Today’s job market is a frantic one with people scrambling for whatever is available in order to fulfill their own American Dream. Those frantically scrambling people are mostly young adults; however, those young adults usually have no idea about career prospects in the U.S. In other words, the field they want to pursue may or may not be promising due to several factors influencing the job market, such as the economy and population. Bringing this issue to reality, in a recent interview, Melissa Alvarez, a student at the College of San Mateo, mentioned that she aims to be a mechanical engineer. Based on several sources, including Robert Reich, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Alvarez’s work preferences, mechanical engineering seems to be realistic and an excellent field to enter.
To begin with, engineering is a broad field with different branches, and by definition it is the application of scientific, economic, social, and practical knowledge in order to design, build, maintain, and improve structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes. Mechanical engineering, a broad category in itself, differs from other types of engineering in that it concentrates on mechanical systems and machinery for industrial processes. According to “Mechanical Engineer I Job Description,” in Salary, a mechanical engineer “designs, develops, and tests all aspects of mechanical components, equipment and machinery… applies knowledge of engineering principles to design… and repair mechanical products.” Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) writes “Mechanical Engineers” that the job requires qualities such as ingenuity, math and problem-solving skills, and cooperation. Based on statistics from “Mechanical Engineer I Job Description,” the minimum education requirement for a mechanical engineer is a bachelor’s degree and most enter the field with 0-1 years of experience. As for salary, the U.S. national average is $62,164 compared to the average of $75,094 in San Francisco.
In “U.S. Income Inequality Keeps on Rising,” in Text and Contexts, former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich states that America’s increasingly globalizing economy is heavily affecting the job market. Advancing technology enables swift transportation of goods and communication, allowing companies to easily relocate and become ecumenical. Furthermore, the international labor market is competitive as companies rather hire foreign laborers who would work for lower wages. In the same essay, Reich classifies jobs into four specific categories— symbolic-analytic, routine-production, routine-personal, and government— “in order to see in greater detail what is happening to American jobs…” (104).
Reich defines symbolic-analytic services as manipulation of information and includes professions such as lawyers, bankers, scientists, executives, art directors, architects, and writers, just to name a few. According to Reich, jobs under this category account “for more than 40...