Career specialization : an Art or a Science?

Whom do you want to become in the future?

Someday, somewhere in the past, this question has been asked from us, for more than once. And there are several go-to answers that we could select from, either genuinely or just to escape from the situation, such as a doctor, an engineering, a pilot, a teacher and an accountant. As we grow up we start to see things , learn things differently which will result in a change in our career aspiration. However often children and young adults, specially in the regions such as Asia and Africa, are “pushed” towards more stereotypical jobs, aided by highly competitive education systems. Hence the perspective of a fixed career goal is transferred to the higher education system, which leads to number of issues of which the most import is Graduate Unemployment, as seen in Sri Lanka.

As per a survey conducted by University Grants Commission(UGC) in 2018, almost all of the STEM graduates were employed while Humanities, Management and Social Sciences graduates were struggling with unemployment. More than half of the Art graduates were unemployed

In my belief, attitudes of the Graduates on the career prospects is an important factor that determines the employability. The more open and flexible you are about the career choices, the higher the possibility of finding opportunities to work and explore the future of career pathway. (It is okay to be a late bloomer, in a fast paced world!)

Late specialization is one of the topics that I discussed with my #ScholarX mentor Mr. Ranin Mendis , whom also have decided to explore different career fields after completing the bachelors. He further emphasized on following a multi-path journey to reach a career choice, and planning further education only after identifying the career that suits you well.

Choosing a career is more of a marathon, than a sprint

One major factor that may encourage settling for a particular career is the necessity to secure a stable earning and accumulate experience, though often on a single domain. This short term focus on the monetary intensive tend to result in consequence such as disengagement, as identified by Gallup Surveys. Among the factors that cause dissatisfaction from work, one would be the mismatch between the passion and the current career choice, that was caused due to early specialization.

Therefore it might be better to explore different career paths, after the an qualification, that will help you to find where both your head and heart in sync.

  1. Brace yourself to engage in and learn from different fields and industries.
  2. Evaluate your experience (life, along with the work)
  3. Make your decision by considering the long term, with non-monetary factors in the equation.

“If we treated careers more like dating, nobody would settle down so quickly.” ― David Epstein, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World




An Economic Undergraduate that is curious about everything else

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Ashen Hirantha

Ashen Hirantha

An Economic Undergraduate that is curious about everything else

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