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Special Content


Issue no 49, 4-10 March 2023

Alternative Careers in Science

Prateek Singh

Science is a fascinating subject that has led to many groundbreaking discoveries throughout history. The quest to uncover the mysteries of the world has led to countless discoveries, from Sir CV Raman's discovery of the Raman Effect to the discovery of the structure of DNA by Watson and Crick. While many think of careers in science as limited to white coats, labs, and research, there are numerous alternative career opportunities available. Science is an all-encompassing subject that offers a vast array of job opportunities. It is not limited to the conventional courses that are commonly pursued, such as medicine and engineering. As a discipline, science embodies the spirit of curiosity, exploration, and discovery, and as such, provides diverse opportunities for students and graduates. Science is pervasive, and it permeates every aspect of our lives, from the air we breathe to the water we drink. The following are some of the alternative career paths that science students and graduates can pursue:

Career in Tackling Environmental Challenges: While science has made remarkable progress in the field of technology and welfare, there is a dark side to this development. Forests are being cut down at an alarming rate, leading to the extinction of various species of flora and fauna. Biologists can work alongside geneticists to preserve rare varieties of flora. Geneticists can help trace the evolutionary history of endangered species and locate their closely related genus. This can help in hybrid breeding of rare species to make their growth sustainable and improve their quality. Zoologists can create different or new varieties of better-yielding animals, which can help decelerate the present fast rate of endangered fauna extinction by digging into the underlying causes.

Contributing to Containing Global Warming : Global warming is a hot topic of discussion. This decade has seen the temperature of Earth rise the most, and it is a major cause for concern. There are a few career options that one can explore to contribute to stopping this problem. Career options include climate scientists, environmental engineers, renewable energy engineers, sustainability and climate change consultants.

Careers in Space and Astronomy: Science isn't limited to the Earth's atmosphere, and there are numerous opportunities for students of science in exosphere and outer space. Careers in space and astronomy include astronomers, plasma physicists, atmosphere scientists, technicians in the field of aerospace engineering, such as aerospace engineering technicians, aeronautics technicians, meteorological technicians, and more.

Alternative Medicines: The healthcare sector needs a lot of infrastructure and manpower. In India, there is a huge gap between the demand and the supply of healthcare professionals, from nurses, doctors, paramedical staff, ward boys, ambulance drivers, and more. Apart from these conventional jobs in the healthcare sector, numerous new career opportunities are coming up, such as that of a community health officer (CHO). Moreover, with the Ministry of AYUSH emphasising on popularising alternative medicines such as Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy, career opportunities in the field of alternative medicine are also graining traction among the youth. The All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) in New Delhi was started with the vision of facilitating and popularising Research and Development in the field of Ayurvedic medicine with the aim to integrate Ayurvedic practices with modern medical system. With this thrust, in the coming years, career options in Ayurveda are going to boom in India.

Careers in Pharmacy: India is known as the pharmacy capital of the world, with the most and the largest amount of medicines being produced in our country. There are immense possibilities of a career within the pharma industry and pharmaceuticals supply chain and having studied science would help one lap up the opportunities in the domain. Moreover, with the revival of the AYUSH system, there are also new courses being launched which teach pharmacy in Ayurveda and other alternative medicines.

Chemistry Careers Chemistry is a fascinating branch of science that presents numerous career opportunities in various sectors. As a chemist, one can work in diverse fields such as food, clothing, toxicology, forensics, geology, and agriculture. A chemist can also venture into the field of mining and pursue a career as a geological engineer, mining supervisor, geologist, or project manager. Some of the career options in chemistry include agriculture scientist, forensic chemist, biochemist, chemistry teacher, toxicologist, and food scientist.

Science Communication and Publicity Science graduates can leverage their knowledge and expertise to communicate the latest advancements and technology developments in the field of science to the world. A career in media and mass communication can provide an excellent opportunity to convey information on new technologies, their development, and potential impacts on our future. Possible career options in media and communication include public relations specialist, science columnist for newspapers and magazines, photographer, and news reporter.

Science Policy The career domain of Science Policy involves using scientific research to inform government policies and aid decisionmaking. Science graduates can work in government agencies or non-profit organizations to help shape policies that have a significant impact on society. Intellectual Property Law Science graduates who are interested in the legal field can pursue careers in intellectual property law, which involves protecting patents and trademarks for scientific inventions and discoveries. In conclusion, science offers a wealth of career opportunities beyond the conventional paths of medicine and engineering. The listed career options in this article represent only a small fraction of the opportunities available to science students and graduates. The pursuit of science is a never-ending journey of exploration and discovery, and the potential for career development is endless.

(The author is a career consultant and coach for competitive exams. He can be reached at prateeksinghtalks@gmail.com)