A Few Years Back…
Choosing the Right Career for Oneself is something everyone selfishly works towards. And Rightfully So.
If You are going to be spending the rest of your life doing something, then do something that you are interested in.
However, circumstances, lack of opportunities, social constraints…all contributed to making people shift from doing what they love to focus on the security of jobs, a stable income rather than enjoying their work.
These jobs, are what we now call Mainstream Careers.
Mainstream careers include Medicine, Engineering, Commerce, Science, Finance, Legal etc.
These careers provide a safe route, security, financial stability, not to forget the added bonuses and pensions.
All of these proved fruitful in attracting job-seekers to flock towards Government Jobs and Blue Chip Private Companies. Mainstream careers then, weren’t just a social norm, but a necessity.
People were willing to sacrifice job satisfaction for a safety net for their future.
But Not Anymore.
Fast Forward to Now.
The situation started changing with Globalisation and caused an immense increase in the array of choices, opening up possibilities of less sought after, alternative career options.
With the ushering in of the Digital Age, the priorities and requirements of the job – providers have undergone a paradigm shift.
Employers today are looking for command over interdisciplinary branches. The Problems faced in this age requires a combination of a wide variety of fields.
The creme de la creme is now considered to be the ones who not only know maths, science, tech etc, but those who can design, innovate and involve critical thinking spread across various disciplines.
Good communication skills and confidence to take *risks play a vital role in this society.
With the oncoming of the 21st Century, conventional options are being ignored by the students. Creative Courses are driving unusual professions.
With the turn of the Millenium, these “ Less Sought After “ courses are gaining momentum and are being considered cool enough to attract bright, aspiring graduates.
This is the Golden Age for anything to do with innovation. Startups are blooming in a much stable environment especially with the Prime Minister’s Make in India Campaign.
Also, there has been a liberalisation in the minds of the older and younger generations with parents less likely to thwart the ambitions of their children.
With Availability of opportunities, Students are taking up less generic courses, also referred to as OffBeat Courses.
This article Focuses on Unusual/Alternative/OffBeat Career Courses Found in Indian Universities.
This article will focus on Offbeat courses loosely classified into the following :
Engineering and Technology
Humanities and Social Sciences
# 1. Engineering and Technology
Engineering ( as per Wikipedia) involve applying knowledge as a part of science and mathematics, for innovation, designing, construction and maintenance of tools and more.
In Layman terms, it involves various fields such as Mechanical, Electrical, Civil Engineering etc.
This might seem like a mainstream course line.. But the courses belie this :
A . Alcohol Technology :
A fascinating course for many, and unique in its own way. No, you don’t have to ‘chug it down’ in practicals though!
This course is offered in Vasantdada Sugar Institute in Maharashtra, the home of sugarcane reapers and sugarcane factories.
Under this course, All scientific and technical functions related to the industry are imparted. The main point of Focus is to improve the Productivity of the Industry.
The University provides Courses for the short term as well as long term and workshops to motivate students to research and develop cost-effective alcohol.
B. Carpet Technology :
This Course is offered at Indian Institute of Carpet Technology, Allahabad. This is a highly respected course, albeit less known, and was initiated by the Ministry of Textiles.
IICT supports and nurtures this dying art by covering theoretical and practical aspects of Carpet Making including textile fibres, dyeing etc.
C. Ethical Hacking :
Hacking still is a grey area in the moral ethics department apart from being, well, illegal. But Ethical Hacking is legal, and it is this subject which is given whole-hearted importance at Indian School of Ethical Hacking, Kolkata.
This course teaches students about Information Technology Security lingos.
Apart from ISOEH, noted institutions like Institute of Information Security also offer this course. There is also a 15-day course offered by Arizona Infotech, Pune.
D. Photonics :
Quantum Science has taken major leaps in recent times, and for those who are fascinated by this, universities are offering Photonics as a course.
Photonics, as you might deduct, combines photons and electronics. Optical technology is an integral part of this course structure.
After Graduating from this Course, a student may become a teacher, scientist, or researcher.
There are many universities offering this course, the most renowned are :
International School of Photonics, Cochin; University of Science and Technology, Cochin, and IIT Delhi and IIT Chennai.. to name a few.
E. Food Technology :
About 80 percent of the Eatables around us have been processed. It is thus, important to understand how our food is being treated.
This Course aptly titled Food Technology, analyses the chemical, physical and microbiological nature of food, when it’s processed so that the students can work towards improvising methods to improve quality.
Lovely Professional University, Punjab and Central Technological Research Institute provide this course.
F. Animation and Graphic Designing :
This Course combines a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts with Computer Graphics. This Course is very useful as the CGI effects for movies and shows require animators.
A few notable career options after this course range from illustrators, composers to game and animation designers as well as web animators.
Some Prominent Institutions which offer such courses are California Institute of Arts, The School of Visual Arts USA, Rhode Island School of Design.
G. App Development :
With the ongoing Mobile Revolution, and widespread access to smartphones, every business, website needs a mobile app, and this turns out to be an attractive career option.
H. Business Analytics/Data Analytics :
Data Analytics is a popular option nowadays, with the Big Internet Boom and Usage of Big Data.
The person serves both the consumer and the company by analysing vast amounts of data and creating a useful output.
Popular Careers include Data, Market, Quantitative or Business Analyst. Prominent Institutions offering this course are MIT and Carnegie Mellon University.
All this said, there has been also a rise in unconventional ways of earning money ( partly or full-time).
This may be through your own Startup. Or if not that ambitious, maybe generating content for viewers over Youtube, or MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses)
# 2. Humanities and Social Sciences
Humanities involve academic disciplines that study aspects of Human Society and Culture.
It involves contemporary subjects such as Linguistics, Languages, Philosophy etc.
A. Gerontology :
Gerontology studies social, psychological and biological aspects of ageing. It lays emphasis on Physical, Mental and Social changes in people as they grow old.
The students interested in this course can also start their career by volunteering in NGOs.
Some relevant institutions offering Gerontology include TISS, Institute of Home Economics and Calcutta Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology.
B. Bachelor Of Rural Studies :
It is the need of the hour to include the backward areas in the country and help them develop.
Therefore it’s really important to train the youth in this direction and help them develop an approach to resolve these issues.
This Course touches on a lot of disciplinary subjects ranging from various languages to History, Psychology, Rural Economy, Gandhian Ideology, Statistics, Cooperation and Panchayat, Research Work, Religion and many more.
You can find Institutions providing this course here.
C. Masters in Public Policy :
Public Policy studies various regulations and policies which directly, or indirectly affect the general public.
It focusses on Executive, Legislative and Administrative Processes.
It helps to develop skills such as the ability to evaluate a situation from varying perspectives and quantitative/qualitative methods of research.
Public Policy Careers may include Local Government Officer, Government Social Research Officer, Civil Services Administrative, Foreign Affairs Officer etc.
D. Development Studies :
Development studies provide students on how to address Global Inefficiencies, Resource Limitations and Poverty.
Students study multidisciplinary core subjects related to social sciences. Economic Development, Urban Studies and Sustainability are focussed on.
Many Programs are available through Distance learning or through Good Institutions like provide MA in Development Studies like IIT Guwahati, Jamia Millia Islamia, TISS, NIT Rourkela among others.
E. Masters In Governance :
This Course delves deeply into the meaning of Governance, and it’s origin. It deals with sociological and political concepts in tandem and helps to project your knowledge for running a state or a community.
You also analyse Real-life Examples of Public Policy.
This degree opens up a plethora of options regarding Politics and Administration. Well, Known Institution for this degree is MIT School Of Governance, Pune.
# 3. Others
Some other Really Fun Unconventional Courses ( Which Really Don’t fit any of the above categories ) :
A. Mass Communication :
Mass Communication, as the name suggests refers to the exchange of information between people through mass media.
In recent years, it has become a popular option for those inclined towards management and/or journalism.
Some popular institutions which offer this course comprise of IIMC and Indian Institute of Journalism and Mass Media.
B. Foreign Languages :
It’s always helpful to be skilled in languages more than one, and being bi/multilingual has its own benefits. You get to interact with people from different backgrounds, culture, ethnicity and get to be a part of that life.
There is also no dearth of jobs in this sector. You can start from the bottom as a translator, and maybe reach towards the ambassador of a country! The benefits are endless.
Foreign Languages are offered as a subject in school courses, but professionally you can look up to these institutions: School of Languages, JNU; Delhi University; Central Institute of English & Foreign Languages, Hyderabad.
C. Tea Tasting :
Working as a Tea taster is highly rewarding. You are supposed to taste tea, and also advice, and know about cultivation and manufacturing.
Assam Agricultural University, The Tea Research Association, Indian Institute of Plantation Management.
D. Spa Management :
There must be Somewhere from where all these amazing masseuses is coming from!
A Spa training Institute can teach a lot about spas and therapies. Check Out Some Popular Institutions here.
E. Gemmology :
Gemmology is a science and art rolled into one. You should have an interest in the study of different types of precious and semi-precious stones.
Institutions Offering Gemmology
Gemological Institute of India,
Gemological Institute of America (India)
F. Mountaineering :
This is an amazing course for those who live off the edge and wish to have a life full of adrenaline. The demand for qualified adventure professionals has increased with an increase in the number of tourists.
These Institutions Offer a wide array of opportunities: Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling; Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi
These Courses sound really diverse and interesting, but the career options are limited and one must be ready to face the struggle to find the right opportunities.
The Reader is forewarned not to go for these courses if they haven’t thought it over. You may not be built for this. For those who are ready to take up the challenges in the start, hope this article goes a long way in helping you decide your future!
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