Major and career exploration
Choosing a major or potential career path is an important, personal decision. It requires research, reflection, and time. To start the process, it is important to understand yourself and gain knowledge about majors and the world of work. There can be many paths to a career, so when you research majors, consider the career options associated with them, but also keep in mind that your career choice may not always be defined by your major choice. The more research and reflection you do, the more confident you will be in making an educated choice.
Learn about yourself
As you begin the major and career exploration process, it is important to first understand yourself and what is important to you in a major and career. Reflect upon what your personality type is, what your strengths and skills are, what you value, and what interests you. Career assessments can be helpful in better understanding yourself. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Strong Interest Inventory (SII) are both available through the career center.
Before you choose a major, it is important to understand what major options exist and which ones interest you. As you explore majors, consider which ones excite you, what subjects you enjoy studying, and which majors would give you the type of job options you are interested in.
Review the "What Can I Do With a Major In…?" pages to learn detailed information about each major, related industries, companies that hire that major, occupational titles, salary and career outcome data, and Questions and Answers with CSE alumni from that major:
Visit department websites
Visit department webpages to read about four-year plans, course options and descriptions, elective options, emphasis areas, research opportunities, and faculty.
Talk to Others
Talk to department faculty and academic advisors about the specifics of major programs. Department contact information can be found on each four-year plan. You can also talk with students in the majors you are interested in to learn about their experiences. The CSE Student Ambassadors offer a mentor program for first-year students.
Student organizations offer several mentorship opportunities. For more information about student organizations, visit the CSE student groups webpage.
You can also request a Major Mentor from the Center for Academic Planning (CAPE). For more details, visit the CAPE website.
Take introductory courses
Take introductory courses in the subject(s) in which you are interested. Talk to your academic advisor about options and how these fit into your academic plan.
It’s difficult to choose a career path before you understand what people in that profession do. Use a variety of resources and talk to people in career fields of interest to gain an in-depth understanding of what it’s like to be in those positions.
There are several websites that offer detailed career information, such as job duties, education/training, projected job growth, and salary data. As you read about these careers, reflect on if you think that job would be a good fit for you. Identify what you like about it, what you don’t like, and what you have further questions about.
Career Information and Statistics from the Government:
Career Profile Videos:
Engineering Career Profiles: DiscoverE
Informational Interviewing & Job Shadowing
Talking with people who are in a career of interest to you is a way for you to gather information about a certain career field and a particular position. An informational interview is a meeting in which you can ask about the real-life experience of someone in a field or company that interests you. These opportunities are invaluable because you gain first-hand information. Often students find informational interviews helpful when making major and career decisions because they receive insight as to what it is really like to have a certain career, and then they can assess their interest in the career.
For more ideas and detailed information on informational interviewing, download the Major and Career Exploration Guide.