Forbes’ author predicted this year’s most popular college majors – was he right?

To the Class of 2022

In a 2008 Forbes article, Alex Knapp predicted the top majors for the college class set to graduate in 2022. Was he reading a little too much Orwell before he made these choices? Or was he right on the money? Let’s take a look at the three most futuristic majors he thought would thrive for the class of 2022.


Knapp made this list 10 years ago. I think that robotics is always the default choice of what will be hot in the future. But is it one of the best tech careers in 2018? We still don’t have flying cars. And to be honest, with the fatal errors of the “self-driving” cars, I lean towards skipping the iRobot meets Terminator ideal of the future.

However, businesses are utilizing robotics to save money and time; two requirements of any sustaining business. Amazon started using robots in their warehouses as early as 2015. They started planning for it much earlier: they purchased the Kiva robots in 2012. One thing Jeff Bezos has is foresight.

Knapp’s reasoning for thinking this would be a hot career is valid. As baby boomers outnumber millennials, there will not be enough people to care for them as they age. He also thought robots would help elderly people stay in their home longer. However, I think boomers tend to be the least trusting of technology. And if this Gen-Xer is fearful of a large piece of metal run amok, I don’t think our boomers are going to trust this face to help them with the delicate task of putting on their unmentionables.


Allstar/20th Century Fox


Aerospace Engineering

Will 2022 be the year man finally travels to Mars? Knapp thought so. While I believe any major that includes the word engineering will always be in demand, I don’t think space travel is going to be successful. I think we will do it. I think rich people who want bragging rights will definitely go….there. However, I am a simple woman who believes certain things make a place home. Oxygen, soil, sunlight. Not topics typically covered on HGTV, but still.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 69.000 jobs for Aerospace Engineers in 2016. There is an expected addition of 4,200 jobs for this position between 2016 and 2026. Not a huge jump but not in the negatives, either. Which means, the field is still growing. Just not at a rate that would be considered one of the most popular college majors.

There are a few companies that are working to make space travel a reality. One man with deep pockets is racing toward that dream. Elon Musk is the founder of SpaceX, a company that is working with Boeing and NASA to enable civilians to travel to the International Space Station. SpaceX is actively working with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program with an unmanned test flight planned for March 2019.

So far, it seems that space tourism is still in the sci-fi stage. However, every amazing invention starts with an unbelievable dream. Will it happen before the freshman class of 2028 begins their college stint? Wait and see.

3D Printing

Universities are just starting to offer majors specifically designed for careers in 3D printing technology. Penn State offers a Master of Engineering in Additive Manufacturing and Design. Sexy.

MIT offers a non-degree five-day program in Additive Manufacturing for engineers in many different disciplines.

Though this degree is relatively new, it will probably grow in popularity as companies increase their use of 3D technology. The technology has uses in many sectors, including the medical device field, architecture, product design, and the auto and airline industries.  Boeing, GE, and Ford all use 3D printing.

Several companies are working on producing 3D cars, including this car, the LM3D, made by U.S. company, Local Motors.

Though Knapp may have been a little adventurous in his expectations, I think he was on the right track. And remember, the freshman class has four years ahead of them. A lot can happen.

Do you work in a company that uses 3D printing? Are you a college freshman? What’s your major?

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