The Happiest Majors and Careers: How to Choose a Path That Puts a Smile on Your Face - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Early College
June 23, 2020

The Happiest Majors and Careers: How to Choose a Path That Puts a Smile on Your Face

If you've spent years dreaming of your future profession but still struggle to decide on a specific career path, you're certainly not alone. This huge decision can seem overwhelming, as it may influence not only your college transcript and future resume, but also your sense of identity and purpose.

Career indecision may feel frustrating in the moment, but it can prove surprisingly valuable—it forces you to take a closer look at the paths that will ultimately prove most fulfilling. Stability and wages may play a key role in decision-making, but these should not be the only factors considered when making crucial career decisions. Ideally, you'll also consider your personal talents, passions, desire for work-life balance and your calling by God.

No single career path is guaranteed to make all employees happy, but those within specific fields tend to report better wellbeing and fulfillment. If these are priorities, you'll want to plan your college career accordingly. This means choosing the right major based not only on your personal priorities, but also on general job satisfaction trends. Options abound, but the following are most likely to prompt happiness in your future professional pursuits:

Computer Science and Computer Information Systems

The value of a Computer Science or Computer Information Systems degree cannot be denied. No matter how much the workforce changes, there is always a need for tech-oriented professionals who understand both fundamentals and cutting-edge solutions. This major is also worthwhile in that it can equip students with the skills needed to succeed in a variety of career paths—several of which are capable of providing a stable income and personal satisfaction.

Fields such as QA analysis might not initially seem ideal for achieving high job satisfaction, but results from a CareerBliss analysis defy this common misconception. In this surprising study, QA analysis reached an impressive BlissScore of 3.652. This ranking was derived from thousands of independent reviews taking company culture, growth opportunities, and several other factors into account.

Software development is also a key area worth considering. Highlighted by U.S. News and World Report as the best job of 2020, this position calls for a surprising element of creative thinking. Software developers love the problem-solving opportunities that this field presents, as well as the sense of community they find as they build strong bonds with fellow tech enthusiasts.

A recent Glassdoor survey highlights several other computer science-related career paths that help employees achieve excellent job satisfaction. Examples include:

  • Front end developer
  • DevOps engineer
  • Data engineer
  • Java developer
  • Applications engineer

Entrepreneurship

If you demand a high degree of control over your day-to-day endeavors, you might not be cut out for a 9-to-5 job. Instead of seeking work with a conventional employer, consider going your own way by launching a business. This path is definitely not for everybody—but in the right context, it can provide a strong sense of satisfaction. This is evidenced by business ownership's impressive status in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

At first glance, the sense of wellbeing conferred through owning a business may seem surprising, especially given the inherent risks of opening a small business. Despite this, entrepreneurs derive strong satisfaction from pursuing their innermost passions on their own terms.

Many entrepreneurs are willing to trade modest increases in stress for the ability to feed their intellectual curiosity. The very challenges that cause them short-term stress may actually deliver greater job satisfaction on a long-term basis. Little matches the pride of overcoming initial roadblocks to create a thriving business that makes a discernible difference in the local community and beyond.

While entrepreneurial success is possible without a degree, college provides an important sense of security for those taking on a riskier approach to making a living. Upon graduating, aspiring business owners can take comfort in knowing that, if needed, they can always seek a variety of positions at Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and even non-profit organizations. An Entrepreneurship degree may be the best option, as it prepares students for both the challenges and opportunities common within this exciting career path.

Business Administration and Management

Entrepreneurship can deliver a high degree of career satisfaction, but it is not the only viable path for management-minded individuals. Those who desire stable work within an established organizational structure may prefer Business Administration or Management degrees. These cover similar subject matter while preparing students for a variety of challenging, yet fulfilling, roles.

Several promising business-oriented positions are featured in the aforementioned CareerBliss list of happiest jobs. These include HR manager and project coordinator. Likewise, Glassdoor includes product manager in its ranking of high-satisfaction career tracks.

Business Administration graduates thrive when interacting with a variety of clients, vendors, and fellow employees. Their day-to-day work requires deep-seated curiosity, communication skills, and a knack for problem-solving—traits that these highly motivated professionals hold dear.

Communication Disorders

While the academic programs highlighted above prepare students for a variety of job opportunities, the typical individual pursuing a degree in Communication Disorders holds a clearly-defined career goal: working as a speech pathologist. While this may seem like a narrow field, it actually encompasses a variety of duties and work environments.

Whether employed in schools, nursing homes, or other facilities, speech pathologists consistently express enthusiasm for their work. Their passion is immediately evident in Glassdoor's job satisfaction survey, in which speech pathology achieves a much-deserved spot in the top ten.

Like many professionals in health care and education, speech pathologists derive great meaning from their work. Beyond this, however, they also manage to maintain an impressive work-life balance. This combination of qualities can be difficult to find in other professions.

No matter where your passions lie or where God seems to be calling you, you can find a fulfilling career that brings you joy and purpose. Don't discount the importance of happiness and satisfaction as you examine your professional options.

If you’d like to learn more about academic programs that enable you to serve wholeheartedly and faithfully in your life’s work—or you want to learn more about a biblically-based, Christ-centered education at Geneva, we’d love to chat with you. For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your most ambitious education and career goals, please phone us at 855-979-5563 or email admissions@geneva.edu.