Getting a Second Bachelor’s Degree: The Smart Move

July 10, 2013

| Strayer University

how to plan

More than a few people question whether or not to go back to school, but a lot of folks who already have a degree usually think of a master’s degree first. Here’s why you should definitely consider diversifying your skills with a second bachelor’s instead:

You’re Bored

A friend of mine graduated with a liberal arts degree. He loved the critical theory and deconstructing the classics in school, but the jobs he was actually able to get bored him to death. He needed something new, and it turns out the liberal arts major really digs programming!

He’s gone back for a computer science degree, and already has a new job as a software developer, though he still has three semesters left. He’s earning nearly twice what he did at his last job, and he tells me he loves his job now in a way he never did before.

You Need to Retool for a New Industry

More than a few people’s jobs were made obsolete in the Great Recession, and they aren’t coming back. If you’re in that position, don’t simply resign yourself to rock-bottom wages and a dead-end job. Buckle down, retool and take your previous experience into a new career with the skills that a second degree can offer.

For example, your business degree may not be getting you many callbacks for job openings, but maybe the skills developed earning your IT degree will make you the perfect hybrid of business savvy and technical prowess. I promise you’ll be at the top of any stack of applicants.

You Want out of Your Dead End

Sure, a lot of people decide to go for a master’s degree in their discipline to qualify themselves for management positions or additional responsibility, but a second bachelor’s allows you to diversify your skills, and act as a bridge between differing departments.

For instance, someone with a degree in marketing could go back to school for a second bachelor’s in economics or information systems to brand themselves as a high-level marketing analyst who can harness big data to develop complex marketing campaigns.

With two degrees, you have your foot planted firmly in two different worlds, with data analysis skills that regular marketers don’t have and marketing savvy that more technical folks often lose sight of.

What Degree Should You Aim For?

The key to making a second bachelor’s degree both fulfilling and lucrative is to choose a discipline that complements your first degree. This might require a little research on your current industry or some well-placed lunches/bribes to get managers or coworkers to give you some advice.

One trend that’s really emerged as the leader has been dual-discipline workers who have a degree in a technical field and some other field. Tech is the missing ingredient in nearly every company out there, and your ability to program, design or handle technical systems will make you the number-one recruit in your industry.

If you don’t want to go into a technical field, it might help to talk to your managers about pain-points they’re experiencing in the organization and positions they have trouble filling. Chances are there may be a non-technical job that you could fill with a second degree to enhance your skills.

Author bio: Jennifer Cook writes about career development, online education and the job market for Strayer.edu. When she isn’t dreaming of ways to transform people’s careers, she’s trying to maintain her willpower and not go out to eat.

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