Think Beyond Engineering: 15 Trending Careers to Pursue with a PCM Combination

Majority of students with a PCM combination in class XII aspire to pursue engineering, and often struggle with the thought, “If not engineering, then what?”

Many PCM students naturally drift towards engineering after 12th, partially because they never actually stop to evaluate their options, and partially because they have been led by their parents/friends/the society to believe that engineering is the end-all, be-all of a PCM student. Now, what if you know that engineering is not the one for you, or were unable to clear the JEE and other engineering entrance exams?

Do you have any good career options open?

Well, popular belief would tell you there are not, and that’s exactly why you need to read this article.

Here are 15 promising career options for PCM students after class 12th other than Engineering.

1. Architecture

Architectural marvels such as the Burj Khalifa, The Louvre, Petronas Towers,  and other buildings of the modern world don’t just pop out of thin air. These projects are intensive on planning, designing and architects do just that. They work closely with their clients to customise designs according to specifications and are involved in the creation and restoration of buildings, such as residential complexes, malls, commercial spaces, restaurants, etc. A career in architecture requires you to have keen observational skills, aesthetic sensitivity, critical thinking, a knack for efficient use of space, and an eye-for-detail.

Career Opportunities in Architecture: You can choose to specialise in numerous sub-fields, such as Urban Planning, Urban Design, Sustainable Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Architectural Conservation, Interior Design, Industrial Design, etc.

Some Top Colleges for Architecture: IIT Roorkee; Sir JJ College of Architecture; IIT Kharagpur; National Institute of Technology, Thiruchirapalli; School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi; Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT), Gujarat; Department of Architecture; NIT, Calicut.

2. Physics

Right from the credit card we use to shop for clothes, to the smartphones we chat for hours on, every single object around us is governed by the laws of Physics. With the pervasive influence of Physics all around us, it is not hard to fathom that a career in Physics can provide one with countless opportunities. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena, such as matter, energy, magnetism, etc., and apply their understanding to advance research in various fields. A career in Physics requires one to have strong logical thinking skills, problem-solving capability, a methodical approach, and most importantly, an undying love for Physics!

Career Opportunities in Physics: With a Physics major, you develop skills that are applicable to various fields such as Econophysics, Defense, Aerospace, Healthcare, Computational Physics, Geophysics, High Energy Physics, Medical Physics, Biophysics, Nuclear Physics, and Data Science. You can also go for research or teaching in these areas.

Some Top Colleges for Physics: IISc, Bangalore; IISER (Multiple Locations); St. Stephen’s College, Delhi; Hansraj College, Delhi; Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi; St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata; St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai; Presidency University, Kolkata; Fergusson College, Pune; NISER, Odisha.

3. Chemistry

Do you have the periodic table at your fingertips? Does learning about the various chemical reactions and structures that govern matter get you going? If yes, then this could probably be the field for you. Chemists study the properties, structure, composition, reactions and changes in matter. The remarkable thing about a career in Chemistry is its wide applicability, especially if you look forward to entering the field of research. But that is not to say that all Chemistry graduates end up wearing lab coats, as they can explore opportunities across Pharmaceuticals, Petroleum, Chemical, Healthcare, and Educational organizations.

Career Opportunities in Chemistry: There are also various specialised sub-fields in Chemistry you can explore, namely, Analytical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Food Chemistry, Flavour Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Metallurgy, Surface Chemistry, etc.

Some Top Colleges for Chemistry: St. Stephen’s College, Delhi; Loyola College, Chennai; Hansraj College, Delhi; Fergusson College, Pune; Madras Christian College, Chennai; St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai; St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore; Christ University, Bangalore.

4. Mathematics

While it is true that most students prefer to stay at least a few miles away from the much-feared subject of Mathematics, those with a genuine love for it can build a satisfying and lucrative career in the domain. Mathematics forms an excellent base for fields involving computation, numbers and data. Thus, a degree in mathematics can be a stepping stone for a wide range of careers. During your course, you would gain a thorough understanding of mathematical principles and their origins, mathematical models, and their applications to real-world problems. Go for this field if you have superior analytical and logical abilities, a love for numbers, and an ability to deal with complex problems.

Career Opportunities in Mathematics: Mathematics graduates can look forward to careers in the domains of Actuarial Science, Data Science, Banking, Insurance, Finance, Meteorology, Stock Market, etc. They can be hired for various roles, including Market Research, Project Development, Numerical Analysis, Research Operations, and Financial Analyst, to name a few.

Some Top Colleges for Mathematics: Indian Statistical Institute (Multiple Locations); IIT Bombay; IIT Kharagpur; IIT Guwahati; IISc, Bangalore; IISER (Multiple Locations); Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai; St. Stephen’s College, Delhi; NISER, Odisha; Delhi Technological University (DTU), Delhi.

5. Statistics

Statistics is yet another go-to field for those with a penchant for numbers and data. While a course in Mathematics deals more with theories and principles, Statistics aims to apply them in practice to analyse trends and make predictions. Statisticians blend their knowledge of Statistics and Maths to build data models for solving problems. Due to this very reason, Statistics majors are well-qualified to apply their skills to virtually any field requiring the analysis of data. If you possess analytical abilities, strong quantitative reasoning, are self-motivated, and do not mind spending your day crunching numbers, you can find yourself at home in this field.

Career Opportunities in Statistics: Statistics majors are actively hired in various fields such as Banking, Insurance, Actuarial Science, Investment, Healthcare, Pharmacology, Manufacturing, Data Science, Public Health and Policy, Education, Agriculture, etc. A statistics graduate can expect to hold various roles such as Market Researcher, Data Analyst, Insurance Underwriter, Social Scientist, Financial Analyst, Algorithm Designer, etc.

Some Top Colleges for Statistics: Indian Statistical Institute (Multiple Locations); Hindu College, Delhi; Ramjas College, Delhi; Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi; St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai; IIT Kanpur; IIT Bombay; Fergusson College, Pune; St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata.

6. Aviation

While the previously-mentioned fields were mostly associated with research or desk jobs, Aviation would take you on a sky-high ride. A perfect mix of science, technology and travel, a career in Aviation can top your list if you are looking for a career to skip the 9-to-5.  Being a Commercial Pilot would require you to take command of a flight’s controls, and ensure that passengers and cargo are carried safely around the globe. Yet, the field of Aviation is not only limited to being a pilot

Career Opportunities in Aviation: As a Commercial Pilot, you can work with major international or regional airlines, fly cargo planes to transport goods/cargo, work as a corporate pilot to fly corporate jets, and also operate medical or air emergency planes. As an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, you can find opportunities with major international and domestic airlines, airport authorities and aircraft manufacturing firms.

Some Top Colleges for Aviation: Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy (IGRUA), Rae Bareilly; Rajiv Gandhi Academy of Aviation Technology, Kerala; National Flying Training Institute, Gondia; Bombay Flying Club, Mumbai; Indian Institute of Aeronautics, Delhi/Patna.

7. Ethical Hacking

Ethical hacking, by its very name, sounds like an exciting and off-beat career, and it indeed is. A career with a new-age flair, Ethical Hacking is fast becoming a popular career option for students due to advancements in the technology space. Ethical Hackers, as opposed to their malicious counterparts, attempt to breach the security of a computer system, to find faults in the system’s defences. They bring to light any vulnerabilities in a company’s network security, so as to prevent a leak of sensitive information. It is not just a career for computer geeks and you can think about Ethical Hacking as a full-time career option if you have the right logical thinking and technical skills.

Career Opportunities in Ethical Hacking: As organizations are becoming increasingly concerned about their network security, they are hiring ethical hackers to protect themselves from cyber attacks. As an ethical hacker, you can work in various roles, such as Network Security Engineer, Network Security Administrator, Penetration Tester, Security Consultant, etc.

Some Top Colleges for Ethical Hacking: There are no degree programs in Ethical Hacking, only certification courses. Some top certification bodies include Indian School of Ethical Hacking (ISOEH), Kolkata; EC Council (Online); Ankit Fadia Certified Ethical Hacker (Multiple Locations/Online); NIIT Ethical Hacking (Multiple Locations); Arizona Infotech, Pune

8. Merchant Navy

Would you like a career that would take you all around the world? Would you like a job where you would be at sea for months on end? A career in Merchant Navy gives you exactly that and more. Unlike the Indian Navy, which defends the nation at sea, the Merchant Navy serves to facilitate international trade, by transporting cargo, goods, and commercial items across the globe. If you are resilient enough to handle being on a ship for prolonged periods with intermittent contact with family, this can be a highly rewarding career for you, both professionally and monetarily.

 Career Opportunities in Merchant Navy: You can work across the various departments of a merchant ship, including, the engine department, deck department, architecture department, and catering department. The job specifications and educational requirements for each department are different.

Some Top Colleges for Merchant Navy: Indian Maritime University (Multiple Locations); International Maritime Institute, Delhi NCR; Coimbatore Marine College, Coimbatore; International Maritime Academy, Chennai; Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), Cochin; Vels University, Chennai.

9. Industrial Design

What does science have to do with design? Quite a lot, actually. As opposed to the traditional fields of design, such as fashion and apparel design, which a student from any stream can pursue, there are certain sub-fields of design that require the technical expertise of a science student. Product Designers (a sub-field of Industrial Design) are involved in the design and manufacture of products, ranging from mobile phones, Bluetooth headphones, smart watches, to wheelchairs, furniture, and home appliances. Yet another application of industrial design – Automobile Design deals with the design and manufacture of automobiles, such as cars, bikes, and even buses.

Career Opportunities in Industrial Design: You can explore opportunities as a Product Designer or Industrial Design Researcher in the manufacturing sector, research institutes, information technology companies, and with companies that deal with the design of innovative products. Opportunities for Automobile Designers are in abundance in the R&D departments of various automotive firms, such as General Motors, Honda, Tata Motors, etc.

Some Top Colleges for Industrial Design: IIT Bombay; IIT Guwahati; IIITDM, Jabalpur; National Institute of Design (Multiple Locations); Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore; Indian School of Design & Innovation, Mumbai; Symbiosis Institute of Design, Pune

10. Forensic Science

Many of us find investigative crime shows and movies fascinating, yet have you ever considered that it could be your full-time career option? A relatively new field in India, Forensic Science is rapidly creating a space for itself, owing to an increase in crime, and the need for a scientific, methodical approach to solving cases. Forensic Scientists scientifically collect evidence, document it, and analyse it in the laboratory. Forensic Science is an applied field, and utilises knowledge from various fields of science, including Chemistry, Physics, Anthropology, Biology, and even Computer Science. In order to pursue a career in this field, you need to be detail-oriented and have good observational and investigative skills.

Career Opportunities in Forensic Science: There are numerous applications of Forensic Science, and you can work as a Forensic Scientist, Forensic Toxicologist, Crime Scene Investigator, Forensic Anthropologist, Forensic Ballistics Expert, Polygraph Examiner, Digital Forensics Expert, etc.

Some Top Colleges for Forensic Science*: Delhi University; Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar; Panjab University, Chandigarh; Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan National Institute of Criminology & Forensic Science, Delhi; University of Madras, Chennai; Osmania University, Hyderabad.

11. Computer Applications & IT

Those with a love for computers, programming languages and coding, yet unable /unwilling to pursue engineering, can find the field of computer applications to be a boon. Professionals in this field hold immense knowledge of computer hardware, operating systems, programming languages and software concepts.  In order to build a successful career in this field, you need to have good command over programming languages, be up-to-date with the latest developments in the field and have strong logical capabilities.

Career Opportunities in Computer Applications: Pursuing education in this field would equip you with knowledge and skills to work at both Indian and global organizations as a Software Developer, Network Administrator, Database Administrator, Technical Writer, System Analyst, Web Designer, App Developer, etc. 

Some Top Colleges for Computer Applications: Christ University, Bangalore; St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai; St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata; SRM University, Chennai; Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research (SICSR); Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU), Delhi; Madras Christian College, Chennai.

12. Fashion Technology

You could be shying away from engineering for a number of reasons, but what if we tell you, there is an application of technology in the world of Fashion too? Fashion Technology seeks to amalgamate the principles of manufacturing and technology, with those of design. People in this career, thus, work on the design and development of fabrics, and the manufacturing process to ensure quality and efficiency of fabrics and garments. During your course, you learn about textile fibres, fabrics, garment manufacture, and garment design through Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software. Those with a flair for fashion and a love for technology can look forward to an exciting and rewarding career in this field.

Career Opportunities in Fashion Technology: After graduating from this field, you can work with various branded fashion houses, retail chains, boutiques, garment manufacturing industries, fashion magazines, and in the television and film industry.

Some Top Colleges for Fashion Technology: National Institute of Fashion Technology (Multiple Locations)

13. Defense

Oodles of patriotism, the zeal to serve the nation, and the drive to deal with challenges, all point towards a single career, Defense. Considered to be one of the most prestigious and awe-inspiring careers, Defense forms the backbone of a country’s security against external threats. Defense personnel are responsible for supporting peace-keeping operations and humanitarian work. There are three primary branches of any country’s defense, namely, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. You can choose to serve in any of the three and would have to undergo varying entry and training procedures, depending upon your choice.

Career Opportunities in Defense: Your career opportunities would vary, depending upon the particular Defense force you enter. The Indian Army offers the opportunity to work in various areas, such as Air Defense, Combat Unit, Engineering & IT Unit, Army Services Corp, Education, etc. The Navy allows one to work in the Executive, Engineering, Medical, Electrical and Educational branches. Opportunities in the Air Force include working in the Flying Branch, Technical Branch, or the Ground Duty Branch.

Some Top Colleges for Defense: There are no colleges for defense services, you join the NDA (National Defense Academy) after clearing its entrance exam after class 12th.

14. Animation & Graphics

The Animation sector in India is growing exponentially, owing to an increase in demand for VFX, post-production, and CGI. While the Indian television & film industry has a long history of outsourcing such technologies to professionals from overseas, the need for home-grown content is being felt. The resulting demand for talented and competent professionals in the field of Animation & Graphics has resulted in a rise in popularity for this career. Professionals in this field are knowledgeable about 3D Animation, Digital Film-Making, Animation, VFX, Multimedia Production, Graphic Design, etc. You can also build a thrilling career in this field if you possess strong creative skills, aesthetic sense, ability to work with computers and technology, and a love for design and multimedia.

Career Opportunities in Animation & Graphics: There is a vast range of opportunities available, including, Graphic Design, Game Design, Digital Art, Web Design, 3D Modelling, Flash Design, Storyboarding, Texturing, Cartoon Design, VFX, Composition & Story Writing, Character Animation etc. 

Some Top Colleges for Animation & Graphics: National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad; IIT Bombay; Indian Institute of Digital Arts and Animation, Kolkata; Birla Institute of Technology, Noida; Arena Animation (Multiple Locations); Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics (MAAC), Multiple Locations; Whistling Woods International, Mumbai.

15. Physical Science

This is a very broad domain and refers to the study of inorganic materials, such as the earth, space, and atmosphere. This domain encompasses various fields including Astronomy, Geology, Meteorology, Cartography, Disaster Management, etc., where practitioners analyze scientific phenomena on the basis of the experiments and complex instrumentations. Your career path, opportunities, and work profile will vary significantly depending on the specific field you choose in this domain.

Career Opportunities in Physical Science: Since these are individual careers, the opportunities are also quite diverse. A common element to all is that the prime avenue for employment is research. Professionals in Astronomy can work in the fields of astrometeorology, astrobiology, astrometry, astrochemistry, etc. Geology professionals typically work in fields such as marine geology, geohydrology, seismology, mineralogy, etc. Meteorology is the study of the atmosphere, and professionals work in the fields of climatology, aviation meteorology, etc., to predict climatic and weather conditions. Cartographers develop maps to represent geography and work in digital cartography, town planning, construction companies, etc. Disaster Management professionals work in disaster prevention, relief, recovery, and preparedness.

Some Top Colleges for Physical Science:

  • Astronomy: Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Multiple Locations
  • Geology: IIT Bombay, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Delhi
  • Cartography: IIT Bombay, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad
  • Disaster Management: Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), Delhi

It must be clear to you by now that Engineering is NOT the only career option available to you as a PCM student. Be it something adventure-driven like Aviation or Defense, to something grounded in research like Chemistry or Forensic Science, the possibilities are endless!

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