One of my major goals of 2016 was to inch closer to a particular career path that I will embark on after I graduate. However, like all new year goals, I am not even close to deciding what I want to do after I finish by B.Tech.
These four years of college have been enlightening in many ways but unlike many of my batchmates, I have grown more confused about my future. There are infinite opportunities out there and with a tad bit of experience I have eliminated some and confused between some.
Before my summer internship with Accenture, I was certain about MBA and even had started preparing for CAT. However, the two months made me realise that I was not yet ready to pull out from the technical world. Coincidentally, I was introduced to data analytics by a friend and as I dug deeper into the field, it got enthralling. MBA was eliminated and so enters MS.
MS(Master of Science)
In undergraduate coursework, we do not study any dedicated coursework for data analytics. There are only certain introductory courses on probability, database systems and machine learning. Thus a post graduation study becomes mandatory if one seriously wants to go deeper into this particular field. However, in my case, because MS became an option like a bomb, waiting for a year or two to gain some experience in this field and then opting for an MS in data analytics seemed more logical. Thus, MS is also eliminated for the time being(at least for a year or two).
Anyone with even a two-month industry exposure can bet on his life and tell that the undergraduate coursework and actual industry implementation are two different worlds. No doubt, the coursework and the projects help in the process of completing a job but the whole experience is divergent. Therefore, right now, getting a job experience seems to be the best and the safest option. Apart from earning some money, it will also provide with a good technical exposure in data analytics.
However, there is a twist in this story too! Working with a startup and working for a big multi-national serves two totally different objectives. Generally speaking, a startup is a more unstable, risky and yet more satisfying, challenging & developing option. Personally, having secured a job at Accenture, I am currently hunting for opportunities in a startup and then will decide the best way forward.
Starting up my own venture
Startify, my first startup, was a breathtaking experience and once it got acquired my decision to hunt for a job came as a surprise to many. However, to those who know Startify inside out, it would have been very difficult to make Startify profitable & sustainable. Not every startup idea is worth building!
It is my belief that an idea originates from a problem and a problem is identified by your surroundings. So, if you get an industry exposure for a few years, you would be exposed to a whole new set of problems, that you wouldn’t have known if you had decided to start right after college.
Having said that, there is nothing wrong in starting up right after college if you have found a problem that you are really passionate about. In my case, I have not found that yet and so entrepreneurship is on hold for some time and I am keeping my eyes and ears open to stumble upon a problem that is worth solving for me.
Young India Fellowship
I got introduced to this particular option by a senior. The Young India Fellowship is basically a one-year multidisciplinary postgraduate diploma programme in Liberal Studies. From the day I read about YIF, it has got me intrigued. YIF will provide a good gap year along with spending a year learning something valuable. The admission process is very selective and currently, I am waiting for my 2nd round results.
If I get selected and opt to go forward with joining YIF, it might deviate me from my data analytics track. However, on the other hand, it will give me an opportunity to learn some abstract topics like politics, literature, law & arts and interact with some amazing like-minded people from India. Now, that is some leverage which would be difficult to let go for a person like me!
Digital Nomad & Volunteering
The whole scene of living among a new culture like Vietnam and along with helping underprivileged children there, exploring and making fascinating memories has always captivated me. Moreover, in this digital world, earning by freelancing is not an impossible task. Stories of millennials working from the Himalayas and living their dream are very common these days. I have often heard that once we get into the vicious cycle of earning, taking time out for such dreams take impossible courage. Then why not tick off such items from the bucket list right after graduation?
The Final Verdict (Never getting there!)
There are some safe bets, and there are some risky & yet attractive alternatives. On one hand, if I see myself as someone who wants to be a data scientist, taking up a job and then pursuing higher education seems the logical step. However, the hustler inside me prefers taking the risky option of a gap year and trying out new experiences.