As 2016 graduates left campus to begin their careers, the Institute got a snapshot of occupations that MIT alums are starting today and School of Engineering decided to investigate how that compares to careers our alumni were starting 10 years ago. Spoiler alert, they’re very different.
In 2006, Google bought YouTube, Facebook had just gone global, iPods finally had a color display, and the iPhone was still one year away from being introduced. Contrast that with the status of technology and the world today, and it’s no surprise that the careers of recent MIT graduates are markedly different.
In order to do the comparison, the School of Engineering used data from Institutional Research surveys given to Class of 2016 graduates and similar data from 2006. They found that about half of graduating seniors in 2006 entering the workforce landed predominantly in finance or consulting, whereas today, our alums are entering a broader range of fields and naming IT as the dominant field, a category which was the lowest in 2006. The rise of IT and computing is significant and demonstrates just how much our economy is fueled by innovations in technology.
The School of Engineering can observe the effects of changing industry by fluctuations in popular courses of study. “Majors ebb and flow based upon various factors,” says Michael Rutter, Director of Media Relations, School of Engineering. “EECS/MechE in particular are very popular among students as a result of the rise of IT, 3D printing, and new types of manufacturing.” Observing these changes, says Rutter, also reinforces the support of a nationwide movement to offer more flexible or generalist degrees, which can allow for more customization and allow students to focus on topics of interest rather than specific degrees.