I received a press release recently titled “Corporate Recruiters Suggest Most Marketable College Degrees.” Okay, I’ll bite.

Tell me this revelation.

Enlighten me as to what degrees are the most marketable.

Who knows, maybe they know something I don’t? Here’s the list:

  • Computer Science
  • Accounting and Finance
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Business and Marketing
  • Communications with a writing focus

college degreeWell, I can’t say I’m surprised in the least. Despite colleges offering degrees in puppetry, pop culture, or the Beatles (yes, really), the list above is not very surprising.

When students come to me asking what they should major in, I tell them to find something they are interested in that others in the marketplace will value. Note that I don’t encourage them to pursue German music or art history. Just because it interests you doesn’t mean it will help you to find a job, earn a living, and all that jazz. It needs to also satisfy a need in the marketplace. Hello, economics 101.

The title of this post says it all. If I have a degree in computer science, you know (generally) what I have learned and what I should be capable of. Same goes with accounting, marketing, business, etc.

If you have to spend ten minutes explaining what your degree is in or how you’ll use it, then it might be time to reconsider.

Then again, maybe you should just skip the degree and get to work. In this rant I talk about the myth of “giving back” and how it’s critical to teach students how to become productive citizens primarily. College isn’t a requirement, and many believe we have too many college graduates as it is.

According to the BLS, only 27 percent of us need college degrees for our jobs. Yet, 47 percent of the workforce currently has a college degree. This 14.9 percentage point difference equates to 21 million overqualified degreed workers in a workforce of 140 million; or the size of the 2013 fall postsecondary enrollment.

If these data are taken at face value, given an expected class of 2.1 million new first-year college students each year in the nation’s colleges and universities — at least from an economic point of view — we should consider shutting the nation’s two and four-year colleges down for the next 10 years to absorb the existing surplus of graduates. Source: PBS

In addition, there’s the crazy ongoing issue of these kids graduating with an average of $35,000 in student loan debt. Some really good insights on that topic (and how to avoid it for your own kids) are found here.

Food for thought.

Now let me get back to my studies. I’m trying to wrap up a course in shipwreck archaeology…

Thousands of students graduate every year from college with zero experience in their chosen field. Then they head out into the job search and have to make someone believe that they\’re a good choice for employment. I was one of those people, and I can tell you that it\’s very tough.

Who wants to give you a job when you have no experience, and how can you get experience without a job?

GrouperEye to the rescue!

And that\’s where GrouperEye comes in. They have developed an online platform that allows employers to meet and engage with their prospective entry level employees and interns. I spoke with Dave Rodriguez, the President of GrouperEye, and he explained the process to me. It works like this:

Company signs up for an account.

Company posts a “case.”

Students submit their answers to the problem.

The company picks a handful of winners.

The company ends up with a small group of qualified prospective employees, and the students have some experience to put on their resumes. It\’s a win-win.

Seems pretty easy, right? That\’s what I said! There is so much to be gained from this sort of process. In most cases, companies get hundreds of applications to an open position. Why not filter out those who aren\’t serious about working for you by requiring them to participate in a Grouper Eye challenge?

And to take it further, Grouper Eye\’s employer back-end panel can be used as an ATS for entry level positions and internships. An example of a current case is one by HealthCentral, who is looking for a social media plan to advance its online presence. Some enterprising student can research, build, and submit a presentation on building a social media plan for this company. And even if that student doesn\’t win, he/she has an immediate work sample to take to an interview.

I’ve just scratched the surface of the possibilities, but if you\’d like to try it out, then give Dave a shout on Twitter or via the contact page on the site. Don’t miss out!