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Play to your abilities in choosing a career



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The just released KCSE results have left many parents and students with a lump in their throats. Reason? Many of the students didn’t make the grades.

Misguided by the maxim that kids will be successful only if they pursue careers such as medicine, aviation, law and engineering, many parents will go to any lengths to arm-twist their children to take these courses, sometimes against their wish.

Parents tend to make decisions for their children’s careers. On seeing his son’s KCSE results, a friend of mine hinted that he will enrol him in a software development course.

What’s telling, he made this decision before consulting his son. My friend is an evangelist for information technology and now wants his son to follow his footsteps.

This man has good intentions: Software development is the in-thing these days but it’s not the only thing.

In an attempt to stay above water, most industries are tapping software developers to make their operations efficient and to bump up their bottom line.

The ongoing effusive tech-engineered changes in all spheres of our lives open a wide field of opportunities for hardcore software coders.

When we persuade young people to take courses against their will – courses that are not in tune with their abilities, talents and passions – we are setting them on a difficult path. One that could plunge them into perpetual discontent and dash their dreams.

Myriad studies show that when it comes to career choice, many people often follow the herd and hype, a lopsided method of determining a lifelong career.

Tom Rath, the celebrated author of Strengths Finder says, “From the cradle to the cubicle to the casket, we devote more time on our shortcomings than our strengths.” He advises, “Ignore the hype and play to your strengths.”

A research company, Gulp, interviewed a million people and revealed sobering results. According to the study, being in wrong career carries grim consequences.

Regardless of how much money they make, people in the wrong careers often dread going to work.

They have more negative than positive interactions with colleagues. They achieve below their abilities and their chances of growth are stunted, and could lead to untold stress.

Supporting young people who are gifted in coding to pursue software engineering is akin to playing in their home court where odds of success are better.

It amplifies and multiplies their natural talent. The same goes for all other careers.

As we start 2019, you are probably putting down your personal development goals, or supporting a friend or a kin to develop theirs.

Invest in areas where you have natural competitiveness. If software coding is one of them, the world is waiting for you.

If its medicine, media, music or ministry that you are primed for, you too will create a cachet career.

Mr Wambugu is an informatics specialist. E-mail: [email protected]; Twitter: @samwambugu2