The Top Three Future Jobs in High Demand

March 2nd, 2017 by

Deciding what you want to major in can be tough. The job market is constantly changing and you want to know the career you decide to pursue will be in high demand when it’s time for you to enter the field. Next Step Academy is here to help with the three jobs that will be in high demand over the next five years.

imagesJava Developers. The internet continues to grow and dominates both our personal and professional lives, with no signs of slowing down. This means web designers and java developers are going to remain in high demand and that demand is only going to get higher. Web developers are responsible for developing programs for mobile devices and creating mainframes and websites.

Information Security Analyst. The increased reliance on technology and the internet also means security is going to be the defining characteristic of the decades to come. Information security analysts are going to play a crucial role in keep data safe from private hackers, competing companies and even other governments.

Financial Services. Perhaps the most surprising job on this list is financial services. As many companies begin to nix pension plans and social security is no longer a guarantee, people are choosing to manage their own finances. This means the demand for Certified Public Accountants (CPA) is on the rise. This field is expected to grow over 41 percent over the next decade.

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Careers in HR

February 28th, 2017 by

Professionals that work in the human resources department are responsible for the hiring, training and administration of personnel in an organization. You may work directly within an organization or you may work for a firm that outsources to multiples organizations.

283Education

Human resources involves understanding people, laws, regulations and communication. You’ll want to start with a bachelor’s degree in human resources, labor relations, communications, industrial psychology or organizational development depending on your interests. An undergraduate degree will take about four years to complete.

For future career advancement down the line, you may want to consider a master’s degree. This will take about two years after and undergraduate degree and will give you a more in-depth understanding of human resources.

Career

There are many career paths within human resources. You may be a generalist, who can handle most tasks related to HR, or you may be a specialist who focuses on one specific area. These areas include, but are not limited to the following: Recruitment, compensation, benefits, employee relations, health and safety, record keeping or strategic planning.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), human resource managers earn an average salary of $99,720 per year, while human resource specialists earn an average salary of $55,640 per year. This field is expected to grow 13% over the next decade.

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Updating Your Personal Brand

February 23rd, 2017 by

In the business world, social media is how you find new people for your network and how new people find you. Having a social media presence is almost a requirement for all professionals to stay up to date and connected. Establishing a personal brand is important. Making sure it stays updated and fresh is even more important.

Undev_BrandingReview your progress. During the initial creation of your personal brand, you probably had a particular goal in mind. Maybe you wanted to reach out to clients, look favorable to recruiters or you just wanted to keep your followers informed on what you’re doing. Take a moment to check in and make sure the goals you first set are still your goals today. Also, evaluate how close you are to achieving those objectives.

Set new goals. As you’ve developed professionally, you may want to set new goals for yourself and make a new plan for your personal branding. For example, maybe you’ve gotten more involved in the tech industry and want to me more inviting to that community. You may need to change up your profile pictures, banners, usernames, etc.

Clean it up. Remember, consistency is key. Make sure the name, images, writing style and tone you use are the same across all of your social media platforms. Remove posts and other content that are no longer relevant or potentially inappropriate. Also, make sure you check your bios for any errors.

Get feedback. It’s always a good idea to get a second opinion. Have someone who knows you well review your personal brand and offer suggestions. They’ll be able to tell you if they think your brand doesn’t present you in the best way possible. They’ll also catch errors you may have missed.

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Careers in Fashion

February 21st, 2017 by

A career in the fashion industry is much more than design. Fashion is about helping people express themselves and feel comfortable. If you are creative, detail oriented and passionate about fashion, then there are almost endless opportunities out there for you.

pexels-photo-94777Merchandise Assistant. Working closely with a buyer, a merchandising assistant creates a strategy to enable a company to stock their stores. They are in charge of getting the right merchandise, in the right quantities, at the right price, in the right place at the right time. It’s about creating a balance between the expectations of the customer and the company.

Design Assistant. Fashion design combines the creative and the business aspects of fashion. A design assistant is responsible for researching current trends, coming up with new ideas, preparing color boards and assisting designers during fittings. Design assistants may also function as assistant buyers.

Assistant Buyer. The primary job of an assistant buyer is to keep track of the purchase-order process: planning inventory, tracking sales and interacting with vendors. They need to be able to participate in competitive buying and be knowledgeable about the products they are after.

Patternmaker. Based on sketches done by designers, a patternmaker either draws or uses a computer to create a draft of new patterns. They may also create a mockup fabric sample of the pattern. Patternmakers need to have extensive knowledge of fashion and trends. They need to be able to adapt old patterns to fit slightly newer styles and interpret the completely new designs put forth by designers.

Stylist. A stylist chooses clothing and accessories to be featured in editorials, magazines, advertising campaigns, concerts, music videos and public appearances of celebrities. They work in collaboration with fashion designers, directors, hair and makeup stylists and photographers. The goal is to create a theme or accomplish a specific look. They also play a crucial role in planning fashion parades and events.

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Balancing Work and School Like a Pro

February 16th, 2017 by

Whether you’re living on campus, at home or have a place of your own, you probably are working at least part-time to make ends meet. Juggling the responsibilities of a job while in school can take its toll. Here are three ways to lessen the stress and keep your life balanced.

pexels-photo-170750Schedule wisely. The biggest challenge while working and going to school is making sure you have enough time to do it. Get a planner so you can accurately plan your time. Schedule classes around your work schedule and make sure you don’t overload your day. A planner can also help you make sure you have spaces in your schedule to relax. School and work are important, but so is rest and socializing with friends. Remember, it’s about balance.

Learn to say no. We tend to feel guilty when we turn down extra projects or decline to help someone with an assignment. But taking on too much extra will leave you with no time for yourself. The most important thing you can learn is it’s okay, even healthy, to say “no.” No one will hold it against you.

Consider online classes. Depending on your situation, you may work more than part-time and cut down the number of classes you’re taking. If this sounds like you, consider taking online classes instead. Online classes are more flexible and allow you to learn on your time, at your own pace.

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Finding Volunteer Opportunities

February 14th, 2017 by

Was “Volunteer” on your resolutions for 2017? Donating your time and resources can be a great way to find yourself, give back to your community and expose you to new experiences. Volunteer opportunities can also be a great way to fill out your resume. Here are three of the best websites to help you find volunteer opportunities.

Image result for volunteerIdealist. Idealist works with over 100,00 organizations to help you find the best opportunities for you. From volunteer work and internships to not-for-profit job opportunities.

Volunteer Match. As stated on their website, Volunteer Match “bring(s) good people and good causes together.” Choose the cause that you are most interested and they’ll help you find opportunities in your area. If you already run a non-profit, you can register with Volunteer Match to find new recruits.

Points of Light. This organization is one of the largest volunteer organizations in the world. Find volunteer opportunities in your community, as well as across the globe. Their goal is to create a culture of volunteerism.

Still not quite finding the right service opportunity for you? USA.gov/volunteer has a compilation of public service opportunities to look through from the Peace Corps to volunteering with Veteran Affairs.

 

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Avoiding Bad Career Advice

February 9th, 2017 by

There is a lot of advice out there for recent college grads and career veterans, from the Internet, mentors, professors, friends and family members. With so much career advice floating around out there, how can you tell which advice you can trust and which you should avoid? Here are three tips to avoid the bad advice and only take in what can help you become successful.

Group of business colleagues discussing at desk in office

Be skeptical. If you’ve taken Next Step Academy’s “Introduction to Critical Thinking” course, then you know you should always question what you’re being told and check your sources. Whether you’re reading a book or a blog, take a look at the author and their credentials. What experience do they have? What makes them qualified to give career advice? Forbes, a reputable business news source, likely has better advice and credentials than someone’s personal blog.

Use multiple sources. You shouldn’t get all of your advice from a single source. A mentor may have a different perspective than a family member who has known you longer or an author who has more knowledge about your field of interest. Seek out a variety of trusted sources so you aren’t just blindly following in the footsteps of a single person.

Avoid the Yes-Man. We all want to surround ourselves with people that will support us throughout our careers, but this may not always be the best for your future. Having people in your life that approve of all of your ideas, even when they aren’t great ideas, can actually hinder your professional development. You need people in your life who can objectively tell you when something is a bad idea to help you learn and grow. Sometimes tough love can lead to the best advice.

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Careers in Information Technology Security

February 7th, 2017 by

In a world with rapid globalization and interconnectivity through the internet, security is a growing concern for both personal computer users and large organizations. This means the need for information security experts to help protect user information is also growing exponentially.

Education

imagesA career in information security starts with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related major, which will take about four years to complete and will provide you with a well-rounded education in the computer and security field. As this field develops, many schools are beginning to offer information security-specific programs.

Employers sometimes prefer applicants that hold a master’s degree, which will take an additional two years after completing your undergraduate degree and allows for future career advancement.

Over the course of your education, it will be useful to pursue internships in the field. Having real-world experience will give you a leg up in the industry when you enter the workforce.  

You’ll also want to consider receiving an information security certification, in addition to a degree. There are general certifications such as the Certified Information Systems Security Profession (CISSP), as well as more specific certifications in areas such as systems auditing and penetration testing.

Career

Information security analysts are responsible for protecting computer networks from hacking and cyber attacks. Through testing, they determine a computer systems weaknesses and carry out a plan to improve an organization’s security. They’ll conduct penetration testing to see how difficult (or easy) it is to break through a networks defenses and then create a plan to improve any insecurities.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for an Information security analyst is $90,120, with some variation in salary depending on the specific department you work in. The field is also expected to grow by 18 percent over the next decade, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Interested in Information Technology Security? Learn more by taking Next Step Academy’s NEW course!

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Add Personality to Your Office Space…Without Overdoing It

February 2nd, 2017 by

There’s a delicate balance that needs to be maintained in your office or work space between personality and functionality. On one hand, your workspace should be comfortable and inspiring, however it shouldn’t distract you from your work. Here are four ways you can brighten up your cubicle to boost your mood and productivity.12

Color. There’s a lot of psychological research about the effect color has on our mood. Grey, blank walls can be uninspiring and even reduce motivation to get your work done. For cubicles, add splashes of color with swatches of wallpaper. For a home office, you have more freedom to paint and accessorize. Choose your colors with care. Blues and greens are calming, while yellows and oranges are energetic and promote activity. Dark colors make spaces feel smaller while lighter shades help open up a space.

Comfort. Personality in the workplace isn’t just aesthetic, but comfort as well. If you aren’t comfortable, you won’t be productive. Change out your work chair and, if appropriate, add a small pillow or lap blanket. Maybe add a comfortable reading chair or sofa for breaks and casual meetings.

Nature. Can’t get out in nature on your lunch? Bring nature to your office. Spider plants and aloe are hard to kill and do well even with little available sunlight. Plants not only make your office space feel more lively, but they also help circulate air and can improve your mood throughout the day.

Layout. Cubicles are hard to change around, but if your office has an open floor plan or if you have your own space, change up your layout to focus on organization and preference. Place what’s most important to you near the entrance of your space. Need a caffeine jolt first thing? Keep the coffee maker up front. Like to set your things down and take a moment to relax? Move your chair near the door. Also take into account which way you face in an office. Don’t like people sneaking up on you? Turn your desk so you’re facing the entrance instead of away from it.

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Six Ways to Save Some Serious Cash This Semester

January 31st, 2017 by

Whether you’re a struggling freshman or a cash-strapped senior, you know how much of a struggle getting a handle on your finances can be. Maybe you can only work part time with your course load or maybe you’re working with a limited meal plan. Whatever your situation, here are six lifesaving tips to help you save money this semester without sacrificing your basic wants and needs.

6355840185_8e1c4d8f11_bShare Netflix and Spotify accounts. If you’re lucky, linger on your family’s Netflix account for as long as possible. If your family doesn’t have Netflix or doesn’t have room for you on their account anymore,, split an account between your friends or roommates. This also applies Spotify. A single Spotify is $10 while a family Spotify is only $15 for up to six people.

Only use free beauty samples. Did you know that places like Sephora and Lush will give you free samples? Sephora allows you to get three samples from each ‘world’ (makeup, skincare and fragrance) per visit. And that’s not just three total — you can score three samples from each department, meaning you can leave with up to nine samples per visit. Lush is also happy to give out samples. The only limit are items like bath bombs and bubble bars, which you cannot sample.

Look for rebates and coupons. Apps like Ibotta find you rebates for products at stores like Target, Walmart and even Whole Foods. Just scan your item and they credit your account for the rebate. Many stores also have coupon apps, such as Target’s Cartwheel. Add coupons to your cart and when you’re ready to purchase your items click “checkout.” All of your saved coupons will be combined into one scannable barcode.

Buy in bulk. Instead of buying snack packs of chips or nuts, buy bulk bags and divvy out servings yourself. Use plastic snack bags and reuse them or invest in some small reusable containers.

Make your own toothpaste. For some, this may seem a little desperate and for people who really need the extra enamel protection maybe skip this tip. Others, all you need is a glass jar, ⅔ cup of baking soda, 1 tsp of salt and 1-2 tsp of peppermint extract. Then add water until you’ve reached the desired consistency. BONUS: Making your own toothpaste also cuts down on waste meaning it’s better for the environment too!

Hang your clothes. Whether you go to the laundromat or have a dryer at home, if you’re looking to pinch pennies, skip the dryer and the let air do it’s magic. You can easily save yourself a couple dollars each load by hanging up your clothes instead.

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