tl;dr | Garrett Guynn

@GGuynn

Researching a Career

Note: The data in this post may not be accurate. This post is for research purposes only.

Researching a career has been frustrating. I realize now, that the need for critical thinking will be of most importance in this venture. I will be required to look at every angle and possibility while setting aside my personal feelings and anxieties. I’ve learned that critical thinking will allow me to break down this task into steps and take a fresh approach into researching a career. I decided that some critical thinking guidelines would be the most promising approach.

I had made up my mind that in taking this approach, that I would look outside of the textbook material for definitions of critical thinking. This is my research for research method. One of the first places I found was a Web site, http://www.criticalthinking.org/. This Web site is the “Foundation for Critical Thinking”[1]. I immediately noticed that there were items for sale here. That made my wary of the reliability of this source.

What is critical thinking? It’s problem solving, right? My problem is that I need to research a career. I just want to be more prepared. I realized that thinking critically wasn’t my problem. I already posses those skills, but I need to apply them in my career research. I also noticed that in thinking about my approach, I was already thinking critically. I found this most useful. While doing my research, I will derive my conclusions based on my understanding of what it takes to think critically.

Let’s begin:

Step 1: Defining my Area

I live in Ketchikan, AK, an island isolated in Southeast Alaska. I decided that my area would be ALL of Alaska. Since the entire state shares one area code, 907, this makes sense. The (A) label is Ketchikan.

This map is courtesy of Google Maps.

Step 2: Gathering Information about my Area

I Googled the following questions and found a result on alaska.gov. I decided that this was a promising source because it was from a state government site. This page I found was in .PDF format located here. It is titled “Alaska Economic Trends”. It includes information about the cost of living, but not the average wages in Alaska. To determine the average wages in Alaska for an Interactive Web Designer, I found only one site that seemed reliable. It was http://swz.salary.com/salarywizard.

1. What is the average cost of Living in Alaska?

I found that the average cost of Living for Low-income Households is about $41,000 per year. I decided to use this as a baseline, because this was the minimum I would accept in a career. “Alaska cities included in the ACCRA data were all at least 25 percent more expensive than the average ACCRA city.” This mean that I get “less bang for my buck”.

2. What are the average wages in Alaska?

I found that this depends on who you work for and what level of degree you hold. Since I am going for my Associates first, I looked into what the average wages would be for an Associates holder.

[2]

This chart shows us that on 17.11% of Web design jobs in Alaska are held by people with an Associates degree. If I really want to get ahead, I’ll need to shoot for a BA.

[2]

This chart shows us that, depending on the size of the company, the average earnings for this career path is roughly $45,000/year.

At this point, finding a job with a higher wage for cost-of-living ratio is unlikely in my area for my specific career type.

Step 3: Defining my Sources

In the past, I have done job research using various job search engines online as well as looking in the local paper. It is unlikely that I will find a career in the local paper, and besides, this assignment is about doing Internet research. I started with Google[9] and searched for sites that has indexes of jobs. My plan was to find these sites, and cross reference the results. I felt this would give me a more accurate look on what is available. These are the sites I chose:

* http://www.careerbuilder.com
* http://www.monster.com/
* http://www.jobs.com/
* http://www.craigslist.org/
* http://www.jobs.state.ak.us/

Each of these sources seemed reliable. That was my instinctive feeling. I’ve used sites like craigslist.com before.

Step 4: Searching my Sources

I found that monster.com and jobs.com used the same sources. There was an average of 4 results for jobs. The state site, jobs.state.ak.us, had 0 results.

Step 5: Career Research Assessment

1. The general employment outlook in your area (how likely are you to find a job in the next 2-5 years in this career?).

Likely, however, I am unlikely going to exceed the average Low-income wages.

2. How much this career pays, on average, in your location or region?

On average, this career pays $45,000/year.

3. How “new” your career is to the market.

I determined that a career in Web design has been around for as long as the internet has been available in homes. This may also mean that people have been searching for these types of jobs for that length of time. Regardless, this job market is still in demand.

4. How much training is generally required to enter the field in this career?

59.21% of exiting employees in the field hold a BA.

5. What is the potential for advancement in this career?

In my area, advancement does not mean more money, but advancement is a possibility if you work for a large company.

Step 6: Comparing this Job to Other Regions

Step 7: The Salaries of Web Designers Vary
[3]

References
[1] http://www.criticalthinking.org/
[2] http://swz.salary.com/salarywizard
[3] http://blog.nerdburn.com

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One thought on “Researching a Career

  1. Good start! I was just looking into WIN/WorkKeys with Alaska Career Ready yesterday as I'm preparing for my PD in a couple of weeks. I wondered if you might find some of the links on this page helpful:http://www.careerready.alaska.gov/career-resources.htmlAre you familiar with the AK Career Ready Certificates? They are a link between education and employers so employers know what they're getting when they hire someone (as far as skills). I can explain a little more about this if you're interested. Next year, AK school districts are required to have all their 6th and 8th graders take placement tests and all 11th graders take the WorkKeys Skills Assessment (which earns them the appropriate certificate). Almost all of the states are using this in one form or another. Some AK employers are also asking about these as well. Last I heard, BP was using it.AK Career Ready is also for adult job seekers, but you have to be working with an agency to get access to the AKCIS site. I would think the job center would give you access for your research. There may be some helpful resources for you there.http://www.careerready.alaska.gov/jobseekers.htmlHappy Researching!Tammy

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