Are you thinking about what you should do next in your career?
If you are, and you’re interested in business, then you may be looking into getting into economics. This could be a fantastic option for you as, not only can you get to learn how the economy works, but chances are you could also get to take home a decent salary.
You could also benefit from a better understanding of economics should you decide to go into business yourself, for instance.You can’t just start a career in economics without any formal education, though; you will need to get a degree in this subject if you want to have a successful career in this area.
Yet there are many different options available to you once you have all the knowledge and qualifications required to have a career in economics – which could mean you have a fulfilling job that you enjoy.
Is it the option for you, though?Here, we look at what economics is, what you need to get onto an economics course, what you’ll learn, and what you could do in your future career if you decide to study this subject.
What is economics?
This is the practical and theoretical science of the production and distribution of wealth. It’s based on the system of producing, selling and buying services and goods.
There are a number of subdivisions of economics that you could look into, but there are two main ones. Microeconomics is where you study the dynamics between people and industries, whereas macroeconomics is looking into the economic activity of a whole country or market.
Economics is a large field that incorporates a number of subjects, such as sociology, law, and geography – among others. A significant number of world and business leaders have studied economics, including Meg Whitman (previously a CEO at Hewlett Packard and eBay) and American business magnate Warren Buffett.
What do I need for an economics degree?
You will need mathematics because this subject remains central to courses in economics – and the more prestigious ones require higher math grades.
Since economics is a real-world discipline, items such as politics and history will help you to develop an understanding of the world. Physics is also among the typical school subjects studied by economics students.
You should also think about which area of economics may interest you, and where you expect your career to go, as this could then help you to decide what subjects you want to study.
So management, for example, could help your future career aspects; if you’re looking to work abroad, then studying a language may be a decent choice.
What skills will I learn?
As an economist, you may end up investigating how supply and demand affect how much someone pays for services and goods, why markets boom (and bust), and what the most compelling incentives are to people when they’re looking to make financial choices.
An economics program will include an in-depth analysis of policies, so graduates of these courses will be attractive employees for policy think tanks.
This is because their critical thinking skills will be of value to both the public and private sectors, as well as being marketable for career paths.
However, there are some misconceptions about what’s exactly included in economics. For instance, one inaccurate yet common belief is that you will learn about how to benefit from the stock market.
What does an economist do?
An economist will collect and analyze data, research trends and evaluate economic issues, so they can then study the production and distribution of services, goods, and services.
Your typical duties in such a role may include:
- Analyzing data by using statistical techniques and mathematical models
- Interpret and forecast trends within the market
- Recommend solutions to economic issues
- Provide advice to businesses, governments, and people on economic topics
- Present the results of any research you have completed, using reports, graphs, and tables
- Writing articles for academic journals
Your qualitative and quantitative analysis can be applied to topics in a number of fields. These can include health, education and even the environment.
You could end up studying the cost of products, energy or healthcare – or even business cycles, employment levels, taxes, inflation or exchange rates. As an economist, you may also need to look at historical trends to make forecasts.
Many economists work for the government at either local, state or federal level. If you end up working in this area, you’ll be collecting and analyzing information about the economy – such as prices, wages, productivity, and employment.
You may even project spending needs, then inform policymakers about the economic effects of any regulations and laws.
Research firms, international organizations, and think tanks also use economists who would then look at a range of economic issues. Your analysis and forecasts may be published in journals and newspapers.
For those in the corporate environment, you would be helping decision-makers to understand how their business would be affected by the economy.
You could be looking at issues such as sales and customer demand to then help a company to maximize its profits.
What other roles could I get?
For those looking for jobs with an economics degree, you don’t have to become an economist. There are many other options available to you if you’re interested in something a little different where you can still use the skills that you have acquired during your studies.
Banking careers are popular with economics graduates, for instance – there’s the opportunity for high earning, and there’s a demand for economists in this area.
Graduates with a background in economics are valued in roles such as financial planning and control, data and risk analysis, plus consultancy.
Careers in banking are mostly about advising and providing services for consumers and clients, with a focus on keeping financial requirements on track.
A career in accountancy will focus on recording, interpreting and communicating financial data. While you’ll need further qualifications to become an accountant, these roles require you to have strong analytical skills, an understanding of company finances and a proficiency of mathematics – among others.
You may also consider looking at a career in business and financial consultancy, data analysis or working in the public sector, but there are other options available as well; these can include roles such as being a stockbroker, statistician or insurer.
You could also look into other areas, including business intelligence, market research, law or even international development.