Industry experts offer visitors to the fair an insight to various professions.
ASIDE from providing numerous tertiary options under one roof, the Star Education Fair 2015 also organised a series of career talks to give students more insight into specific fields of study such as accounting and actuarial science.
At the session on Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism, YTL International College of Hotel Management executive chef Matthew D Ona said the culinary industry was suitable for those “who need to work on something with their hands.
“It’s an interactive and tangible learning atmosphere, instead of just looking at books.”
Additionally, being a chef does not necessarily mean that you need always be slaving in the kitchen.
“Being a chef also means you can go into teaching, publishing, reviewing or critiquing, sales (of ingredients or kitchen equipment) and research.
“You can also opt to be a personal chef (for example, to the stars) or a chef proprietor (that sets up his own restaurant or business),” said Le Cordon Bleu Malaysia general manager Ming Rathswohl Ho.
Touching on the tourism sector, Apple Institute of Tourism programme director Chua Eng Han said the field involves meeting lots of different people in different environments, and no two days at work are the same.
“Being a tour guide also allows you to earn some money on the side since it is a part-time thing.
“Besides, what other job allows you to be paid while on holiday?”
The four experts at the session on Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy meanwhile, presented frank facts about what it takes to pursue a medical career.
University College Dublin School Of Medicine head of admissions Dr Patrick Felle said potential medical students should realise the most difficult part about medical school is actually getting into one, as demand for places greatly outnumbered the supply.
His fellow doctor, Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland (RCSI) academic director of admissions Dr Kenny Winser agreed, adding that students considering a career in medicine should try to gain some relevant experience.
You should try shadowing practicing doctors, or volunteer at an old folks’ home, he said.
Although dentistry tends to be mistakenly seen as a second-fiddle profession to medicine, it is by no means an easier field to break into.
“Dentistry students start treating patients during their student days, unlike a doctor who only starts after graduating,” said International Medical University associate dean Prof Dr Khoo Suan Phaik.
“Also, you will be asked to repeat certain methods or techniques by your lecturers many times.”
Interested in the world of medicine, but have no desire to be a doctor? The pharmaceutical sciences might be more up your alley.
“It isn’t just confined to dispensing medicines – you can also go into drug research,” said UCSI University’s Faculty Of Pharmaceutical Sciences dean Associate Prof Dr Yeong Siew Wei.
Pharmacists also advise doctors on the right drugs and dosages to prescribe, she added.
The World of IT session opened with a flurry of facts about the local ICT services sector by APIIT Education Group vice president (operations) Gurpardeep Singh.
“The average salary of an ICT professional in Malaysia is RM7,766,” said Gurpardeep, drawing gasps from the audience.
Emphasising the need for IT professionals to be adaptable, he said that all students must make sure they have a strong foundation in five areas – software development and programming; database and information systems; network technology; multimedia and the web; and support areas such as mathematics, business and soft skills.
One highly appreciated and well-paying IT skill is programming, said Sunway University senior lecturer Dr Lau Sian Lun.
“Coding is an art. You need efficiency, elegance, a holistic (approach), persistence and passion.
“There are people who spend hours doing codes to make sure it’s beautiful and that it works,” he said.
In order to be a good programmer, one also needs to be curious, and have an analytical mind, he added.
KDU University College School of Computing and Creative Media head Tan Chin Ike offered some insight on an IT-related field that is also one of the largest entertainment industries – game development.
The global games industry is expected to reach US$111bil (RM399bil) this year, explained Tan.
Tan, who is also the chairman of MyGameDev, said the sector sorely needs more local talent.
“It’s not a dream to do gaming in this country – it’s very possible to ‘cari makan’ (earn a living) here,” he said.
At the session on Engineering, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus’ chemical and environmental engineering head Dr Svenja Hanson pointed out that most modern necessities are the work of engineers.
“Civilisation would not be possible without engineering,” she summarised.
While engineers love solving problems, what sets them apart from scientists is their pragmatism.
“Scientists are more likely to build expensive prototypes, while engineers will look at these new inventions and figure out how to pass them on to the rest of us,” said Dr Hanson.
Dilog Training and Services Sdn Bhd executive director Amrul Zeflin Anim explained the differences between aeronautical engineering and aircraft engineering.
“The former involves the actual designing and manufacturing of aircraft, while the latter is more about maintenance.
“At the end of the day, both professions focus on aircraft safety and efficiency.
“Both professions are highly regulated – training records for every student have to be kept for life,” he said.
Giving a broad overview of electronics and communication engineering was Quest International University Perak’s Faculty of Intergrative Sciences and Technology acting dean Assoc Prof Dr Yagasena Appananah.
Students interested in pursuing this branch of engineering will learn how digital and analogue communication signals work, he said.
The fair also had two sessions on Studying and Working Overseas, particularly in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Australia.
Country experts in these sessions pointed out that students who wish to study abroad need to keep two basic things in mind – plan well ahead of time and research your options.