Higher Education: Degrees that guarantee jobs in future
Belinda Howell, 15 May 2017

Belinda Howell, the Chief Market Development Officer, University of Technology Sydney, INSEARCH writes that only personal development with professional practice can ensure long-term career success. Read what Belinda Howell has to say on Hybrid Degrees below.

There are major shifts in the work environment across the world. One skill-set isn’t enough in the present dynamic work atmosphere. We know that future journalists need to understand data analytics; scientists must be effective communicators; and entrepreneurs are looking for marketing and coding skills. 


Preparing for multiple futures


To succeed in this globally-connected world, students need to enhance their knowledge and skills, as well as embrace adaptability. They need to be preparing for a workforce of multiple futures, where careers and jobs are looked at as a series of sprints rather than a single marathon, dipping in and out of industries and organisations. Long-term career success will come from equipping them for ongoing learning through personal development and professional practice. The challenge at an undergraduate level is to embrace a multidisciplinary approach and ensure that their education, skills are adaptable. This can be achieved through studying: a new degree; a combined degree; or looking to include a diverse range of subjects and experiences.


New degree proves popular


An example of a degree offering new skills is the University of Technology Sydney’s (UTS) award-winning Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation (BCII). This degree brings in approaches from 25 degrees and 7 university faculties, in collaboration with industry, public sector organisations and communities, to prepare students who can lead innovation. The students are involved in projects with companies such as Google to foster their products in regions of Asia that were untouched by the Internet; Visa to spend a weekend exploring the future of global transactions and payment devices; and at Accenture for two-day hack-a-thon on new solutions. 


Enhancing ideas


Combining undergraduate degrees can also broaden knowledge and skill-sets. There are a number of combinations, such as linking law or arts studies with another undergraduate degree. An example of an exciting combined degree might include studying a B.A. in Communication (Digital and Social Media) and B.A. in International Studies. Another course with a cross-discipline approach at UTS is the Bachelor of Technology & Innovation.


Enhancing thinking


Students who are not ready to take on these new or combined degree, can still enhance their thinking by seeking electives which are different from their original field of study or selecting programs which emphasise problem solving and analytical approaches.  Responses to a recent Australian survey found that around 12% of Australian students are now studying dual degrees, and have higher employment rates. This is reinforced by what we hear from employers: they are looking for graduates that stand out. So the question to consider is: how will your choices of education help enhance your multidisciplinary knowledge, skills, experience and thinking to prepare for the jobs of the future? 


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