Economics Career Paths
During their degree programs, economics majors develop a set of core skills that help them succeed at any job in their field. These core competencies allow professional economists to work in a variety of roles in the academic, corporate, and government arenas.
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Economics Specific Skills
- Data acquisition skills: Economists rely on their ability to ferret out raw data from numerous sources to make accurate projections and recommendations. Not only must economists learn how to gather data from official reports and sources, they must develop the personal relationships and skills necessary to get accurate data, especially when that data could result in a negative analysis of a company or a policy.
- Competency in various data analysis techniques: Economists must be able to see between the lines to uncover patterns and relationships between seemingly unconnected sets of numbers. The best economists can find relationships between almost anything, which has led to some of the most important economic policy breakthroughs of the last century.
- Critical thinking skills: Economists routinely look beyond the ways that numbers add up to realize the deepest connections between pieces of information. Frequently, skilled economists set out to study a specific area only to reveal even more significant ramifications and applications of their work.
- Writing and reporting skills: Because their work routinely immerses them in numbers, economists must also learn to communicate their findings effectively through written reports and oral presentations. Politicians, businesspeople, and the general public all rely on economists to boil down their findings into bottom-line presentations. The most skilled economists can summarize their most important discoveries in television-ready sound bites. Other economists work with writers and producers to distil their insight into executive summaries and other pieces of communication that busy people can easily digest.
- Competency in the use of technical analysis software: As economists use more sophisticated tools to crunch numbers, today’s degree programs train students on the most up-to-date systems. Understanding the latest software allows economists to work faster and solve more complex problems than their predecessors imagined possible.
- Ability to recognize economic trends and patterns: One of the most important skills an economist can develop is the ability to watch shapes and patterns emerge from raw data. By understanding the cyclical nature of markets and businesses, economists can more readily warn us of impending catastrophe or upcoming opportunities.
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