A brain, one half yellow, the other half made up of a black lightbulb with the word idea

The short answer: absolutely anything. Psychology is an interesting mix of essays, numbers and people, which can be useful in many fields and industries. On the face of it (what everyone else thinks it is) it’s about understanding human behaviour, but that doesn’t mean that we ever really touch the surface of what it means to… and no, it certainly doesn’t involve reading minds. 

I did a psychology degree, quite a while ago now (shh, don’t tell anyone!). At the time, I did it because I thought I might enjoy it, it’s a pretty popular and well-known degree choice, and I had no idea what I wanted to do afterwards, however the more I look back the more I think my degree was both worthwhile and useful for where I am today.  

Here’s some of the skills you’ll gain with a psychology degree:

Written communication

The number of essays and written exams you’ll have to complete means that you’ll be a pro at using often obscure sources and writing to convey a simplified and coherent message. 

Working to deadlines/Working under pressure

Sometimes everything comes at once, and when that time comes you’ll sure learn how to organise your time to make sure you get everything done. 

Understanding behaviour

Perhaps a less often asked for soft skill, but certainly useful for many jobs as you shall see below!

Data handling 

Psychology involves quite a lot of data collection and data handling, using specific packages such as SPSS. It’s great when you can understand where information comes from and how it’s collated, for example when reading a newspaper, while these skills are very much sought after in the modern day workplace. 

interpersonal communication

During your degree, you might find yourself working with groups that are different to you, for example children, disabled people, mentally ill people or in my case stroke patients. With an experience of working with other people, you'll firstly gain some patience you never though you had, and learn to speak in a caring and responsive manner. 

Get that job!

The compilation of these skills gives you the ability to do absolutely anything when you leave university, far beyond the known psychologist pathway. Here are some you might like the look of:

Product manager

Whether your product is an app, brand or physical entity, product managers identify potential products and potential markets, see them through to to production and market them. That SPSS knowledge will certainly come in useful, as will the ability to use the information to help understand who the target audience for the product will be, and how to get the message out there.  

Science writer

To be fair, there aren’t a ton of science writers out there, but what could be better than having to learn something new everyday and share it with a wider audience? 

Social worker

If you found that you really enjoyed the aspect of your degree that involved directly working with people, there won't be a shortage of jobs in this field either in the future. You'll find working with others rewarding, and that patience you gained at university useful for the stresses of real life.

Cognitive scientist 

With the rise in automation and robotics, most people it's inevitable that humans work in an environment alongside them. There are some people that have to help develop and design these robots to be able to interact and work with humans. With a psychology degree under your belt (and a little programming knowledge) you’ll be the first in line for a job! 

Top photo by Clipartmax