India is known as the hub of engineers and medical professionals. These are two of the most lucrative careers, largely due to their high paying jobs. Due to this mindset, parents often direct their children towards these fields, not knowing that there are many other options as well. At the undergraduate level, more than twice the number of people are enrolled under science than commerce. In some aspects, this mindset is slowly changing - students are looking at commerce as a viable career choice instead of a secondary option.

The debate about the better career choice between science and commerce continues. However, it is time that both parents and students understand that none of the fields are better than the other. In fact, students should focus on their interests, strengths, and weaknesses, to find the right fit for themselves. Let's have a look at the various subjects, career options, and interests that you must have before choosing either science or commerce.

In science, the major subjects include Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Biology. You can broadly pursue four careers - Engineering, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Scientific research.
You should ask yourself the following questions before pursuing a career in Science:

  • Do you like building new things? If you do, engineering is a viable option. From building new technology, to new products, roadways, drainage systems, engineers can change the future. They apply scientific and mathematical principles to commercial uses. To study engineering, you should excel at physics, chemistry, and maths (PCM). Entrance exams like JEE Main, JEE Advanced, BITSAT and State CETs can help you begin your engineering journey.
  • Do you like conducting research on topics at a deeper level than what is covered in your syllabus? If you do, scientific research is the way forward! You can pursue a Bachelor’s in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. You can further specialise in Statistics (Maths), Astrophysics (Physics), Organic Chemistry, Botany or Zoology (Biology) while pursuing a Masters or PhD.
  • Do you like helping other people or animals? Medical and Pharmacy are the right fields for you! To study medicine, you must excel at physics, chemistry and biology. Entrance exams like NEET, AIIMS, AFMC, and state exams can help you pave the way into various medical colleges. You can also focus on Pharmacy if you want to save thousands of lives by developing path-breaking medical drugs. Several entrance exams like BITSAT, MU OET, and state CETs can help you pave the way into various Pharma colleges.

In commerce, major subjects include Accounting, Finance, Business Economics, Taxation, and Mathematics. You can pursue careers like Management, Chartered Accountancy, Company Secretary, and Actuaries.
To pursue commerce, you can be interested in one of the following:

  • How do companies work? If you are a natural leader, a people person, and want to start something on your own, or even manage a team at a company, Management is the field for you! You should have a keen insight on how companies work, business models, and most importantly, on managing people efficiently. Most managers have a B.Com, BBA, or a BMS degree.
  • How do economies work at a larger level? At a national level, economies are dependent on import and export of goods, the supply, consumption, and transfer of wealth, and global occurrences. Economists also suggest solutions to solve economic problems. You can work as an economist and a risk analyst, among other careers. You would have to pursue a B.Sc. or a BA with honours in Economics.
  • How are taxes and various forms of interests calculated for companies and individuals? If you are interested in Tax audits, mergers and acquisitions, you should consider becoming a Chartered Accountant. To be a CA, you should first register with the ICAI and clear the CPT exam after your 12th grade.

A glimpse at both of these fields shows how different they are from each other. From the interests required to pursue these fields to the kind of work that is in store, these fields are far apart. One of the only reasons why the science stream has assumed hierarchy in the Indian education system is because students from others stream are not allowed to shift into science, while the opposite is allowed. Apart from this, you have equal growth opportunities in both fields. You can grow financially and individually in both careers.

You should make career choices based on your sole interests and capabilities. Instead of following the herd, you must find out about the various courses available. You should analyse what you are best fit for and then pursue it. If this is not done, and if you only look at a small set of careers, the market will reach saturation levels in no time, diluting the growth opportunities in these very fields.


- Raj Shekhar,
Toppers com 

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