Your Mom said you should major in something that would get you a good job. But don't you want to do something you love? What if you could do both?
Get a good job.
The economic pressures that most students face when deciding their majors cannot be understated. Not only do they themselves keep in mind their future employment prospects, but the strong influence of parents reminding them to choose wisely is very common. But frequently, ‘geography’ rarely occurs to moms and dads as just such a career.
Consider the following trends since 2000:
In 2004 the US Department of Labor released a statement highlighting geospatial technology as one of the most important emerging and evolving fields in the technology industry.
The US Department of Labor projects “much faster than average” growth, in excess of 20% or more, in jobs for geographers, geoscientists, cartographers, urban and regional planners, and other geographic professionals, with projected needs of upwards of 15,000 additional employees in each of these career fields between 2008-2018 (US Department of Labor 2010).
Since members of underrepresented groups exit in large numbers at different transition points, the opportunity that geography offers for employment at multiple pathways—from technical positions with a GIS certificate, to professional posts for associates, bachelor’s and beyond —makes it an attractive choice for job-conscious youth and minorities in particular.
Make a difference.
Most people who are ultimately attracted to the discipline of geography are motivated by much larger aspirations than good salaries. The opportunity to make a difference in the world, in whatever expression that takes, is one of the most frequently cited reasons why current geography students, researchers, and practitioners explain their career choice. Given the breadth and depth of this rich discipline, which comprises perspectives from physical sciences, social sciences, and humanities, this desire to make a difference by using the intellectual approaches and conceptual tools of the discipline may be, in fact, one of the clearest characteristics that geographers as a community have in common.