In a world that’s changing at warp speed, it’s difficult to guess what the future holds. This can make choosing the best career options especially challenging in some fields. How can young people decide what route to follow for a fulfilling future when nothing seems certain?
In India, we often see young people pushed toward engineering and medicine. There’s stability in those jobs, and great opportunities for growth, but they aren’t for everyone. When we are choosing good career options, we need to look both within and without. What turns on a light inside of us? What inspires us to get out of bed in the morning? Where do we see ourselves in the next 10, 20, even 30 years?
And then we need to weigh these aspirations against the kinds of careers available. While it’s a good idea to let our passions inform our choices, blindly following them is also not practical when choosing the best career options in India.
Why Following Your Heart Isn’t Always The Best Advice
At the opposite end of the push toward engineering and medicine is the advice that we should follow our hearts above all. While it sounds great, it isn’t always a smart move—but being inspired by our passions is a different proposition.
Everyone needs money, that’s a given. We can have hobbies and passions and dream of one day turning these into our profession. Say, a high school student decides their true calling is painting. While they can create their own canvases in their spare time, they can pursue careers such as graphic design or teaching. Fine art can remain a side hustle till it gains the momentum to take over as a full-time job.
Even if your dreams are more mainstream, there are practicalities involved. If you want to start a business, you need to figure out how to pay for it. This means your passion has to make sense within a financial framework. If it doesn’t, it can be a waste of time and resources.
Discovering Your Top Career Options
Charting a path for an entire lifetime can seem daunting. Breaking it down into steps and looking at it through an analytic lens makes it easier. Here are a few steps for those trying to choose a career path that’s right for them:
List Your Strengths
List what you are good at and your dominant traits. Do this with no thought to careers for now. Think only of your interests and personality. What are you passionate about? Are you a risk-taker? Are you a go-getter?
Think of all the jobs that could follow from those interests and qualities. If you love numbers, you could consider a career in academia, accountancy, market research or risk management. These have very different job profiles, but all start from the same place. Who knows, you might even find some unique career options in India if you follow this approach!
Do Your Research
Look at the top institutions and companies which employ people with your skill set. If you love writing code, check out job openings at your dream IT companies. What kind of developers are they looking for? What qualifications do they seek? What soft skills are their focus? Does the path seem appealing to you? Keep a note of it and find alternatives to weigh it against.
Think Short-term And Long-term
We have long been told that our career choices, made as early as high school when we have to choose science, business or arts streams, are locked in for life. But this is not the case. We’re here to tell young people that there are many options available to them, including a mid-career change of direction.
You might even choose this option intentionally. If you want to venture out on your own, you can work in larger organizations, learning the ropes and the industry you’re interested in before refining that big idea you have for a start-up.
If you’ve followed these steps, you might have some idea of what you’d like to do already. Remember that even the top career options around might not be the right fit for you. Be ready to think out of the box.
Factors To Consider While Choosing A Career
There is more to choosing the right job than simply mapping our talents and interests. Each profession brings with it certain demands and rewards. Here are three additional points to consider when weighing good career options:
Do you love travel and lifestyle? Do you dream of helping people in rural India? Do you wake up screaming at the very thought of the corporate grind? Think deeply about the work you want to do and where you want to do it.
How motivated are you by money? Not everyone wants the same things from life, and while society places more value on jobs that pay more, that pursuit is not for everyone. More service-oriented or creative jobs don’t guarantee wealth, but that doesn’t mean they can’t support you in whatever life you choose to live.
Demands Of The Job
There are some jobs that are more demanding in some ways than others. For instance, if medicine is your calling, long hours of study and work come with the territory. Similarly, if you want to be a reporter, you’ll need to work all hours and meet tight deadlines, at pay rates that are less than what your peers in other fields earn. Take this into account as you will live with the consequences of your choice.
Keep these factors in mind when you get down to creating an actionable career plan for your future.
Best Career Options In India
India is a unique business landscape rich with opportunity. But it’s also the second-most populous nation on earth and around 50 % of it’s under the age of 25. That means there are many people chasing the same jobs. When trying to pick the best career options in India, this is something to consider.
There are certain jobs that have a high demand. Let’s look at these.
You don’t need to be told that managers are always in high demand. With so many applicants for the same jobs, in some industries, you need a management degree to stand out from the competition. Management skills are also essential if you would like to start a business of your own, or aim to rise to the C-suite.
With so many young people, there’s no dearth of schools and colleges opening up. For those who want to serve the community while making a living, this is a good option. And while traditionally a relatively low-wage job, teaching is better compensated nowadays.
You could be a chef at a restaurant (maybe even your own), a pastry chef, teacher of cooking or baking techniques. On a larger scale, you could run hospital kitchens, or look at food technology companies.
Computer Science/Information Technology
This is a career that’ll constantly evolve and is consistently one of the best career options. Machine learning and automation are the buzzwords today. Programming and hardware are still very much in demand—if you enjoy working at the cutting edge, IT/CS is a dynamic field.
Whether it’s government jobs or the non-governmental sector that interests you, there’s a tremendous need for all kinds of public service—social workers or police officers, air force pilots or Indian Administrative Service cadre. For young people today it might not seem like the most unique career options in India, but it’s certainly an important one.
If you love to travel, are willing to work long hours in sometimes taxing conditions, think of training as a commercial pilot. It offers a high salary and the opportunity to travel the world.
India’s contributions to scientific breakthroughs and innovation are significant, but in terms of numbers, there’s a push for more to keep up with global superpowers. Perhaps a less popular choice than engineering or medicine, India needs scientists—whether it’s for pandemic control or to address the urgent needs of the looming environmental crisis.
The heroes of our current times, doctors will always be in demand. But there are other kinds of talent needed in the medical industry, too: nurses, lab technicians, hospital administrators, physiotherapists. Being a doctor isn’t for everyone, but the industry is only going to grow as India’s medical infrastructure responds to the needs of the population, and there are options aplenty.
For liberal arts students, high-paying options can be scarce. Law is one of them. There’s a constant and ever-growing need for lawyers in India of all kinds. If you’re inclined toward service, public defenders do important work. If you’re more motivated by career advancement and financial rewards, corporate law is for you.
We know this isn’t a career per se. But it’s a path that requires planning and preparation. If you would like to start a specific business, say a public relations consultancy, you could consider a degree in management, a few years of work experience as the foundation for your ultimate goal of becoming an entrepreneur.
Planning a career calls for long-term thinking, which can be a challenge. But the rewards are rich, and remember, your choices are never set in stone—change is possible!
For those trying to figure out the path ahead, Harappa’s Young Talent Bootcamp can show the way. It helps freshers and young professionals build self-awareness, critical for choosing the right career. It also teaches skills valuable across industries, such as how to develop a strong work ethic, effective communication and collaboration. Upgrade your professional toolkit today!
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