“So is it going to be engineering or medicine?”
If you’re a science student, this is probably one of the questions that has been thrust upon you frequently. You may have concluded that either these were the only two roads ahead that mattered, or that there were no other options available in the field of science.
Here we shall see that both of these claims are wrong. But why then is everybody stressing on these two branches in particular?
Science is a very vast field of study with plenty of categories and sub-categories. The two branches, engineering and medicine, simply encompass the major sections that come under science.
It is possible that you have felt repulsed from the two options because of their being too mainstream. Maybe you don’t want to flow with the tide. Maybe you want to do something different and not go for what every other kid in your class is going for.
But maybe you feel so because you haven’t properly delved into what engineering and medicine are all about.
So, what is engineering?
Engineering is about finding solutions to real-world problems. Anything from our wrist-watches to washing machines to mobile applications has an engineer’s brain involved. Not only does an engineer find foolproof logical solutions, he also fine-tunes them into their best form before bringing them to life.
In this field, you learn to design and build machines, write programs to accomplish particular goals, and change the existing systems into its most efficient form.
This field is what innovates to make our lives easier. Even the solutions put into use today may not be the best. Just like we find automobiles with better mileage, smartphones with newer features, and internet with faster connectivity, solutions can be improved with time.
A fun field to work in with a myriad of options to choose from, engineering is too vast a subject to ignore without being explored.
What about medicine?
The human body is the most intricately and beautifully designed biological masterpiece. To care for its well being is to care for every minute part of it, which is one too many. Although medicine primarily deals with diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases, extensive research is to be done to carry out each of these processes.
Medicine also has lots of branches to specialize in; ophthalmology, dermatology, neurology, etc. to name a few. The field as a whole has a major impact on our lives, what with our health being the primary factor for survival.
Any profession in the field of medicine is one that of prestige; the true saviours to our lives that they become.
Medicine and Engineering are not two options to be flung away for being mainstream, for they too have their virtues. But one must know that those aren’t the only options available for a science student.
Beyond the Mainstream Options
In the backdrop of New York City, the pretty blonde-haired lady stands in awe as she asks him, “What made you want to be an architect?”
“Well you know,” begins Ted Mosbey, visibly trying to impress her, “…soul of an artist, hands of a master craftsman…it was inevitable.”
This excerpt from the sitcom How I Met Your Mother conveys what it takes to be an architect.
Attention to the tiniest of details in a structure, creative and imaginative ideas, and application of the knowledge you gain to craft something that is equally appealing and sturdy, is what an architect ought to be.
The symmetry of Taj Mahal and Lotus Temple, and the intricacy in Jantar Mantar, are some of the architectural masterpieces in India. Since the ancient times, India has seen beautiful structures being erected across its states.
Today’s architecture takes into account new factors like the need for green spaces in the plan. Modern architectural pieces like Infosys in Pune, Auroville Dome in Puducherry, and Cybertecture Egg in Mumbai show beautifully how the smart and sustainable can meet classic beauty.
India has developed an agenda for its architectural sector under Prime Minister Modi. Its outline describes the implementation of 100 Smart cities, 40 million dwelling units and 20 million affordable homes. The agenda also speaks of committing to ‘Housing for all’ by the year of 2022.
The country has big dreams for itself, and it needs an army of architects to achieve them. This would be a good time to embark into this field where you put your creativity and science into good use.
“Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.” – Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, winner of Nobel Prize for physiology, 1937
To all those in love with studying the working of the world from the minute organisms inside our body to the magnificent burning stars in the galaxies, the field of research would be your dream.
Scientists are what they are because of their curiosity and fascination for their field of study. The research sector as a whole strives to explain all that we haven’t yet understood, and they make a living out of quenching their curiosity.
India’s Research and Development (R&D) sector hasn’t reached its potential yet, it providing a mere 0.8% of the GDP. At the same time, Israel and South Korea have spent 4.2% and 4.3% respectively of their GDP in R&D.
While China spends 2% of their GDP for the same, the US spends 2.7%. Our country needs to up its game in the sector soon. However, initiatives like Wadhwani Foundation for AI research and the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) are helping to improve the situation.
For the scientists and researchers with exceptional achievements in their field of study, the Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) lauds them with the Infosys Prize, celebrating the success in research.
The INSPIRE programme by the Science and Technology sector of the Government of India has also long been encouraging and supporting young talents in the field of science.
This career path is undoubtedly the meant-to-be for science geeks. If you have the passion for it, it is always a good time to get started with research.
Inside the cockpit of Airbus A320, Hassan Al Blooshi knows that he has control. He is responsible for the people behind him who have placed their trust
As an airline pilot, Hassan was confident when he told the Friday Magazine about being in control of an aircraft, handling umpteen switches before him, and taking in the incredible view from up the sky.
Working in the aviation sector would mean all of these things. On top of it, you would also be dealing with aircraft operations, managing support systems, and controlling air traffic. While your job draws much respect from people, you also get to regularly behold sceneries from a higher altitude.
India has been crowned the fastest growing domestic aviation market for three straight years. From the data of International Air Transport Association (IATA), India is expected to grow into the third largest aviation market by 2020.
Our impeccable progress in the field can be traced back to the Indian Government’s schemes developed solely for the purpose. The Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme, as the name goes, has the objective to make air transport affordable for the common citizens.
The NABH (NextGen Airport for BHarath) Nirmaan scheme, on the other hand, aims at expanding the airport capacity across the country to handle more trips.
With a market that is constantly growing in the country, aviation sciences promise an impressive scope as a career choice.
Most people would consider the work of a pharmacist to be dry. Perhaps a pharmacist himself would beg to differ. Here’s what Matthew Lennick had to say to Pharmacy Times.
“ I have to make decisions in my work each day that can have a real impact on patients’ lives. Sometimes the patients are aware and thank me, sometimes they are not and don’t, but it is always a satisfying feeling when I have an impact.”
He found his work to be an opportunity to make an impact. He makes connections with his clients and lives with the knowledge that his work is helping to save lives.
Of course, it isn’t easy. A pharmacist needs to pay attention to detail, have a strong background in medicinal knowledge, and also have a good scientific aptitude.
But the field of pharmacy also holds professions outside of sales and marketing of medicinal products. You could work in the research and development section, the quality control and assurance section, or perhaps in the academic section as a professor.
Pharmacy colleges in India have been on the rise. However, the country’s research and development sector is still in need of support in terms of funding. As of now, the Indian pharmaceutical sector accounts for about 3.1-3.6% of the global pharma industry in terms of value.
With an increase in consumer spending and healthcare insurance, the industry has also witnessed a market growth of 12.8% according to Times of India. This provides proof enough for pharmacy graduates to have significant potential in the industry.
We’ve grown up learning the agriculture sector to be the backbone of Indian economy. But we knew little about the agricultural industry as a whole. Early on, it was all about ploughing fields or tilling lands. Today the field has expanded tremendously.
One of the major domains to venture into is the research and development (R&D) sector again. From food and soil sciences to plant and animal sciences, agricultural R&D is the main source of innovation in sustaining productivity growth.
With a degree in agricultural sciences, you could also enter the agribusiness, or work as an agricultural engineer, fisheries manager, or a horticulturist among other job profiles.
India is one of the largest producers of agricultural products. In fact, it ranks second in the world in terms of farm output. In the years of 2016-2017 alone, the food grain production in India touched 275.68 million tonnes.
The industry as a whole contributes around 17-18% to the country’s GDP. Playing a significant role in the country’s economy, a career in the field is as promising as it gets.
Do you ever gaze up at the night sky in awe and try to trace out constellations with the stars? What if you were to get paid for doing it all life?
Astronomy is an exciting field of study, where you explore the celestial bodies and discover the science behind the mysteries yet to be uncovered. Although astronomers spend a considerable amount of their time gazing at stars through their telescopes, they also need to organize and analyze their data, and then develop testing theories based on it for research.
Indian scientists have contributed greatly to astronomical discoveries, and yet the country is lacking in the number of astronomers that it needs. This field of study has been underrepresented in school and college curriculums, which is one of the reasons for the low statistics in the domain.
Efforts have been taken to improve the situation by organizations like the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA). Putting emphasis on laboratory courses focusing on handling data and carrying out observational exercises using telescopes are included in the agenda.
If you can work your way to being a pro in physics and mathematics, then a course in astronomy after your school education should get you started with your journey. India is in need of more astronomers. If your passion belongs to the stars, then perhaps you could help fill in the country’s needs.
Emerging Fields in Science
We’ve currently evolved into the digital era, where every single field is technologically oriented in some way or the other.
We have our e-mails with filters identifying and separating spams, we have phones unlocking itself on facial recognition, we have ad recommendations popping up on the side bars, and we have Alexa responding to our voice commands.
All of these advancements are thanks to the concept of artificial intelligence. AI is the happening field of today and is expected to remain so for quite some time.
Data science is another keyword that has been around for a while, and it is the future of artificial intelligence. This field basically deals with algorithms to discover patterns in raw data. A data scientist analyzes the history of data and uses it to identify an event that is to occur in the future.
One example of the usefulness of this field is the prediction of natural disasters by assessing the related past data that are already collected. A looming threat can be easily avoided if we get to know about it early enough.
Like AI, data science also has immense potential as a career in the coming decade.
Computer enthusiasts or lovers of hacking can opt for Ethical Hacking as a career choice. The information you obtain as an ethical hacker is used to strengthen the security of the system.
Banks and companies of India which need high-security systems are in dire need of ethical hackers. With the threat of cyber criminals on the rise, a professional in this field is an absolute must in most security systems.
Keeping aside the domain of pure tech, we have another booming field that combines engineering principles with biological knowledge – bioengineering. The need for technology in the field of biology is discovered to be profound.
By now, bio-engineering has developed some revolutionary concepts like artificial organs, kidney dialysis, and surgical robots. This amalgamated field has immense potential for innovation and learning.
There could be a myriad more of options in the science field that we haven’t touched upon, it being an ever-expanding subject. You may tap into other avenues of this fascinating field before making your final choice.
Science As Your choice
It is without an ounce of doubt that one would call the field of science a career worth pursuing. Science is what helps us see the world for what it is. It is what makes us understand how things work. It is what will help us make the world a better place.
So, keeping in mind the words of Carl Sagan,
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
You too could join the wagon of people journeying with the unknown and uncovering further truths.