According to Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, there is a lot of opportunity for women in Computer Science and Engineering. In a revealing interview on CBS’s Early Show, that’s where the top jobs will be in the future. Actually, now. And only one out of ten in these fields is a woman.
I have not been able to shake a statistic that I mentioned in another blog article. Nationally, one in three recent college graduates are unemployed. It could be that the job market has enough of philosophy, art or business finance majors and not enough in computers and engineering. Not to say that these areas of study aren’t important or are becoming obsolete. But for those that are unemployed and, a nation as a whole, the cause and possible solution bears some consideration.
The 41 year old Facebook COO earned an Arts/Science Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s in Business Administration from Harvard University, and is number five on Forbes’ list of most powerful women. Pretty impressive role model for young women or just about anyone who wants to learn the secrets to making it big in today’s changing workplace. Face forward…no looking back.
The sad truth, as she shared in the interview, is that companies are recruiting programmers and engineers from other countries because there aren’t enough in the U.S. Schools are working hard to raise awareness, with focus on S.T.E.M. career pathways – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
Whether you’re a high school student trying to figure out a college major, in your first job, looking for a secure future after downsizing, or a Boomer who can’t afford to retire, there are five good reasons to consider changing gears or continuing to gain more education and experience in these important fields:
1. These are the jobs of the future. Even former administrative/clerical jobs are becoming more technical. You need more than a basic knowledge of computers to get by. The ability to process information and understand how technology can be applied to different situations is the key to improving productivity and job security.
2. There are jobs available. The doors are open at existing companies looking for talented techies.
3. The work may be long and sometimes boring, but consider the relaxed, creative, fun work environment and culture of working for Facebook, Google or another startup company. Being a “Geek” is no longer an insult. The need for computer geeks to process and source information is critical – just watch the four versions of CSI or two of NCIS. If it weren’t for the geeks, the cases would still be open.
4. According to Sheryl Sandberg, software engineers at top tech companies make $100,000 or more a year. Mark Zuckerberg, who created Facebook while a student, is making billions. The earning potential is limitless for creative individuals who have the ability to marry technology with creative genius.
5. The future of the U.S. economy depends on it. If the U.S. wants to regain its former leadership position, we have to reclaim leadership in technology and the sciences from our foreign rivals.
What other career paths promise a solid future? Share your list in the Comments section below.
Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, is a consultant, blogger, motivational speaker and freelance writer for BusinessWorkForce.com. Based in Savannah, GA, her work has appeared in Training magazine, Training & Development magazine, Supervision, BiS Magazine and The Savannah Morning News. When she’s not writing, she enjoys singing with the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus and helping clients reinvent their careers for today’s job market. You can read more of her blogs at businessworkforceblog.com and view additional job postings on Nexxt.