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September 24, 2014

Dust off your resume. The Takeaway's job fair is providing useful information for students trying to figure out the best career option (Tulane University/Flickr CC). 

This fall, college freshman across the country are weighing their options: computer science or political science? Pre-med or pre-law? The choice of what to major in carries a lot of weight to young students. For many, it's a decision that tangles future earning potential with genuine interest.

In an attempt to help, The Takeaway is hosting a virtual "Job Fair"all month. From their website:

The Takeaway is examining some of the fastest-growing industries in America. As the class of 2018 enters college, what majors—and ultimately professions—deserve special attention? From law and manufacturing to media and mass communications, we'll speak those who know how these industries are changing.

The series looked at five possible career choices. On Campus gives you the rundown:

• Tech Jobs

For the final segment in their Job Fair series, The Takeaway looked at jobs in technology and computer science , a quickly-changing and often appealing career choice for students. Marie Klawe is president of Harvey Mudd College in Clairemonet, California. 

"A tech career gives you a chance to really make a significant impact on the world around you," says Klawe. 

The best way to prepare for a career, Klawe says, is to embrace learning hard skills through a variety of computer science classes. Any while, yes, some people have managed to make it big without a college education -- Klawe doesn't recommend that technique for everyone. However, your degree doesn't have to come from an elite institution. 

"People with talent and ability, they can go a state university, they can start at a community college and still be incredibly successful," says Klawe. 

• Manufacturing 

Manufacturing is often associated with job outsourcing. But, says Brian Anthony the director of MIT's Master of Engineering in Manufacturing Program, the future for American manufacturing is actually quite bright. "Manufacturing is the way that innovation is rooted into our economy," says Anthony. For students that have an interest in product design, engineering, technology, and hands-on skills like welding, a job in manufacturing might just be an ideal career. "Manufacturing is an area that you really can't go wrong," Anthony says. "It's an exciting job with an abundance of opportunities." 

• Lawyer 

 Do you want to be a lawyer? Associate law professor Daniel Katz gives some surprising advice: take some science and math. Katz says the skills learned from those logic-oriented classes are desirable in lawyers. You may have also been told it's a terrible time to be a lawyer -- not true, says attorney John Thomas. He's the only attorney in Center, Nebraska, and he says small practices in rural communities are often looking to hire.

• Doctor

If you want to be a doctor, or even a nurse, get ready for up to 10 years of school. But that could be worth it, says Dr. Michael Stewart, because the employment future for primary care looks good. And, says Stewart, if you want to get specific, geriatric medicine or anesthesiology might be the place to look in the future.

• Farmer 

Farmers might not be the first career thought for many students, but for the individual who doesn't want to spend 9 to 5 in a cubicle, it's a good option. Being a farmer isn't just riding a tractor: you're also a small business owner who needs to understand finances, technology and biology. Jesse Hirsch, senior editor at Modern Farmer magazine, says try it out. Many small farms offer hands-on experience to those considering the career.

All three of the interviews had one big takeaway: take classes outside of a specific scope of study. College is a time for exploration, and having broad interests looks good no matter what you want to do.

You can continue to follow the series this month on The Takeaway's website.

new business models, the Takeaway, career choices

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