What Do Majors in Technology Study?
Majors in technology study the ways that we use computers and other electronic devices to solve human problems. Often blended with courses in engineering, technology degree programs provide students with skills and knowledge in a wide array of technical areas. Successful technology majors understand not only how a system works, but also how to make it work better. And in the wake of the information economy that has sprung up in America over the last twenty years, quality technology programs cross-train students by exposing them to course work in business, social science and liberal arts.
What Jobs Are Hot in Technology?
Computer Software Engineer
Regardless of the burst of the "dot-com bubble" and despite the "offshoring" of software engineering jobs by some large companies, the U.S. Department of Labor predicts steady, sharp growth for in the job market for skilled computer software engineers for at least the next decade.
Computer equipment manufacturers constantly innovate with new, faster, more reliable hardware. Therefore, software publishers react by releasing constant updates and additional features, even to established software packages like word processors and spreadsheets. In addition, many large companies have pulled computer software development in-house, hiring groups of software engineers to produce proprietary software platforms that help companies remain secure from outside threats.
Considering the relatively high salaries, significant bonuses, and the potential for lucrative stock options at public companies, those with bachelor's degrees in technology can expect to thrive as software engineers.
Information Security Specialist
With corporate espionage and identity theft threats haunting the dreams of most American business leaders, experts expect the already burgeoning information security field to thrive over the next ten years. Information security specialists work from offices and in the field to analyze threats to corporate computer systems, to prevent the theft of important data and to assure company leaders that new software and hardware systems will provide reliable, secure service to their owners.
A century ago, companies relied on workers to manufacture products from raw materials like steel, wood, and glass. Today's knowledge workers add value to their companies by analyzing obscure sets of data for insight into customer spending habits or opportunities to develop complex financial deals. Database administrators function at the heart of today's information economy. Their skills allow companies to manufacture products more efficiently, to ship goods more quickly and to manage financial transactions down to the penny.
Twenty years ago, only large industrial or retail companies used databases, which often required teams of personnel to maintain. Today, many small business owners rely on databases that run either on desktop workstations or remotely, over the Internet. Even as manufacturing jobs and customer service positions shift overseas, companies require home grown talent to manage their most precious assets.
Database administrators can work in-house at companies, government agencies or schools. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that database administrators earned a median salary of $80,280 in 2014. Experienced database administrators often work as freelance consultants to a number of clients. Either way, labor officials project an almost insatiable demand for skilled database administrators in the next ten years.
Why Should You Consider a College Major in Technology?
Over a decade ago, before the founders of Yahoo! pasted their first web page together, technology majors labored quietly in computer labs and lecture halls. Today, technology majors enjoy superstar status on some college campuses. Many technology majors even participate in prominent national competitions. Despite the collapse of many startup technology firms in the late 1990s, today's technology majors still enjoy rapid job growth and many opportunities for professional and personal growth in their careers.
As much as technology has revolutionized our daily lives in the past ten years, technology programs have reinvented themselves to focus on tomorrow's cutting edge tools and systems. Technology majors enjoy frequent opportunities for hands-on learning experiences through lab work, internships, and co-curricular research and development projects. Many technology majors participate in groundbreaking studies that evolve into patented solutions. A lucky few, like Michael Dell and the team behind Google, have even launched wildly successful businesses while still enrolled in classes.
Finally, technology majors enjoy some of the most flexible learning opportunities of any degree seekers. Unlike other areas that require significant face-to-face time on campus, many schools offer online learning programs that utilize the best innovations from previous generations in order to incubate tomorrow's new discoveries. For mid-career professionals searching for new opportunities, distance learning programs open a door to exciting and lucrative job changes.
What Candidates Make the Best Majors in Technology?
Young computer hackers hoping to blast their way through a bachelor's degree in technology may be disappointed to hear that understanding software only makes up part of the success recipe for technology majors. According to the admissions departments at several prestigious technology institutions, strong technology majors share the following traits:
- They communicate clearly, when writing or speaking
- They can function well on a team
- They can solve problems using critical thinking and experimentation
- They approach challenges with patience and tenacity
- They solve problems with human beings in mind
In addition to those traits, successful students stay current on trends and discoveries by reading online trade journals and participating in discussion groups. Many technology majors may already operate a Web site or develop their own software. Even so, a formal education, online degree program, or even a certificate program can provide a technology major with essential collaboration and critical thinking skills.
"15-1141 Database Administrators," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151141.htm