Courses expected to become a major hit among international students in 2019
Gone are the days when Indian students either opted for engineering or medical after the completion of their high school. Today’s generation is not shying away from taking the road less travelled. Unlike yesteryears, they now have a pool of options to choose from depending upon their personal interests and skill sets.
This trend has also caught on with individuals studying 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 Math) courses continue to be their top preferences, some specialized courses such as Robotics, Automation and Mechatronics are also witnessing an increasing demand. As we draw closer to 2019, let’s look at some courses that will gain popularity in the forthcoming year.
Thanks to the rapid progress of AI (artificial intelligence), robots are no longer considered dumb-machines that are only capable of doing simple, repetitive tasks. With the arrival of humanoids like Sophia and SoftBank’s Pepper, robots have made huge leaps in recent years. Simultaneously, the career options for students who specialize in robotics has expanded. From doing research work to designing industrial robots, they can get the opportunity to work in a variety of industries. Therefore, the number of students opting for courses related to robotics is likely to go up in 2019.
With the 4th industry revolution upon us, automation has already started making profound impacts on the business world. Be it manufacturing, automotive or retail, nearly every sector is now investing heavily on automating tasks that are tedious, repetitive and dangerous. As traditional job roles are evolving, the demand for automation experts is growing by the day. This explains why a large number of international students are now inclining towards automation courses. Other than automation engineering, certification courses in industrial automation are also expected to take off next year.
Mechatronics is a fairly new branch of engineering that has caught the attention of students lately. As described on Stanford University’s online 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 various areas including automation and robotics, AI and expert systems, sensing and control systems, computer integrated manufacturing systems, and transportation and vehicular systems. Since it’s a specialized field, only a few universities currently offer this course in undergraduate and post-graduate levels.
According to a World Bank report, 1 billion people across the world live some form of disability. At a time, when people of disabilities make for the 15 per cent of the global population, the demand for disability support workers is on a rapid 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. Students can also decide to work for government bodies after graduation. Most medical schools in popular study destinations offer specialized courses in disability care.
Another course that is tipped to gain popularity in 2019 is infection control. This specialized 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 license before they start their professional life.
Besides these courses, students are also getting lured by other interdisciplinary programmes like geophysics, marine engineering, game design and development, says the 2018 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. When it comes to Indians, the scenario is not much different. Although the majority of them still prefer to choose a safe career path, popularity for unconventional courses are slowly growing.
(Rohit Sethi is Director, ESS Global- Study Abroad Consultant. Views expressed here are personal.)