As graduation approaches, students are now entering into a new chapter of applying their skills to the real world.
Over the years, the Career Services Office has contributed to assist students in determining where they want to take their skills in professions.
Sam Heimbach, career advisor, said that students’ career paths can have many roads, and are not designated to lead to one specific career.
“You could have a broad-based major and end up going into a career field that didn’t seem at all connected,” Heimbach said.
Career areas that have seen exponential growth are the fields related to top healthcare in the medical field, computer science and engineering, whereas the jobs that have seen a decline are career fields where “automation occurs,” Heimbach said.
Due to the high number of job opportunities in computer science, Dr. Hongchi Shi, computer science department chair, said that’s the reason many students are attracted to the degree. The computer science degree focuses on innovators and creators that have expertise in the computerized industry.
“There are a lot of high-tech jobs that are requiring a lot of computer skills, and people are looking to hire people with those skills,” Dr. Shi said. “You have to have computer skills to do a lot of jobs today.”
In order to be part of this increasing field, Dr. Shi said one has to have to own the right set of skills.
“You have to be good at math, and have good problem solving skills,” Dr. Shi said. “Once you have all of that than you’ll be able to make a good career.”
As the digitalized era becomes the mainstream, Dr. Shi said this field will continue to grow.
“I think it will only get bigger. Like I said, we are talking about computers and the internet. A lot of things are connected, and everyone has computers,” Dr. Shi said. “As time goes on, more jobs will require computer skills.”
Dr. Shi advises graduates to strive to continue learning and enhancing the skills they have already acquired.
“Master your programming skills, master your problem solving skills and improve your communication skills,” he said. “When you have a lot of people working on the same project, you have to be able to communicate. Once you have all those things, you’ll be able to find a good job.”
Not only do professors teach the skills that certain fields require, but are likely to teach skills that that are team-oriented. Through each different program at Texas State, Heimbach describes the skill set that employers most commonly looks for.
“So a lot of skills that we’re trying to think about are those soft skills that employers are looking for,” she said.
Heimbach distinguishes the different between the two, which are both “equally important” to attain.
“You have your hard skills and your soft skills. A hard skill would be something like video editing; something that is very specific to your industry,” Heimbach said. “A soft skill is equally important, but is a little bit harder to put your finger on.”
Soft skills require an ethics-based approach such as people skills, communication, teamwork and leadership.
As the Career Services Office explores the routes that employers are looking for, Heimback said employers commonly ask what kind of leadership experiences and communications skills do students possess in order to properly function as a team in a diverse work environment.
Hannah Vanderlinden, healthcare administration graduate student, is part of a competitive graduate program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education.
The program assists students when seeking a career through these specific requirements of the material that is needed to be analyzed and understood to adapt to a professional setting.
“So if (the program) is not accredited, it leaves the employer thinking, ‘well what did you learn in that time at that school? Since it wasn’t accredited, was it something easy to get by?’” Vanderlinden said.
She explains that the competitive CAHME program helps her prepare for what the career lifestyle will be like in the future.
“I like that it’s in the school process, because once I actually get into my career, it’s competitive; it’s very challenging; it’s fast paced,” Vanderlinden said.
Vanderlinden said Texas State has contributed much help in achieving career opportunities for her.
“I’ve been given a wonderful opportunity with a hospital in San Antonio and I don’t think I would have been able to make that connection without the help of Texas State and the Health Professions office,” Vanderlinden said. “I think I’m going to get a lot of experience from it and hopefully benefit from it for potential career opportunities in the future.”
While there are many options a student can explore within the healthcare administration profession, Vanderlinden said the professors are good at helping students find what best suits their interest.
“You can seek advice from (professors). Not only just school advice, but (advice) for your future career,” Vanderlinden said. “I think that’s why I also like this program, because (the school) really stress the importance of having a mentor, and someone to confide in and get that advice and, you know, sometimes to just to talk things out with.”
Vanderlinden said the students who begin the program have a high percentage rate of getting a job immediately upon graduation.
This article was updated Dec. 24 at 9 a.m. to correct the headline from graduate students to graduates.