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Sunday August 14, 2022

Career counselling: questions and answers

September 13, 2021

Q1: Sir, I am a regular reader of your column in The News. My son obtained 82% marks in first year FSc (Pre-Engg). However, he is not interested in the engineering field and intends to take admission in BS Economics & Data Science. Please advise me about this subject, whether this subject is suitable for him or not and what is the scope of this subject for my son? Is there any demand for this field in Pakistan? (Aurangzeb Kamobh, Lahore)

Ans: Dear Mr Kamboh, if your son has deep and strong interest in IT & Computer Science, understands Computational Mathematics with of course a strong Mathematics throughout his academic career, I believe this could be the best course going forward. Data Science or Big Data with Economics is a rare combination and provides a broader landscape towards career prospects in this emerging domain. However, he needs to explore the contents and modules of the degree programme that he intends to choose and not get confused in Economics and Business Information Systems rather than Data science.

Q2: Dear sir, I have passed BS Bioinformatics (4-year honors degree) from COMSATS with 3.75 CGPA. After my BS, I am now planning to study MS or MPhil Bioinformatics. Please advise which institution is best for studies further, NUST or COMSATS Islamabad? What is the scope/prospects of my degree in Pakistan? Should I continue with it or change my field? And please guide me for any other fields of Biological Sciences with high scope in Pakistan. I look forward to your specialist advice and help. Thanks: (Ayma Saleem Chattha, Sahiwal)

Ans: Dear Ayma, Bioinformatics is an emerging subject area and I think you have achieved a very good CGPA which will help you to get admission to good universities both in Pakistan and abroad may be with scholarships where applicable. I see that you have mentioned about pursuing a master of science or a master of philosophy; however, you must understand that MPhil is basically done when you have plans to do research / PhD in this area while MS or MSc will expand your existing base towards finding new career prospects. My advice would be to finding an internship or work placement for a few months to identify the area of your interest in this emerging subject. Regarding question whether NUST or COMSATS; this will also depend on the area of specialisation that you wish to undertake in the Bioinformatics or perhaps the Biomedical Sciences as you truly pointed out in your email. I hope this information will help you to find the right specialism going forward.

Q3: My daughter is a fresh Pharm-D graduate from University of Karachi. She recently completed her Pharm-D in 2020 and wishes to continue her studies further but requires guidance regarding what subject to study that will prove to be fruitful for further job opportunities. Your guidance in this regard shall be highly appreciated. (Syed Ihtisham Ali Siddiqui, Karachi)

Ans: Dear Siddiqui Sb, the five-year degree programme your daughter has completed gives her a comprehensive understanding of the pharmaceutical industry both from the development of medicines, their compositions, properties and also covers the diagnostic approach. My advice would be that she finds a job or an internship in the pharmaceutical industry whether on the side of research or development. This will give her an idea to navigate her interests and identify the area that she would like to focus within this industry. I would recommend her that she looks at Drug Development, and Sustainability within the Pharmacy Studies both of these areas should have a suitable postgraduate or master degree that would enable her to enhance her career prospects.

Q4: Respected Mr Abidi, your counselling tips and suggestions are always very helpful. I want to get your help and guidance for the selection of my career ahead. I have passed Intermediate (Pre-Engineering). Now, I am interested in pursuing a career in Computer Science. Can you please tell me which field in Computer Science is effective to select? I am very confused about what to choose among Software Engineering, Networking, and Artificial intelligence & Robotics. What is the scope of these fields of Computer Science abroad? (Kaamil Hussain Baloch, Karachi)

Ans: Dear Mr Kaamil, I think you should complete a degree in Software Engineering which covers both Hardware and Software along with the understanding of Computing Science. There are a lot of subjects/modules that you would study spread over eight semesters that involve both hardware and software aspects, networking, Artificial Intelligence, Human Interaction and other areas that are developing into specialisms. Once you have completed your bachelors degree, you would be in a better position to identify the area of specialism with more confidence and that would be the right time to choose a specialism for your postgraduate study.

(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).

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