5 answers

What are some helpful tips that can lead me to picking a career that is best for me?

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I'm a junior in high school and I'm still undecided on what I want to do for the future. I'm most interested in medicine or engineering. I have considered becoming a Psychiatrist or a Dermatologist, but I also would like to be a Chemical Engineer. I just don't know what would be the right choice and I don't want to end up making the wrong decision. #medicine #engineer #college #engineering #lost #help #answer

5 answers

G. Mark’s Answer


This is an easy one. First, there are tests called "personality inventories", one of which is, for example, RIASEC. Basically they examine your personality, interests and preferences. But they do so in a way not to simply ask you what you like, but to see how closely your personality aligns with folks who are successful in various professions. The results can be surprising, but they have proved very reliable in predicting job satisfaction. I, for example, aligned with what I expected. Scientist, mathematician, engineer. And then I also saw security analyst, entertainer and park ranger. Having tremendous stage fright, this surprised me. Having an interest in lock picking, I assume, made the other believable. But not being much for anything dealing with forests except to build a hideaway there, park ranger threw me. I studied at Second City after that and found it to be a real blast and then did standup comedy for almost a decade. Needless to say, stage fright was no longer a problem. So take one of these tests.

Secondly, look for internships in your fields. It may take some effort to find opportunities, but it will be worth it. You'll also foster connections in these potential careers and possible job offers.

I'd try to offer more suggestions, but quite frankly, these two are tremendously effective. And they were for me. Before I took one of these tests, I'd never heard of such a thing. And it was entertaining in itself. The questions often seem out of left field, but they're based on real statistical correlation and they seem to work. Plus, it's a pretty easy start.

Lisa’s Answer


First, it's great that you are considering a career in STEM! What science and math classes have you taken in high school? Which classes did you enjoy most -- hopefully your math and science classes -- the answer will help determine what you think you want to study in college. If you really enjoyed biology, medicine might be a good fit for you, but as it's a graduate program, you would take a science-heavy undergraduate major to prepare for acceptance into med school. That could be biology, chemistry or even engineering.

If you really like physics and pre-calculus, then engineering might be a good fit. Engineers use math and science to solve problems facing society. Look on the internet for your local Society of Women Engineers section, and see if they have programs to introduce high school girls to engineering.

The other program you mentioned, psychiatry, is another science-based field, and will also require coursework in biology and chemistry.

I decided to become an engineer because I enjoyed physics (chemistry was a close second), and math and solved to solve problems. And I wanted a well-paying job when I graduated from college.

Douglas’s Answer



You have asked the question that many people, much older than you, are still asking themselves - what do I want to be when I grow up. As I am sure you know there is a very big difference between the engineering and medical professions. There are a number of aptitude tests that you can take that might help you decide on a profession. The guidance councilor at your school should be able to help you with taking such a test. Since the medical and engineering professions are so different, it seems to me that you need to decide on one of the other, never mind the specialty right now. Talking to people in the professions might be helpful. Volunteering at a hospital or nursing home might give you some insight on the medical profession. That might help you decide if medicine is for you. Then you can decide what field in the medical profession you like. Get a job or volunteer with a construction company or in an engineering office. Do you like helping people? Or, maybe you like designing or building things. Finding out what you do not want to do is almost as valuable as finding out what you do want to do. One of the big differences between the two professions is the time and money it takes to get a degree in one or the other. For many people, that would be a big deciding factor. Once you choose the field, you can then choose the specialty. Right now you seem to be trying to choose a field and a specialty all at the same time which, given the breath of each field is probably impossible.

Fortunately, no one can tell you what to like. Unfortunately, you have to decide. Go with your gut, it probably won't be wrong.

Good luck,


Vicky’s Answer


Yay, another women choosing science!

As mentioned above, I suggest that you go with what you enjoy learning about (or doing) and the rest will follow. Don't forget it's not just about the subject matter that you learning but the skills you are developing - critical thinking, analyzing data, etc. Many seemingly unrelated industries look for these qualities like investment banks and management consulting firms!

Vicky recommends the following next steps:

  • Determine what you really enjoy learning about
  • Talk to people who have the careers you have mentioned (you can even "cold-call" people on LinkedIn). Ask them what their work really entails and how they got where they are. Perhaps see if you can shadow them for a day.

Mr. Ernst’s Answer


What are your strong points, find them and dedicate 24-48 hours creating a plan, objective and goals based around your area of skill. After find out what kind of training you need in order to add more tools in your knapsack of the mind.

Mr. Ernst recommends the following next steps:

  • Write your ideas down
  • Harness your inner strength
  • Research the intended field
  • Train and plan
  • Execute