The 5 Best Careers for Recent College Graduates

A college degree is no longer a ticket to success on its own. As tuition costs continue to rise, and as hiring becomes more competitive, it’s more important than ever for students to get smart career advice.

best careers for recent college graduates

In the Digital Age, the importance of technical skills to job seekers of all types will only increase. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook, a small but diverse set of career paths are likely to account for hundreds of thousands of job openings in total through 2018.

One piece of good news is that the National Association of Colleges and Employers reports companies are planning an 8.6 percent increase in their hiring of new college graduates in the coming year. With that pleasant fact in mind, here’s a look at five of the most promising career paths for recent college graduates to consider:

Management analyst:

For students interested in a career in the business world and with strong interpersonal and communication skills, management analyst can be an appealing and fulfilling option. More businesses today rely on external consultants to better understand the dynamics of their own team. The networking opportunities that come from being in such a vital role with multiple organizations are also incredibly valuable as you progress throughout your career.

Computer systems analyst:

A computer systems analyst may perform any number of duties – everything from designing how customers will interact with a website or product to network maintenance. In fact, there are probably dozens of different jobs and titles that could all be considered part of this same "family tree". What they all have in common is that each places high value on logical problem solving and on having a detail-oriented approach. The ongoing push towards digitization and the interconnection of more and more of our everyday lives helps explain why the U.S. Department of Labor expects the field to continue growing faster than almost any other. That growth explains why it’s a prime choice for students approaching their graduation.


Granted, it may not be the most exciting choice. One thing’s for sure though – as the global business environment becomes even more complex, and as companies continue to expand their reach beyond their traditional channels – whether that’s a generations-old cabinet and furniture maker transitioning to an online marketplace, a digital startup working with international clients, or an established brand growing into new geographies – their fortunes will rise and fall in large part based on the quality of their financial reporting teams. After all, it’s hard to know if you’re following the right path if you don’t have a clear view of the space right in front of your nose.

Market research analyst:

Marketing has undergone one of the biggest and yet most unrealized upheavals with the dawn of the Digital Age. These changes have made marketing much more of a science, and yet it remains a home for creative thinkers and problem solvers. Pairing math and statistics skills that help to understand consumer behavior with clear written and verbal communication skills, market research analysts help the businesses of the future create unique and engaging experiences for all sorts of customers. That’s one reason why government economists expect this to be one of the fastest-growing career fields for the rest of the 2010s.

Software developers:

This last one should be no surprise. Talented software developers – whether they’re developing apps or systems, on mobile or desktop platforms – have long been some of the most sought-after job candidates on the market. Although there are a seemingly infinite number of programming languages and technology platforms, talented developers are able to demonstrate an ability to learn and stay current with evolving technologies as they move from cutting edge to mainstream to obsolete. That focus on lifelong learning also ensures that your job will always be exciting, and explains why the field is such a strong draw for capable problem solvers.

There are a lot of exciting opportunities ahead for current students. If you’re still looking for your path and think you might be interested in one of these fields, why not try a practice exam in a related topic? Whatever decision you make, one piece of advice to bear in mind  as offered up by Aaron Shapiro, CEO of the digital agency HUGE in an interview with CBS News – is this: “If you pick a job that you’re really passionate about, then you’re going to be successful.”

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