Planning for the future part 3

Today we are living in a competitive world where career planning is essential. Making a wrong assumption or not planning at all then your future may be in jeopardy. If you are planning to go to college, whether in your country or abroad, there are essential things that you can take to prepare for better careers in the future.

I know many high school students do not know what they want or not thinking far into the future but today, it is important for them and their family to explore “objective information” about career paths as soon as possible. Before selecting a field of study, they need to know about employment trends, what degrees are required, what an average salary might be like, and what job opportunities are in demand so that they can plan for their future whether locally or globally. In this globalized world, it is important to think in a broader view as people can work in many places if they have the right skills, not necessary to work where they live.

In my opinion, the best fields to study today are in science and technology areas because there are more opportunities than others. According to several global studies, the shortage of technically skilled workers will last for at least another ten years or more due to the fast changing of technology. My advice to students is while they are still in high school, they need to focus more on math and science to build a strong foundation. Besides the standard algebra and geometry, students should learn additional courses in calculus, trigonometry, physics, and computer technology. By taking these courses, they can help prepare for future coursework in college, regardless what subject that they will choose because these subjects are the foundation for most future jobs.

Today, there are many websites available that can help students explore more on the subjects of science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM). It is essential that students spend the time to learn more about their future career so that they can choose whatever that suit them based on subjective information. I know many students prefer to spend the time on trivial information about movies, sports, music or chatting with friends on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram than reading some “Dry subjects” such as Information technology or Biotechnology. Many would wait until the last minutes to make a career decision or let someone else decide for them. I often advise my students: “Today, you are the same as students but five to ten years from now there will be a difference. Some will do well and some will not. It is up to you to make a decision on your career and how much time you will plan for your future or just ignore everything now and regret later.

Even you are still in high school, you are responsible for yourselves because it is your future and your lives. In this changing world, you cannot rely on the tradition anymore as many things are no longer the same. What your parents did well in the past may not apply to you. Certain well-known careers in the past may no longer be needed. You need to plan your future carefully based on subjective information by reading and exploring more on what careers are in demand in the fourth industrial revolution era. Today you are not just competing for a job with your people but also with people from other countries. In this connected world, many jobs will NOT be local but also global. The fact is having the right skills, you can work in many places not necessary in your country. For example, over two million Indian ‘s software people are now working in the U.S. and the number is still increasing. There are several million Filipinos is working all over the world in healthcare and elderly care.

Even in high school, if you take the time to read more articles on science and technology or joining a chat group on these subjects, it will help you in your career planning. You need to know what you are really good at can helps you to focus on selecting a career in a field of your choice. Before going to college, you need to prepare and decide on a field of study that is in line with your personal interests and what you will work as a career. By planning your career early, it will help you identify what courses to take and set realistic career goals to achieve. By having specific knowledge early will give you an edge over others during the first years in college, it also helps reduce the shock when transitioning from high school to college.


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University