At the end of the day, a significant consideration in picking a major comes from its potential to prepare you for success in a related career. Can you get a job (or start your own viable business) with the degree you are considering?
It’s also worth asking how difficult the job itself will be and whether or not you’re up for the task. Is it a career you can see yourself doing long-term? Do you imagine yourself sticking with the profession, or does the idea of staying in that field make you feel trapped and stressed?
You’ll also want to think about how long the career itself will endure. Is the job expected to last well into the future, or will it be obsolete in just a few years? Will that role or field still exist in 10 or 20 years?
While considering a major program’s career aspects, be honest and pragmatic but avoid getting discouraged. Some students experience guilt if their aspirations and career goals veer off the beaten path of more traditional, obviously successful fields. It is essential to understand your career prospects for your desired career, but that doesn’t mean that anything outside of being a doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc., is some frivolous pipe dream. Each of those careers can be very fulfilling for the right personality, but if they don’t sound like your cup of tea, don’t panic.
We’re often told to be “realistic” or “practical” when it comes to careers. That’s good advice, but many sadly take this to mean that some jobs are inherently less valuable. A better way to think about that advice is to apply it to our education and career progression rather than the career choice. Be informed of what your career market looks like, and carefully and pragmatically make plans and set goals to get yourself to the career you’re hoping for. You don’t need to force yourself into a career that doesn’t suit you. Just be smart about how you make your way into your desired field and do the hard work necessary to make it happen.