Blog Post

8 College Majors That Didn't Exist 5 Years Ago

Cornerstone Editors

English, Biology, History. These college majors of yore are taking a backseat to a new wave of highly specific—and timely—areas of study.

As the work landscape changes, the educational landscape has to adapt as well. Just in time for graduation (which will likely bring a flood of resumes to recruiters' inboxes), here are a few majors that probably didn't exist when you were in college—and why they're relevant to the growing workforce:

1. Robotics Engineering

What: Bachelor of Science in Robotics Engineering (the first in the country)

Where: Worcester Polytechnic Institute — Worcester, MA

Why: No longer just the stuff of Hollywood movies, robots are becoming an integral part of the way we work—from hotel bellhops to factory workers—these machines provide a powerful addition to the workforce. But someone has to build them first. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that by 2018, the demand for qualified robotics engineers in the workforce will grow by 13 percent. Some institutions now offer graduate studies in AI (Artificial Intelligence), as well.

2. Online Journalism

What: Bachelor of Science in Online Journalism

Where: Boston University — Boston, MA

Why: Sure, blogs existed five years ago, but major publications were still relying heavily on print magazines and newspapers rather than the world wide web as a main source of revenue. Today, however, online content is king—requiring a whole new set of skills to manage and track articles. Other colleges even offer Social Media as a major, or Master's programs in Data Journalism.

3. Game Design

What: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Entertainment Arts & Engineering Emphasis

Where: The University of Utah — Salt Lake City

Why: In 2015, the estimated worth of the global online gaming market is $41.4 billion. Mobile gaming is booming, too, and projected to be worth $100 billion by 2017. Plus, with the rising trend of gamificationin the workplace, it stands to reason companies will need people to build these products—whether it's an actual game or an internal software with a game component.

4. Cyber Security

What: Bachelor of Business Administration in Cyber Security

Where: University of Texas at San Antonio — San Antonio, TX

Why: Cyber warfare is a serious threat to businesses and the country (Sony, anyone?). As more and more sensitive information is exchanged electronically, vulnerabilities in this area abound. The Pentagon is "desperately short of people who have capabilities (defensive and offensive cybersecurity war skills) in all the services and we have to address it," said former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. To understand the politics and strategy behind this subject, some institutions now offer a Master's program in Technology and Policy as well.

5. Human-Computer Interaction

What: Bachelor of Science in Human Centered Design and Engineering

Where: University of Washington — Seattle, WA

Why: Technologies are becoming more interactive and more personal. Understanding how a smart thermostat reacts to human action (i.e. turning down the heat as more people enter the house), for example, is vital to technological progress. Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) students study the user interface, software, design, usability and social and ethical dimensions of technology. From a users' first interaction with a technology to his or her daily use of it, HCI students work to integrate products into our lives in a thoughtful way.

6. E-Business/E-Commerce

What: Bachelor of Business Administration in Electronic Business Marketing

Where: Western Michigan University — Kalamazoo, MI

Why: Amazon's success should be argument enough that online retail isn't a phase—it's an entirely new business model. As more companies opt for an online-only presence over a brick-and-mortar shop, the traditional business strategy needs to change, too. Enter: a new wave of E-Biz pros.

7. Data Science

What: Bachelor of Science in Data Science

Where: University of San Francisco — San Francisco, CA

Why: Big Data was all the tech industry talked about in 2011. We're still feeling the residual effect today—and for good reason. Not surprisingly, a university nestled in the tech hub of San Francisco offers an undergraduate degree in understanding and interpreting Big Data. More numbers are tracked and recorded electronically today than ever, and if this data is understood and communicated properly, it can be a valuable asset to a company's bottomline.

If these majors aren't futuristic enough for you, take a look at the growing number of "Interdisciplinary Studies" majors (a rising trend over the last 30 years) where students work with advisors to essentially create their own curriculum and major of study. In our new world of flexible work schedulesjob hopping and a growing gig economy, a uniquely personal major like Interdisciplinary Studies may be the most intuitive of all.

All photos: Shutterstock

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Here at Cornerstone, we absolutely love to hear inspiring stories and share them far and wide, especially when they are about talent management! We were recently headline sponsors of the TIARA 2020 Talent Solutions Awards. These annual awards, hosted by TALiNT International, celebrate excellence across the RPO, MSP and Talent Solutions marketplace, and recognise the wonderful ways companies are demonstrating exemplary growth, innovation and leadership. For 2020, it was the usual great awards with a bit of a difference. As we know, everything has now moved online – even this year’s Convergence! But this didn’t seem to impact the TIARA Talent Solution Awards at all. Despite not being able to celebrate face-to-face, the event was filled with laughter, engagement, and most of all, lots of fun! This year, we also supported the Best Use of Technology Award as well as the Overall Winner. The winner – triumphing in both categories – could not be more deserving, and so we duly wanted to pass on our huge congratulations to Alexander Mann Solutions! Alexander Mann was awarded the Cornerstone OnDemand Best Use of Technology Award for their brilliant ‘Find Your Fit’ technology solution. The platform offers users personal preferences and assisted future growth through interactive videos, personalised one-to-one calls, and a dedicated platform to match skills with current roles within the organisation. The solution had 1,200 employees enrolling within just six months of implementation and is continuing to improve every day. Find Your Fit helps employees to understand how their organisation functions better, including the areas that are growing the most rapidly. In turn, this helps employees to develop the skills they need in order to take advantage of these developments to enhance not only their personal career progression, but overall business performance. After all, businesses don’t innovate, people do! The judges commended this entry for “the clear way in which an innovative technology solution clearly delivered in results”. The judges also applauded Alexander Mann for demonstrating customer care by really listening to client’s individual challenges and using inventive technology solutions to help design a custom built solution that helps to support the overall internal career options and pathways available to each organisation. The award was accepted virtually by Stephen Gordon, Recruitment Tech Lead at Talent Collective/AMS. In addition to being awarded Best Use of Technology, Alexander Mann was also recognised as this year’s overall winner of the Talent Solutions Awards. Chair of Judges, Jim Richardson highlighted that “the overall winner is based on the organisation that consistently demonstrates excellence and innovation across all of its activities”. Both Peoplescout and Guidant Global were highly commended by the judges for their brilliant work, but ultimately, Alexander Mann took home the award for demonstrating consistently high standards across all areas. Jim Richardson added that although Alexander Mann has the resources to support many initiatives, it has still managed to deliver consistently on large scale and complex global projects. This is a phenomenally impressive achievement that all of us at Cornerstone also wish to say a huge congratulations for! The other winners and nominees from this year’s TIARA Talent Solutions Awards have highlighted more excellent work and brilliant stories across the recruiting sector and HR community. For the full list of winners, check out the TALiNT International’s September/October 2020 edition here.

Blog: Why HR need to lead the agile change journey

Blog Post

Blog: Why HR need to lead the agile change journey

It's been going on for a while now - the shift towards more agile and flexible companies that quickly can adapt to the fast-changing times of today. Organisations that are unable to make this move are gradually losing competitiveness and finding it more difficult to prove themselves against smaller and faster players. Those who recognise the need and are able to create new conditions for the business, in the form of new structures, will survive and flourish in tomorrow's economic reality. Agile HR can be viewed from two different angles; How HR should work together within the HR team and what / how HR should deliver value to the business for which they exist. All HR processes that are part of Talent and People Management will be different when you start working agile, and each of the processes have their specific tools and working methods. Here we will look at HR from a more general perspective, to get an overall understanding of how the HR role, and the corresponding deliverables, change in a company that wants to increase its business agility. The goal is to focus on creating better workplaces through the development of teams and individuals, throughout the whole organisation. Small and medium-sized companies are easier to change, as they have less hierarchical structures, and often a more decentralised business, where everyone has an ability to make the decisions that need to be made, locally rather than centrally. The larger and more complex a company is, the more systems, processes, and structures there are that cannot be easily and quickly changed. Although it is possible to change a department in the organisation, some issues might remain that forces the department back into the central structures. This happens because it is not possible to isolate a specific part of the business. You can compare it to an attempt to change a rubber ball. It changes when it is being squeezed, but when you let go, it quickly returns to its old shape. However, there is one functional department in most large organisations that can influence all the other parts at once – HR. In many large companies, HR controls; ● Leadership programs and development ● Change management ● Organisational development ● Employee engagement ● Employee training and skills development ● Rewards and bonuses ● Recruitment ● Goal setting and performance reviews ● Long term mix of employees All these processes or areas flow through the entire organisation. These are the structures that can support, or prevent, a more radical change towards a more agile company. It all depends on HOW we work with processes and programs. They can be developed in a way that, paradoxically, prevents performance and commitment. Or they can optimise performance and employee satisfaction. HR struggles with criticisms, it is accused of being some kind of "organisational police", which hinders performance and commitment by implementing Talent management processes in a way that was intended to increase the same. This needs to change. HR has been in the back seat for too long and now it is time to take responsibility for a change in how to support the organisation. Because it is about people, and relationships between people, this is the key to how the company performs as a whole. It is the system that fundamentally needs to change, not the people. We do not need to do more things or implement complicated frameworks and methods. Instead, we need to understand how we can make it easier for people to make their best contribution to the company, by providing supportive structures, instead of hindering structures. It is through more experiments and by trying different working methods, that one can find the best path for each organisation, and each team/individual. Here, the agile principles and the agile mindset serve as a guide. Agile tools and frameworks work sometimes, but not always. The only way to continually improve is through constant learning, which also means that we sometimes fail. Companies that learn faster than others, and turn that knowledge into new ways of working for employees, but also new products and services for external customers, gain a competitive advantage and will be the winner of the future. HR has the power and the ability to design the structures that aim to either support or make it harder for employees to contribute in creative and innovative ways. If HR sticks to the old, traditional ways of working, the consequence will be rigid and non-agile organisations that use inefficient systems and processes. HR can either hinder or support the change, so HR must show the way. By providing opportunities for alternative and more agile working methods, and by focusing on value creation and value flows for the internal and by extension also external customers, HR can lead companies through changes that no other department is capable of. The next blog chapter will dive into HR's changing role.

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