Gone are the days when Indian students either opted for engineering or medicine after high school. Today’s generation is not shying away from taking the road less travelled. This trend is also catching up with those who want to study overseas. The 2018 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange reveals that Indian and other international students in the US are turning to off-beat courses. While traditional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) courses continue to be their top preferences, some specialised courses such as robotics, automation and mechatronics are also witnessing an increasing demand.
Robotics: Thanks to the rapid progress of AI (artificial intelligence), robots are no longer dumb-machines only capable of doing simple, repetitive tasks. Today, we have humanoids like Sophia and Pepper. Career options for students who specialise in robotics are expanding, from research work to designing industrial robots.
Automation: With the 4th Industrial Revolution, automation has started making an impact on the business world. Be it manufacturing or retail, sectors are investing on automating tasks that are tedious, repetitive and dangerous, and the demand for automation experts is growing.
Mechatronics: It’s a new branch of engineering. As described on Stanford University’s portal, it is at the intersection of mechanical engineering, electronic engineering and software engineering. Broadly speaking, mechatronics engineering focuses on technologies involved in building intelligent electro-mechanical systems. After completion of their course, graduates can look for work opportunities in areas including automation and robotics, AI and expert systems, sensing and control systems, computer integrated manufacturing systems, and transportation and vehicular systems.
Disability programmes: According to a World Bank report, 1 billion people across the world live with some form of disability. The demand for disability support workers is on a rise in many countries. In Australia, for example, the Healthcare and Social Assistance sector is speculated to grow by 16.1% by 2025, creating as many as 250,500 new jobs. Students with a degree in disability programmes can find a wide range of jobs. Be it a speech therapist or a full-time caregiver, the options are plenty. Most medical schools in popular study destinations offer specialised courses in disability care.
Infection control: This specialised field of study prepares students to work in an array of settings such as hospitals, healthcare facilities, government departments, private labs, among others. While only a handful of universities offer regular courses in infection control, students can go for certificate courses or part-time programmes. In most countries, however, they need to get a licence before they start their professional life.
Besides these, there are other interdisciplinary programmes like geophysics, marine engineering, game design and development, says the 2018 Open Doors Report. When it comes to Indians, the scenario is not much different. Although a majority of them still prefer to choose regular and ‘safe’ career paths, the popularity for unconventional courses is growing.