Identify your goals

Uncertain about your career options? Low on self-confidence? This career counselling column may help

February 17, 2024 02:46 pm | Updated 02:47 pm IST

My son is in the final year of B.Tech. Computer Science in Tamil Nadu. He wants to do a Master’s in Data Science. What are the suitable colleges in India or abroad? Venkatesan

Dear Venkatesan,

There are several reputed institutions in India and abroad. The decision depends on factors like the quality of education, exposure, career prospects, financial considerations and personal preferences. In India, check the following institutions: Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIITs), Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani, Delhi University, University of Hyderabad and Anna University. Abroad, high-quality programmes are offered by Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Carnegie Mellon University, and University of California-Berkeley, in the U.S.; the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, University College London (UCL), in the U.K.; Australian National University (ANU), University of Melbourne, University of Sydney, in Australia and University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, and McGill University, in Canada. Check the curriculum, faculty, research opportunities, and infrastructure to ensure they align with your son’s career goals. Evaluate the job market and opportunities available after the programme, both in India and abroad. Also consider, tuition fees, living expenses, and other costs associated with studying abroad versus studying in India. Take a decision that aligns with your son’s long-term career aspirations.

I am a History graduate and passionate about policy studies. What are my career prospects if I do a Master’s in Governance and Policy Studies? Would a Master’s in Social Work be better? Abarna

Dear Abarna,

Pursuing a Master’s in Governance and Policy Studies or a Master’s in Social Work can lead to very different career paths, and the choice depends on your interests, career goals, and preferred work areas. A Master’s in Governance and Policy Studies can help you become a policy analyst, researcher, public administrator, lobbyist, or consultant in international organisations (such as the United Nations, and World Bank) to provide global governance and policy initiatives. A Master’s in Social Work will get you roles as a social worker,, counsellor, community developer. You will be able to join human services management or HR roles, or get into policy advocacy and social justice. Identify what aligns closely with your interests and what you want to do long term. If you want to analyse policies, work in governance or influence policy decisions, the first option may be better. If you prefer working and engaging directly with individuals and communities, then the MSW would be a better fit.

I have finished B.E. in Civil Engineering. I love Nature. Are there career opportunities related to the environment? Pooja

Dear Pooja,

You can consider options such as Environmental Engineering, Water Resources Engineering, Sustainable Construction and Green Building Designs, Environmental Consultancy, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Specialist, Urban Planning and Development, Renewable Energy Specialist, Conservation Scientist or Ecologist. Consider doing a Master’s in Environmental Engineering, Environmental Science, Sustainability, or a related field that could enhance your knowledge and skills. Certifications in Green Building Design, LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), or other credentials will help boost your qualifications. Connect with professionals in the environmental sector, attend workshops, seminars, and industry events to expand your network and stay updated with the latest trends and opportunities.

My son is doing a B.Sc. in Analytics and Sustainability Studies in Mumbai. He plans to do an Integrated M.A. Economics. What are his prospects? Prakash

Dear Prakash,

Combining a Bachelor’s degree in Analytics and Sustainability with an Integrated Master’s in Economics can lead to diverse career opportunities. He could become an economic analyst, a sustainability consultant, a policy analyst in Sustainable Development, an environmental economist, a researcher, a corporate sustainability manager and so on. Let him work on developing his skills in statistical analysis, data visualisation, and econometrics quantitative. Internships with practical experience in economics, sustainability, or analytics-related roles will help build a professional network. The interdisciplinary background will provide a competitive edge in various sectors where understanding economic principles and sustainability practices are becoming increasingly crucial. Let him explore his interests and network with professionals in both fields to gain varied insights and opportunities.

Disclaimer: This column is merely a guiding voice and provides advice and suggestions on education and careers. 

The writer is a practising counsellor and a trainer. Send your questions to with the subject line Off the Edge

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