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Non-Technical Entry Level Jobs These Days.

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
It seems like the traditional non-technical career avenues (journalism, publishing, law, accounting, teaching) for a young person have largely dried up.

What is the future outlook for the following? (mostly on ease of getting a position)

Engineering
Finance (assuming you are NOT at an elite business school)
Military (how hard is it to get in these days? both enlisting and ocs)
Medicine
Nursing
Other HealthCare
Alternative Medicine
Farming
IT (get a certification at the local community college/state u?)
Advertising
Education Administration (will the education bubble pop anytime?)
Teaching English in Asia
Food

^ Any other areas I missed?
post #2 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluemagic View Post
It seems like the traditional non-technical career avenues (journalism, publishing, law, accounting, teaching) for a young person have largely dried up.

What is the future outlook for the following? (mostly on ease of getting a position)

Engineering
Finance (assuming you are NOT at an elite business school)
Military (how hard is it to get in these days? both enlisting and ocs)
Medicine
Nursing
Other HealthCare
Alternative Medicine
Farming
IT (get a certification at the local community college/state u?)
Advertising
Education Administration (will the education bubble pop anytime?)
Teaching English in Asia
Food

^ Any other areas I missed?

The only one I can comment on is finance. Getting a back office position with a finance firm isn't terribly hard. The better the firm, the harder to get a job - the top firms will recruit Ivy Leaguers for their back and middle office whereas a small firm will get local state school kids. Getting a front office job is a different story and is harder to get now than it was in mid-2008. There are loads of ex-Street guys killing each other for jobs in addition to the fresh blood coming out of schools.

If you want front office at a buy side firm and you're an undergrad, you should be studying for the CFA, networking your ass off, ensuring (to your ability) an on-campus interview, and be willing to potentially relocate internationally. No on-campus interviewing at your school? Better hope you have family or close friends in a firm.

Sell side is a bit easier from what I've seen. If you want Sales and Trading, you just need to be at a top school and go a similar route to the buy side (with CFA being less important). If you could somehow get your Series 7 as an intern (you need corporate sponsorship and I've never heard of a company doing it for an intern but who knows) that'd be clutch.

Quants (math/physics/engineering undergrads) can get risk analysis and quantitative trading jobs at firms with some ease. You generally won't need to go to a top school to get in the door - not a lot of math majors flocking to investment firms, so your Mississippi State math degree will likely open a lot of finance doors (luv ya Bulldogs).

Corporate finance roles (treasury analysts, modelers, etc.) tend to be given to MBAs but if your school is a target school you have a shot as an undergrad. A lot of firms are beginning to bring in junior analysts to groom. I think this is the "wave of the future" for those students that would have been targeting lower end banking jobs from top schools.
post #3 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluemagic View Post
It seems like the traditional non-technical career avenues (journalism, publishing, law, accounting, teaching) for a young person have largely dried up.

What is the future outlook for the following? (mostly on ease of getting a position)

Engineering
Will always have jobs around. May be hard if you were a poor student, but the ~3.3+ category typically wind up with jobs IME. In the recession engineering took a huge nosedive though -- I know many seniors that got laid off [or outright fired] as companies fought to keep profits.
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Military (how hard is it to get in these days? both enlisting and ocs)
No idea. Enlisting in military is batshit easy though. Just have to pass their fitness test and have a clean background check.
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Medicine
Nursing
Other HealthCare
Medicine: If Obamacare doesn't get overturned by the new Repub Congress (and/or presidency depending on 2012) then there will probably be an increased demand for family care doctors/general practicioners. Specific subspecialties will always be in and out of demand based on what they are and your own qualifications.

Nursing is in a shortage in some places and oversaturated in others. There's a big difference in terms of education for: RN, BSN, and LPN. RNs are becoming a dime a dozen thanks to two-year colleges. BSN still takes university level education. LPN is a whole different behemoth and still not fully utilized in medicine. I have no idea about the hiring position though (paging Piob)

Depends on what the "other healthcare" is.
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Alternative Medicine
ojfc.
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Farming
Gov't subsidies ensure farming will stay semilucrative, but it's backbreaking work. And cheap land is hard to come by in some areas.
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IT (get a certification at the local community college/state u?)
Most hiring managers want at least BS CompSci because of the number of colleges giving out certs and saying people are "Systems Administrators" without any real experience. If you have a cert, you might just have to fight hard (and have a strong background or a company contact) to get an entry-level/help desk job.

Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, anyone.
post #4 of 58
Thread Starter 
Thank you both for your excellent replies. This could become a great thread/k.
post #5 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by BC2012 View Post
Quants (math/physics/engineering undergrads) can get risk analysis and quantitative trading jobs at firms with some ease. You generally won't need to go to a top school to get in the door - not a lot of math majors flocking to investment firms, so your Mississippi State math degree will likely open a lot of finance doors (luv ya Bulldogs).


on a more serious note, any young person not acquiring programming skills by the time they leave school is doing themselves a serious disservice and/or potentially self-selecting out of the job market for this century. as far as i can tell, programming remains by the best risk/reward career path. if you're good at sales, that is potentially more valuable but higher risk
post #6 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by BC2012 View Post

If you want front office at a buy side firm and you're an undergrad, you should be studying for the CFA, networking your ass off, ensuring (to your ability) an on-campus interview, and be willing to potentially relocate internationally. No on-campus interviewing at your school? Better hope you have family or close friends in a firm.

Sell side is a bit easier from what I've seen. If you want Sales and Trading, you just need to be at a top school and go a similar route to the buy side (with CFA being less important). If you could somehow get your Series 7 as an intern (you need corporate sponsorship and I've never heard of a company doing it for an intern but who knows) that'd be clutch.


Merrill did it for a friend of mine (about 8 years ago). I also can't stress internships enough. That's how I ended up with my job, and I probably wouldn't have had a shot at getting if I wasn't in the right place at the right time when the internship was available.
post #7 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluemagic View Post
It seems like the traditional non-technical career avenues (journalism, publishing, law, accounting, teaching) for a young person have largely dried up. What is the future outlook for the following? (mostly on ease of getting a position) Engineering Finance (assuming you are NOT at an elite business school) Military (how hard is it to get in these days? both enlisting and ocs) Medicine Nursing Other HealthCare Alternative Medicine Farming IT (get a certification at the local community college/state u?) Advertising Education Administration (will the education bubble pop anytime?) Teaching English in Asia Food ^ Any other areas I missed?
I can only speak for military - officer candidate school - and it's more difficult than it ever has been. They weren't having problems meeting quotas before this whole thing, now they are in the cat bird seat even more. 3.5+ GAP, documented leadership experience, excellent test scores, excellent interviews/appraisals, no trouble with the law. The quality of applicant is stunning. HOWEVER, 3.0 types STILL do get in. I went to Navy OCS with a pilot contract with less than a 3.5(although I had top 5% test scores). As for enlisting..if you're a decent student and no law problems you wont have trouble enlisting. Again, HOWEVER, the more desirable problems are increasingly competitive. These are the ones that will offer you 100k check after 5 years to resign(read: language, some intel, NUKE!) Not everyone gets what they want anymore.
post #8 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by scientific View Post


on a more serious note, any young person not acquiring programming skills by the time they leave school is doing themselves a serious disservice and/or potentially self-selecting out of the job market for this century. as far as i can tell, programming remains by the best risk/reward career path. if you're good at sales, that is potentially more valuable but higher risk

Depends on what you're programming. Learning Matlab is good for some finance jobs. VBA is great for a lot of firms that rely heavily on Excel (read: almost all of them).

Unless you weren't referring to finance jobs specifically.
post #9 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by BC2012 View Post
Depends on what you're programming. Learning Matlab is good for some finance jobs. VBA is great for a lot of firms that rely heavily on Excel (read: almost all of them).

Unless you weren't referring to finance jobs specifically.

I agree with him that programming is a key skill for everyone, not just finance. That was the foot in the door for me for my first job.
post #10 of 58
OP are you in college now? Finishing high school and working out what next? Have a kid of that age? Where you at boy?
post #11 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Milpool View Post
I agree with him that programming is a key skill for everyone, not just finance. That was the foot in the door for me for my first job.

Yeah, but I mean learning Java or Python won't help you with most finance jobs. So, if you want finance, programming Matlab or VBA will help, C++ won't (in most cases - there are back office jobs that will open up for programmers).
post #12 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by BC2012 View Post
Yeah, but I mean learning Java or Python won't help you with most finance jobs. So, if you want finance, programming Matlab or VBA will help, C++ won't (in most cases - there are back office jobs that will open up for programmers).

Being able to write code in C++ or Java really means you have the skills to pick up Matlab or VBA in about a weekend.

C++ is used heavily on the quant side of finance.
post #13 of 58
Accounting is still a field, correct? I'm doing an audit internship at the moment, and it seems like...every single company we audit has a staff accountant, controller, CFO, etc. I suppose those don't meet the non-technical criteria.
post #14 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Milpool View Post
Being able to write code in C++ or Java really means you have the skills to pick up Matlab or VBA in about a weekend.

C++ is used heavily on the quant side of finance.

Not in the firms I've worked in, outside of some back office, proprietary interface coding. Still, I agree that if you can code a core language, Matlab and VBA should be easy to learn.
post #15 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluemagic View Post
What is the future outlook for the following? (mostly on ease of getting a position)

Other HealthCare
IT (get a certification at the local community college/state u?)
Advertising

^ Any other areas I missed?

My work is in web development so it's an odd mix of advertising, software development and business. It's flexible in that I can work for a Fortune 500 company, a small agency where everyone wears flipflops to work, freelance for small businesses, consult for large ones, build a product/app, etc.

Downsides are that there's no real barrier to entry (licensing, certs, degrees, etc) so the industry is a free-for-all. It's highly dependent on reputation and experience (that quickly becomes obsolete). You're only as good as your last project.

On the plus side you can earn as much as you have the balls to ask for/sell, and you can practically write your own job description (provided you can find a client who needs your combination of services).

On the industries above:

IT: Low level is drying up (outsourcing, shift to the cloud, automation) but the mid and upper ends are doing great. People skills and communication are way more valuable than implementation skills. There's major shortages of highly skilled people (both on the tech and management sides). Most of the knowledge is self-taught (as the industry moves so fast) but my compsci-related degree is definitely useful for getting a foot in the door, and the fundamentals help you learn and adapt very quickly. In some ways technology is getting easier, in many ways it's getting way more complex. Certs are OK for entry level jobs and for entry level clients but won't help with management positions or teach you anything you can't learn yourself. Certain high-end certs are highly valuable (SQL DBA ones and Cisco ones) but I'm guessing you're talking more about A+/MCSE.

Most tech people seem to start in tech support or freelance, then climb the ranks as an implementer before making a jump to management around the middle of their career. You can choose to stick at the implementation end if you enjoy it, but there's definitely a ceiling and it's tougher to make the big $$. Changing company every 2-3 years is a good way to jump up the ranks/pay grades.

Advertising: I work with a couple of agencies and they're always doing well. Again, low level is tough, high level (conceptual thinking, branding etc) is hard to find and very well compensated. Account exec is a good way of getting into the industry; you handle the communication with the client and pass it on to the internal team. It's a good way of getting to learn the processes. I know a number of account execs who have gone on to start their own agencies. Agencies tend to scale up and down with the economy (ie. if you're not essential you get cut at the first sign of trouble), they're the first to cut (as their clients stop spending) but the first to recover (as clients want to ride the wave back up).

Healthcare: One of my clients is a very large hospital chain. They are turning record profits, never stopped hiring and are continuing to expand. They're not particularly worried about healthcare reform (which looks like it's stalled for a few years anyway). Ground level medical (nursing, techs, etc) market is flooded thanks to for-profit diploma mills, but marketing/admin side of things seems to be going great. Usual path is to enter as a marketing rep (see account exec above) and climb the ladder. Healthcare marketing is definitely a specialized industry.

Once America completely stops manufacturing anything all that's going to be left is selling things to each other, and making sure we are well enough to consume them... from that perspective, healthcare marketing is a winner
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