The Telegraph
| Thursday, September 5, 2013 |


Ask shivani

Shivani Manchanda,
Director, Careertrack


The way with numbers

Q:I am a student of Class X and love maths. I want to become an engineer. How should I go about it?

— Satyajit Barman

A: Your love for maths can lead you to a diverse and dynamic career. Though you have already decided to become an engineer, you can consider other career options if you are good in maths. Knowledge of mathematics can be applied to a variety of disciplines such as bioscience, financial services, banking, actuarial science, computer science, game design, architecture and even sports. Over and above your competence in maths if you like to work on your own and have the capability of paying attention to detail then accountancy, computer programming and actuarial science can be other options. Actuarial science is a profession that utilises maths and statistics in risk assessment in the insurance sector. It is a licenced field and requires rigorous training. Since actuarial science is not widely offered as an undergraduate degree in India, you can attempt to clear the exams alongside your bachelor's degree. You would need to study courses such as financial maths, probability, capital modelling and enterprise risk management, among others. You also need to clear the Actuarial Common Entrance Test (ACET) before you become a student member of the Institute of Actuaries of India. For details, log on to If you are a people's person then investment banking, portfolio management, logistics and operations management can be options. If you are a creative person then you could go for architecture where you would get an opportunity to utilise your maths, people and drawing skills. Since you are in Class X my suggestion is to work hard and refine your academic skills. A high score in Class XII will give you the passport to a career of your choice.


Go for a master's degree

Q: I am a student of Class XII science. I want to go for higher studies in genetics. Which are the courses I can enrol in? What are the scholarships that I can avail of to study abroad?

— Ushasi Roy

A:Genetics is concerned with heredity and how genes pass through various generations. The genes lie within a cell and are made up of DNA. Thus, study of cell biology, microbiology, physiology, pharmacy, biochemistry, molecular biology and biotechnology are all within the purview of genetics. At the bachelor's level, you can complete your degree in any of the above subjects to make a career in genetics. Since the career opportunities in genetics are mainly focused on research, having a master's degree or a PhD helps. Considering the inter-disciplinary nature of biological science it is important to have a good working knowledge of chemistry, mathematics and computer science. Science today involves working in large teams, so one should learn to be a team player. To study for a bachelor's degree abroad on a scholarship, you need to have excellent academic skills apart from an interest in extra-curricular activites. In some countries you need to clear the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Test of English as a Foreign Language (Toefl) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to demonstrate your academic abilities.


Create an annual plan

Q: I am a student of Class XI. I want to pursue engineering and later an MTech abroad. What should I do to realise my dream?

— Shanti Kumari

A:It is wonderful to know about the long-term goals you have set for yourself. It is good to see the big picture in life and get to know what you need to do to realise your dreams. By setting long-term goals you have given yourself vision and motivation. If you wish to accomplish these goals you need to break them into specific, measurable and achievable goals. My suggestion is to create an annual plan for each of these six years such that your learning and academic accomplishments are on track. But you should be flexible in your approach as some of your plans may not materialise. Leaving scope for modification or amendments is important. The pace with which the economy and technology is changing may require a change in your plans. Thus, the subjects that are in demand now will not be so in 2020. Nevertheless, you should not veer from your path and work hard to realise your dream. So, while you are in classes XI and XII your goal should be to clear the joint entrance examination or secure more than 90 per cent marks in Class XII. To achieve that you need to set smaller goals such as revising what you have studied, organising your study notes, building speed to answer questions within the given time and enhancing your mental maths skills. While setting goals be as specific as possible, especially about your short-term objectives, so that you stay motivated every time you accomplish and achieve a small goal.