With the surge of New Year’s resolutions behind us, now is usually the time many people loosen the grip on their hefty goals and fall right back into old routines. You may be telling yourself, “I’ll try again next year!”
But you don’t need to wait for the start of a new year to make a resolution. There is never a bad time to start laying the groundwork for a better future.
Although your entry-level technology position helps pay the bills, is it really what you want to be doing for the rest of your life?
These days, it’s hard to justify complaining about your job. With roughly 12.2 million jobless Americans, who are you to be grumbling about a steady paycheck?
But does that mean you should be trapped working a job you don’t enjoy? Absolutely not.
Going back to school may be something you’ve been contemplating for a while, but the question still lingers—are the rewards really worth the risks involved? After all, you’re not a teenager anymore—you’ve got a family to think about.
If you do make the decision to go back to school, you won’t be alone. As of April 2012, more than one-third of college students were over 25, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
Chances are, you have your own personal reasons for wanting to go back to school, but even so, here are three noteworthy facts to make you more confident about your decision.
Fact #1: job opportunities increase with education level
In the technology industry, the job outlook is an optimistic one. The truth is, the jobs are out there, but the question remains—are you qualified for them?
After analyzing more than 400,000 technology job listings over the past three months, we were able to determine the specific academic credentials in highest demand. It’s clear from the chart below that there are fewer job opportunities for those with less education.
Based on the data, earning a bachelor’s degree qualifies you for nearly 200,000 more technology jobs than an individual with no college experience. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the option to choose a job you enjoy rather than settling for one of the only few for which you’re qualified?
Fact #2: earnings increase with education level
Similar to the increase in job openings, salaries for technology professionals are also projected to increase in the coming years. Every job across the board is expected to experience a salary boost from 2012 to 2013, according to the Robert Half Technology Salary Guide.
Besides the industry’s natural growth, you can increase your salary even further by earning a degree. No matter what field you work in, education has a direct effect on earnings.
The following chart displays the median annual salary for all full-time employees based on education level, according to the 2011 U.S. Census Bureau. You’ll notice that an employee with an Associate’s degree earns nearly $10,000 more than an employee with just a high school diploma.
Imagine what your family could do with an extra $10,000 every year. You could pay off a bigger chunk of your mortgage, bulk up your child’s college fund, or even take that family vacation you’ve been planning.
Fact #3: unemployment rates decrease with education level
With the threat of unemployment looming over the heads of many, you might be thinking now is not the time to be making any big career moves. It’s no secret that starting in 2007, the recession created a cloud of uncertainty for many.
However, that cloud has a silver lining for college graduates. One comforting fact is that the unemployment rate is lower for those holding a higher academic credential, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Individuals with only a high school diploma endured the most job losses during the recession, according to a report released by Georgetown University. Now, a majority of the job gains during the recovery are granted to those with education beyond high school.
This last chart shows the inverse relationship between unemployment rates and education levels, based on data from 2011. Keep in mind that the average national unemployment rate that year was 8.9 percent.
You’ll notice that the further you go in school, the more job security you’ll have, which is important in sustaining a comfortable lifestyle. Get that degree and you and your family will enjoy the stability and appreciate the peace of mind, even in times of economic strife.
The data provided helps illustrate the value of a degree in technology. Up until now, you may have thought earning your degree was a risky decision, but this information should help calm your nerves.
The fact that you have a family to support shouldn’t undermine your desire to go back to school. Rather, your family should be your motivation to land that job you’ve always wanted, paving the way for a more stable future.