How do I switch from engineering to finance?
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, www.upsc.gov.in, 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