A study conducted by HSBC across different nations had some not so surprising findings. Majority of Indian parents surveyed wanted their kids to take up engineering (23%), business management (22%), CS and IT (16%) or medicine (14%).
According to Ruhan Madni Naqash, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer, My Captain (an Education Startup helping students discover and pursue passions), it is time for parents and students alike to understand and accept that the concept of work is changing. There is demand for newer careers and for a workforce that is more flexible and creative. This can only happen if and when there is a societal mindset shift towards careers, and now is the time to start. With a keen interest in Policy, Education, and Impact, Ruhan Madni Naqash, has been working towards achieving this goal. He has also been invited by UNESCO to help design the Education Policy for girls in STEM fields.
In an elaborate interview with Stoodnt.com, Naqash, shared his views on the roadmap for building new age careers in India.
A selected excerpt –
Q. You have said that we need to understand and accept that the concept of work is changing – Explain how?
In today’s time and age most of the people don’t want to pursue the mainstream courses. A marketer for example requires an MBA degree to be a Marketer. Similarly, there are niches within organisations that have come up that weren’t existent before. So, there is a need of change in mindset.
It is now being said that there is demand for newer careers and for a workforce that is more flexible and creative – What are the new demands? Which industries are showing these demands?
Today is a day and age of multi-potentiality. Companies across all industries are technologically bent, and to be able to master this, the workforce cannot only be specialising in one field, rather understand multiple fields and inter-departmental impact to be able to find effective and innovative solutions to problems today’s world faces. Take Photography for example – it has become extremely essential within ecommerce, food, fashion, advertising, and other industries. 30 years ago, photography was either only restricted within journalism, or was a leisurely affair. Today the field employs hundreds of thousands (if not millions), and helps them make a life out of this art!
What changes in mindset is required for facilitating new age careers?
The most important changes in mindset are twofold: a) There are other Careers out there b) These are viable and sustainable Career options. The most important change is at the acceptance level – that times have changed and with changing times, emerge new requirements to be met. This needs to happen at an overall societal level both in our parents’ generation and in our own generation. Tier 1 cities are already seeing this form of a change emerge, but Tier 2 and Tier 3 are still behind in India. We at MyCaptain have seen immense aspiration amongst Tier 2 and Tier 3 Cities and it will grow as we move in time.
What are the new age career opportunities in India?
In India, there’s a misconception that only traditional careers like Engineering, Medicine, Law and CA are in demand. This is a false notion. India is one of the largest start-up hubs in the World, and has also seen a huge gig economy coming into picture over the past few years. COVID has only accelerated this. Every organisation needs content writers, especially due to the takeover of Digital Marketing when it comes to promoting businesses. Content writers can earn up to 1L a month, just writing. Can you imagine that? Back in the day if you told a potential writer this, they wouldn’t believe you. And it’s not just writing. It’s the Content industry as a whole that has seen a huge spike over the past few years, and language is not a barrier any more. We have content companies producing high quality content in English as well as Gujrati – Vernacular barriers have already been crossed. So this brings a huge demand in professions like Videography, Video editing, script writing, film making and what not. The entertainment industry in India is getting bigger and bigger by the day with entertainers not just being restricted to the tough barbs of Bollywood, but exploring without as well. Hence we see Independent content creators, youTubers, Stand-Up Comedians, and what not, coming up and making a life out of these otherwise offbeat careers! Then there is Design, which as a field has been reaching new heights, and with tech reaching to the most rural of the rural areas in India, the demand for these jobs has increased. And because such empowerment is being seen by students and young professionals alike, it’s no surprise that Entrepreneurship is on a hike, and it doesn’t just stop there – India has a growing gig economy – an army of freelancers who are disgruntled by the 9-5 of Corporates and start-ups alike, and want more independence. This is slowly becoming a way of life for many young people and it’s only going to grow from here.
What are your suggestions for students aspiring to build a new age career?
Keep practicing your craft, no matter what it is. Sometimes the money is going to be a little less, but does that mean it’s not a viable career option? No. All these careers are up and coming as of now, and they will keep growing as the day passes. Also because these are fields of innovation, they require constant honing, constant studying and hence practicing. If you are becoming part of the gig economy or are looking to freelance, you need to understand the importance of networking and meeting people from your field. This helps in understanding the skill further, and even getting more opportunities as you proceed.
What according to you is a good time to decide a career path for a student?
I think 11th grade is a great time to understand what broad field of Career one wants to get in. This doesn’t mean that the student needs to know what specialisation in machine learning or advertising they should be getting into. But broad interests generally tend to point to what the student would be happy pursuing. For example, there will always be students who are bending more towards Media and Entertainment as a field. But they need not necessarily know if they want to become an actor, or a writer for film, a stand-up comedian or a documentary filmmaking . I strongly believe that by 12th grade if the student is able to make an informed career decision about the broad field, this would help them immensely decide what College / education / degree they should be pursuing at an undergraduate level. Thereafter, within the undergraduate degree, certain sub-fields within the field would excite them more and that’s when they would take the leap into those categories. But it needs to start a little early on. This should not be misconstrued as “build pressure on your child”. Sometimes, the student wouldn’t get to know what their true interests lie in, and that’s why Companies like MyCaptain exist in the first place.
Once decided how does a student fulfil the decision made?
One the student has made an informed decision in the final year of high school to pursue a particular course at undergraduate level, post which during those years certain sub-fields within the field would excite them more and that’s when they would take the leap into those categories. This should not be misconstrued as “build pressure on your child”. Sometimes, the student wouldn’t get to know what their true interests lie in.
What are the skills one should learn to build a new age career?
Irrespective of the new age career they are looking at, students need to build soft skills more than anything in this day and age. Communication, Critical Thinking, Team work, and empathy are essentials.
Which education institutions (school/college/university) in India help build new age careers for students?
Only some Liberal art colleges I think. Had there been great institutions or colleges in India that did that, others would have started copying, but unfortunately there are only a handful of them that envision doing that.