How do I switch from en­gi­neer­ing to fi­nance?

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I scored 96.16% in my Class 10 (CBSE) and 93.6% in Class 12 (sci­ence with maths). I man­aged to get ad­mis­sion to a com­puter sci­ence course in a de­cent col­lege in Jodh­pur. It has been a year but I am find­ing my­self un­suit­able for en­gi­neer­ing. I al­ways wanted to be an in­vest­ment banker, a fi­nan­cial an­a­lyst, an econ­o­mist or any pro­fes­sional re­lated to fi­nance. Eco­nomics was my most favourite (op­tional) sub­ject in Class 12. On the ba­sis of my Class 12 marks or any en­trance test, can I switch to fi­nance? I thought of pur­su­ing an MS and PhD in fi­nance in the same from a for­eign univer­sity.

-Mayank It is un­for­tu­nate that af­ter a good aca­demic per­for­mance in school, you should find your­self in a course that you dis­like. The choice of a ca­reer op­tion is not based on aca­demic marks alone, but on a num­ber of fac­tors such as in­ter­ests, per­son­al­ity and per­sonal as­pi­ra­tions too. How­ever, there is no need to feel de­pressed. It is pos­si­ble to make a course cor­rec­tion even now. You can do this in two ways.

The first is con­tin­u­ing in en­gi­neer­ing and con­sid­er­ing the op­tion of busi­ness man­age­ment through an MBA af­ter grad­u­a­tion that will en­able you to spe­cialise in fi­nance and work in the field of in­vest­ment bank­ing. Many four-year en­gi­neer­ing cour­ses in­clude sub­jects like eco­nomics and fi­nance as op­tional and if your col­lege pro­vides this op­tion you will have both the en­gi­neer­ing skill and the back­ground knowl­edge in eco­nomics to pur­sue this sub­ject fur­ther.

Also, many pro­fes­sion­als work­ing in fi­nance and in­vest­ment bank­ing are en­gi­neers, who may or may not have even stud­ied eco­nomics or fi­nance dur­ing their col­lege days.

The sec­ond op­tion is for you to drop your en­gi­neer­ing course and en­rol for a BA in eco­nomics, BCom or BBA so as to do an MA in eco­nomics, an MBA or any fi­nance-re­lated course af­ter that and get into the field of your choice. Do con­sider these op­tions.

I wish you suc­cess in which­ever path you choose.

Rout­ing or se­cu­rity?

Is a dis­tance-learn­ing de­gree of the same value as a reg­u­lar one? I want to pur­sue a ca­reer in in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy. What can I do af­ter my grad­u­a­tion? I am in­ter­ested in ei­ther rout­ing and switch­ing or net­work se­cu­rity. Which one would be bet­ter? When should I go for a Cisco cer­ti­fi­ca­tion?

-San­tanu While most em­ploy­ers pre­fer can­di­dates with de­grees taken af­ter full-time cour­ses rather than dis­tance-ed­u­ca­tion ones, in the field of IT, it is your skills that are more im­por­tant. The beauty of this field is that you don’t nec­es­sar­ily need a de­gree or an en­gi­neer­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tion to be suc­cess­ful as long as you have the knowl­edge and skills to work in this sec­tor. So, if you have a strong ap­ti­tude for com­put­ing, pos­sess log­i­cal skills and are in­ter­ested in com­puter net­work­ing or data com­mu­ni­ca­tions (Dat­a­com), you do not need to worry too much about a dis­tance-ed­u­ca­tion de­gree. The scope in com­puter net­work­ing is im­mense. You can take up net­work cer­ti­fi­ca­tions cour­ses like CCNA (Cisco Cer­ti­fied Net­work Ad­min­is­tra­tor), which are es­tab­lished ones in the com­puter in­dus­try. These cour­ses are can open great op­por­tu­ni­ties. A net­work­ing course equips you with the knowl­edge re­quired to set up com­puter net­works and link-ups and helps you learn more about data­bases, net­work­ing and op­er­at­ing sys­tems and un­der­stand­ing of the op­erat- ing sys­tem, IP, routers and switches, other net­work­ing, fire­walls and con­tent se­cu­rity.

You can start the CCNA course along­side grad­u­a­tion, if you are able to han­dle both si­mul­ta­ne­ously, or af­ter­wards.

Best ma­jor for IAS

I passed my Class 12 ex­ams this year with 85% (sci­ence). I am se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing ad­min­is­tra­tive ser­vices as a ca­reer op­tion. Which course should I go for in grad­u­a­tion for bet­ter per­for­mance in the civil ser­vices ex­am­i­na­tion? Will it be any good if I go for physics or maths hon­ours con­sid­er­ing my in­ter­est in both these sub­jects?

-Pushkar Se­lec­tion for the civil ser­vices takes place in three stages: A pre­lim­i­nary ex­am­i­na­tion, a main ex­am­i­na­tion, and a per­son­al­ity test/ in­ter­view. This year, there is a new for­mat for the pre­lim­i­nary stage which will have two com­mon pa­pers with equal weigh­tage (200 marks each). The first pa­per will test civil ser­vices aspi­rants on cur­rent events of national and in­ter­na­tional im­por­tance, gen­eral aware­ness and is­sues such as cli­mate change and bio­di­ver­sity. The sec­ond pa­per, which re­places the op­tional sub­ject pa­per, will be an ap­ti­tude test to se­lect those can­di­dates most suit­able for work­ing in govern­ment. It will have ap­ti­tude, data in­ter­pre­ta­tion and English lan­guage com­pre­hen­sion skills, which is more or less on the lines of the MBA en­trance test in In­dia.

Cur­rently, the main exam com­prises two lan­guage pa­pers, one in English and the other in an op­tional In­dian lan­guage, two gen­eral stud­ies pa­pers, and four pa­pers on two op­tional sub­jects from a list of 23 sub­jects. These pa­pers are all sub­jec­tive or es­say-type. For the present, the main exam will re­main the same as be­fore, but it is likely that this too will change. You may check the Union Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion web­site,, for more de­tails.

As re­gards your choice of sub­jects for the main exam, you can choose physics and maths if you have an in­ter­est in or find them rel­a­tively eas­ier than the oth­ers. It is best to se­lect sub­jects in which you can build de­tailed aca­demic knowl­edge, so as to score high marks.

Many civil ser­vices can­di­dates like to do their bach­e­lors’ in sub­jects such as his­tory, so­ci­ol­ogy and po­lit­i­cal sci­ence as they be­lieve these are more scor­ing. But if you are more com­fort­able with physics and maths, these too can be of value.

If you are an above av­er­age, hard-work­ing and per­se­ver­ing stu­dent, you have a strong chance of get­ting into one of the civil ser­vices. How­ever, due to the com­pet­i­tive na­ture of the en­trance test, it may be ad­vis­able to keep a strong back-up op­tion. There­fore, do con­sider al­ter­na­tive ca­reers af­ter grad­u­a­tion with physics and maths.

Cli­mate sci­ence, pol­icy

I am in fi­nal-year botany (hons) stu­dent at Delhi Univer­sity. I want to pur­sue my mas­ter’s in cli­mate sci­ence and pol­icy. I am cu­ri­ous about its job prospects and scope in In­dia. How will a mas­ter’s de­gree in en­vi­ron­men­tal stud­ies help me? Please ad­vice.

— Ananya Jain It is good to hear that you are in­ter­ested in work­ing in a field which is of crit­i­cal im­por­tance to­day. There is a huge need for ded­i­cated young pro­fes­sion­als to pro­tect na­ture. With an in­crease in en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness, there are grow­ing num­ber of jobs with govern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tions and the pri­vate sec­tor. These in­clude environment ed­u­ca­tion and re­search, work­ing di­rectly with national and in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions in­volved in cli­mate change, environment pro­tec­tion and preser­va­tion, pub­lic health and water and waste man­age­ment. Var­i­ous con­sul­tan­cies also deal with en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sis­tance and as­sess­ment for in­dus­tries and the govern­ment. While the job op­por­tu­ni­ties are lim­ited in In­dia, the aware­ness on the need to pro­tect our wildlife has ini­ti­ated many pro­grammes both in the govern­ment and pri­vate sec­tor, where trained pro­fes­sion­als are re­quired. NGOs and in­ter­na­tional environment con­ser­va­tion or­gan­i­sa­tions are also hir­ing spe­cial­ists for pro­mot­ing aware­ness, ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple, fund rais­ing, and as con­sul­tants for in­flu­enc­ing pol­icy de­ci­sions. There is also tremen­dous scope for re­search and de­vel­op­ment. While the mas­ter’s de­gree course in environment sci­ence cov­ers the broad area of environment con­ser­va­tion and pro­tec­tion and the ef­fi­cient man­age­ment of nat­u­ral re­sources for sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, cli­mate sci­ence and pol­icy is a smaller spe­cialised field which may be lim­ited in scope but fo­cused on im­por­tant is­sues.


and and Di­rec­tor, Ca­reers Smart Pvt. Ltd. Ph: 120-4313497/498

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