By Kim Lyle
“Would you mind telling me then what those four years of college were for? What was the point of all that hard work?” yells Mr. Braddock to his son Benjamin played by Dustin Hoffman in 1967’s The Graduate. Benjamin, who happens to be floating aimlessly in a pool, stares blankly back at his father and says, ”You got me.”
The uncertainty that lives in that scene is still relevant to new graduates nearly 50 years later. After being cradled in the arms of academia for 4 years, an expulsion into the ‘real world’ can be a painful one. The many decisions that come post-graduation are often overwhelming, especially the most necessary of all – how to make a living.
Choosing Louisiana as the place to search for your first job after college seems to be an increasingly attractive option. According to data provided by the Louisiana Workforce Commission, employment for all industries in the Baton Rouge region is projected to increase 15.4 percent by 2022 as compared to the national projected employment increase of 10.8 percent.
Here is a look at a few of Baton Rouge’s top industries providing employment opportunities to those with a Bachelor’s degree in hand.
Motion Picture and Sound Recording
With a projected increase of 33.7 percent in employment over the next 7 years, the motion picture and sound recording industry is an appealing option for those interested in helping behind the scenes. Many have even returned to the state specifically for a job in the field.
“After graduating from LSU, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my career in film and television because the industry hadn’t landed in Baton Rouge yet,” explained Elizabeth Hutchinson who now works at NOVAC, a film prep company. “After 11 years working out there, the jobs became more scarce and competitive. I learned very soon that it was because my home state was luring the business away with the amazing state film tax incentives.”
“I have so much pride in how Baton Rouge has grown both economically and culturally – downtown is a perfect example of this with all the new hotels, restaurants, and IBM,” said Hutchinson. “I’m biased but I think the booming film industry has played a large role in creating a need to support all this.”
The technologies we use everyday are often taken for granted, but there are many
minds behind the new apps, programs, and games we so frequently use. Across Louisiana there are currently 18 digital software companies actively hiring talented programmers, software engineers, and developers. In Baton Rouge specifically, software development jobs will experience a jaw-dropping 91.9 percent growth by 2022.
However, securing a job in the field requires more than just a degree in Computer Science or Engineering.
“Good software engineers are curious and want to learn how to build new things while also thinking about new ways in which we can approach old problems,” said Jeff Marks, a local software developer. “If you aren’t obsessed with finding solutions or inventing new apps, then you should probably get into another line of work.”
Translation and Interpretation Services
As diversity increases within the U.S. and globalization pushes forward at lightning speed, the need for having a common means of understanding one another will inevitably increase. In Baton Rouge alone the employment rate for this type of work is projected to increase 69.2 percent by 2022, much greater than the national average of 46 percent as recorded by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Working as a translator is different each day, especially for those like me that are freelancers working in the area,” explained Gloria Burgoon, an independent English/Spanish written translator living in Baton Rouge. “I have an incredibly flexible schedule and while my stress levels are relatively low, it all depends on which client I may be working for.”
In whichever job you choose one piece of advice remains true – pick something that will help shape your identity. If we’re being honest, a lucky few know exactly what they’re doing straight out of college, while the majority of 20-somethings are still figuring it out. By choosing work that offers valuable experience, you’ll be a step closer to finding a fulfilling job that closely aligns with who you are.
All statistical data generously provided by the Louisiana Workforce Commission (www.laworks.net) and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).