Career Development in Emerging Adulthood  

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Transitioning from your youth into adulthood is a very peculiar moment in life, with it bringing new beginnings and experiences along with it, such as choosing a career you’ll go into for your adult life. In the article, they examine socialization processes and experiences that may have influence in emerging adults’ career development. (Arnett, 2004; Hamilton & Hamilton, 2006)


The study that was conducted used Data that came from a subsample of a longitudinal project that started in 1991. They collected data from a county near Washington, D.C., because of the demographic composition in this area during the 1990s. The diversity of the towns and neighborhoods in this region varied, but throughout the whole county, European American and African American families were well represented. Income in the are was also normally distributed for both African and European Americans.

The original sample consisted of 61% African Americans, 35% European Americans, and 4% youth of other ethnicities. Mean age at the first data collection was 12 years old. (Sameroff, Peck, and Eccles 2004) Qualitative data specific to career development were collected in a separate wave of data collection, when the participants were approximately 25 years old. At that time, we used data from the longitudinal sample to select a smaller sample of participants. Specifically, 74 individuals were targeted based on their potential to enter an IT career.

IT careers were identified by 1990 U.S. census occupation codes for both aspirations and actual jobs at age 25 and included jobs such as computer programmer and network administrator. Participants were deemed as having the potential to enter an IT career if they met at least two of the following criteria: (a) having an IT career aspiration in at least two of the last three surveys, (b) frequently playing video or computer games, (c) having taken at least one IT course, or (d) reporting a high self-concept in mathematics in at least two surveys. (Eccles et al., 1983; Kiesler, Sproull, & Eccles, 1985; Lent et al., 1994)


In sum, parents were often mentioned as sources of support, encouragement, assistance, and even initial exposure to the world of computing and technology. Their influence as sources of access to computers appeared early in participants’ lives, but nearly all parents continued to play prominent roles during adolescence and young adulthood. Often, parents helped their children into an IT career path by providing broad encouragement or by paying for college tuition as their children sought to obtain official credentials, but encouragement or financial support was not unique to participants who remained on an IT career path.

Only a few participants did not mention their parents while describing their career path. Among the majority who did mention parents, their comments were primarily positive. (Messersmith et al)


This study set out to examine theorized external influences on individual’s career development in the context of a specific career field in which both women and members of some minority groups are underrepresented. We considered the supportive and obstructive factors associated with entering and staying in an IT job in an attempt to determine how social supports and contexts continue to influence emerging adults as they enter their career tracks. They found clear evidence that these external influences exist in childhood and adolescence.

Furthermore, even though most participants had career aspirations or had made career-related choices by early adulthood, the influence of parents, peers, and others remained salient in their career pathways. Most of the social influences found across interviews appeared to change in developmentally appropriate ways as participants entered full-time jobs. For instance, parents’ messages during childhood centered on general activities; as their children entered adulthood, parents spoke of their expectations and perceptions of specific jobs.

Experiences provided by others also changed, from the opportunity to play with computers casually to the opportunity to interview at a particular company. These changes indicated that emerging adults’ parents, peers, and significant others do not become less influential in the process of career development. Rather, they continue to play similar roles while adapting their communication and assistance to emerging adults’ new circumstances. (Arnett, 2004; Whiston & Keller, 2004).

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Career Development in Emerging Adulthood  . (2021, Jul 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/career-development-in-emerging-adulthood/

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