The job market is great today, but when the class of 2027 tosses their graduation hats into the air and begin searching for work, the world may be a different place.
Worry not — we’ve got you covered. Using data from the experts at the World Economic Forum and Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some of the hottest majors to consider in order to step out of college and into a great job.
Data science and analytics
Graduates with these degrees work with large data sets to discover patterns, make hypotheses and apply them to problems. Almost every kind of large company, organization and institution employs them.
If the experts are right, graduates with these degrees will have employers fighting over them. But be warned — it’s difficult to win admission to top schools, and the price of tuition is steep.
Highly rated programs are offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia University, Princeton and Cornell. However, the City University of New York’s NYC College of Technology, or City Tech, also offers the same degree.
Entry-level data scientists earn between $65,474 and $121,493 per year, while experts earn well over $300,000 when you add in bonuses. Data scientists and data analysts can grow their careers by deepening their expertise or by moving into leadership, consulting or product-management roles.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Graduates in these fields will have learned to program machines such as chatbots, drones, robots and self-driving vehicles to behave like intelligent beings.
Top-rated programs are offered at University of California at Berkeley, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Institute of Technology (a k a Georgia Tech) and Stanford, among others. In New York, Columbia and Cornell also offer programs.
The average salary for an entry-level artificial intelligence or machine learning engineer is $112,564 per year. Experienced pros can earn upward of $300,000. AI and machine learning are such deep disciplines that career paths are most often defined by level of expertise and the ability to interact with management.
Computer scientists, for the most part, use computer programming techniques to enhance software, algorithms and hardware. They can also collaborate on challenging projects with electrical and computer hardware engineers.
Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley and Cornell offer top programs. New York has more moderately priced schools like Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Rochester Institute of Technology, which offer highly rated programs. More than 12 CUNY schools offer degrees in computer science. Stony Brook University on Long Island is a State University of New York school and offers one of the best programs in the country.
The average salary for an entry-level computer scientist is $45,785 to $99,523 per year. Later in their careers, the best CS professionals can earn over $200,000, not counting any bonuses. Computer scientists who want to move beyond coding can work as software developers and engineers, cloud experts, database administrators and managers.
Students with this major learn how to use Internet resources to help companies grow revenue and build their brands. Top schools include University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, University of Pennsylvania, Indiana University at Bloomington, University of Texas at Austin and New York University.
New York residents have access to solid bachelor’s degree programs that are less expensive and may be composed of marketing and digital courses at schools like CUNY Baruch, Pace, RIT and SUNY Purchase.
The average salary for an entry-level digital marketer is $31,000 to $66,000 per year. Later in their careers, the best digital marketers can earn over $200,000.
Entry-level digital marketers can grow across corporate digital marketing organizations, into lead and analyst roles, digital consultancies, marketing management and more.
Business management and operations
Every business has a person behind the scenes that makes sure that everything runs smoothly. This is true whether we’re talking about a touring band, a top hotel, the New York Stock Exchange or Hudson Yards.
Though you can’t get the big business-ops jobs from the very start, a degree in business management is a great place to begin. Top schools in business management include Harvard, Stanford, UPenn, MIT and UC Berkeley.
Locally, NYU offers business degrees, as do CUNY schools including College of Staten Island, Brooklyn College and Lehman College. SUNY offers bachelor’s degree business programs at Empire State, Delhi, Stony Brook and Old Westbury, among others.
The average salary for a new business-management graduate is about $49,000 per year. At top companies, chief operations officers earn well over $1 million when you count stock options and bonuses. Career paths for individuals in operations management can progress to becoming COOs.
As you climb the ranks, a Master of Business Administration becomes desirable.
Iinformation security and cybersecurity
Graduates in these fields are responsible for guarding an organization’s data by hunting for invaders and thieves and stopping them before they cause trouble. A bachelor’s degree in this field is your ticket in.
Top schools include Carnegie Mellon, MIT, UC Berkeley, Stanford and Georgia Tech. That said, with so many Wall Street firms and banks in the area, the CUNY and SUNY schools make great feeders.
City Tech offers BTECH, a bachelor’s degree in technology that covers cybersecurity. Cybersecurity certificates can be earned in conjunction with other degrees at CUNY schools. SUNY schools including Cobleskill, Alfred State College and University at Albany offer bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity.
Other SUNY schools offer Associate in Applied Science degrees and certificates in cybersecurity, which can be used on their own to get work or applied toward bachelor’s degrees. Also of note: Hudson Valley Community College offers an Associate of Science degree in hacking and cybersecurity.
Salaries for new graduates range from $44,000 to $80,000 while top earners bring home nearly $200,000 if you don’t count stock options and bonuses. Career paths include management, consulting and engineering.
Nurse practitioners are in especially high demand, but becoming one isn’t as simple as earning a bachelor’s degree. First you must become a registered nurse with a Bachelor of Science in nursing, or BSN. After that, you must complete an NP-focused master’s program or a doctoral nursing program and successfully pass a national NP board certification exam.
To reach that pinnacle, the best place to start is by earning a BSN. Top nursing schools include Johns Hopkins, Duke, Emory, UPenn and Columbia.
Locally, SUNY Farmingdale on Long Island offers a BSN, as do other schools in the SUNY system. City Tech, College of Staten Island and Hunter College are among the CUNY schools that offer BSN programs.
First year’s earnings for an entry-level BSN average about $53.00. Nurses who proceed to become nurse practitioners earn between $130,470 and $152,745 on average.