Ubiquitous and Cheap

One of the nuggets from this Freakonomics interview of Google chief economist Hal Varian.

Q: Your job sounds extremely interesting. What jobs would you recommend to a young person with an interest, and maybe a bachelors degree, in economics?

A: If you are looking for a career where your services will be in high demand, you should find something where you provide a scarce, complementary service to something that is getting ubiquitous and cheap. So what’s getting ubiquitous and cheap? Data. And what is complementary to data? Analysis. So my recommendation is to take lots of courses about how to manipulate and analyze data: databases, machine learning, econometrics, statistics, visualization, and so on.

I’m lucky in that I have valuable skills that I greatly enjoy. I’ve never actively considered optimizing my career choices to accommodate any broader social trends. Luckily, my interests have usually pointed me in directions that seem to match up well with social trends.

Freakonomics might be the only blog that I follow that has partial feeds. Their interview series is routinely good.

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