Since the job market is becoming more competitive, many people enroll in a college program simply to secure a full-time position. Although some students have a rough idea of their career path, others aren’t so sure. In fact, research has reported that around 33% of college students will change their major at least once within three years.
Personally, I can say that this is the case for plenty of my friends. I’ve met a kinesiology major who now works in marketing, and a journalism student who strives to make a statement in fashion styling. Even if these scenarios may seem unideal at first, they can actually be very beneficial learning experiences for young professionals.
Here are 7 reasons why majoring in an entirely different field than your profession is beneficial.
1. You will develop a versatile skill set.
If you have experience working in a different field, you can pick up a variety of skills that you would have never learned otherwise. For example, an economics graduate working in social media can gain both analytical and content creation skills. Their numerical analysis and reasoning would have been fostered throughout their economics courses. Additionally, they would have also honed their marketing and content creation knowledge from their social media position.
2. You will be more competitive in the job market.
Having experience in two different fields will make you a desirable candidate for many professions. Who wouldn’t love a mathematician who is also familiar with radio broadcasting? And who wouldn’t love a fashionista that speaks multiple languages?
3. You will be able to apply different skills in various scenarios.
This is why having both quantitative and qualitative skills is important. Even if your job is entirely unrelated to your major, keep in mind that some skills are transferable. Thus, you can apply your skills from course material to your job. For example, if you majored in graphic design and work in marketing, you could apply some of your creativity to brainstorm different advertisements.
4. You will gain more knowledge.
Think about it. Receiving an education in one field and working in another means that you will gain knowledge from two different industries. The diversity in work environments and tasks will further strengthen your overall professional life regardless of your job position.
5. You will be able to learn more about the working world.
Having a different job than what you expected may mean that you have applied for multiple positions. With experience in job applications and interviews, you will definitely know what employers from different industries expect and be more prepared to face a change in career.
6. You will impress your friends.
Seriously, who wouldn’t think it’s cool if you majored in Computer Science and became a fashion illustrator? Everyone finds it fascinating how some people can have such diverse talents. When your peers and friends find out about your unique full-time position, surely they will be surprised and supportive of your career goals.
7. You will see problems from a different perspective.
This may sound cliché but think about it this way: Your education will allow you to solve problems in one way, but your work experience may expose you to another method of generating solutions. Let’s say that you majored in Statistics but ended up working in the Healthcare industry. In this case, your education in Statistics may propel you to analyze the situation from an objective perspective, while your experience in healthcare will allow you to view the scenario from a holistic perspective. As a result, you will be able to look at problems from two distinct viewpoints, and use both of them to create a more unbiased solution.
Instead of perceiving a job in a different industry than your major as a ‘flop,’ view it as a learning opportunity and an educational experience. Being able to utilize some aspects of your education combined with an ongoing motivation to accomplish new tasks will surely allow you to pick up different skill sets. After all, it’s always great to gain two perspectives from the academic and working worlds to become the master of all trades.