Since last few weeks, few questions were troubling me.

“Do students really not care about their careers?

Are they really not motivated to learn and give due attention to studies while they are in colleges / universities?” 

To find an answer to this question, we decided socialize with few students.

Thanks to the enthusiastic support of the faculty of SICSR, Pune, we were able to have an access to few students and chat with them for few hours in different groups. Me, along with few of my interested friends had discussion with few enthusiastic students trying to understand what is the root cause of above questions.

Despite relative small group of varied backgrounds, we could uncover few important aspects of the student behavior and the related perception by the teachers.  This article, hopefully, will make an attempt to shed some light on some of them.

 

What does a career mean to the students in professional courses ?

We met two different types of students. One set with no prior work experience but with a bachelor degree, and other set with having professional work experience and with a bachelor degree.

 

Students with no work experience Students with work experience
  • lack of understanding or focus on what they want to do in life 
  • some of the students had dreams of being ‘someone’, but had no idea how to get there
  • they are driven by feedback from their senior students
  • easily influenced by face value factors such as salary, location, brand of company while choosing career (rather than understanding whether it aligns with the dream)
  • thoughts while choosing career were based on their family background (people with business background were more adventurous in choices, while people with services background chose safety first while deciding on careers)
  • their future careers are based on what they did in past (so called expertise), not on what they have learnt in their post graduate
  • thoughts were influenced by their work experience and were not easily changed despite availability of more career choices (due to post graduation degree)
  • they feel they know what they want to achieve, but lack of clarity on how to get there was evident
  • driven by face value factors, while deciding choices
  • essentially opted to join the post graduation to get better roles, higher salary
  •  

     

    What they think is missing ?

    careerchoices Students felt there is a gap of understanding in what happens within the IT industry and what kind of profiles are available for them when they will essentially be eligible for job placements.   They also were not aware of what kind of work will be expected out of them when they join their respective companies after placements.

    Many students, proactively, reached out to the college seniors to seek this information, but apparently did not get right information back that could help them make informed choices about their careers.

    They lacked the thinking the short term and long term vision about their career. No one could answer where they would see themselves in 3-5 years time.  They were also not sure which career option will give them better prospects in their future.

    One of the interesting facts we found that the people who had work experience, were NOT open to share their understanding of IT industry with their fellow students.  Surprising, but since all of them were supposedly competitors with each other in the job market, they felt that not sharing information will give them upper hand.

     

    Are you ready for working hard to achieve dream ?

    We spoke to the students about how and why it is important to see the big picture of the career from the point of view of achieving a dream. More importantly rather, why its essential to have a dream in life for career.

    While most of the students understood the need of having a career goal, according to one’s natural ability they found it hard to resist small gains. For example a student whose dream was to be an IT Marketing Manager, could not resist the temptation of accepting a job of IT analyst with very high salary and attractive package.

    Students also acknowledged that the gap between dream and reality came due to lack of understanding of what lies behind the scenes of these attractive packages.  When we asked them to list out what they think why people are not ready to put in hard work and long term vision in planning their careers, few answers we got were –

    • Probably it is true to certain extent that new generation of students are relatively lacking the passion to learn
    • Students want quick money, higher roles, better positions
    • Goals were always short term (getting admission to certain school, getting certain percentages, getting a job etc) than long term
    • Peer pressure affected the choices e.g., my friend got a job in XYZ company with $$$ salary, I would do everything to get better !
    • For students with service background job security was very important (they would rather join a stable company with some less money than more challenging role with higher salary)
    • Moreover, one of the most prominent answer we got “Students were confused and did not know what is right for them in their career.” There are simply too many choices around !!!

     

    These few discussions we did with students actually opened our eyes to the other side of world and how students felt about their own careers.  The most important part from our side was the interest shown by few students who turned up for discussions to open up and share their side of stories. 

    It now convinces me that the problem I talked about in my previous post, may not be that serious after all !!

    There is a hope, big hope !!