It is said that changes are the only constants; if we look at the developments of the recent past and the unfolding present, we find that definitely change is constant, but the pace of change is not – it’s moving only in an upwards direction. For thousands of years, the type of education required for an individual was well known even before his or her birth. Expectations from teachers and students were well defined, the time line was predetermined and the nature of the profession for an individual was known not only to him, but rather the entire society. A learner was not required to spend his energy in choosing the type of education from a large number of options. The only determining factor for success in his or her professional life was the sincerity of the learner in both student life and professional life.
But, we have entered a new era, where a piece of widely acclaimed research concludes that more than 65% of school-going kids will work in a profession which does not exist today. Secondly, in the present era, the right selection of profession and the area of work that someone chooses have become extremely important.
If we look at popular educational streams in the last few decades, we find that medical engineering, business, law and more, have been the choices of students and parents across the globe. Every few years, some courses have lost their shine in terms of platforms for glorious careers, while new options have emerged. For example, traditional engineering streams made way for Information Technology, Biotechnology and more. Hence, the course chosen at the undergraduate and postgraduate level made substantial differences in the careers of individuals later.
In the near future, it seems that the best career options will be in the industries where analytical ability can make huge differences to the successes of businesses and government plans, or where new designs of products or services can create the disruptions or redefine the product benefits or usages (e.g. mobile phones and internet did in communication, or where human beings are irreplaceable – like caring for the elderly and sick, or where services can change the ways of business and economy – e.g. blockchain), or works in an entirely new set up – like space physician, space tourism guide etc.). In all these cases, the trajectory of careers would not have been very clear even a few years ago, but students who opt for emerging fields will probably have far better careers than those who stayed with known, old educational streams. We have already seen it in the case of students opting for IT in the 1980s and 1990s, or the students going for business majors in the last decades of the twentieth century. The bottom line is that selecting the right educational stream earlier might prove more important than the amount of effort we put in to succeed in the chosen field.
At this point in time, wisdom calls for being prepared for the jobs unknown today, and for developing the skills and abilities in the abovementioned areas. Looking at the options available and emerging, students will be well advised to consider courses in Business Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Software Development, Blockchain, Design, Space Sciences, Biotechnology and other emerging fields. Yet to emerge educational streams are likely to be closely related to these areas, so transferring to them will be easier than shifting from other traditional educational streams.
Dr. Manoj Kumar
Associate Professor, Skyline University College