Offbeat Courses and new career options
Employers today are looking for people who not only know math, science, and tech but people who can design, innovate, solve problems , make decisions and become critical thinkers. They need to be good communicators, flexible, people who have confidence to take risks and see the big picture. America’s success is built on inter disciplinary study that combine science education with arts and design and also management to a certain extent. No course today is taught or learnt in isolation. An Animator is a design thinker with a background in fine arts and a great understanding of computer science. An urban planner or urban analyst as the new term goes, come from backgrounds as vast as public policy, architecture, urban development etc.
With the advent of VR – virtual reality and IOT – Internet of Things , our world is at the same time becoming smaller and smarter. Now we have smart fridges, air conditioners, cars and other gadgets that can communicate our exact specific need and can experience being a ballerina, or a combat fighter thanks to VR. These new changes have led to the end of many traditional jobs and the beginning of many new ones.
A LinkedIn study I was reading recently stated that jobs and their definition is changing significantly and will continue to do so. Traditional paths such as being a lawyer, doctor or businesswoman might not exist for my 9 year old daughter who is in school today! The only constant in this day and age is CHANGE and disruption. Sony – the pioneer in music got disrupted with the advent of Apple’s iPods and iTunes. But what happened to them ? The streaming music and smart phones have completely eliminated the Ipods in a mere span of a few years and the disrupter today is the disrupted. Thus what we are training our children for today are skills , transferable skills , 21st century skills that will allow them to learn and go beyond being rote learners to actual thinkers.
Animation\ Graphic designing
Some new offbeat courses , such as animation , visual arts and effects are and amalgamation of courses that use traditional Bachelor degree in Fine Arts with computer graphics, film and video, illustrations etc. Students who are studying animation or graphics are highly sought after whether in the film and television industry or to create Apps for mobiles and other tablets and even the 30 second jpeg files that one sees ever so often on our phones for significant occasions or celebrations! It’s a huge industry and growing significantly. Almost all big budget movies or shows like the Game Of Thrones use graphic designers.
Some popular careers for such students include illustrator, concept and compose artist, Game designer, animation scripter, Prop modeler, flash/web animator. Some prominent schools around the world who offer courses in this field are the
California Institute of Arts, The School Of Visual Arts USA, The Rhode Island School of Design, University of Edinburgh, Middlesex University
Business Analytics/ Data Analytics
In this era of technology and information, the data analyst plays a significant role in meeting the needs of both the consumers and the companies. A data analyst primarily collects and processes data in a statistical form which basically helps to achieve the end goal which is how can one use the data to answer questions and solve goals. Most students who pursue a masters in this field have a bachelor degree in math, statistics, Economics, Finance, Engineering or even information systems.
Some popular careers for such students tend to be Data scientists, , market analyst, quantitative analyst, operations analyst, big data engineer or architect, business intelligence analyst, business systems analyst. Some prominent schools around the world who offer courses in this field are
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Texas at Austin , Columbia University.
Virtual Reality /Artificial Reality
Students who study VR and AR learn about Image processing, computer graphics, machine vision, graphical modeling, Geometry of images, computational Photography and capture,-Computational Photography & Capture
Careers : VR and AR skills are in high demand across a range of industries. Graduates may find employment as: VR game designers, oculus developers, games producers, VR/AR programmers
augmented reality app designers, virtual reality programmers, FX technical artists, gameplay engineers, software program managers.
Universities : Some prominent schools around the world who offer courses in this field are
Deakin University, Australia , Queensland University of Technology, Australia
Staffordshire University, UK, Glassgow School of Art, UK, Multimedia University, Malaysia University College London,
MSc Smart Cities and Urban Analytics
This programme gives students the skillset and knowledge base to embark on a professional or academic path through the highly interdisciplinary field of spatial science.
Students will graduate with an extremely broad range of new transferable practical skills including computer programming, database management, (big) data mining and web-visualistation, along with an understanding of mathematical and statistical analysis methods, geographic information science, spatial analysis and urban modelling. All of these skills are developed in parallel with a wider appreciation of the problems and challenges facing contemporary cities and how the latest data and analysis methods can help address them.
MSc Medicinal Natural Products and Phyto Chemistry
Recent graduates of this programme have progressed to careers in herbal, phyto pharmaceutical or health food sectors. Some are involved in drug discovery while others pursue a PhD in the UK or overseas.
Universities that offer such a super specialisation program are:
St. Johns University, USA, University Of Buffalo, USA, Loyola University, Canada
University of South Of Carolina, Purdue University, USA
Concordia University, USA
Masters in Biomimicry
Biomimicry is the study of nature and animals and using their skill set to make life easier and more sustainable. To find solutions to problems using nature as the guide. It is a growing discipline that has a lot of potential for careers in the future. For example the drones we use nowadays are based on the concept of biomimicry. A postgraduate certificate or degree in biomimicry will help students with an undergraduate degree in related fields (engineering, agriculture, environmental policy, ecology and a range of others) develop their skills into a growing study area.
Colleges that offer this discipline – University of California, Berkley, Arizona State University, Minneapolis College of Art and Design.