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How to Choose a Technology Major for 2021 and Beyond

Choosing a college major is a big undertaking. Even more daunting is planning for a career that will grow and remain exciting for decades. Getting a college degree is more than just a rite of passage or something you have to do. It is the first step to a journey that will shape your present, your future and how you want to contribute to society.

If you have a passion for technology, you are in for a great adventure.

Fueling economic growth, improving standards of living and creating new jobs are just some of the benefits of technology. With an economic impact of $1,879b and over 4.6 million US job postings, tech jobs are exploding.


So how do you know which major to choose?

The key is to select a major that:

  1. Offers strong job opportunities after graduation
    Technology jobs are hot in 2021. Arming yourself with strong skills gives you a great advantage when you are ready to start your career. Coding and programming, understanding data analysis and knowing best practices for your chosen field are skillsets that employers look for.

  2. Opens doors to industries that excite you
    Technology companies and non-profits are working to solve some of the most important problems in the world. From climate change to eliminating hunger, from nanoprocessors to self-driving vehicles, technology is leading the way to breathtaking human progress.

  3. Helps you realize your passion and ways to express it
    Your life can be immensely enriched if you are fortunate enough to figure out what excites you and find work in that area. Choosing the right major can help you earn a living and build a life doing what you love.

  4. Provides long-term opportunities for income, growth, and experiences
    A rewarding career should provide you with the opportunity to learn constantly, advance toward your goals and grow as a person. 

Choosing the right college major can lead to a career that lets you take on new challenges and experience the rewards of solving big problems using technology. Ideally, it will provide you with a platform for launching your career and a foundation for a meaningful long-term adventure.

An Overview of the Top 10 IT Jobs by Projected Growth Rate
Tech Job Median Pay Projected Growth Rate
Artificial Intelligence Engineer $146,085 344%
Information Security Analyst $99,370 31%
Software Engineer $107,510 22%
DevOps Engineer $111,311 21%
Java Developer $103,464 19%
Data Analyst $118,370 16%
Computer Research Scientist $122,840 15%
Data Scientist $100,560 15%
PHP Developer $86,616 13%
IT Manager $146,360 10%

High Demand Technology Majors with Long-Term Potential

As a technology major, you are ideally positioned to take part in some of the most exciting trends in history. These tech trends are growing quickly in 2021 and offer strong career potential over the longer term.

Trend 1: An Explosion of Data
By the year 2024, an estimated 149 zettabytes — the equivalent of more than 149T gigabytes —will be created globally every single day. The challenge is to take all that data, store it and deploy it in ways that help businesses, organizations and entire societies.

From small e-commerce shops to huge government agencies, organizations of every size and type know they need to use their data more effectively. It is among their highest priorities. That is the role of the data scientist. They integrate math, computing and critical thinking to answer deep questions, solve big problems and invent data-centric tools and technologies.

Some data scientists shape huge data stores to optimize traffic and services in large cities. Others monitor the click flows and user patterns on huge web platforms. Some help to create IoT solutions that make driving safer. Data scientists use raw data to develop insights and tools that unlock the future.

Short-term Demand: Data Science, Data Analysis or Machine Learning appear on nearly every list of top career options for 2021. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists Data Scientists among its most in-demand professions now.

Long-term Outlook: The best opportunities in data science combine AI and machine learning to connect create new knowledge. That trend is just starting. The BLS expects 15% growth in the demand for Data Scientists between now and 2029.

Trend 2: Growth in AI
Artificial Intelligence is coming into its own as a stand-alone technology that helps humans make decisions, create media and manage large-scale online platforms, among many other things.

It is also a sort of "operating system" for other leading-edge technologies such as automation, DevOps, chatbots, and robotics. AI-driven applications will touch nearly every area of our lives. That's why AI majors’ study human cognition decision-making along with networks, programming and computer science.

Short-term Demand: Artificial intelligence specialists are in strong demand now. AI is a young, expanding field that is creating outstanding career opportunities.

Long-term Outlook: Forbes reports that AI will create $15.7 trillion in economic value by 2030 and lead to 12 million new jobs by 2025. Recruiting site ZipRecruiter.com calls the career prospects for AI professionals "excellent." The site notes that AI is expected to grow "explosively" over the coming decades as the technology matures and finds its way into more uses.

University of Advancing Technology offers multiple Cyber Security Degrees

Trend 3: The Scourge of Cybercrime

The cost of cybercrime is expected to exceed $6.1 trillion in 2021, according to Cyber Security Ventures. That's $190,000 every second.

Whether they are guarding against identity theft, preventing destructive hacking or detecting and defeating espionage, fighting cybercrime is a growth area for well-trained professionals. Sadly, as long as there are cyber targets, there will be cybercrime. Society depends on a new generation of cybersecurity superheroes to deter, detect and defeat it.

Short-term Demand: 74% of companies worry that a lack of cybersecurity talent will put their data at immediate risk, Forbes reports. The New York Times calls the current employment market a "mad dash" to find qualified information security professionals.

Long-term Outlook: The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the demand for cybersecurity experts to remain strong for the next decade, at least.


Choosing a Technology-Focused University

An investment in education is an investment in your future. We have seen that one way to maximize your investment is to consider both immediate and longer-term career implications. Choosing which college to attend is just as important as choosing the right major. Just like your degree, you want to make sure your university is the right fit for you.

Technology changes fast. So, it is crucial to choose a university that is fully dedicated to preparing you for your future. Rigorous academic coursework and extensive hands-on skills building will provide a broad and deep foundation on which to build your technology career. Ask your potential college how often they update the technologies, software, and tools you will be using. You can’t learn the newest advancing technologies if you’re working with outdated equipment.

Life-long learning is important for any degree major but even more so for technology majors. Technology is exciting because it is constantly changing, and you need to be ready to change with it. Seek out a university that offer opportunities for continued learning after you graduate. Look for alumni programs and benefits that will help you advance in your career long after your graduation date.

Classes, studying, and working on course projects will make up the bulk of your college career, however, don’t forget to look outside the classroom for more to learn. Take advantage of social clubs, student events, and networking opportunities to build a group of like-minded friends and maybe even future colleagues or business partners.

College can be expensive so invest wisely. Speak with financial advisors to learn what programs and scholarships are available. Spend some time researching grants or private sources of aid. Consider the length of time you will be in college too. Most bachelor’s degrees require four-years of study however, if your university of choice offers accelerated programs or year-round study, then you may be able to graduate sooner. That means you can be earning a salary and moving up the company ladder while your peers are still in school paying for tuition, books and room and board.


Putting it all Together: Choosing Your Tech Major and College

Choosing a technology major should be fun and exciting and done with some planning for the future. Technology careers can be rewarding and long-lived with the right plan of action in place. That plan starts with choosing a major that aligns with your interests and goals for what you want to accomplish in your career. Selecting the right university will ensure that you get a solid academic foundation in your major of choice, build lasting relationships with like-minded people, and provide the tools and resources for life-long learning that will help you build and grow a great tech career.

If you're interested in a career in technology, University of Advancing Technology is a great place to start. UAT is an elite, private university that offers cutting-edge technology majors at it's Tempe, Arizona campus, online, and hybrid classes. This tech-focused University has the status of being among a select few 100% STEM-based universities in the nation. Learn more at UAT.edu or request information.

University of Advancing Technology campus in Tempe, AZ. Students gathering in the courtyard

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