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Does your major in college have to relate to your future career?

Is it possible to have a career in another department that is significantly college career-choice major different compared to your major?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Katy’s Answer

Not always! I graduated with a degree in Interior Design and now I work in the legal world of IT. My degree was project management based, which is helpful in any career, but also it was heavy on the software use, which makes working in the world of IT software easy for me to understand - Just had to connect the dots. You can always apply those skills elsewhere, you just have to connect those dots and be able to talk yourself up if you are wanting to change careers.
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Liran’s Answer

Hi Alex,

Many people learned in college one thing and moved to a different field later on, with that said, I would recommend to focus on an area that you think you will want to work in the future, as the years pass by our experience is what important to employers and not necessary the field we studied. Therefore, changing field/major later on might bring you back to lower salary as you don't have enough experience compare to other people in the field.

Hope that's help and good luck choosing your major :)

Thanks.




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Jenna’s Answer

Hey Alex! Thanks for the question. I went to school for industrial engineering and am currently working in litigation consulting. I have worked with a ton of other people who have also ended up in a field that doesn’t directly relate to their major in college. The learning experiences and opportunities to grow as a person are what is most important about a college degree. No matter what department your job out of college is in, you will still have learning to do!
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Katy’s Answer

Not always! I graduated with a degree in Interior Design and now I work in the legal world of IT. My degree was project management based, which is helpful in any career, but also it was heavy on the software use, which makes working in the world of IT software easy for me to understand - Just had to connect the dots. You can always apply those skills elsewhere, you just have to connect those dots and be able to talk yourself up if you are wanting to change careers.
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Jesse’s Answer

The other answers so far covers this question pretty well. The only additions I'd make is that there are several ways to potentially switch over to a different area from a college major. This includes but not limited to: 1.) Taking one-off courses, 2) Picking up a certification (can be from a course or through digital learning material, 3) Networking/Mentorship/Job Shadowing someone in the career path your are looking to explore, 4) Marketing yourself with skills you already have that overlaps with the job interest. As mentioned in a different response, field changes might not come with a direct pay increase (can even be a decrease although some may eventually become an increase); however, taking some time with the 4 previously mentioned points might be able to help you narrow the gap in direct experience.
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Naomi’s Answer

A lot of people's careers are not straight forward. I graduated with an accounting degree and worked as an accountant for 5 years. When I was being interviewed by a Chief Financial Officer, he asked if I'd be up for learning something new. My answer was yes and that started my career in Application Support (IT). Now I'm in a Leadership Program at my company. Be open to opportunities as they arise. Think about things you enjoy doing and try to find a way to make that a career.
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Salvatore’s Answer

Many people work in fields that are different than the area they studied in college. I studied accounting in school and currently work in the insurance area after spending time in the investor relations field. Generally, the most efficient path to finding a job is pursuing a field where you have an educational background or prior work experience. Over time, it could be a great idea to diversify your experience by trying different jobs which could help you become a more well-rounded professional. Although certain professions require extensive education and work experience as a prerequisite to practice, such as the medical or engineering fields. Best advice is to research job requirements as well as talk to people working in fields that interest you to understand the paths they have taken that led them to their current jobs. Good luck!
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Reid’s Answer

It certainly does not!

I majored in Materials and Manufacturing Engineering. When I was in university I was very narrow minded about possibilities for my future career. I learned to value transferable skills. Things I learned in the different roles I had that I could take and apply to any other role or industry. Continuing to learn and develop those transferable skills became a priority for me. I currently work in analytics and believe with the skill set I have now, I can work in almost any industry.
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Don’s Answer

Hi Alex, great question! The answer, as others have said, is most certainly not. Most people's careers aren't drawn in a straight line, and you'll likely have plenty of exciting plot twists and turns over the years ahead.

The average person has more than 12 jobs in their lifetimes, and a full third switch careers completely between 25-44. With the rapidly evolving workforce and pace of technology and change, expect those numbers to grow in the future. All of which means, you're likely to change and adapt with the times, changing priorities and interests.

My advice is to follow your interests and work toward a field you feel will provide a career you enjoy and one that can support you, but to always be open to learning, growing, and changing. That's the skillset that will serve you best in the years ahead, wherever your career path may take you.
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Mary’s Answer

Hi Alex,

Only in some fields does it really matter. If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, accountant or engineer (a few examples) then you need that particular degree to get a position. But in most careers, you just need a degree in something to show you have gone through the motions of getting your education. It shows resilience and work ethic, which is really all we need to be successful in any line of work.

There are trades that don't require a formal degree, but maybe an apprenticeship. Plumbing, electric, carpentry and HVAC are examples of careers in which one can work under another person to gain the necessary experience to do the job on their own. These are great options for somebody who does not want to go to college or can't afford to.

If you want a business-type career, then you really do need to get that degree. It does not mean you can't ever get a job in business without one, but it makes things so much easier. Many companies won't hire you without one. I am in the insurance industry in a sales capacity. My major was English, and it really did not prepare me for the job I do now. But, it did get me in the door. Most sales jobs can be attained without a business degree. You just need to be able to sell yourself in the interview process and show what your current goals are for work, and how they relate to your education. Just be creative in why you selected your degree (if you are asked).

Good luck!
Mary
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Erica’s Answer

Hi Alex, not necessarily. I know so many people, myself included, that are not working in the field we got a degree in. There is so much you will learn and experience once you enter the workforce that will continue to shape and define the direction you go in. I majored in Public Relations, started my career in sales, and now work in marketing operations at a tech company and run my own fashion brand.

When it comes to picking a major pick something that interests you and can give you general skills you want but don't be so hard on yourself or feel like you're stuck in it for the long haul. Find internships that interest you to really start getting that experience and fine tuning what you want to do. Also continue to try to talk to people that work in fields your interested in to get a better idea of what that day in the life would look like.
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