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Saturday May 18, 2024

Career counselling: questions and answers

By Syed Azhar Husnain Abidi
April 08, 2024
A representational image of a person behind a pile of books. — Pexels/File
A representational image of a person behind a pile of books. — Pexels/File

Q1: Dear Mr Abidi, I have completed my FSc (Pre-Medical) exams and I am exploring various study options at the Bachelor level. While I plan to appear for the MDCAT exam for medical university admission, I am also considering backup options due to the uncertain nature of merit and entrance test results. I have already completed entrance tests for the following options: Simple Biology, Bioinformatics, Biosciences, and Biotechnology at different universities, LLB 5-year programme and BS Psychology.

My parents have suggested considering a BS English option as well. However, I’m unsure about the difficulty level and future career/job opportunities after completing a BS programme in each of these options. I would greatly appreciate your guidance in selecting the most suitable option.

(Irum Mehmood, Lahore)

Ans: Dear Irum, considering your recent completion of FSc and the anticipated results, it's essential to have backup plans given the competitive nature of medical school admissions. Should you not secure admission to a public sector university for medical studies, private medical schools remain an option, contingent on your financial circumstances. In the event that medical school is not viable, and if you maintain an interest in Biological Sciences, I recommend prioritising the following options: BS Microbiology, Biochemistry, Biotechnology or Bioinformatics. Regarding other subjects such as Law, Psychology, or English, a further discussion would be necessary to gauge your aptitude and interest. It's important to remember that job opportunities exist across various fields, each contingent on individual circumstances and qualifications. As you have yet to delve into the study of these subjects as you have with Biology, I refrain from commenting on the career prospects for the other programmes.

Q2: Dear Sir, I have recently been accepted to FAST-NU Islamabad for the BS Artificial Intelligence programme. However, I am uncertain about the job prospects in this field in Pakistan. Could you please advise if pursuing this degree is a viable option for securing a job upon graduation, or would pursuing a BS in Computer Science at PUCIT Lahore be a better choice? (Ahmed Abbass, Islamabad)

Ans: Dear Ahmed, while pursuing a BS in Artificial Intelligence (AI) at FAST-NU Islamabad presents opportunities in a burgeoning field, it is relatively new and evolving. Considering your concerns about job prospects, I would recommend a degree in Computer Science as a foundation, supplemented by specialized areas like AI through a master's program. It's essential to build a strong base in Computer Science, given its versatile applications across industries.

Q3: Respected Mr Abidi, I have recently completed my MA in English Literature & Linguistics with a CGPA of 3.0. I am seeking your guidance on whether to pursue further studies or gain some job experience. Your insights on the matter would be greatly appreciated. (Nimra Waqar, Faisalabad)

Ans: Dear Nimra, your academic background in English Literature & Linguistics offers promising opportunities in emerging areas such as teaching and specialised research in linguistics. Considering your options, many specialised subject areas and research in linguistics offer funding, scholarships, and grants abroad. Whether you choose to pursue further studies or gain job experience immediately depends on your financial circumstances and career aspirations.

Q4: Dear Mr Abidi, I have recently completed my BS in Geology, a four-year honors degree. I am seeking your guidance on whether to pursue admission for an MS degree and insights on the future prospects of my field in Pakistan.

(Bilal Asghar, Gujranwala)

Ans: Dear Bilal, Geology is a popular field not only in Pakistan but also internationally, offering promising career prospects. Given your recent completion of your bachelor's degree, I recommend seeking employment to gain practical experience in your field. Consider pursuing internships in firms specializing in Geological Surveys, Geographic Statistics, or Oil explorations to enhance your practical skills and marketability. Accumulating hands-on experience will undoubtedly strengthen your prospects for securing a rewarding job.

(Syed Azhar Husnain Abidi is a renowned educationist in Pakistan, with more than 20 years of experience as provider of education counselling services. He has represented Pakistan in over 100 national and international seminars, conferences and fora. He is a recipient of the most coveted civil award Tamgha-e-Imtiaz).