As the San Francisco Bay Area continues to outperform the rest of the nation in job creation, demand for specialized positions such as psychologists is also expected to grow. In an increasingly competitive environment for Bay Area jobs, valuable insight and advice from a leading expert in psychology such as UCSC Professor Barbara Rogoff might help students decide how to manage their career paths.

(Photo courtesy of Barbara Rogoff)

(Photo courtesy of Barbara Rogoff)

What is your current position and educational background?

“I am currently the professor of developmental psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. I teach and do research about cultural differences in how children learn and how their families and communities organize their learning opportunities. I received my Ph.D. from Harvard University in an interdisciplinary program: Psychology and Social Relations.”

What are the job prospects for individuals interested in entering your field of study?

“There are many different jobs that appreciate the skills learned with an undergraduate degree within human services, business, technology, health care and other fields. From what I understand, hiring managers are interested in both the people skills and the data analysis skills that psychology majors generally learn. There are also jobs in clinical psychology that require a Master’s degree, or a Ph.D. or Psy.D. For teaching and research at a college or university, a Ph.D. is required.”

What advice can you offer to those interested in pursuing a career in psychology?

“My advice for undergraduates is to take courses outside of psychology as well as in psychology. They will widen your horizons. My advice for people thinking about graduate school in psychology is to think about whether you’re interested in working directly with people or doing research. If you want to work directly with people, you’d want a different sort of degree than if you want to do research. It’s difficult to develop a career in which you do both, so it’s generally a good idea to figure out which is more attractive to you. Pay attention to what makes you interested or bored as you take courses or do volunteer work to help you figure out what direction you want to go.”

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on


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