Choosing the right career

Decisions, decisions, decisions...

A little while ago my friend’s 5-year-old son shared his new dream with me. He has decided that he wants to work at McDonald's. A little probing revealed that the reason for his career choice was the perks. You see, Happy Meal toys are very popular among 5-year-olds, so what better way to spend one’s working life than to surround yourself with toys? Bright young man indeed!

While I’m sure that few (if any) of your children share Connor’s dream job, at the moment most Grade 9’s are thinking about what to do with the rest of their lives. Fifteen-year-olds are not considered responsible enough to vote, marry, sign a contract or drive a car, but nonetheless they are expected to make a decision on what career to follow for the rest of their lives! It stands to reason that when selecting subjects for their National Senior Certificate exams they should at least have in mind what career path they intend on following. Not sure where to start? Here are a few “rules of thumb” that can help make subject choice selections a breeze for you and your child:

  • Engineering, science and medicine degrees all require at least English or Afrikaans, mathematics and physical science. Life sciences are recommended, and for engineering it is a good idea to include information technology.

  • For a Bachelor of Commerce degree it is essential to include English or Afrikaans and mathematics. Some universities will accept mathematical literacy for certain commercial degrees, but these are generally limited to degrees majoring in disciplines such as human resources.

  • For economics, accounting and other management sciences, maths literacy is generally not accepted, or if it is accepted, your child will need to achieve a 6 or 7 achievement rating (70% or above).

  • Bachelor of Arts and Law: English or Afrikaans are required, although there are generally no other requirements.

  • Life Orientation is required no matter which degree is selected, and it is important that school learners realise that good results in this subject are essential, especially if they are considering pursuing a degree in medicine.

No doubt the subject choice process has changed somewhat since you were at school. To help you navigate these tricky waters we’ve put together some valuable information about subject choices and combinations. Click here to download it now. In our experience career guidance should start early in the Grade 9 so that the learner and his parents have a clearer idea of the careers he should be following, the qualification(s) needed for each career, and hence the subjects he should be studying. A logical approach, don’t you think? A good place to start is with a healthy dose of self-knowledge. We’re talking about understanding what you are GENETICALLY pre