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Opting for the right profession

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

Have you decided which career you will choose?

Consider this: 93% of students in India are aware of just seven careers, even though there are more than 250 options available in the country! These are the findings of Mindler, an online career assessment, guidance and counselling platform, which conducted a survey of more than 10,000 students in the age group of 14 to 21 across India to reach this conclusion.

The survey revealed that students knew of only the mainstream career options -- law, engineering, medicine, accounts and finance, design, computer applications & IT, and management. This shocking level of ignorance is very alarming, considering that India has a variety of 250 career options available across 40 domains covering 5,000 job types.

Need for career counselling

Mindler’s survey points to the pressing need for information about career options to be made available to students. Choosing the right career is one of the most important life decisions students have to make. It can, literally, make or break their future. Such a decision cannot be made in haste; youngsters need to make a well-informed choice, taking their inclinations, aptitude, ability, personality type, and so forth, into consideration.

Career counsellors can be of great help to students at a critical time of their life, guiding impressionable youngsters towards a career that is right for them. (In fact, career counselling is a career in itself!). The first step of career counselling usually involves going for a psychometric assessment, and then meeting a qualified career counsellor.

In simple terms, this means taking a test which checks you for your aptitude, motivation, knowledge, personality traits, emotional quotient, and so forth. Once you have taken the assessment test, you can meet a career counsellor to plan your future course of action.

Influences that shape career choices of students

Students are exposed to various influences during their growing up years, and often, these shape their personality, and then their career choice. These influences are not limited to the immediate family – parents, siblings, extended family, teachers, friends and mentors are all part of the decision-making process when it comes to students deciding on their career path.

Often, students are not able to opt for a career they are interested in because of family pressures. In India, there is tremendous parental pressure to go for conventional careers such as engineering, medicine, law, civil services, IT, and so forth. This again points to the need for a career counsellor, who can guide not only students, but also their parents, as to the various options available to them in terms of a career.

It is not just students who need to enhance their awareness – parents also need to not only learn about new career options, but also unlearn their misconceptions. Students tend to feel much more confident about choosing a particular career when they are supported by their parents. Parents, thus, play a vital role in a child’s career selection process.

The sooner parents understand that pushing their children into following a career path of their choosing, regardless of whether the child has the aptitude and inclination for that stream or not, can be disastrous, the better. Parents and teachers need to be cognizant of emerging career options, only then can they guide their children and be a helpful part of their career decisions.

The ideal age to start considering career options is around 13-14 years, which is when students can start subject exploration and selection, and then work towards career selection. Starting early will give them enough time to plan their future and work towards a career of their choice.

(Suneeta Kaul is a journalist, having started her career with The Economic Times in New Delhi. She has worked with several publications in various cities since then, and has also done a stint in the corporate world. Keenly interested in current events, she is a champion of social justice, equality and human rights, besides being a gender and street animal welfare activist.)


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