Career cues Education

Beyond the usual scope

Look for what gets you going and you’ll find opportunities everywhere.   | Photo Credit: Pixabay

“Why Vice-President, why not President?” This hilarious meme of an Indian parent in the wake of Kamala Harris’ historic win made me laugh but it’s also a reminder of the pressure caused by our parenting style. Every year, I meet students who say they want to study Economics or Computer Science or Math, or some form of Engineering, with little idea of why beyond the ‘scope’ the parents insist these fields offer.

The bad news is that this formula simply doesn’t work anymore. The world is littered with engineering professionals stuck for growth or even jobs. And economics students have no clue about or interest in finance, policy or even data.

The good news is that technology, globalisation and digitisation have opened the doors to success today, and there is money — and other forms of success — everywhere. Here are some exciting options outside the engineering-economics zone:

Sales, Marketing, Advertising, Digital Marketing: Consistently ranked among highest paying careers, this is a skill that cannot be replaced by technology. Those with the flair to connect with people and creatively influence them truly make businesses move.

Psychology, NeuroScience, Cognitive Science: This is one of the few areas outside pure science designated as “STEM” by the U.S. universities. Psychologists can read people, data and language to uncover insights and manipulate positive outcomes. The real scope lies in combining Psychology with business (industrial psychology), biology (neuroscience), language, data science or computer science (cognitive science).

Media, Music and Film: The lasting opium of the masses, nothing — not even a pandemic — can keep us away from entertainment. There are high-growth roles in media management, music production, blogging and event management. Film is generally considered to be poised for another explosion, given its extensive use in education and training, marketing videos and home entertainment.

Design: An online world spends heavily on user experience design as well as on redesigning work and home spaces, WFH fashion, furniture, and gadgets. Design is often the lifeline of companies looking to reinvent themselves. Combining design with business skills and technology opens growth opportunities in luxury brand and fashion management, web, app and game design, among others.

Law: Negotiating contracts and settlements, debating disputes and designing cyber law cases ... here is something that artificial intelligence cannot easily replace. As the volume of business increases, so does the demand for professional legal services.

Academics and Education: University professors are among the highest paid in many countries. It takes a fair amount of passion, study, and patience to get here, of course with doctorate degrees — or a decade of teaching experience. But, if education gets you going, the rewards are only as far away as that.

Social Sector, think tanks, policy research: The scope lies in building expertise — whether it is water and environment, public health, pollution, education or conflict. Again, you need to build expertise, usually at a doctorate level. Numerous government-funded and privately-funded think tanks hire specialists to research, analyse, write and implement policy recommendations. Then, there is fund-raising. A bit like marketing, it rewards persuasion skills, creativity and persistence with leadership and financial opportunities.

In all, don’t get stuck choosing fields that people say have “scope”. Look for what gets you going.

The writer runs Inomi Learning, a career and college guidance firm that offers services across colleges in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Singapore and India.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2021 6:43:53 PM |

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