September 6, 2015

Data for this post is derived from the following sources: 1.) The Simple Dollar, 2.) Forbes Online, 3.) The Daily Beast, and 4.) Design News Daily: Article by Mr. Rob Siegel

If you follow my posts you surely know by now that I am a mechanical engineer-registered in the State of Tennessee as a professional engineer.  You also know that I have a great interest in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professions.  With that being the case, I make a concentrated effort to stay abreast of current trends relative to 1.) Graduation Rates, 2.) Starting Salaries, 3.) Developments in Technology, 4.) Salary Levels vs. time in profession, and 5.) HB-1 Visa allowances.  You get the picture.  I was asked the other day, “If you were doing it all over again, what career path would you follow?”  I would choose engineering again but possibly a different branch of engineering such as materials or biomedical engineering.  These two disciplines are experiencing tremendous growth and provide contributions to our society that will be everlasting.

The conversation got me to thinking, other than the STEM professions, which professions are in great demand.  What professions should a senior-level high school student steer away from?  Which careers might present difficulties relative to salary level, possible advancement and overall job satisfaction?   Many students ask the very same questions.  We all know that changing majors during college years can be time consuming and with the loss of credits, thus prolonging graduation.  The following three (3) lists were compiled by looking at probable job opportunities through 2022.  Now, please keep in mind, there is room in any profession for the VERY BEST in that profession.  I certainly don’t want to appear negative relative to having an individual follow their passion.   Also, these are not presented in any given order.    The first on each list does not represent the “worst” profession to steer away from.  I do consider the three sources to be reliable and capable in making a judgment concerning the viability of occupations for the long haul.  Let’s just look at what areas to shy away from.

The Simple Dollar: “10 Worst College Degrees to earn in 2015”

  • Communications
  • Psychology
  • Theater Arts
  • Fashion Design
  • Sociology
  • Liberal Arts (This covers a range of disciplines and I wish they had been more specific.)
  • Microelectronic Engineering
  • Fine Arts
  • Criminal Justice
  • Hospitality and Tourism


  • Anthropology and Archeology
  • Video and Photographic Arts
  • Fine Arts
  • Philosophy and Religious Studies
  • Liberal Arts
  • Music
  • Physical Fitness and Parks and Recreation
  • Commercial Art and Graphic Design
  • History
  • English Language and Literature


  • Political Science and Government
  • History
  • Music
  • Hospitality Management
  • Anthropology and Archeology
  • Journalism
  • English Literature and Language Studies
  • Philosophy and Religious Studies
  • Architecture
  • Commercial Art and Graphic Design
  • Film, Video and Photographic Studies
  • Drama and Theater Arts
  • Fine Arts

Several on these lists really surprise me and I would take issue with.  Microelectronic engineering is really “hot” right now due to continuing demand for computer science.  We bring in through H1B visas, hundreds of individuals to fill needed positions within the computer science field.   Physical Fitness for a very fat America is not only needed but provides a great contribution to the health and wellbeing of those participants.  (I think participants is the operative word here.) In our global economy, there will always be a need for multi-lingual practitioners providing interpretation for the rest of us not to mention filling open positions abroad for multi-national American companies.

I would again say—IF YOU HAVE A PASSION FOR A GIVEN PROFESSION, follow that passion, BUT make sure you are one of the best in the world.  Competition is not global not just within the confines of our country.   In the post that will follow this one, I will indicate those STEM professions considered to be “everlasting” and indicate current open positions.  I was greatly surprised at the number of jobs that are waiting on acceptable candidates.


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