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by Sarah Daren | November 11, 2020

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Although Covid-19 cases are rising again, the pandemic isn’t going to last forever. Right now, after months of lockdowns and social distancing measures, it might feel like we’re never going to be able to move around freely and visit with friends and family again. But eventually things will get better, and we’ll settle into our new version of normal.

With that said, we have to acknowledge that things aren’t going to be the same once the pandemic has subsided. Many businesses have had to lay off workers or even close altogether. Some industries will look very different once this is all over. So what does this mean for your future?

If you’re planning to make a career change or head back into the workforce, it’s important to start thinking about which degrees will be most valuable and which fields will see the most growth. For a good place to start, consider the following three degrees, any of which would help you thrive in a post-Covid world.

1. Business and Data Analytics 

It’s truer now than ever before: the world runs on data. Now that business and data analytics tools are accessible for businesses and agencies of all sizes, just about every organization is using data to gain a competitive edge and improve their decision-making. These organizations need people who know how to leverage data, like data scientists and business analysts.

These days, businesses can’t compete if they aren’t collecting data on their customers. Data is also helping organizations in health care, manufacturing, and other fields to become more efficient and to improve their operations. Big data is helping to improve outcomes for patients, to save money, and to implement automation that’s taking on dangerous, dirty, or mundane tasks.

There’s a shortage of people with degrees in data and business analytics right now. Jobs for those with these degrees pay well and are in demand, so now is a great time to get an education in the field of data. Now that we know how to collect and leverage data effectively and efficiently, there’s no going back. That makes analytics a great future-proof degree option.

For a place to start to look for which school and program is right for you, here's the latest rankings of the Best Business Analytics MBA programs. Note that many of these programs have online and part-time options.

2. Blockchain and Cybersecurity

With the rise of the Information Age, cybersecurity has become a huge priority. Digital theft is now an even bigger concern than physical theft. Although data breaches can occur in any industry, health care is the biggest target of all. Hospitals, insurers, and clinics all hold sensitive personal information about their patients that can be very valuable to hackers.

To help organizations keep their data safe, we need people who are at least one step ahead of cybercriminals. Now is a great time to earn a degree in advanced cybersecurity technology, including blockchain. As with many jobs in the STEM fields, there’s a shortage of qualified candidates in the security field currently. Along with that, learning to become a cybersecurity expert has many benefits. In addition to great career opportunities, you’ll be protecting people and their sensitive data.

You can find a list of universities offering degrees in blockchain here. And here is a list of the 10 best online master's programs for cybersecurity.

3. Social Work

Countless people are struggling right now, with their finances, their relationships, and their physical and mental health. Social workers are instrumental in helping people get to a better place in their lives. Even after the dust settles from the pandemic, there will likely be a renewed need for social workers to ensure that no one falls through the cracks.

Social work is challenging, both mentally and emotionally, and requires a lot of dedication and perseverance. You need to care deeply about people and be willing to accept a lower paycheck in order to follow your calling. But the world desperately needs compassionate people to become social workers, and there should be no shortage of jobs for them in a post-pandemic world.

You can read more about how to switch careers into social work during the pandemic here. And for a list of the top programs in the field, check out the latest rankings of the Best Schools for Social Work Programs.

A final note

Going back to school is an investment that offers a range of benefits. But it’s important to be strategic and do whatever you can to get the most out of your degree so that you can be competitive in the job market and learn as much as you can.

Choose your school and program carefully, whether you will be attending school online or in-person. While it’s important to choose a degree that will help you thrive in a post-pandemic world, you also need to choose a field that interests you and will allow you to find fulfillment in your career.

Sarah Daren has been a consultant for startups in multiple industries, including health and wellness, wearable technology, nursing, and education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life, including her position as a yoga instructor and raising her two children. When she's not watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach. 

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