Relationships, Responsibilities, Relevance [Research Stories]

15 May

–This post is written by UHPer Chris Rossi, who served as a research assistant for Prof. Straehle.

Top 10 College Majors That Lead to High Salaries. 2012. Photograph. 2011-2012 PayScale College Salary Report, Seattle, WA.

This semester, I have worked closely with Professor Manny Straehle in preparation for the annual meeting of the American Evaluation Association taking place in Minneapolis, MN from October 24-27. The 26th annual conference of the AEA, or “Eval 2012” as it is referred to centers on complex ecologies with the slogan of, “Relationships, Responsibilities, Relevance.”

Specifically, we have been researching the differences in economic and fiscal value of an undergraduate degree versus a certification. By undergraduate degree, we specifically investigated the merits of computer science degrees and related computer engineering degrees. The certifications we speak of are those in various operating systems including but not limited to the most recent certifications in Microsoft, Apple, and Linux operating systems.

Many technological institutes offer such certifications to those wishing to work in the Information Technology field while most universities offer comparable undergraduate degrees. While there is still more research to be done, we have used an initial broad research technique of past findings as well as regarding the value of college majors in general (pictured) on this subject and a qualitative survey to investigate. We have foundd rather conflicting and competing information regarding both the financial and employment value of each as well as regarding the connotations both hold in the workplace and education environment. It appears that specific job specifications and one’s career goals greatly affect the value of each educational achievement. Additionally, our surveys have been limited to those already within the undergraduate field of study and need to be expanded to a population that is as biased toward computer certifications or toward a more objective population. As there is a dearth of prior research into this subject, we hope to employ quantitative research techniques in the future to prepare a presentation for the aforementioned and upcoming conference in October.

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