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Directorate for Counselling & Career Development

Career areas

You must keep in mind that majors/ specialisations lead to careers, but that the relationship is complex and not as direct as most people believe. Many graduates follow careers that are seemingly unrelated to their chosen majors/ specialisations.

Key to the best qualification for you

  • Research
  • Understand your academic, personal and vocational strengths through detailed, honest and continuous self-assessment.
  • Research all qualifications on offer.
  • Study the rules of the qualification you wish to follow in the university calendars.
  • Research the likely possibilities related to your chosen major/ specialisation. Resources include this site, other sites on the Internet, Careers Resource Centres and informational interviewing.
  • Explore ways of doing career research here.

Know your qualification

  • VOCATIONAL COURSES are linked to specific roles. Occupational training is essential for entry into these roles. Examples include medicine and architecture.
  • SEMI-VOCATIONAL COURSES leads to a wide range of occupational roles. It is desirable or essential to complete certain courses for entry into these fields. Examples include chemistry; accounting and psychology.
  • NON-VOCATIONAL COURSES lead to a wide range of occupational fields for which the content of qualifications are most often not directly relevant. These qualifications rather provide a broad educational foundation for the future and require the most innovative career planning to yield their full value. Examples include economics; development studies; politics; sociology.

How can you let your qualification work for you?

  • In completing your qualification you will learn subject-specific knowledge, as well as a number of work-related skills. Examples of these skills: ability to learn fast in new situations; discipline; time management; ability to work independently.
  • In addition to these skills, you also need to develop transferable skills, for example communication skills; computer skills and organisational and leadership skills.
  • You need to take the responsibility for developing these skills so that you are a more attractive proposition to prospective employers.

Positive career development while you are studying consists of...

  1. The successful choice of a qualification (after proper research).
  2. Carefully chosen and committed extramural involvement.
  3. Full-time/ part-time/ vacation or voluntary work.
  4. Continuous research of career and job options leading from your qualification.

Adapted from: Is your major a major factor? Careering. September 1994. UCT Careers Office

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