"An econ major? Man, I could never do that, too many numbers and stuff". That's the most common response I've heard when someone finds out I major in economics. At my college, finding an econ major is like finding a $20 bill in your pocket; always hopeful but never there. Students often pass over the subject without giving it the second thought. Many students who do take economics courses do so to fill credit requirements for other majors, like business or political science. Even more automatically assume it's a dull subject on math and the stock market, with a long period of education just to get a job. Or they think you have to be in the business or finance schools to even understand Economics. However, a lot of these are misconceptions that hopefully I can shed some light on. Here are a few reasons you might want to consider switching your major to economics.
1. Economics isn't only a math oriented subject.
That’s like saying every history class is just about written facts and boring readings (sorry history majors). Economists do tend to use empirical data in order to prove points, but different branches of the field may not even deal with numbers. A behavioral economist might simply study the irrational decisions of individuals in a society, like watching people spend extra money on chocolate sauce instead of laundry detergent. More and more people are double majoring or minoring in subjects like psychology or sociology before pursuing a degree in the field.
2. It’s never going to be a "dead/dying field".
The reality is that the job growth rate for economics is about 6% each year, regardless of our advancements in technology. Computers may be able to analyze trends but they’re not at the point of understanding people yet (Skynet anyone?). In reality, the field itself can never die out. As long as individuals, governments, or communities make decisions on how to cope with scarcity, economics will live on. So will your job.
3. It's not about the money, but it also is.
You should go to college and major in what you love, I agree with that in a sense. I personally find it fascinating to see how communities make decisions facing tough choices (one of the reasons I major in econ). Regardless of our personal interests, we do live today in a society in which you can graduate and not be guaranteed a job whilst having student debt to pay off. Isn't it also important to do what you love and what supports your quality of life? Economists with a Masters degree tend to make a median wage of $100,000 (as stated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2015). I've never heard someone say they wouldn't mind a little extra cash in their pocket.
4. You don't have to go through 10 years of school to secure a job.
Most people graduate with masters or higher to get a more comfortable position with economics. However, a lot of people secure a job in the field with only an undergraduate degree. Also, many schools offer five-year programs in which students can secure their undergrad and masters in one clear sweep.
5. It seems boring, but it really isn't.
It's not just a look at society's numbers; it's a serious look into how people act. Example: If you put three options with increasing price increments to buy a product; consumers are more likely to buy the middle option in order not to feel cheap. To understand how people, make decisions concerning their financial stability and how communities use resources is the best way to creating change in society. You can’t fix a problem without understanding it.