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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

Career Management Articles

Stay ahead of the curve with insights from our CTL Associates.

  • 19 Jun 2013 2:47 PM | Anonymous

    By Lisa Raufman

    I am a Community College Counselor and am happy to share a new resource with you that provides up-to-date information about the value of a community-college degree in California, The website found at salarysurfer.cccco.edu, provides the following information:

    • Salary Surfer is a groundbreaking online tool that allows students and the public to view the aggregated median earnings of those who complete a certificate or degree in a specific community college discipline and then enter the workforce.
    • The new tool displays median annual incomes for those who complete 179 of the most widely enrolled programs and did not transfer to a four-year institution. Salary Surfer shows the median earnings for a community college graduate two years prior to earning a certificate or degree, then two years and five years after earning a certificate or degree.
    • An analysis of the data found in Salary Surfer shows the tremendous return on investment provided by community colleges: 
      • Students who complete an associate degree more than double their annual pre-degree earnings after two years in the workforce and nearly triple their pre-degree earnings after five years in the workforce. 
      • Nearly 45 percent of students who graduated with an associate degree earned more than $54,000 annually five years after getting their degree. That is the median wage of someone with a bachelor’s degree living in California, according to the U.S. Census Bureau 
      • About 25 percent of those graduates with associate degrees had median wages of more than $77,000 five years after graduating. That is higher than the median income level for those Californians with a master’s degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 
      • Median wages five years after award for students with associate degrees in vocational disciplines was $61,600 compared to $39,300 for those with non-vocational associate degrees. 
      • Associate Degrees with the highest median incomes five years after award include: Electrical and Power Systems Transmission ($96,200);  Physician Assistant ($95,700); Radiation Therapy Technician ($91,300).
    • Future earnings potential can be valuable when making decisions about which educational discipline to pursue, but it should not be the sole determiner. A student’s interests and aptitudes also need to be factored in when making these decisions.
    • When looking at data on Salary Surfer it is important to remember that wages of students who transfer to four-year institutions are not included, nor are self-employed workers. With the release of Salary Surfer, which can be found at salarysurfer.cccco.edu, and the earlier release of the Student Success Scorecard, which measures student outcomes at all 112 colleges, the California Community Colleges becomes the most transparent and accountable system of public higher education in the nation.
  • 06 Jun 2013 2:57 PM | Anonymous
    By Joan Runnheim Olson

    I recently had the opportunity to have a conversation with Andrea Jones, a coach and trainer for Menglish Gender Communication (http://www.menglish.com). Andrea and I talked about gender differences in the workplace and how women and men can work together more effectively. 

    What leads to communication differences between the genders?

    Women and men are wired differently. Some of the differences are innate, whereas culture and upbringing play a role also. These differences show up in every area of their lives, including work.

    How do gender differences show up in the workplace?

    Men are hierarchical and women are flat-structured. Women build relationships; men are task-oriented. Women will build relationships and then they can effectively work on a task. Men are competitive; they do the task and then build relationships. Men are fact-based and women focus on the details. When women are in a meeting, they will read body language and read between the lines. Men like to get to the facts.

    How can this impact their success?

    In business, a woman may lose a deal due to getting side-tracked because she’s focused on body language and reading between the lines. A man may lose a deal because he’s too intent on delivering the facts and can’t read body language and read between the lines. A woman can be perceived as not right for a promotion to a male boss because she likes to ask lots of questions and get opinions from others. Where a woman’s competitiveness shows up is when a female colleague receives a promotion. She can be excited about a fellow female’s promotion, as long as it’s to a different department.

    How can the genders work more effectively at work?

    Co-ed teams at work outperform single gender teams. Both men and women possess positive character traits which are valuable. A woman doesn’t need to be like a man and a man doesn’t need to behave like a woman. However, they do need aware of how to adapt.  For example, if you’re working with or report to the opposite gender, learn how they think.

  • 13 May 2013 4:20 PM | Anonymous

    By Sharon Wiatt Jones

    Maybe you can have it all:

    • Land a well-paid job in a growth industry
    • Live in a city with high job creation, flourishing business climate, diversified economy, well-known specialized industry niches, and proximity to major universities (grad school, anyone?)
    • Achieve a standard of living made possible by low housing costs, short commute, and warm climate.

    Salaries of all residents—techies and non-techies—are higher in innovation hubs, according to Enrico Moretti , author of The New Geography of Jobs.  Most of these cities are also cited in Richard Florida’s updated book, The Rise of the Creative Class Revisited, for their “technology, talent, and tolerance.” Author Joel Kotkin describes many Sunbelt metros as “opportunity cities” for their rising prominence in technology jobs.

    The U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, has identified "New and emerging occupations" http://www.onetcenter.org/dl_files/NewEmergingList.pdf  in 17 industries. Tech-infused ones to watch: health care, biotechnology, nanotechnology; green energy; advanced manufacturing; transportation, aerospace; information technology, education, finance, geospatial, homeland security.

    Some Emerging Occupations in Major Industries

    • Health Care: nurse anesthetist, informatics nurse specialist; neuropsychologist; clinical research coordinator
    • Green (Environmental): sustainability specialist, water resource specialist, industrial ecologist, environmental restoration
    • Biotechnology: Bioinformatics scientist, biostatistician; molecular and cellular biologist, clinical research coordinator
    • Information Technology: videogame designer, electronic commerce specialist, business intelligence analyst

    Rising Technology Cities: Here are my favorite Sunbelt cities for Gen Y to launch their careers: Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Houston, TX; Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC; Atlanta, GA; Orlando, FL. What do they have in common?

    • A high proportion of young, educated residents with a low cost of living compared to superstar metros such as New York and Los Angeles.
    • Logistics hubs with many international ties (consular offices, trade, inclusion on “global cities” lists). By 2016 all will have a nearby medical school. Most are higher education meccas, especially Dallas-Fort Worth (380,000 students), Atlanta and Houston (300,000 each).
    • Prominent sectors for most include IT, energy, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing

    Consider emerging occupations at “most admired” or other highly ranked employers in fast-growing Sunbelt cities:

    • Decision research specialist at Rackspace (locations in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas).
    • Associate regulations compliance analyst for Lockheed Martin (Dallas-Fort Worth, Orlando, Atlanta).
    • Clinical informatics specialist or bioanalyst for M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (Orlando, Houston).
    • Graphics software engineer at Google (Chapel Hill, Atlanta, Austin, Dallas).
    • Wastewater or environmental engineer for CH2M-Hill (Houston Austin, Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Orlando, Raleigh).

    Emerging Industry Niches for 7 Sunbelt Cities

    Nearly all the sunny metros have nicknames that identify their distinctive strengths. Here are some highlights:

    TEXAS Dallas-Fort Worth - Silicon Prairie, Telecom Corridor, Space City, Energy Corridor: Healthcare, medical research, bioengineering, IT (cloud computing, cybersecurity, GIS)

    Houston - Space City, Energy Corridor: Advanced manufacturing, nanotech (computer security, digital media, education technology, data analytics, GIS); Biotech and healthcare

    Austin - Silicon Hills, BioAustin: Nanotech, advanced manufacturing, information security, multimedia technology, data analytics), Life science (biotech, medical devices, biosecurity, medical research); clean energy

    FLORIDA  Orlando - High Tech Corridor, Space Coast, New “Medical City:  Advanced manufacturing, optics and photonics, lasers, nanotechnology, aerospace, defense; Biotech and life sciences (specialty pharmaceuticals, stem cell research); Energy (clean technology, sustainable energy, solar power); IT (interactive entertainment, computer security); simulation and training

    NORTH CAROLINA  Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill - Bio NC, RTP, City of Medicine (Durham): Advanced manufacturing, nanotech; Energy (clean tech, renewable energy, smart grid technologies); IT (digital media, game development, GIS): Life sciences, biotechnology, clinical trials

    Charlotte - The New Energy Capital: Financial services (second only to New York City), data analytics, cybersecurity; 3D printing, informatics, optical and photonics

    GEORGIA Atlanta – Hotlanta: Bioscience (clinical trials, medical devices, vaccines), nanotech; IT (health IT, digital media, network security, smart grid technology, data analytics)

    If you would like to learn more about growing metros with hot jobs, let me know the regions that interest you (including more in the south).

  • 05 Apr 2013 4:54 PM | Anonymous

    By Kathleen Sullivan

    As more people defer retirement or never retire completely, the traditional model of a younger employee / older boss is shifting. Almost 70% of people over age 55 can expect to have a younger boss at some point in their careers. There may be even more than one generation separating an employee and his manager. Seasoned employees will have to face whether their approach, values, and work habits are compatible with those of a younger boss and if not, make adjustments to make them compatible. If you are an older worker who has a younger boss, here are three strategies you can follow to build a realistic, productive, and mutually beneficial relationship: change perceptions; set expectations; facilitate communications.

    Change perceptions: Perceptions, real and imagined, on the sides of both an older employee and a younger boss can make it difficult to build a good working relationship. An older employee may perceive that a younger boss has not earned his title and position, acts superior, and is immature. A younger boss may believe that an older employee has outdated skills, resents his authority, and will try to parent him. Rather than allow these perceptions to become reality, take the lead in forming how your younger manager perceives you. Look, speak, and act currently (but not foolishly).  Let him know that you are eager to learn new methods and technologies.  Keep him updated on your progress and results. Share your insights and experience. Above all, do not criticize, compete, or treat him like a child. You want to be seen as an energetic, cooperative, and valuable employee.

    Set expectations: It is critical to set expectations early in the older employee / younger boss relationship so that you share the same assumptions and goals. If your younger boss does not schedule a meeting soon after he assumes his role, reach out and request a discussion. Use that meeting to learn about your younger boss’s overall goals, his management style, and expectations for his employees. Then, share your own goals for your position, how your expectations are aligned, and where your experience and skills can contribute to achieving your manager’s objectives. You both should arrive at the expectation that you will be a competent collaborator focused on building a mutually beneficial relationship.

    Facilitate communications: Communications can make or break the dynamic between an older employee and a younger manager. Often, technology can be the source of a divide. Even a technically proficient older employee may not have the same approach to using technology to communicate as a younger boss. If your younger boss is using technology as his main means of communicating, you should make an effort to communicate electronically more frequently. If you are not knowledgeable about social media, take steps to learn and apply it when communicating with your boss. Also, a younger boss may use a more informal communication style. To promote better understanding and develop a rapport, adapt to his language and style, again without acting foolishly. Even if a younger boss relies on technology to communicate, request a face to face meeting with him periodically. If you are not co-located, use a video conference or Skype for the meeting. Having face time is a great opportunity to review your accomplishments, where you would like to improve, and how you can continue to make a contribution. You also can raise any issues that cannot be communicated effectively using technology and candidly discuss ways to resolve them. This face to face meeting also offers a chance to be more casual, share mutual interests, and build a more personal dimension into the relationship.

    If you are an older worker who has a younger boss, take the lead in shaping the relationship. Leverage your maturity, experience, and skills to create the environment for an open, respectful, and productive relationship where age is not a factor.

  • 03 Apr 2013 5:06 PM | Anonymous

    By Joan Runnheim Olson

    For 20 years, Anja White, CPCC, MBA, successfully climbed the ladder in high tech manufacturing. She leveraged her experience working in a male-dominated industry and launched her private coaching practice. As a Manufacturing Executive Coach and founder of albaviso, she helps women be successful working in the male-dominated manufacturing industry and below she shares practical tips on how women can do just that.

    Time and time again, I hear from female clients that they are frustrated because they do not feel heard or they cannot find a meaningful seat the table.  By the way, this is not exclusively true for women only; there are men too who experience this.  My sense is that women are more often bringing it up with the desire to change it.   It is frustrating and demotivating.  They are well educated and want to be more a more effective contributor in their organizations. So what is the reason?  You are competent, you are successful, you work hard.  You contribute more than some of your colleagues, yet when it comes to essential discussions, you are not heard.  The very idea you brought forth did not gain momentum until someone else, very often a male colleague, presented it.  You were hoping for a promotion, but instead Bob down the hall got it.  Your annual review went very well, but the salary increase was less than you expected.  John on the other hand got a big raise, you overheard it at the water cooler--and he is never here past 4:30. My perspectives are a collection of personal experiences and those I learned from clients.  While each circumstance is individually different, there are some commonalities.  Not all may hold true every time, they are meant to start a conversation and deeper exploration.   What I believe to be true is that we fundamentally must subscribe to the idea that we have choices and options.  Nothing productive comes from being led by our circumstances; we need to fall in love with and be passionate about wanting to lead and shape our circumstances.  Waiting around hoping to be noticed rarely yields the results we aspire to.  Hope is not a strategy.  Only when we are clear that we want to be noticed and what we want to be noticed for will we be able to move forward with choice and intention, authentically and effectively.

    1)  Negotiation of title and salary. How did you show up at the very crucial hiring moment setting up your career path in this organization?  What about that performance review?  Many women do not negotiate what they really want in terms of salary and title; we don’t even ask!  We seem to hold on to the idea that if we work hard enough then someone will recognize it and eventually we will get what we deserve.  That may happen, yes.  Yet here is one unintended consequence:  by not positioning ourselves where we truly want to be, we are leaving the positioning to circumstance.   I know personally that I do not like this aspect of work either.  But what I like even less is feeling undervalued. You might think:  I don’t want them to think negatively of me when I ask for more money or a certain title. I don’t want to come across bossy or bitchy. There clearly is a value that is important to you, honor it. I get that. At the same time, you will be thought of less effectively when you don’t negotiate. The very thing you are trying to avoid is going to happen. You want to be respected, and by showing up with confidence having your boundaries clear will you get that respect. Salary and title are business negotiations; to be respected in business you need to be able to negotiate respectfully, authentically and within your value system.

    2)  Just because you can does not mean you should. We often hear women work harder and do more than men. Women are masters at multitasking and getting a lot done in a day. We are also masters at wanting to be helpful and “doing what it takes” to achieve the organization’s goals. What do you want to be known for? There is a fine line between taking on tasks that are meaningful and tasks that are busy work and nobody else wants to do them so they look at you. The busier you get with tasks that you of course can do, but should not do, the less likely will you be assigned meaningful projects. And worse yet, you will be viewed as a master tasker, but not necessarily a meaningful and effective contributor.

    3)   Stop apologizing. Why are you sorry that the projector does not work or the lunch order is late? Why are you apologizing that you have to ask your team to work late? I hold the belief that our behaviors can shape our environment. We don’t have to, and should not, try to be men. We need to let our competence and confidence shine in as bright a light as resonates with our values. We do not need to try to be someone we are not, how about just being who we want to be and what we are meant to be? What if our courage inspires others? What are you waiting for?

    Let me make one thing clear; this is hard work and I encourage you to find a coach that will support you, challenge you, champion you.  It is uncomfortable, perhaps scary.  But I will promise you:  you will be heard! You might think:  I can’t change how they think about me here.  Perhaps.  But you can change how you think about yourself, how you behave with grace, respect and authenticity.  And how you show up will absolutely have an effect on your environment.

  • 14 Mar 2013 5:11 PM | Anonymous

    By Joan Runnheim Olson

    Below is an interview with Anja White, founder of albaviso and a pioneer for women in nontraditional careers. Anja shares her journey working in the manufacturing industry and how she has leveraged that experience to now coach women working in that same male-dominated industry.

    Could you provide a little background on your career path?

    I don't have a typical, well-planned career path--which in many ways is testament to my belief that opportunities present themselves when one is open and curious. Never could I have imagined to rise to executive roles in global companies, ultimately leading a multi-million dollar high tech manufacturing subsidiary of a $16 billion global conglomerate. My parents were small business owners, entrepreneurs who raised us to be independent very early. I remember my father valuing education and pushed us hard to achieve in school.  He believed that with a solid knowledge base one will always have options and choices. Whenever we said “I can’t” he would reply:  “You can’t or you don’t want to?” In those years, I did not give this question much credence. Today I know that it fundamentally shaped my drive to not let potential obstacles get in the way of exploring what else is possible. In the late 1980s I left Germany for a life in the US.  I quickly learned that my education was not understood well here and I decided to study, first at Minnesota School of Business with the idea to become an executive assistant. Little did I know that this very choice would set me on a path to understanding business, people, processes and systems from the ground up. As I progressed from a support role into leadership, attaining my BA and MBA, each step of the way shaped who I became as an executive and now an executive coach to leaders in manufacturing.

    How did you decide on your career choice? Did someone in high school encourage you to pursue a nontraditional career?

    Actually, my father encouraged me to think about taking over his painting and design business. Women were extremely rare at construction sites, but I became an apprentice in a small company with 19 men. In the interview, the owner told me straight up that no concessions will be made because I was “a girl” and he expected that I would pull my weight regardless of my gender. And the “guys” did clearly not subscribe to cutting me any slack; nothing was too heavy or too dirty. My mother was an integral part in the family business and we were raised believing that gender was not to be an obstacle whatsoever. She worked side by side with my father; at the construction site as well as in the office. I chose not to take over the business for a variety of reasons, but not for reasons of gender. It just never crossed my mind that there was anything I could not do because of being a woman.

    What challenges have you encountered being in a male-dominated field?

    Once I was in the US and started as an executive assistant, I was clearly in a very woman dominated field. Not until I stepped into leadership did I realize that the landscape was quite different. The cliche that there never was a line at the ladies’ restroom when attending corporate management events held certainly true for me. But never once did I get up in the morning thinking about being a woman and whether that would be a disadvantage for me. Of course I experienced remarks such as “so what is the female perspective on this” or “you are the token woman on this team.” I was then, and am still today, puzzled why anyone would say that. And here another one of my father’s mantras kept me going; he told me to never sink to “their” level--meaning those people who are closed-minded and critical.

    What have you done to help overcome those challenges?

    My upbringing ingrained in me the belief that solid performance, continuous learning, and being competent would always bring me forward. That I would be able to decide; whether that was true or not was never a question I thought much about. I just kept moving forward. What was more important then, and still is today, is my desire to deliver on commitments, take responsibility seriously, be of service to the people, hold true to my values, always learn, be curious and above all:  love what I do. I also had great leaders who truly were engaged in my career and wanted to see me succeed. Even though all my mentors were men, they believed in my abilities. Always. In many ways, I was very fortunate to have been surrounded by “gender neutral” mentors.

    Describe a typical day on the job.

    Today, as coach, my days are very different from the executive days in industry. I no longer work 80-hour weeks and get on airplanes 6 times a month. As a leader, you are “always on” -- every minute of the day people are relying on you to be fully present. Whether there are tough decisions to make, significant quality problems to be resolved, new products to be introduced--you are responsible. The buck stops with you. But it is so rewarding and exhilarating when you see your team be successful, when the company achieves its goals, when customers are happy, employees are engaged. Ten bad moments are instantly wiped clean with one success. And because of all trials and tributes while I was in industry allow me today to be of service to my clients. I get it, I understand what it is like to be in leadership.

    What is the salary range for work such as yours?

    While in industry, the salaries vary greatly depending on company size and industry. There is no reason why you could not make $200,000 a year.

    How do you use math, science and computer skills in your job?

    This is an interesting question; I was General Manager of high tech businesses even though I am not an engineer or scientist. But the solid education I had in math and science clearly had an impact understanding how all the pieces fit together. Not being afraid of these subjects but rather intrigued and interested helped me learn the technologies of the organizations I worked at.

    How did you move up in your career?

    When I look back at my career, each position I held was new; it did not exist and I was drawn to the “new.” My entrepreneurial spirit guided me from role to role. The intense curiosity to see what is possible, what could be created, moved me forward. I focused always on a need that could be solved for the benefit of the organization, not on my resume. The positions, titles and salaries came as a result, but were not my focus.

    What advice would you give to females who may be considering a nontraditional career?

    Be clear on your motivation:  do you love it? Does it excite you to learn? Then do it. Put aside the thought that you are a woman. Believe in your competence, there is no reason whatsoever that you cannot achieve if you are curious, open, know your values and engage in the kind of work that makes you want to get up in the morning. There are always critics. It is their choice to be critical, you have the choice how you react to it.

  • 30 Jan 2013 6:31 PM | Anonymous

    By Joan Runnheim Olson

    Karen Purcell is a great role model for women considering a nontraditional career. I recently had the opportunity to interview her and below she shares her path into a male-dominated career. 

    1)      Could you provide a little background on your career path?

    I have B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Widener University. Shortly after graduation I went to work for a small electrical engineering consulting firm in Las Vegas, NV. The firm provided electrical designs (lighting, power and communication systems) for commercial buildings. At the present time, I am the owner, president and principal of PK Electrical, Inc. located in Reno, NV. PK Electrical provides electrical engineering, design and consulting. I am a licensed P.E. (professional engineer) in 12 states. I have been in this career field for 23 years.

    2)      How did you decide on your career choice? Did someone in high school encourage you to pursue a nontraditional career?

    My high school physics teacher suggested that I try engineering since I did well in both science and math. My first response was to ask him what engineers did. He replied that they can do anything. I was hooked from that moment on. I was very lucky to have his support and encouragement. If it wasn't for him, I am not sure if I would have chosen engineering.

    3)      What challenges have you encountered being in a male-dominated field?

    As an engineer and business owner I face some very unique challenges. I find it interesting that when I go out to a job site with one of my male employees often I am looked on as the assistant and not the engineer. It isn't until I open my mouth with an intelligent response that they realize who the engineer is and who the assistant is.

    4) What have you done to help overcome those challenges?

    Having a strong support system has helped me immensely. I have a very supportive family that provides the love and encouragement that I need. I am also a member of various organizations. One of those is EO (Entrepreneurs Organization). I became an active member of the organization. I feel empowered by the other EO members. Extra activities and hobbies are also important. I am a runner and part of a relay running team. It is great to feel as part of team outside the office.

    4)      Describe a typical day on the job.

    Every day is different for me. Some days I attend meetings with clients, work on marketing, review electrical designs or write proposals. The only constant is my daily morning run.

    5)      What is the salary range for work such as yours?

    It is $100,000 to $200,000.

    6)      How do you use math, science and computer skills in your job?

    We are constantly using engineering calculations in our designs. For example, maybe we need to determine the electrical service size of a building. We have various mathematical formulas that we use to figure out the size. Building lighting calculations are performed using computerized software with information that we input.

    7)      How did you move up in your career?

    I had to develop and expand my self-confidence. I was not afraid to ask questions and take calculated risks. I am a forward thinker and mover. I stand up for what I believe is correct. I am always playing to keep the lead.

    8) What advice would you give to females who may be considering a nontraditional career?

    1. Do your research. Understand the challenges that you might face. 2. Maintain confidence. 3. Seek out a mentor.

  • 26 Jan 2013 6:36 PM | Anonymous

    By Sharon Wiatt Jones

    Your sweet spot is biology, but you are so much more. Not excited about working in a lab or wearing a stethoscope? Combine your science aptitude and passion with other skills and at least a master’s degree to enter these careers:

    Genetic counselor, Medical illustrator, Biostatistician, Health educator, Pharmacogenomicist

    Let’s start with the first one in the series - Genetic Counseling.  Over 40% of people have genetic factors that could predict diseases. Examples include: susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity, mental  illness, autism and other developmental disorders, ancestry and predisposition to cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, and sickle cell anemia. Scientists are also discovering how genes interact with the environment, diet, and fitness. 

    What Genetic Counselors Do: These counselors identify patients’ genetic risks after analyzing the results of clinical testing and family medical history.  They explain options and help people make choices consistent with their risk factors and values. In 90% of their interactions, genetic counselors deliver good news to patients. However, they are also trained in grief and crisis counseling for individuals and their family members. They often collaborate with medical professionals in a team environment.

    Reasons for Considering a Career in Genetic Counseling: Inclusion in a list of emerging occupations based on technological breakthroughs in the Human Genome Project, delayed childbirth, and an aging population; projections for substantial job growth; high job satisfaction ratings (nearly 90%); compensation with potential above $100,000 (depending on sector of employment).

    Educational Requirements: A master’s degree in human genetics and genetic counseling is necessary to become a genetic counselor. Those accepted to graduate school programs typically have completed a bachelor’s degree in science (biology, chemistry, genetics), allied health (nursing, public health) or a social science (psychology, social work) with a 3.5 or higher GPA. Competitive applicants tend to have work or volunteer experience related to advocacy, counseling, research, or health. Currently, 27 U.S. universities offer a master's degree in genetic counseling. These programs include courses in science, counseling, and clinical rotations. Most genetic counselors become board certified. 

    Types of Employers: Hospitals and private medical practices; universities and medical centers; research and commercial labs; pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and personal genomics companies; nonprofit organizations and government agencies; healthcare consulting firms; educational and medical websites.

    Common Specializations: Cancer; personalized medicine; neuropsychiatric; infertility; prenatal; fetal intervention and therapy; pediatric and clinical; cardiovascular.

    Salaries: A 2012 survey of genetic counselors revealed an average salary of $68,000, with potential of $170,000 based on specialization and years of experience. Some of those working in business also received profit-sharing and stock options. Among survey respondents, 77% of them provided direct patient care. Other roles included management, research (such as clinical trials), faculty appointments, and patient education.

    More Information: Speak with a college or alumni career counselor at your institution. View websites of the National Human Genome Research Institute : http://www.genome.gov American Board of Genetic Counseling, Inc. http://www.abgc.net/;  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/genomics/default.htm.This is an exciting time to choose a career related to life sciences. The next blog will be about medical illustration.

  • 02 Dec 2012 1:52 PM | Anonymous

    By Sharon Wiatt Jones

    The movie Moneyball showed the Oakland Athletics’ use of performance data to recruit talented baseball players with good ROI. The new big thing is fanalytics, applied to a wide range of sports: basketball, hockey, motorsport, tennis, and more. Bill Wilson (sports fan and recovering lawyer) wrote a blog about the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference: Sloan Sports ‘Fanalytics’ Conf.: Geeks Seek Reap From Tweeps in Seats

    Doug Henschen, executive editor of InformationWeek, wrote that analytics are used in decision-making from “ticket and merchandise sales to labor agreements to player contracts, to TV and digital media deals.” Computer modeling enabled meteorologists to give a heads-up warning to government agencies about Hurricane Sandy. Presidential and Senate race outcomes have been accurately predicted by statistician Nate Silver and neuroscientist Sam Wang, respectively. Healthcare providers seek data scientists at all levels to lower costs, improve patient care, provide pricing transparency, and enhance treatment decisions consistent with best practices. “Data is the new oil.” As early as 2006, marketer Michael Palmer wrote, “Data is just like crude. It’s valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used… so must data be broken down, analyzed for it to have value.” A data scientist, according to Fortune magazine writer Michal Lev-Ram, is “a new kind of highly skilled, nerdy-cool job.” It has been described as a combination of statistician, forensic scientist, hacker, engineer, and investigative journalist. According to an Amazon job description, a data scientist will “target the right product to the right customer at the right moment.”

    Where are the jobs?  College graduates with a data analytics background may find opportunities such as: web analytics implementation engineer or marketing analyst (PayPal) and search marketing strategist (StubHub, an eBay fanalytics firm). Management training programs are offered by PayPal in software engineering (data management) and marketing (data analytics). Some job titles at the master’s degree level include statistical scientist-predictive modeling (Experian); customer intelligence manager, data scientist (Salesforce); senior research scientist (Nielsen). Higher level positions include data mining scientist for a Ph.D. in Data Mining, Machine Learning, Statistics, Operations Research or related field (Apple), and data scientist/statistician for a Ph.D. in Statistics (Deloitte). A later blog will focus on graduate degree programs, as some begin in 2013. Other employers with current data analytics positions include Google, Microsoft, Allstate, BestBuy, Quicken Loans, and Bloomberg (http://www.kdnuggets.com).

    Hot Skills.  Some of the skills used in data analytics include:  data warehousing, data mining, data quality assurance, sentiment analysis, behavior analysis, social media monitoring, business intelligence, predictive analytics visualization, graph analysis.  Quirky names of related tools include Pig, Python, Hive, and Hadoop. Others are NoSQL, MapReduce, R, SPSS, SAS, InfoSphere, Vertica, Informatica, Teradata, and Cognos.

    Are You a Good Match?  PayPal seeks new college graduates with “intellectual curiosity, passion for problem-solving, and comfort with ambiguity.” Other important qualities or skills include: strong mathematics aptitude, solid computing background, domain knowledge (e.g. business, science, economics) for practical application of statistics, communication skills, collaborative and teamwork skills.

    Bachelor’s Degree Programs.  Data analytics degree programs tend to be offered in schools or departments such as business administration or computer science/information technology. Common titles include business data analyst, market research analyst, business intelligence analyst and statistical analyst.

    Ferris State University–Big Rapids, MI:  B.S. - Business Data Analytics

    Old Dominion University-Norfolk, VA:  B.S. in Business Administration - Business Analytics Major

    University of Tennessee, Knoxville:  B.S. in Business Administration - Business Analytics.

    Colorado Technical University-Colorado Springs, Denver, Pueblo, CO; Sioux Falls, SD; Online: B.S. in Information Technology (Specialization: Data Management)

    DePaul University–Chicago, IL:   B.S. in Scientific Data Analysis and Visualization.  This interdisciplinary program (science, mathematics, computer science) prepares graduates to support scientists in medical imaging, epidemiology, the Human Genome Project, satellite and astronomical image processing, digital terrain models, and the three-dimensional imaging of molecules.

    Arizona State University: B.S. Computer Information Systems (Business Intelligence, Data Management)

    For more information, read blogs by Big Data Evangelist James Kobielus (http://www.ibmbigdatahub.com). One of my favorites is "Data Scientist: Myths and Mathemagical Superpowers." I look forward to your comments.

  • 20 Nov 2012 2:17 PM | Anonymous

    By Sharon Wiatt Jones

    Can you imagine designing websites for CBS prime time shows such as CSI and Survivor or holding the title of ‘Game Guru’ at AOL?  Would you like to evaluate global threats such as terrorism, cyber-crime, or human trafficking for agencies such as the CIA or FBI? If you are fascinated by liberal arts subjects (e.g. graphic arts, geography, history, foreign languages) but concerned about finding a job, score major marketability through liberal arts with an edge. Some interdisciplinary college majors prepare you for new and emerging occupations. These academic programs may make you especially attractive to employers due to a shortage of qualified applicants. The Department of Labor has identified industry sectors with new and emerging occupations. Some of these are in industry sectors related to the liberal arts: geospatial, IT, homeland security and education. This blog lists examples of universities with innovative majors targeted to these growing career fields.

    Occupations, Majors and Universities:

    Geospatial. Emerging occupations: geospatial information scientists and technologists; geographic systems technicians; remote sensing scientists, technologists, and technicians. According to Government Technology Magazine, geographic information systems (GIS) are used in 80% of governmental activities, such as city planning, transportation, disaster recovery, and disease prevention. GIS skills are also in demand by environmental consulting firms, utilities, and other employers.

    Universities/Bachelor's Degree Programs

    University of Texas- Arlington: B.S. in Geoinformatics

    Northern Arizona University-Flagstaff: B.S.  in Applied Geospatial Science

    Western Illinois University-Macomb: B.S. in Geography (Concentrations: Computer Cartography, Remote Sensing, and Geographic Information Systems)

    Information Technology. Emerging occupations: web developers, web administrators, video game designers. You have probably used computer games for entertainment, but a growing number of “serious” games have been developed. They are used in corporate training and recruiting, military simulations, university admissions, health care (exergames), city planning, engineering, and politics.

    Universities/Bachelor's Degree Programs

    Savannah College of Art and Design boasts that its graduates have “triple-threat credentials as artists, designers, and programmers.” The Princeton Review has ranked the University of Southern California as the #1 U.S. undergraduate degree in game design. The University of Utah’s 2011 graduates all worked on games that shipped, a major achievement sought by employers.

    University of Southern California-Los Angeles: B.A. in Interactive Entertainment; B.A. in Animation and Digital Arts

    DigiPen Institute of Technology-Redmond, WA: B.S. in Game Design

    Savannah College of Art and Design-Atlanta and Savannah, GA; Hong Kong: B.A. in Digital Media (Concentration in Game Development); BFA in Interactive Design/Game Development

    University of Utah-Salt Lake City: B.A. in Entertainment Arts and Engineering

    MIT has a highly ranked program which may be targeted to a student’s interests. However, it does not offer a degree in game design.

    Homeland Security. Emerging occupations: intelligence analysts, business continuity planners, security managers. According to U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, America is at risk of a “Cyber Pearl Harbor.” The Department of Homeland Security plans to fill approximately 1,000 cybersecurity jobs by 2013.

    Universities/Bachelor's Degree Programs

    Colorado Technical University, Online/Denver, CO: B.S. in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security and Emergency Management;  B.S. in Criminal Justice-Forensic Investigation

    James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA: B.S. in Intelligence

    Tulane University, New Orleans, LA: B.A. in Homeland Security Studies

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: B.A. in Peace, War, and Defense. According to UNC, “Students interested in federal work in the defense and intelligence fields are strongly encouraged to pursue advanced study in a ‘strategic language’ such as Chinese, Arabic, Urdu, Farsi, or Russian.”

    Education.  Emerging occupations: distance learning coordinators, instructional designers and technologists. Bachelor’s degree programs in instructional design are uncommon compared to those offering a master’s degree.

    Universities/Bachelor's Degree Programs

    Western Illinois University-Macomb: B.S. in Instructional Design and Technology (Areas: Instructional Multimedia and Web Production; Technology Applications in Instructional Simulations and Game Environments)

    University of Southern Mississippi-Hattiesburg: B.S. Instructional Technology & Design

    If these majors are not available at your college, review the curricula that are closest to your career objectives. Select courses and related internships to develop marketable skills. Additional institutions offer advanced degrees in these subjects. Future blogs will share more undergraduate and graduate degree programs to help you prepare for emerging occupations. Please respond with comments and suggestions.

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