How to choose a career path

Choosing a career for your future is one of the most important decisions we make in our lives. For some, the decision is easy, they have known almost all their lives which path they will choose, but for others, which direction to take is not as clear and the pressure to make the ‘right’ decision can be overwhelming. 

Below we discuss a few questions that you can ask yourself to help shed light on how you can choose a career path to thrive and not just survive.

1. What are my interests?

The activities you enjoy doing in your spare time can give you insights into careers that would be satisfying and fulfilling for you. To figure out your interests, ask yourself:

  • What hobbies do I enjoy?
  • Do I prefer spending time indoors or outdoors?
  • Do I enjoy working with people, animals, data or books?
  • What activities would I miss the most if I could no longer do them?

2. What are my values?

Everyone has values or things that are important to them, such as financial security, social justice or work-life balance. These values can help you decide what type of career to pursue.

3. What is my personality?

Your personality is the way you think, feel and behave. It can be an important factor in guiding you towards a specific career, so consider several aspects of your personality as you reflect on your future. There are different assessments that you can take that list common career choices for each personality type. If you take a variety of these tests and one or two careers appear across multiple tests, that specific career is likely worth researching.

4. What are my skills?

Right now, you already possess skills that can help you succeed in the future. Remember, skills can be developed and new skills can be learned at any stage of life, so don't let a lack of skills put you off a certain career path. Let the existing skills you have guide you. 

5. What are my talents and strengths?

From the time you were little, you demonstrated talents and strengths that make you unique; these qualities can help you succeed in your chosen career. If you don't know your talents and strengths, make a list of everything you’re good at doing, and then you can use it to narrow down potential careers.

6. What education or training do I need?

Certain careers require advanced education and financial investment. For example, you may need eight to 12 years of education and training to be a doctor, but you could earn a hospitality management bachelor's in four years. Think about the time and money required to pursue a career while you are making your decision.

7. How much money do I want to make?

Consider your earning potential as you narrow down your career options. Decent career paths can have a wide variety of incomes, and while salary certainly does not equal an engaging, satisfying job, it is an important factor to consider when mapping out your career path.

8. Are there jobs available in this career?

While you don’t have to work in one of the popular occupations, you should consider the potential job availability in your future career field.  You don’t want to invest time and money in a career only to end up unable to find a job because there are not enough positions available in the market. 

Below we will discuss some of the more popular fields where many young people are pursuing careers.

Finance

Finance is a broad career field with multiple career paths available. No matter which route you take, your career will be dedicated to helping others find financial success. You'll analyse financial data to help people or organisations make the best financial decisions possible, and you'll offer solutions to help improve their financial situations.

IGCSE and A level Subjects required

Applicants must demonstrate a broad general education including acceptable levels of Literacy and Numeracy, in IGCSE English Language and Mathematics

Personality types/interests that match

People who pursue a career in finance normally have an analytical nature that enables them to work quickly and precisely. They are very organised and calculated and use logic to weigh the pros and cons before making important decisions. 

Data Science

A data scientist's role combines computer science, statistics, and mathematics. They analyse, process, and model data and then interpret the results to create actionable plans for companies and other organisations.

IGCSE and A level Subjects required

IGSCE Maths and English Language are required subjects for most Data Science qualifications.

Personality types/interests that match

Data scientists tend to be predominantly investigative individuals, which means that they are quite inquisitive and curious people that often like to spend time alone with their thoughts. They also tend to be conventional, meaning that they are usually detail-oriented and organised, and like working in a structured environment.

E-commerce Management 

E-commerce managers oversee all online activities for a business, including advertising, marketing, and web maintenance. As an e-commerce manager, you are in charge of all aspects of web design and development, including marketing and sales. 

IGCSE and A level Subjects required

IGSCE Maths and English Language are required subjects for most E-commerce Management qualifications.

Personality types/interests that match

E-commerce managers are curious and love learning, they are adaptable and creative problem solvers with keen analytical skills. 

Civil Engineering

Civil engineers are responsible for the planning, designing, maintenance and management of projects to do with the construction of roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges,  water supply and sewage systems.

IGCSE and A level Subjects required

For all engineering courses, the important A-Level subjects are Maths and Physics. Chemistry could also be beneficial when studying engineering, as well as Biology and Geology.

Personality types/interests that match

Civil engineers tend to be predominantly investigative individuals, which means that they are quite inquisitive and curious people that often like to spend time alone with their thoughts. They also tend to be realistic, which means that they often enjoy working outdoors or applying themselves to hands-on projects.

Computer-Aided Manufacturing

Computer-aided manufacturing uses robotics and heavy machinery to lower costs and increase quality and precision in the mass production of goods. Careers in computer-aided manufacturing typically involve the development, set-up, operation and maintenance of computer numerically-controlled (CNC) machinery.

IGCSE and A level Subjects required

Maths, Further Maths and Computing or Physics and AS Further Maths are acceptable subject choices for a career in computer-aided manufacturing. 

Personality types/interests that match

Computer-aided manufacturers tend to be predominantly investigative individuals. They are analytical and love to study and solve math or science-related problems. They work best with others who are grounded. They see themselves as precise and detail orientated

If you are looking for valuable input and expert advice on how to choose your career path, we recommend booking a career choice assessment with our expert Educational Psychologist. The career choice assessment is a valuable tool that enables learners to better understand their personal interests and strengths and encourages them to use this self-awareness to make informed career choices.