A variety of careers

WHILE times are indeed uncertain, A Cut Above senior educator Charles Roland Pooley stated that hairstylists would always be in demand to cater for both necessity and vanity of consumers.

He also challenged the presumption that hairstyling was a ‘low class’ job during his talk at the Star Education Fair 2010’s Recession-Proof Jobs session.

“Image plays a big part in today’s society, and people are willing to pay top dollar to feel good about themselves,” he said.

He added that a hairstylist could also branch out into other areas like hair care products, image consultancy and salon management.

“One could even end up working for global brands like L’Oreal and Schwarzkopf,” he said.

Next was RedFM deejay Jeremy Teo, who caught the audience’s attention with his account of the industry’s perks, including his working hours – or rather, the lack of it.

However, Teo swiftly admitted that job vacancies could be limited, and that there was no sure-fire academic course to land the job.

“You don’t necessarily have to take up a course in broadcasting or media studies. My degree in Psychology helped me to understand what people want,” he said.

Bukit Aman research, planning, analysis and records head DSP Lai Lee Ching also enlightened attendees by highlighting the many roles one could play in the police force.

Encouraging more Chinese and Indian students to join the force, DSP Lai said that new developments were in place to offer more competitive salaries to inspectors.

And as crime would always be a major concern, police officers would never have to worry about job security.

Meanwhile, at the Engineering talk, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman research and development commercialisation vice-president Prof Dr Lee Sze Wei stated that a student should not go into engineering if he hates mathematics.

“As the job constantly requires the engineer to think, explore and solve problems, the individual has to be analytical and practical — two of the characteristics of an engineering mind,” he explained.

Petronas gas technology manager Dr Chan Tuck Leong cautioned students against enrolling into engineering programmes that have not been accredited.

He also stressed that students should register with the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) upon graduation.

Dr Cheong Thiam Fook, executive director (operations) of George Kent (M) Bhd, spoke of his rewarding career in the industry.

He explained how engineering is applied in many of the advancements we see in our lives, for example, transportation and construction.

Technopreneur Josh Lim certainly shocked several parents during his talk on animation graphics during the Exploring Options in the ICT World session.

“I scored a respectable six A’s and one B in my PMR exams, but I didn’t score any A’s in my SPM,” he shared.

He then revealed that he decided to quit college to start work.

However, the decision was not as foolhardy as it might seem, as he had already received a job offer at a salary that was competitive for a fresh graduate during his Form Five year.

Lim shared that while academic qualifications had their place, it wasn’t always essential, based on his experience.

“If someone is aiming for a job in animation graphics, you’ll see that the degree doesn’t speak as much as the quality of one’s work,” he said.

Lim also talked up the importance of upskilling, as rapid changes in the ICT world made it a competitive marketplace.

Agreeing with Lim, Christopher Chong of Gamebrains — a Malaysian boutique games developer — said that a successful games developer required a mix of attitude and skills.

Stressing that the games industry was not as fun as playing them, Chong explained that the industry was extremely volatile.

“For every successful games developer like Activision Blizzard in the United States, there are a few hundred who don’t make it,” he said.

Up next was Nuraizah Shamsul Baharin of Cworks Mobile, who touched on opportunities in the mobile applications business.

“An estimated 90% of Malaysians own handphones and there are about 29 million handphones in Malaysia – more than the population,” she shared.

Describing the many forms of mobile content, Nuraizah said that technical competence, content creation and business intelligence were the most important things a mobile application developer should have.

Also present was Muhammad Imran Kunalan Abdullah, the Multimedia Development Corporation’s Knowledge Worker Development Department general manager, who gave an overview of the industry from in-demand specialisations to average salary scales.

He reiterated that the sky was the limit for those who excel in the ICT world.

“The prerequisite to become a network director is to pass an exam which costs RM250,000,” he said.

“If you’re going to spend that much on an exam, think about how much you will earn.”

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