SCHOOL-LEAVERS should consider whether the subjects offered by their chosen pre-university course matches what they plan to study later on.
“Make sure the type of pre-university course is also recognised by the university you want,” said Methodist College Kuala Lumpur assistant marketing manager Ng Jiehan during his talk on “Options After SPM” during the Star Education Fair 2019 last weekend.
School leavers can opt to take up a diploma programme “if they are sure that this is the career they want.”
The added advantage of pursuing a diploma immediately after SPM is that they can take a National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan to fund their studies, he explained.
SEGi University & Colleges Student Affairs & Alumni Relations head Anand Vijay Manicam advises school-leavers to not go with the flow when deciding on the next step of their education journey.
“Start creating your own flow,” he said during his talk on “Charting Your Pathway After SPM”.
Many students told him they did not know what they wanted when planning for careers.
“If you keep this up, you will be floating and leaving things to circumstances.
“You need to take action and research what it is you want to do,” he said.
Manicam said that those looking for tertiary study courses need to have a vision of their future and a mission or a plan to get to their chosen destination.
“It is not just about what you want to study,” he added.
Do you know the difference between a dentist and a dental technologist?
The latter creates dental prosthetics such as dentures and retainers.
Aimst University Faculty of Dentistry lecturer Yahaya Abdul Raof said while the field has been around for a long time in Malaysia, it isn’t popular.
“Dental technologists aren’t frontliners, they are the ones in the lab.
“People aren’t aware of this field, so fairs like this are a way for us to educate people.
“It’s a job with good prospects as it’s diverse. Graduates can not only work in labs, but can go on to become lecturers and even open their own businesses within the healthcare line and beyond,” Yahaya said following his talk titled “Career Opportunities in Dental Technology in the 21st Century”.
Students and parents received useful advice on “How To Save on Overseas Degrees” from the Netherlands Maritime Institute of Technology’s corporate planning manager Dr Muhammad Imran Razali, who elaborated on internationally accredited pathways and courses students can take without having to leave the country.
He said it is important to choose a programme that can offer a high employability percentage.
“Education is an investment. It should not be thought of as a cost because it qualifies you for a job which brings you revenue in the future,” he added.
Nilai University Faculty of Business, Hospitality and Humanities dean and professor of accounting Prof Dr Sivakumar Velayutham said having a degree in accountancy holds a few advantages over having just a professional qualification.
One of the advantages, he said, is that students learn a lot more when pursuing a degree such as marketing, managing and finance skills.
“You get a wider breadth of knowledge,” he said during his talk on “Your Future in Accounting and Finance”.
A British education teaches one to think critically and emphasises on research, analysis and independent studying, said Interstudy Education Consultants director Ivan Ong.
“Employers don’t just look at your degree and knowledge but also your competencies and abilities such as working under pressure and leadership.
“A British education gives you that,” Ong said at his talk titled “UK Study Opportunities”.
Flexible, customisable and a curriculum that includes easy transfers between majors – that is how Shorelight Education South-East Asia senior recruitment manager David Picton described an American education.
“It is world class, has one-of-a-kind facilities and the funding US universities receive is second to none,” he said during his talk titled “Study in the USA”.
Studying abroad makes one independent, said University of Reading Malaysia psychology lecturer Dr Adrian Willoughby.
“You become more self-confident and resilient.
“You’ve made mistakes and overcome challenges and difficulties,” he said during his talk titled “Pushing boundaries: The benefits of studying abroad”.
Not only is the demand for data scientists high, it’s also the sexiest job of the 21st century.
Demand for the role will rise by almost 30% next year, said Heriott-Watt University Malaysia School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences Asst Prof Karamjeet Singh.
This, he said during the “Future Career: Data Profession” talk at the fair, was according to IBM.
And, the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation Sdn Bhd (MDEC) expects to have at least 20,000 data professionals and 2,000 data scientists in the country by then, he added.
“We’re ahead of our South East Asian neighbours in using data science to improve the country.
“Our statistics department is the world’s first to have certified data scientists and we’re among only a handful of countries with a structured Big Data Analytics roadmap,” he said, adding that some of the world’s biggest data science companies are already here.
He, however, said there’s a misconception about data science. It’s not new, nor is it all about IT and computers.
“In the late 1800s, the US weather department was already looking at data science.
“What’s changed today is how we’re using it.
“Data science is all around whether you realise it or not.
“It can even be used to win elections,” he said, adding that the science only gained popularity in recent years because we now have powerful computers to do calculations and simulations with mountains of data.
He said statistics is crucial in understanding data to make future predictions.
“Data science is about making sense of the piles of information we have.
“That’s why sound statistical knowledge is more important than IT or computing skills. Statistics teach you to think.”
It doesn’t matter whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. To be successful in the field, you must be curious, creative, and enjoy solving problems.
A data scientist must ask questions and identify problems that have yet to exist, before they can solve it.
“Artificial intelligence (AI) will never take the place of a data scientist because AI cannot think.
“That’s why a good data scientist is one that always asks ‘what else can I see from this data’.
“We have Big Data but so what? We have to gain insights into it.”
Student ambassadors from Heriot-Watt University Malaysia were more than happy to share their experiences and advice with visitors to the fair.
Sanjit Kumar, 18, said there were many enquiries regarding the degree in actuarial science, which he is currently pursuing.
The first-year student from India added that he became a student ambassador as part of his scholarship requirement, but did not find it burdensome.
In fact, he was happily chatting with a group of visitors together with seven other student ambassadors at their booth at Sunway Convention Centre.
Aldiniy Danish Alzari, 21, from the same university, said they received many enquiries on their data science course as well.
He added that lots of people came to the booth to ask questions after their lecturer Karamjeet gave a talk.
This is the fourth time that second-year advertising student Kourtney Goh Chi Kay, from Quest International University Perak, has volunteered at the Star Education Fair.
“The exposure helped me to develop my self-confidence because being a student volunteer requires us to approach people,” the 21-year-old said.
First-time student volunteer Fong Jia Yee, 21, has been enjoying his time volunteering at his varsity’s booth at the Star Education Fair 2019.
“I’ve learnt how to communicate better and deal with the crowd.
“Yes, it’s the weekend but I’m having fun,” said Fong, a SEGi University Foundation in Science student.
Look out for the next Star Education Fair 2019 on May 25 and 26 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. For details, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.