A close examination of the history and evolution of various professional fields can shed light on patterns that could predict future trends in the job market. As the world experiences rapid advancements in technology, the demand for specific degrees and skill sets changes too – often rendering some fields less lucrative and others more promising.

Here, we explore this concept dubbing it "degree with expiry data" using examples from journalism, management, engineering fields and more.

The Rise and Fall of Journalism:

Carleton College started the first journalism degree in 1945, and over the next five decades, journalism surged as an esteemed profession. However, the advent of the digital era, particularly blogging and social media, has challenged traditional journalism – suggesting a diminishing trend.

The Shifting Landscape of Management Degrees:

Harvard Business School began its journey in 1908 and Stanford followed in 1925. The mid-20th century saw a booming demand for middle management roles, making MBA degrees highly desirable. Presently, with over a century of existence and significant technological advancements, this field is speculated to be on the brink of a major shift towards possible obsolescence – apart from elite institutions like Harvard.

Engineering: A Spectrum of Changes:

Electrical engineering

The engineering field has seen various trends over the years. The first electrical engineering degree was offered by Darmstadt University in 1882, that coincides with the formation of General Electric in 1892. The boom of electric engineering went on until World War II, which then slowly saw the rise of other countries namely Japan competing against American giants (Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba which are formed between 1930-1940s), and more recently by South Korean and Chinese companies.

Chemical engineering

Similarly, the chemical engineering degree, first offered by the University of Manchester in 1887, coincidnig with Dow Chemical founded in 1897. From my first hand experience meeing people in Bogota, Colombia, chemical engineering is booming in that country. All the major chemical companies in developed countries started offshoring the jobs.

In worldwide, chemical engineers saw its number of graduates outweigh the available jobs around 1996, hinting the continuous decline in such field. This is not to say, electrical engineering jobs are going away. In fact, the job is expected to grow at 14% annually to 2031. All it means is there's an oversupply of chemical engineering and the jobs won't be as lucrative as the early 20th century.

Aeronautical engineering

Aeronautical engineering also started in 1914 in Unviersity of Michigan. That's 11 years after Wright Brother's successful flight, and 2 years prior to founding of Boeing. The industry went through propellor to jet engine over the next 50 years. And became stable duopoly with the European Airbus since 1970. It's been 100 years of inception, and the industry would likely move away to developing countries like Brazil's Embraer and China's Comac.

Peaked Out Degrees:

The University of Cambridge in UK and Purdue University in US initiated the education of computer science in the mid-20th century and saw its golden age towards the late 20th and early 21st century. Their occupations likely peaked out in the developed countries.

This is evident from massive layoff from San Francisco tech giants in 2022. They are looking to restructure their organizations and check for what to move the operation abroad.

Aerospace engineering started in 1958 and it was a boom into apollo program of 1961 to 1975. While SpaceX revitalized the space US interest, it'll never pick up as the national interest. As we notice from India's last week's success in moon landing, the industry will likely move to other countries slowly. The industry will remain for the next 50 years, but it won't see the growth we've seen in the past 2 decades.

Digital Fields, Data Science, and New Media Degrees:

Meanwhile, University of British Colombia started offering data science at matster in 2016, and started offering undergraduate program in 2018. That discipline will only likely to boom in the coming decade in a pace we've never expected.

As for myself, I studied New Media Studies back in 2012. That was the 5th year in such program. As we know from Japan and Singapore incorporating "information" mandatory courses to all highschool students since 2022, we'd likely to see this industry also flourish in the coming 4 decades.

Health Sciences, another modern field, has also become prominent fields since 2010. The field will become ever more main stream from 2030s with our aging population and the rise of preventitive healthcare.

Emergence of Crypto Currency and Health Sciences Degrees:

Even though the University of Nicosia pioneered of a Master’s Degree in digital currency today, the field still remains as a separate online course. Considering this field's novelty and potential, its formal recognition will occur in the latter 2020s. The industry as a whole will see its dominance is speculated to cover the second half of this century. In that sense, crypto startups today are way too early in this field.


Clearly, a fascinating pattern emerges from historical data – a lifecycle of rise to popularity, followed by a bubble, stagnation, and eventually, a phase of decreased demand. As we move ahead in the 21st century, newfound fields like data science, New Media, Health Sciences, and digital currency may reach their peak while some traditional areas decline in job market relevance. These trends underscore the need to keep an eye on emerging fields as they could shape future job markets and potentially redefine what we understand as a "lucrative degree."