The Most Popular College Majors vs Professions in 2013-2014

How to choose college majorIn this article, you will find four of the most highly paid jobs (on average) in America, Canada, the UK and Australia. There are two that require qualifications and two that do not. The two that do not require qualifications are based on the principle that it is possible to get a high paying job without the qualification, though many people do often have qualifications when in the role (the point is that people may get the jobs without them).

One of the jobs requiring a qualification is actually the job with which you may start on the highest salary whilst just having a bachelor’s degree. The other is actually the most popular major in what is termed as the First World or developed world, which obviously includes America, Canada, the UK and Australia.

Software developers - No qualifications

This is one of the highest paid professions in America that you can get without any sort of qualification at all (except for celebrity positions), and where it is true that most software developers have qualifications there are many examples of people who simply learnt from off their own back. In the US, Canada, Australia, UK it is possible to become a very successful software developer without any sort of qualifications at all as software companies will hire you without any qualifications at all if you can prove your skill. There are similar occurrences in the world of animation too.

Children have been teaching themselves programming since before the Windows operating system was even heard of. Two great examples are from the founders of who are now famous in the field and who by today’s standards were at degree level by the time they were 15 years old.

The best place for software developers is the USA, which is unsurprising since there is Silicon Valley and it is the home of Apple and Microsoft. There are currently 139,900 software developer jobs in America and that does not include app developers, freelancers, etc. Their median salary is $90,060 and their unemployment rate is a tiny 2.8%.

Petroleum Engineering - with qualifications

This may not be the most popular job in the world, but the most consistently highly paid job around the world (not just US, Canada, Australia and the UK) is a Petroleum Engineer. If you hold just a bachelors degree then your starting wage in places such as the UK, America and Russia is around $103,000. If you took up no further education then even by the middle of your career you could expect to earn around $160,000 per year.

What is more interesting is that even though the job has a lot of competition for positions, that there are jobs available in most countries in the world, which means that unlike many degrees it is this one that will almost guarantee you citizenship in any country, which is impressive if you consider just how difficult it is to become a citizen in countries such as Australia.

Web developers - No qualifications

It seems like a little bit of a cop-out to say that both of the most popular and highest paid jobs on this list without qualifications involve computers, but that is the age we live in. And, even with the advents of content management systems taking the jobs of web designers and developers, there is still a massive demand that is set to grow at least another 20% in coming years.

It is a job where you do not need a qualification to be successful because learning may be done at any time and without any financial backing, and it is not a job where people’s lives are at risk or where public safety is a problem, which is why qualifications or licenses are not needed. There is also the fact that you may work from almost any country without hindrance because it is all done online. There has been a sharp increase in freelance website programmers, developers and designers for the simple fact that it may be done at home and a person without qualifications may show exceedingly high talent for the field.

Just like being a software developer, you should note that the best place to work is America. If you do not include freelancers or small businesses (and there are a lot of those) then there are 28,500 jobs in middle to large companies (in America), and the median salary is $62,500. The unemployment rate is a tiny 4.2 percent. It may not seem as if there are that many jobs available, but there are millions of small businesses across the developed world that frequently require web designers and developers, ergo people in the profession are in great demand.

Business and financial - with qualifications

Using business and financial degrees as an umbrella term, it seems that they are the most popular majors/degrees in the western world (including US, Canada, Australia and the UK). The evidence for this is apparent in most of the biggest universities in the world. Here is quick selection of some of those establishments detailing the most popular courses:

  • Harvard University - Economics
  • Princeton University - Economics
  • Tulane University - Business
  • University of Manchester - Economics
  • Oxford University - Economics
  • University of Melbourne - Finance
  • University of Toronto - Business

Using the British currency, if you have just a degree then you can expect to earn around £35,000 ($58,611) for Investment bankers, £28,500 for bankers and £26,750 for financial consultants. Other highly paid positions are mostly for accountants, business administrators and business managers.

The point about business and financial qualifications is that you can get a job almost anywhere in the private sector. It is open to the widest berth of possibilities. You may gain your qualification and work in an industrial complex or work for a top air travel company. It is part of the reason why so many people take up qualifications in business and finance because there is always going to be some avenue they may explore where they may get a job. It is not as restrictive as having a degree in particle physics or environmental science where there are a limited number of jobs at any one time.