The career landscape is in a flux at the moment with several established choices virtually on the verge of extinction, and many new ones getting a foothold. It is estimated that 65 per cent of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist. These changes are inevitable and students have to be prepared in order to excel in their careers and find sustained happiness as well.
Here are some simple steps that will help students select a career of their choice and also build a strong link with jobs that will keep them happy in the long run:
Experiment with subjects
History does not seem to repeat itself with careers any more. It is not prudent to decide on your future by looking at the past. The herd mentality in terms of career selection (choosing based on history) is quite common and this often leads to wrong career choices. Often, employees don’t relate to their jobs, as it wasn’t their passion in the first place. This is an indication that education choices could have been better through right guidance in high school or even while studying at universities, which would enable the student to align their education with future careers and personal passion.
Don’t be rigid
Experimentation with a diverse set of subjects is a key to discovering one’s ‘true calling’. With changes afoot, the need is to pursue education that allows for the so-called unconventional jobs — a music therapist or an athlete manager. Humanities, social sciences and arts have an increasingly significant role in most careers, including those in technology, engineering and medicine. Artificial intelligence (AI) and data management (DM) are no longer mere computer skills; they are now ‘universal skills’ that are needed in the new world. As you explore the future, know that through your education, you need to build these (AI and DM) and other transferable skills such as communication, writing, reasoning and analytical.
Preparation — One step at a time
In the process of selecting an education stream, students will need to research, meet experts and find their path of happiness. For instance, spending a day with an engineer, doctor, artist or a mobile app developer will give you an understanding of the job and prepare on what to expect in the future. You additionally need to evaluate the course fees, duration and cost of living if you choose to go abroad. Speaking to alumni of some of these colleges can help immensely in clarifying any doubts and pupils will be able to chalk a roadmap well in advance.
Diversify and beyond
Careers nowadays are intersecting and there’s a constant demand from employers for more than one skill. With technology and artificial intelligence seeping in the work arena, need for diversification of learning process has become a necessity. Authors of The Future of Employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerization? Carl Benedikt Freya and Michael A. Osborne found that nearly 99 per cent of telemarketing jobs are at stake as computerisation takes over. The survey also found that credit analysts, technical writers and even truck drivers are at risk of losing jobs if computer technology takes over these markets. Though this may paint a gloomy picture, there’s nothing to be disheartened and it requires only few amends to ensure that you have a satisfying work life ahead. The amends are to go beyond a certificate or a degree and look at a holistic approach that will be a value-add and make you job-ready. Transferrable skills such as communication, technology and reasoning skills play a key role and you are well poised if a disruptive change is expected in the future. It is thus better for students to learn and imbibe these life skills that will serve them well regardless of the career choices they make.
The writer is President & Chief Mentor, KIC UnivAssist and Former High School College Counselor.