in jobs that don’t even require a degree. If the goal of higher education is to prepare students for the working world, a 49% success rate is unacceptable. Colleges owe their students a core curriculum that prepares them for the modern world.
This low rate of degree-utilization makes sense considering degree choice. The job search site Glassdoor.com shows more than 50,000 postings for Software Engineering alone but according to MatchCollege.com, less than 2,000 Software Engineering degrees were issued last year. Even combined with the 20,000 Computer Science degrees issued last year, this would provide for less than half the postings and this doesn’t include similarly in-demand programming, tech support, and systems engineering jobs.
The most affected career by this lack of employable candidates is information security. In fact, a quick google search for negative unemployment quickly reveals how much of an issue it is for the computer security career field.
Ironically, Americans are earning degrees more often than ever before in history but technical graduates are still in huge demand. Students often claim that these degrees are too difficult or that they aren’t smart enough to earn these highly valuable degrees. As a computer engineer, I can guarantee that lack of intelligence is not the problem.
Often knowledge and experience is confused with intelligence. That’s where the problem lies. If you go back to that list of popular majors, all those unwanted degrees have one thing in common — they all tie in to the skills most students already have from previous classes. Business, liberal arts, psychology, and law all rely on communications and writing skills. Even the more technical popular majors have a foundation in mandatory material; biology is mandatory for Freshmen at every university I can find, and I can’t think of anyone who claims they aren’t smart enough for accounting. For every general education class that requires students to solve technical problems, there are three history classes. Students are fed an unbalanced diet of general education and this is hurting their future prospects.
While I don’t want to downplay the importance of these liberal arts requirements, their original goal was to create well-rounded, adaptable students who can succeed in a variety of environments. It’s plain to see that in the evolving educational landscape it is doing the exact opposite. By neglecting technical general education, students lose the confidence to further pursue the most in-demand majors. Student’s choose invaluable and over-filled majors not because they don’t have the work ethic or intelligence but because they know nothing else.