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(Series) The Career Landscape During and After COVID: The Past, Present, and Future

It should come as no surprise that COVID-19 has impacted nearly every aspect lives across the nation and globe. Beyond physical health, one of the most dire effects of COVID-19 are the financial health of individuals and families.  

Previously, a college degree guaranteed graduates a career in their field with a salary to support themselves and their family. In 1960, the reported average salary for Americans was $6,084 which would be the equivalent of $47,442 today1. In 2016, the reported average salary was $50,219 which means that over the span of nearly 80 years, the average salary has only increased by about $3,0001.  

A recent report from iCIMS, a recruiting company, showed that “starting salaries now average $54,585, down from last year’s $59,765, for entry-level offerings"2. Even many traditionally high paying jobs have been impacted by COVID-19 by reduced salaries, deferred first-day-on-the-job dates, and more.  

Despite these trends and news, some recent graduates are seeing their salaries and market demand skyrocket. These positions are STEM fields, particularly technology fields such as computer programing, cybersecurity, and data analytics. 

A Glassdoor report lists the median annual base salary for Data Scientist over $100,000, with Software Engineers and Hardware Engineers closely behind at $94,111 and $87,478 respectively2. Of the 10 top paying positions listed by Glassdoor, all 10 are technology jobs2.  

CNBC Salary Report - Highest paying entry level jobs

In 2015 alone, 91,000 of the associate’s degrees awarded and one-third of all bachelor’s degrees granted in the past 15 years were earned in just the science and engineering STEM fields3. To stand out from the climbing number of technology degree holders, which at the bachelor’s level rose to 116,000 in engineering only a year after the aforementioned 2015 report, graduates require a degree that not only teaches students the how-to skills necessary to perform assigned duties, but also the hands-on and critical thinking skills necessary to excel in their fields and earn their high-paying, secure careers4

Capitol Technology University focuses on providing students skills that employers seek so they are highly employable post-graduation. 

One such student is Joshua Joseph, who graduated with a dual B.S. degree in Cybersecurity and Computer Science in 2019 with a job lined up in his senior year. 

“I really like Capitol Tech for what they offer outside of the classroom,” said Joshua who was involved with three different research projects, many of which included working a range of majors and backgrounds. “I worked with the brain machine interface project for a year. I got to contribute to a published paper. I did all of this while working in the Cyber Lab and participating in clubs.” 

Joshua, who now works for the Department of Defense, also credits Capitol Tech faculty that he’s worked with in the Cyber Lab for making him feel at ease about his career because his professors were eager to send out students’ resumes to their many personal connections. 

As Washington D.C.’s premier STEM university, Capitol Tech is an environment where STEM-minded students like Joshua reach their full potential. Our students benefit from a laser-focused education taught by industry-leading experts and learning in a community of like-minded and ambitious peers. Capitol Tech students graduate prepared to handle technology and cybersecurity roles in the D.C. areas top government agencies and their private-sector supply chains. 

While many businesses-from small mom-and-pop stores, to large private corporations, and even government entities- struggled with the question "should we shut down or find a work around" was tough to answer, the tech field had been working with many of the remote systems that became a daunting task for those unfamiliar to adopt. Large tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have pioneered and perfected what it means to work remotely. These giants and their predecessors influenced many other mid-sized and even small tech companies to adopt the remote work software that many working adults now use amidst COVID shutdowns and staff redistribution. So not only were tech companies from a top-down approach more ready for COVID work from home and social distancing policies, their staff and prospective new hires were as well because it was a normal job demand. 

This series will focus on the fields that are excelling during COVID quarantine, the skills necessary to land a career in these expanding fields, working and learning from home, and other future-focused, COVID related topics. If you have an idea that you would like to see featured in this series, email marketing@captechu.edu. The next post in this series will focus on how the tech industry previously used these platforms and software to connect employees across states, countries, and time zones and how they are adapting them now to move forward during quarantine. 

References 

  1. Koncz, A. (2016, August 2). Salary Trends Through Salary Survey: A Historical Perspective on Starting Salaries for New College Graduates.  Retrieved from https://www.naceweb.org/job-market/compensation/salary-trends-through-salary-survey-a-historical-perspective-on-starting-salaries-for-new-college-graduates/

  1. Dickler, J. (2020, June 8). Say goodbye to six-figure starting salaries – with these exceptions. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/08/starting-salaries-take-a-hit-except-at-the-very-top.html

  1. National Science Board. (2018). Undergraduate Education, Enrollment, and Degrees in the United States. Retrieved from https://nsf.gov/statistics/2018/nsb20181/report/sections/higher-education-in-science-and-engineering/undergraduate-education-enrollment-and-degrees-in-the-united-states

  1. National Center for Education Statistics. (2019). Most popular majors. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=37