Science is more than theory and lecture. Science is fun. Science is hands-on. Science is…
So you’re an undecided freshman trying to find a major? Or maybe a sophomore who is interested in changing your career course?
Not to worry—you’re not alone. Studies have found that 20 percent to 50 percent of students begin college as “undecided,” and the majority of students will change their majors at least once.
The good news is that NIU offers 56 majors with 90 emphases, 73 minors and seven pre-professional programs. It doesn’t take a math major to realize these areas of study can lead to countless careers.
Some of NIU’s most well-known academic programs include accountancy, nursing, engineering and teacher education—all areas that lead to rewarding careers. But the NIU Newsroom asked our experts in Career Services to drill down within academic majors to identify some awesome careers that more often than not fly under the radar of students.
Here are six careers that you might not be familiar with—but you might want to consider.
1. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst/Technician
About the job: Geographic information systems are designed to capture, manipulate, analyze, manage and display all types of spatial or geographical data. If you’ve ever used Google Maps, for example, you have benefitted from the technology.
What to major in at NIU: Geography with a specialization in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The GIS specialization emphasizes the creation, use and analysis of digital geographic information to examine economic, environmental, physical and social phenomena.
Entry and mid-level salary: $40,000 to $60,000
Why it’s a great career: Because the uses for geospatial technology are so widespread and diverse, the market is growing at an annual rate of almost 35 percent, with the commercial subsection of the market expanding at the rate of 100 percent each year. The northern Illinois region has long been a leader in American cartography and continues to be a rich source of internship and career-development opportunities in both corporate- and public-sector mapping.
2. Supply Chain Analyst
About the Job: Supply chain analysts (logisticians) coordinate and analyze the processes and systems that provide raw materials to the company for production and deliver the final product from the supplier to the consumer.
Why it’s a great career: Employment of supply chain logisticians is projected to grow 22 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Successful job prospects should be best for those with a bachelor’s degree. In addition, the skill set required for supply chain logistics are transferable to other areas of business, including operations, human resources and training.
Median salary: $69,720
Why it’s a great career: Audiology is a growing field with projected job growth of 34 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Hearing loss increases as people age, so the aging population is likely to increase demand for audiologists.
4. Public Relations/Fundraising Managers
About the job: People in these positions are responsible for planning and directing activities and projects that build the public image of an organization and raise awareness for a cause or mission. They could also be responsible for raising funds for organizations or causes.
Median salary: $95,300 (with starting salaries in the $45,000-to-$50,000 range, according to NIU Career Services)
Why it’s a great career: These professionals are in demand because they use social media, provide good customer service and possess leadership skills to communicate the mission of an organization. They help to maintain a strong public image for the company and to generate revenue necessary for the existence and maintenance of organizations and programs.
5. Manufacturing Engineer
About the job: Manufacturing engineers identify opportunities or implement changes to improve products or reduce costs using knowledge of fabrication processes, tooling and production equipment, assembly methods and quality control standards.
Median salary: $88,600 (with starting salaries in the $52,000-to-$55,000 range, according to NIU Career Services)
Why it’s a great career: Occupations in this career area are expected to grow rapidly in the next several years. These jobs offer a great opportunity to demonstrate leadership, problem-solving and creativity.
6. Information Security Analyst/Cyber Security Analyst
About the job: Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization's computer networks and systems. Their responsibilities are continually expanding as the number of cyberattacks increase.
Median Salary: $86,170
Why it’s a great career: Cyber security matters to everyone. Infected devices or breaches of personal information can be devastating. Employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 37 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for information security analysts is expected to be very high as these analysts will be needed to come up with innovative solutions to prevent hackers from stealing critical information or creating havoc on computer networks.
Keep in mind, these six jobs represent a sliver of the many dynamic careers NIU students can pursue.
NIU students who are undecided are strongly encouraged to speak with both academic advisors and Career Services counselors, investigate NIU’s online resource Careers by NIU Majors and attend the upcoming Academic Career Expo. The annual event (formerly known as the Exploring Majors Fair) will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21, in the Duke Ellington Ballroom and the Capital Room of the Holmes Student Center.
The Academic Career Expo is designed for all students who want to find out more about majors, minors and other academic opportunities. Students will have the opportunity to speak with faculty and staff from each of NIU's academic units in a centralized location. Additionally, departments will showcase particular majors, minors and programs.