Jul 29 2020

How Colleges Can Prepare Students for a Changing Economy

From healthcare technology to digital marketing, the lucrative majors of the future require tech skills.

As college students question the value of enrolling in online classes, new technology-based courses and majors are playing an increasingly important role in helping higher education institutions convince prospective students that college is still worthwhile in today’s changing economy.

Although new shutdowns still loom on the horizon, several industries are poised to remain profitable in the new economy — and most of them involve technology.

“One of the best ways to prepare yourself for a post-coronavirus world is to acquire technology skills,” Bernard Marr, the author of Tech Trends in Practice: The 25 Technologies That Are Driving The 4th Industrial Revolution, writes at Forbes. “The COVID-19 pandemic is fast-tracking digital transformations in companies as they are trying to become more resilient to future outbreaks and disruptions. The reality is that technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, and robotics will make businesses more resilient to future pandemics, and anyone that can help companies exploit these technologies will be in a great position.”

To better prepare young people for a challenging economy, colleges are offering more lucrative, tech-based classes and majors that focus on areas such as healthcare technology, digital marketing and computer science — all industries that will likely remain profitable even during economic collapses.

Lucrative Tech Majors of the Future

Purdue University was quick to launch a series of online engineering courses that focus on healthcare technology.

The first class in this three-course series covers healthcare delivery and how new medical technologies are evaluated in clinical settings. The second course gives an overview of medical technology development, while the third course offers a deeper assessment of the medical device industry — one of two major medical technology subsectors.

“Gaining an appreciation of basic principles that apply to most medical technologies, including patient-related considerations, development costs, product life cycle and reimbursement, can be very helpful,” Dr. William Clark, professor of practice in Purdue’s Davidson School of Chemical Engineering, said in a statement.

Clark said the courses are relevant for not only healthcare students. They are also appropriate for professionals working in biomedical and healthcare positions who are looking to gain technical knowledge to advance their careers.

“The information comprising these health care technology courses is particularly adaptable to fit learning programs tailored to the needs of pharmaceutical and medical device companies,” Clark said.

MORE ON EDTECH: Learn how data analytics will help campuses reopen safely.

Worthwhile Pandemic Majors: Computer and Data Science

Meanwhile, Curry College in Massachusetts is adding new majors in digital marketing and computer science.

“We’re excited to add computer science and marketing — both programs will not only widen our undergraduate offerings but will present new interdisciplinary learning opportunities for all of our students studying technology and business,” Curry College Provost David Szczerbacki said in a statement. “Curry is committed to adding new career-oriented programs that provide students with the foundational skills needed to excel in today’s evolving and competitive job market.”

The new computer science program is Curry’s third technology major. The department has plans to expand the curriculum to include data science.

“Today, we have machines that do many of our daily tasks, and tomorrow machines will do even more,” Ronald Krawitz, an applied computing and technology professor at Curry, said in a statement. “As future computer scientists, our students have an opportunity to be at the forefront of these exciting advances and build a successful career that can change the way we compute and live.”

The college’s business department will also begin offering marketing majors and minors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the advertising, publicity and marketing industry will grow by 8 percent by 2028. Following industry trends, Curry’s new program will include courses on marketing analytics and digital marketing.

“By incorporating principal marketing theory with the most recent industry developments, including digital marketing and data analytics, the new program will help students prepare for a successful career in a growing and dynamic field,” Anthony Fabrizio, chair of Curry’s management department, said in a statement.

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