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App Developer Description

Have you ever wanted to make your own computer or phone app? Have you thought it was beyond your scope of knowledge? Think again. You can become an app developer, it just takes studying in a few key areas.

Does the idea of learning to be an app developer seem just as impossible as being a rocket scientist? Well, it isn’t as hard as you think. The benefits will amaze you and outweigh any time you need to give to learning this new career path.

What Is an App Developer


An app developer is someone who creates applications for devices or computers. These apps make it easier for the user to navigate around their electronic device. They have the knowledge to tell the computer exactly what functions you want to do and put it together on an app.

Before we can really understand what an app developer is, we must learn the language that is used within this area. Words like coding, Swift, and XCode, to name a few, are Greek to those of us who are not developers. Studying the language of an app developer will help you understand their job and the process. Certainly, you will see it is someone that goes to the trouble of entering in key information to create exactly what will help us find what we are looking for. That is the basic job of an app developer.

The Language of the App Developer


Apple or Android

There are two operating systems that you might already be aware: Apple and Android. If you are using an Apple device, you would use Swift as your language and XCode as your software to create the app. But if you are creating an app for an Android, then you would use Kotlin as your language and Android Studio as your app software.

What is Coding?


When computer programs were first developing, they were made by typing lines of code. It was a special language a developer knew that would tell the system what it wanted within the program or application. For instance, if you wanted your text to be aligned there is a special code or language that you type in with words and symbols that tells the computer how you want to align your text.

But nowadays, there are computer programs you can use that already have the coding within it. So there is not a lot of the actual coding of the past to do. There are a lot of programs out there to use, so find the one that best fits your design needs. These are easy to navigate through and are what is used today to make all kinds of apps.

Benefits of Becoming an App Developer


Man using computer to develop an app

Image via: Flickr

Now is the time to be an app developer. There are many opportunities and it will continue to grow as technology does. Some benefits are:

Increasing Demand

With a new phone coming out every day, it seems there is no fear of technology suddenly stopping. The market is expanding, and that means the need for apps will as well. The number of apps made in 2017 was around $78 billion. There were around 250 billion apps that were also downloaded that same year. So, the need has not diminished in the slightest. In fact, it is predicted that it will double in the next couple of years. This is no surprise given cell phones and computers are now commonplace.

A Creative Outlet

You might not think this, but being an app developer is a very creative job. You are designing an app and there are no restrictions on how to do so. The client has given you what they need, and you are now able to put it together and show off your skills.  This is a great way to work and it will be a job that you will want to do every day.

Freelance or Employee

If you are working on your own as a freelancer, then you can literally work from anywhere. This is a huge plus for no commute, no set hours, and being your own boss. Being an app developer gives you time for yourself and lets you create the schedule that works for you and meets your financial needs.

However, should you work in a company atmosphere, there is a chance you can also have this type of freedom. Your boss might not need you to be there every day working at your desk. Take a moment and go over this with them and see what can be worked out.

Earning Potential

This is definitely one of the benefits we all need. There is money to be made in this job. The level of experience is the key to higher salaries. Longevity pays off big when you stick at it.

Up to Five Years of Experience

The US alone pays an annual salary of around $75,000 if you have up to five years’ experience. If you live in the UK or France, it’s around $40.000 and in Canada or Germany, it’s $50,000.

Five to Ten Years’ Experience

It goes without saying that the more you stay in this field the better your salary. If you live in the US, the annual salary is between $100,000 to $112,000. Outside the US in France or UK it is $50.000 and in Canada or Germany, it’s $50,000.

Over Fifteen Years

The US pays an annual salary of around $124,000 for its app developers that have been in the industry for over 15 years. No other country compares to this.

Easy to Learn

If you want to become an app developer, now is the time to learn. With so many ways of doing so, you are sure to find the one that works for you. Going to school is an option should you wish to get employed within a huge company. Others might just want to learn on their own and create the next big app. You must learn all you can no matter what path you choose. It isn’t that once you are a developer; you stop studying. There are constant changes and you must stay in tune with them.

How to Become an App Developer


Hands pressing the touch keyboard to work as an app developer

Image via: Flickr

There are certain skills other than your degrees that you need to be aware of. It isn’t enough to know the technical side of being an app developer; you must have other skills that will help you make it in this field.   

Ability to Communicate Well

Being able to talk to people that you are working with and your team is vital. They need to be able to share ideas with you and vice versa. While this might seem like a no-brainer, it can be overlooked as important when you are staring at your computer for most of your job.

Think Analytically

Being able to think analytically will help you determine what needs to be done to meet the needs of your clients. Mapping it out and finding the best solution even when under pressure makes a good developer into a great one.

Working with Others

The adage, “there is no ‘I’ in team” fits perfectly here. You must work well with others and be able to take criticism and advice. You’re gathering up ideas, opinions, and solutions with this team so it is a good idea to learn how to work well with others.

Problem Solver

You must be able to solve problems that come up and not let anything hang up the project. This is an area you will develop as you gain more experience under your belt.

Be Creative

It seems odd that in a technical job, one would need to be creative, but it is part of it for sure. When something unexpected comes up in the process, you must be able to think of other ways to go around it. In addition, the process of designing an app is a creative one, for you are developing something from once there was nothing.

Detail Oriented

You must be one that remembers to dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s. You must pay specific attention to each and every part of the app process and not leave anything out. It is like fine-tuning a machine, all parts must work together for it to run smoothly.

Good Customer Skills

In some areas of a company or if you’re working on your own, you will have customers to deal with. They are the bread and butter to your company. Without them, you wouldn’t be working there. Always keep your customer service skills in check.

Keep Learning

The industry of app development is constantly moving forward and expanding. This applies as well to your own knowledge of the industry. You must keep learning the new developments and stay up to date with the changes.

Conclusion


Manager congratulates her male employee because of the company's success in developing applications

Image via: Flickr

Becoming an app developer is something to seriously look at, especially nowadays in this fluctuating economy. We live in a world where our cell phones and computers are our livelihoods. As technology has expanded, so have we. There is almost an app for everything we do and if there is not, there soon will be. If you want job security, being an app developer will give you that. You will always be in high demand and that will be perfectly fine for you financially as well.      

Best Summer Jobs for College Students

Summertime means longer days, great weather, and lots of time to hang out and have fun with friends and family.  While you’re taking a break from classes, you can also land yourself a full or part-time job with a company that needs seasonal help and is willing to pay well for it.  Whether you want to pad your savings account, or just fund your summer festivities, you can apply for one of these summer jobs for college students.

The Best Summer Jobs for College Students

Writer/Content Development

Search online job posting sites for companies who are looking for bloggers, writers, or content developers.  Most of these positions are done from home, and you can search for both part-time or full-time hours. You’ll need to have a knack for writing, excellent grammar skills, and be adept at research on many different topics to land a position.  

Experience with online blogging platforms like WordPress, or photography is sometimes a plus.  The best part? If you have a goal of being a writer or journalist, you can use these pieces to build your portfolio. 

Tutor

Summer break is a popular time for parents. They schedule tutoring sessions for their kids who are still in primary school and struggling with a subject or two.  If you have a knack for math or English, and like working with kids, this is a great way to make some extra cash in only a few hours a week.

Look for postings on school websites. You can also create flyers to hang at places that families frequent like the YMCA, the swimming pool, or rec center.  You can also contact the local schools. This is to see if they would be willing to promote your services prior to the end of the school year. This is another excellent bullet point on your resume especially if you eventually want to go into education.

Tour Guide and Storyteller

Depending on where you live, you might be able to land a job as a tour guide in your city.  Particularly if you’re in an area that sees a lot of tourist activity, while families take their vacations. Examples of traffic spikes during the summer are Key West, New Orleans, Las Vegas, or Orlando.

Check with the city or town where you live for summer jobs for college students. Also, explore less mainstream options.  Ghost tour companies, for example, do a lot of business and guides make an hourly wage plus tips. Be prepared to have a flexible schedule, and comfortable public speaking in front of a group.  If drama is your thing, this is a fun way to memorize a script. Then, give it some embellishments to make it your own.m mm;o

Landscaping Expert

If you love being outdoors and getting your hands a little dirty while you work on your summer tan, you could use that to your advantage.  Professional landscaping companies who mow lawns do weed whacking and trim bushes are pricey. People who live in your local neighborhood might consider a more affordable alternative.  If you have access to lawn care equipment that your parents will let you use, and a way to transport it, you can offer your services.

First, do a little research to determine the going rate for lawn care and then offer a fair price for the job.  Pass out flyers in your neighborhood to spread the word or post on your community website. You can also partner with a reliable friend, so you can get twice the work done and split the profits.

Event Coordinator

summer jobs for college students as an event coordinator Summertime is a festival season, and even small towns and local municipalities get in on the action.  If you have a knack for throwing great parties and never missing an important detail, this might be the perfect fit for you over the summer.

Get familiar with the events in your area, and then contact the appropriate offices to apply.  Does your town have a huge Fourth of July party? I guarantee they bring on temporary staff to help with the event.  Does a local park do a summer concert series? Find out who runs the affair and send them your resume. If you want to go into event planning or hospitality, this can also be a valuable bullet point on your CVV someday.

Golf Course Employee

Golf courses see a notable uptick in play during the summer months, which often means they do a round of hiring in the late spring.   One of the most popular positions they bring on is golf caddies. There are also opportunities for the maintenance and food and beverage side of the business.  

If you like the idea of being a golf caddy, brush up on your knowledge of the game. Then contact your local courses.  There might be a test that accompanies your interview. Make sure you know the difference between a birdie, bogey, and par shot and some common etiquette rules of the course before you go.

Camp Counselor

Pop quiz- if you’re under the age of 12, what’s the best thing about summer?  Summer camp, of course! If you have a knack for working with kids and love the great outdoors, you can get in on the fun as a camp counselor.  

Many different organizations offer summer camps, like the YMCA, MDA, or local recreation centers.  However, they typically start interviewing and hiring for these positions in the spring, so be sure to apply early to get your spot.

You’ll likely need to take a few certifications, depending on the camp and origination running it.  The good news is, not only will you walk away from the experience CPR certified, but they will also pay you for the training too.

Food Service

If you live in a community that sees a lot of seasonal traffic, the restaurants and bars in your area might be looking to beef up their staff for the summer months.  If you are an excellent multi-tasker and have great people skills, this could be a way to make easy money. Check out the job postings for positions as a server, bartender, cook, or hostess at your favorite local spot.

City Employees at the Beach

summer jobs for college students at the city beachEver since Baywatch debuted in the late 80’s, everyone wants to be a lifeguard for the summer.  Unfortunately, it’s not an easy job to get. You will need to obtain a lifeguard certification, as well as have current CPR/AED/First Aid training.  

Some organizations or employers also require additional training sessions before you can grab that buoy and blow the whistle.  If you’re a strong swimmer with a desire to save lives, reach out early in the year to find out what it takes to have a chance to make the cut.

If this sounds like more than you’re ready for, but you still want a chance to play in the big sandbox every day, you can still work at the beach.  Most public beaches are run through the city or county and regularly hire for their concessions and maintenance staff during the summer.

Home Improvement

The summer months are a popular time for people to do renovations.  If you want to pitch in on jobs like painting houses, installing new flooring, or building a deck, you can earn cash while you help.  Look for postings on local job sites where do-it-yourselfers are looking for extra money. You can also reach out to local contractors who may need an extra pair of hands to balance their workload over the season.

Childcare

Younger children who aren’t in summer camp programs will still need someone responsible to watch them. This is while their parents are at work and they aren’t at school.  If you enjoy working with little humans, you could apply to be a nanny during the day. Some families may even offer you a place to live in their home in exchange for your services. A bonus if you are staying in your college town over the summer and need a place to stay.

Cleaning Services

Like lawn care, services that clean your home or business are pricey. Some people may be open to a more affordable alternative.  If you consider yourself a “neat freak”, this could be a perfect fit for you. It also includes helping others clean up and get more organized. Spread the word, post on job boards, and make flyers advertising your services. Locally owned hotels are another great prospect here too. Reach out over the phone to see if they would consider hiring you to maintain their lobby and guest areas.

Pet Care

As families travel for their summer vacations, many need someone to watch over their pets while they are away.  You could offer your services to stop by their home to walk and feed their animal, or even stay on their property to give their dog or cat a sense of comfort while they are away. You could also offer pet walking services, or do yard clean up in your neighborhood to make a few extra bucks.

Computer Services

You know how your crazy aunt or Grandma can’t figure out Facebook to save their lives?  Well, they’re not alone. Computer services and basic tech tutoring are in high demand, especially in the older adult crowd.  If you’re tech-savvy, contact your local senior center or retirement communities to offer your skills to the residents. You might be surprised how many people buy your time for a few hours so that they can “figure out that darn email” or finally get their wifi set up.

Internship

There may be paid internship positions available in your community. This could give you valuable on-the-job skills that directly relate to your major or future career.  Contact businesses that you might someday want to work at and ask about their summer intern positions.

While these aren’t the only summer jobs for college students, these are some of the most popular and best-paying options out there.  Remember to dress for success and keep an open mind. Be genuine in your interview and you’re sure to land a position that’s right for you.

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Perceptions of Employment Opportunities

Perceptions of Employment Opportunities

To some it may feel like the job market is still constricting, reducing the number of opportunities for work. But data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics paints an optimistic picture. As of May 2016, unemployment has continued to decline, down to just 4.7% (from 5.7% in 2015 and a staggering drop from 7.9% in 2013).

New industries and technology have led to never-before-seen career opportunities, creating a shift in employment trends. This is particularly evident in how employers are investing more to acquire and retain talent.

We surveyed more than 2,000 individuals on their perception of the job search process and combined that information with data and industry insight to provide a detailed look at how the job market is changing. Keep reading for trends in job search methods, generational barriers, and views on education.

How Many Years Would You Last at a New Job?

Perceptions of Employment Opportunities

For older Gen Xers and Boomers, stability and job security have been important. It was about finding a job and sticking to it – regardless of the job’s likeability – so that a person could provide for his or her family and plan for retirement. Previous generations have been encouraged to stay put and climb the ladder to success.

That’s changed dramatically with Millennials, where 41% would expect to remain at a job for 2 years or less – compared with 17% of Gen Xers (and just 10% of Baby Boomers). For Millennials, it’s more about career exploration than climbing the traditional ladder according to a study from Bentley University. It has become societally and culturally OK to explore.

Many Millennials want to do something relevant; they want to find something that matters. They are often driven by a strong desire to feel like they’re part of something bigger than just the job they do. According to the same research from Bentley, 85% of Millennials want to work for a socially responsible or ethical company and 91% say a company’s social impact efforts are important when they’re considering which company to work for.

Is It Hard to Land a Job After College?

Perceptions of Employment Opportunities

A lot of Millennials look back on the Baby Boomer generation and feel it was easier in those days to land a job after graduating college. And according to our survey results, they’re right. 55% of Baby Boomers report having had an easy job search right out of college. Only 9% of Millennials say the same, with 69% believing it’s difficult to find work.

The Boomer earlier generations grew into adulthood around industries that were expanding rapidly, especially automotive and industrial manufacturing but also health care, telecommunications, and engineering. It was a time when work was sourced locally, not outsourced overseas as outsourcing came decades later (80’s – 90’s). It was also a time when legacies and entry-level apprenticeship could get you into a job even without a college degree.

But was it really easier? Unemployment rates in the 1960s and ’70s were just over 5% and crept as high as 9% in the early ’80s.

What we see now is a shift from an industrial boom to a digital expansion, with a greater need for tech-based careers and education. With the ease at which higher education can be obtained (though at a cost) and the growing use of outsourced remote work, Millennials do face a lot of competition.

Is Your Employer as Devoted to You?

Perceptions of Employment Opportunities

Perceptions of Employment OpportunitiesIn recent years, there’s been a gradual shift toward greater investments in the workforce. Arguably the cause for such investment has to do with the younger generation’s tendency to change jobs. Employers want to retain top talent, as well as lure talent away from other organizations.

More and more companies are working to achieve that by expanding their offerings to include things like free food and drink, extended vacation time, free technology, company outings, expense accounts, tuition reimbursement and continuing education, leisure activities, and entertainment in the workspace.

Still, some 18% of respondents don’t feel confident that an employer will take care of them. This may stem from large organizations (Google, Zappos, Nordstrom, etc.) publicly making these investments while many companies haven’t made the move to invest in their workers beyond standard compensation and benefits packages.

There is also sentiment among some employers or members of leadership who believe Millennials carry a sense of entitlement. This belief, held by some, could potentially result in business owners or decision makers withholding additional compensation or investment.

Is a Degree Necessary?

Perceptions of Employment Opportunities

The Higher Education Act signed in 1965 brought about a large volume of grants and free education for many Boomers. Over the last 50 years, the number of grants has dramatically decreased. In 1980, more than half of financial aid dollars were in the form of grants. Today, grants make up only about 30% of federal dollars. With the cost of tuition rising, many young people are finding it difficult to afford a higher education.

Thankfully, a growing number of employers today recognize that a degree isn’t always necessary. Technology has allowed people of all ages to self-teach and learn through direct experience in a variety of fields including programming, engineering, marketing, business administration, and more.

While employers still favor a college degree – which shows a prospective employee’s devotion and skill within a specific career track – many jobs are listed with modifiers along the lines of “X degree or equivalent work/field experience.”

Would You Use a Social Network to Find Employment?

Perceptions of Employment Opportunities

We have technology at our fingertips. We skip songs on playlists halfway through, we switch between apps and browser tabs quickly, and we bounce between mobile devices as we tap into the multitude of social networks we belong to.

The adoption of technology is one way Millennials (and even older generations) can have a distinct advantage in the job search. 58% of respondents said they were likely or very likely to use social media as a job search resource. That gives them a leg up over others competing to land similar jobs.

The number of companies relying on traditional methods for finding talent (job boards, newspaper listings, recruiters) is dwindling, and social media is the main reason. Not only do companies post job openings on their own business pages within sites like Facebook, but they reach out to their networks on Twitter in search of talent.

LinkedIn, a networking site for professionals and B2B, is one of the top sources for finding career opportunities as more than 35% of candidates prefer the social site over traditional methods according to one study. It’s the one social media site that has given companies unprecedented access to both passive and active job candidates, essentially changing the traditional recruitment and job-post process permanently.

Perceptions of Employment Opportunities

Conclusion

By and large, the job market is changing. Technology has not only had a profound impact on the types of careers available as new industries emerge, but also on how people educate themselves and find new career opportunities.

With a global network and remote opportunities, the competition can be stiff as candidates search for just the right place to call home. But that is also inspiring employers to invest more in their employees and expand offerings in hopes of acquiring talent while reducing employee churn.

Education is certainly still an important factor in standing out among other applicants. However, employers are beginning to recognize that the top talent they’re looking for doesn’t always come with a degree attached, and more employers are willing to look at the overall value of a candidate beyond just the college education, regardless of age.

Methodology

We surveyed 2,059 U.S. residents on their perceptions of employment and the job search process. Generational age ranges were defined by the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau.

Sources

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Job Prospects Across the U.S.

We all want to have a job in a field that we love. And we all want to live comfortably doing it. But is that a realistic wish?

Four-year college degrees no longer carry the same weight as they used to. They’re like high school diplomas, with almost everyone now earning them. In fact, 20.2 million students were expected to attend U.S. colleges and universities in fall 2015. With all this competition, lucrative jobs are becoming harder and harder to land. And seasoned employees are feeling the same heat. Some are simply slipping on the rickety rungs of the corporate ladder.

But jobs are out there – you just might be looking in the wrong place. To uncover these gainful careers and their locations, we decided to analyze data from LinkedIn and Indeed. We focused our attention on competitiveness and availability. In the end, we were able to determine the most and least expensive states and the job fields with the most growth and opportunities. Explore the visuals below to see if you’re making the right choices when it comes to your career.

Which States Are Worth Living In?

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Here’s the truth: While it’s possible to live like a king in some states, you might just live like a professional pauper in others. A good degree and career can be a major boost toward living your dream life, but it can also be easily offset by high living expenses.

Comparing annual income with the cost of goods and services in the U.S., we found that the most expensive states to live in are New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Texas, and California. Although each of these states is home to growing industries with promising job fields – biomedical, technology, and energy – it takes a higher salary for residents to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

And if we look closely at the most expensive state – New York – New York City may be skewing the results for the state population. On top of having one of the highest income taxes in the country, the total cost of living in NYC is at least 68.8 percent higher than the national average. To put it into perspective, the state capital, Albany, costs consumers about 12 percent less (not accounting for rent or a mortgage).

On the other end of the spectrum is Mississippi, which has the lowest cost of living – 10.9 percent lower than the national average. According to the Tax Foundation, Mississippi is the most affordable state in the country because of a compensation differential. With low nominal incomes come lower costs of living. In fact, what you would get for $100 in some states gets you about $115 worth of goods in Mississippi.

The Value of a Good Job in a Good State

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We looked at the most and least expensive states across the U.S., but what do their job markets look like? Examining the number of available jobs in each state (x-axis) with their degrees-to-job ratio (y-axis), we were able to come up with a pretty telling visual. If you’re worried about finding a job within your degree field, this scatter plot should point you in the right direction.

Compared with other states, Colorado may have the best job market overall. With its high-scoring available jobs per capita and relatively low competition, graduates won’t have too much trouble landing a decent job here. In particular, Denver boasts a strong and diverse economy in many industries, such as bioscience, financial services, health care, and telecommunications.

However, graduates might want to think carefully about moving to Idaho, which scored extremely low in available jobs per capita and relatively high in competition.

If we just consider the state with the most available jobs per capita, Massachusetts leads the way. But with 114 higher education institutions and out-of-state students flocking there to attend school, competition here is a little higher.

And North Dakota has a much lower rate of job competitiveness, probably because there are only 30 colleges and universities located in the state. It does, however, have a slightly lower-than-average number of available jobs per capita.

Lesson learned: Just because a state has more jobs per capita doesn’t mean you’ll have less competition in your industry.

So Where’s the Work?

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Recent college graduates are experiencing a 7.2 percent unemployment rate. And an even greater percentage (14.9) are underemployed. Is the job market really that bleak? According to our findings, available careers are out there – you just might have to look in another field.

For example, your best bet at landing a job would be in the communications field. With nearly 1.6 million positions currently available, occupations in this sector are expected to grow 4 percent from 2014 to 2024. And according to PayScale, the median salaries for top communications positions – with 10 or more years of experience – range from $72,400 to $140,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, on the other hand, found that the median annual salary for all communications positions was $53,530 in 2015.

The next career field to possibly offer the most employment is support, which has close to 1.5 million available jobs. Support encompasses call centers and help-desk services.

Conversely, a career in real estate may not be the path to follow. This field only has around 53,000 available jobs, followed by purchasing, which has just over 72,000 open positions.

Which Job Fields Are the Least Competitive?

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If you’re still deciding on a degree, you may want to consider how many other people are following the same career path. Although the job situation is the best it’s been since before the recession, those with degrees still have a competitive market to contend with.

Finance may be the hardest field to enter successfully. With fewer than 0.2 jobs for every student and graduate, entry-level finance positions are few and far between – and for good reason. Job security in the industry has been relatively stable in the past year. Whereas the national unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in 2015, the finance industry only experienced an unemployment rate of 2.5 percent. And the pay is decent. A finance major can expect to earn a starting salary of $51,900.

The least competitive field is purchasing, which offers over 1.5 jobs for every graduate. Although this field has very few open positions – which might have to do with the merging of supply chains and supply management – there aren’t as many candidates vying for these positions. There is also a belief that this field is more of an occupation and less of a profession, which might have something to do with it. Recent graduates may feel that it’s beneath them or in an adverse direction to their pursuits. Currently, employment for buyers and purchasing agents is only expected to increase 2 percent by 2024, and the median annual wage is $59,620.

Moving and Changing Careers for a Better Future

Even though it’s been eight years, the U.S. is still recovering from the 2008 recession. And unfortunately, this is causing a lot of uncertainty when it comes to finding a good job. But some things can be done that make a difference – like relocating or changing a career field.

It might be more financially sound to consider a state with a lower cost of living or less competition, such as Mississippi or Colorado. Or you could choose a field with the most available jobs, such as communications. Even considering changing to a field with the least amount of competition – like purchasing – could help you out over time.

Methodology

For the purposes of this study, available jobs were identified by career fields (taken from Indeed.com open job positions). The number of people were identified with a professional education by matching fields of study (taken from LinkedIn.com profile pages) of both people in the industry (alumni) as well as current students obtaining their degree. Because college graduates tend to live in the state they graduate from, locations for higher education schools were the basis for each person’s state of residence used to determine job field competitiveness.

Sources

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Millennial Math: A Cost Comparison Across Four Generations

Most of us have read books set in years past or heard stories from relatives that begin, “Back in my day …” But how does life today really differ from the days of the past? We dug up data and crunched the numbers in order to analyze the costs of events and everyday expenses – including getting married, heading to college, shopping for groceries, and buying a house – across the generations.

Who splurged the most on weddings? Who spent more on college tuition? And how much has changed when it comes to buying groceries and buying homes? Read on to discover how finances for every generation measure up.

Note: We considered four generations – the Greatest Generation (born 1901–1945), Baby Boomers (born 1946–1964), Generation X (born 1965–1985), and Millennials (born 1978–1990). Generations’ birthdates often are loosely defined and even controversial, but we assigned each generation a precise birthdate window for research purposes.

millennial math

Today’s couples are taking their vows later in life. The Greatest Generation – a term coined by journalist Tom Brokaw to describe the people who endured the Great Depression and fought in World War II – tied the knot at a median age of 23 (men) and 20 (women). Millennials, on the other hand, are waiting until a median age of 28 (men) and 26 (women).

One potential reason? Money is tight for Millennials – the first generation in recent years to be poorer than their parents. Many are saddled with student loans and other debt, which could prompt them to move marriage to the back burner. After all, even saying “I do” costs much more today than it did during the first half of the 20th century: Millennial couples fork out nearly 273% more money for a wedding than couples from the Greatest Generation did.

millennial math

We looked at the cost of weddings (after adjusting currency for inflation) and the age of couples among the generations. Startlingly, the cost of a wedding for Baby Boomers was nearly triple that of a celebration for the Greatest Generation. However, each subsequent generation saw an increase of only a few thousand dollars.

Millennials spend more on weddings than any previous generation did. What does nearly $30,000 buy? The venue accounts for around half of the budget, followed by the engagement ring and wedding band (an average cost of nearly $10,000). As for the celebration itself, average catering cost per head averaged nearly $70 as of 2014.

Perhaps the price of a wedding is why Millennials prefer wedding gifts of cash as opposed to china and gravy boats. How can Millennials save on weddings? Some schedule ceremonies in the off-season, select non-traditional venues, and incorporate Pinterest-inspired DIY touches for everything from the cake to the decorations.

As for a couple’s age at the time of marriage, it steadily increased during each generation and peaked at Millennials (men age 28 and women age 26). Though they may be waiting longer to wed, the majority of millennials believe marriage is an important institution.

millennial math

For many Americans of every generation, heading off to college is a rite of passage – and one that has grown more costly over time. During the 1920s to the 1940s, tuition and fees averaged $1,429 per year; by the time Millennials attended, costs leapt to more than $5,000 (adjusted for inflation).

College attendance has increased steadily over the years: Only around 46% of Baby Boomers went to college, but about 61% of adult Millennials have attended. Perhaps understandably, they also have amassed a great deal of student debt – in fact, among Millennials, paying off student debt is the No. 1 financial concern. Some grads have turned to crowdfunding to help pay off staggering student debt, and some companies are even beginning to add student loan repayment as a job benefit.

millennial math

It’s not the stuff of legends – in the 1950s, visiting the grocery store with a pocketful of coins could yield the makings for a fairly decent dinner. When food prices are adjusted for inflation, though, the most striking takeaway is the high cost of grocery items in recent years. Simply between the time of Generation X (2000) and Millennials (2010), the price of round steak increased by more than 36%, the price of bread rose by almost 52%, and the cost of a dozen eggs skyrocketed by nearly 62%.

There is little doubt Americans are feeling the pinch at the supermarket. What’s causing these high prices? We can pin the blame on multiple factors, including drought (which affects crops), avian flu (which decreases egg production), and cattle shortage (which affects meat prices).

Millennials also eat at restaurants more than any other generation: Around 41% of Millennials say they eat out twice a week compared with 38% of Gen Xers and 37% of Baby Boomers. Though Millennials lack discretionary income, one theory is that they rely on restaurants as a spot to gather with friends, as many of them still live with parents or other family.

millennial math


For many people, owning a home is an integral part of the American Dream. But since the early 20th century, home prices have increased exponentially. Members of the Greatest Generation paid an average of $3,845 for a house in 1930; by 1980, the average cost for a Baby Boomer was $72,400. Fast-forward 20 more years, and the average home price cracked the $200,000 mark, and by 2010, it hit $284,000.How does behavior differ among the generations? One study revealed that while 8 out of 10 Baby Boomers own their own home, fewer than a quarter of 30-year-olds do. Why? Today, only 67% of Millennials live independently – which may adversely affect the housing market. Some point to heavy student loan debt among Millennials as a roadblock to purchasing a home; however, making consistent and on-time payments can actually increase credit scores. It’s possible Millennials are just late bloomers when it comes to to home ownership.

CONCLUSION

For better or for worse, life has certainly changed from the early 20th century to now. Costs of everything from houses to groceries have soared, and many people are making difficult decisions about their futures based on finances.

What does the future hold for our country? Millennials recently surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation. And while many may struggle, Millennials overall are optimistic about the future – and in a world that changes at a breakneck pace, a healthy dose of hope never hurts.

METHODOLOGY

Four Generations of Congratulations, College Costs, and Food for Thought: All costs were converted to 2015 dollars for inflation.

For College Costs the data does not represent the average costs for the entire generation but rather provides a snapshot for viewers to understand what tuition and fees were, approximately, during a given year range.

For the Road to Homeownership, home prices are national averages and do not account for regional markets.

Food for Thought: Prices are annual national averages for the year stated on the graphic. The data provided is meant to provide the viewer with an idea of what food costs were for each generation but do not account for any local variation in price over the dates stated.

SOURCES

 

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