Back To School? Deciding If Additional Degrees May Boost Your Career Growth

Graduation season is here and along with the uplifting cliches from celebrity commencement speakers may also come the feeling that you could perhaps get another degree or certification. You may want to augment your income, boost your career growth or change career paths completely.Even if you just recently walked across the stage, threw your mortar board into the air and hung up your diploma, you may be thinking about what’s next for you in the learning department.[bctt tweet=”#GraduationSeason is here & it might have you thinking about getting another degree” username=“takeleadwomen”]Deciding if continued training and education is for you depends on a number of factors. The first may be that the degree you earned recently or even years ago has not brought you the job positions, career growth, income or leadership roles you envisioned. Or your skillset may be outdated and not in line with areas of future job growth and demand.The initiative to learn more and employ your power to learn, adapt and acquire new skills is critical. According to Feldt, “Redefining power not as ‘Power-Over,’ but as ‘Power-To,’ we shift from a culture of oppression to a culture of positive intention to make things better for everyone.”In a new report from Payscale, researchers found that “For some subjects, an advanced degree pays off, literally. For others, the benefit is more intellectually fulfilling than financially valuable.”Some of the higher earning degrees are more predictably in the STEM fields, where women experience a gap in opportunity and income. Those earning a bachelors degree in petroleum engineering may make the most, at $185,000 per year, compared to an MBA grad with a concentration in strategy, earning $175,000.But if you do not have degrees in those subjects, or are not remotely interested in those subjects, you can still be employed outside your major, CBS reports.“Some 67 percent of college grads surveyed recently by Door of Clubs, a service that matches graduates with companies, hadn’t lined up a job,” John Wasik writes in CBS News.“While the survey found that the job market is much stronger this year than in previous years – 61 percent will be making more than $60,000 annually — many graduates will find their job prospects disappointing. The best salaries are still being reaped by those with engineering and computer science degrees. However, those outside of the tech sphere may not see that they, too, have some unique opportunities. “Many women are also opting for new degrees, professional and career training when their children are older. That is creating a trend of mothers, sons and daughters earning their degrees at the same time and graduating in the same ceremony.[bctt tweet=”#WomenLeaders are opting for new degrees & career training when their children are older” username=“takeleadwomen”]“Today, nearly 4 percent of undergraduate women have dependents in college, according to a 2011-12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study by the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Among graduate students, that number tops 7 percent. In both cases, more women than men can make that claim,” according to the Miami Herald.Going back to school for certification or a degree in fields related to information technology may be a way to secure the future, enhance career growth and guarantee that you are not obsolete to an organization.[bctt tweet=“Degrees in information technology may be a way to secure the future #WomenLeaders” username=“takeleadwomen”]According to a new report from the Pew Research Center, “The Future of Jobs and Jobs Training,” by Lee Rainie and Janna Anderson, the perilous threat to job security is in artificial intelligence and automation, not outdated or non-STEM college degrees. And everyone who wants to remain relevant, needs to adapt training and job experience to positions that cannot be automated.“Multiple studies have documented that  massive numbers of jobs are at risk as programmed devices – many of them smart, autonomous systems – continue their march into workplaces. A recent study by labor economists found that ‘one more robot per thousand workers reduces the employment to population ratio by about 0.18-0.34 percentage points and wages by 0.25-0.5 percent,’” Rainie and Anderson write.Yet all people are not all going to be forced out of the workforce.“Several policy and market-based solutions have been promoted to address the loss of employment and wages forecast by technologists and economists. A key idea emerging from many conversations, including one of the lynchpin discussions at the World Economic Forum in 2016, is that changes in educational and learning environments are necessary to help people stay employable in the labor force of the future,” they write in the Pew report.In a new 184-page report from the National Academies of Sciences, the report states, “Humans are still more effective than computers at many tasks, especially those that require creative reasoning, nonroutine dexterity, and interpersonal empathy. New models of human engagement have focused on how best to combine the strengths of humans and computers to complete a given task, referred to variously as complementary computing, mixed-initiative interaction, or collective intelligence.”While the future of work and leadership in this country and the world appears to be largely automated and populated with AI (artificial intelligence) resources, humans are not entirely redundant. Your most important career asset may be your personality.According to Science Daily, “Researchers used a dataset of 346,660 people from the American Institutes of Research, which tracked a representative sample of Americans over 50 years, looking at personality traits and vocational interests in adolescence, along with intelligence and socioeconomic status.”“We found that regardless of social background, people with higher levels of intelligence, higher levels of maturity and extraversion, higher interests in arts and sciences … tended to select (or be selected) into less computerizable jobs 11 and 50 years later,” the researchers wrote.The World Economic Forum in its recent and comprehensive, “Future of Jobs,” report states that jobs related to computers and mathematics will “experience very high growth, not just within the Information and Communication Technology industry but across a wide range of industries, including Financial Services & Investors, Media, Entertainment and Information, Mobility and Professional Services, as computing power and Big Data analytics constitutes a significant driver of employment growth in each.”When deciding if  you need to update, keep in mind the extensive research and predictors of economic growth for the next several decades. Learn where you fit in and if you are current or if your skills are “futureproof.”“There are various reasons for such dramatic shifts in expected skills requirements,” according to the WEF. “An ability to work with data and make data-based decisions will become an increasingly vital skill across many job families as employers scramble to build a workforce with solid skills in data analysis and presentation (e.g. through visualization) and the amount of potentially useful digital information generated and stored keeps increasing exponentially.”According to the report,”In the Consumer sector, for example, vast amounts of data will allow for increased sophistication in inventory management, customer segmentation and product personalization, involving some use and familiarity with technology by jobs at all levels, from retail assistant through to more senior positions.”[bctt tweet=“Moving forward, do an honest skills assessment to see where you land for the future #CareerMoves” username=“takeleadwomen”]Moving forward, do an honest skills assessment to see where you land for the future and if what you know and how you know it will continue to be in demand. You may be able to learn necessary skills on your own online, at local community colleges or adult learning centers. In order to proceed on a career path that you choose. The more you learn, and the better you understand your power to learn, the more valuable you are as a leader.