Singapore has recently seen its highest retrenchment numbers in more than a decade, due to cost-cutting and the effects of Covid-19. As a result, many Singaporeans were forced to reevaluate their career choices. However, it has also given many the opportunity to make a significant career switch altogether.
In fact, already before the pandemic began, about 79% of young professionals in Singapore would consider a career outside of their field of study. As today’s employment market constantly changes and job scopes continuously evolve due to emerging technologies, career changes are no longer out of the ordinary.
Of course – switching careers is no mean feat. However, it’s important to think long-term and view potential expenses for career coaches, workshops and courses as an investment in your future. In order to have a fighting chance at securing a job in a new field, you need to show that you have what it takes. Besides a financial commitment, you will also need to invest enough time to make it work.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular industries for career switchers in Singapore and what such a change might look like in more detail.
This industry has already gained traction since before the pandemic. As data is often considered the ‘new oil’, it’s no surprise that jobs related to data analysis, such as data scientists, are high in demand.
While it certainly helps to have a related degree, it’s not always necessary, as many other jobs and industries require a very similar skill set. In order to succeed in data analysis roles you will need the ability to gather large amounts of data, simplify complex matters and have a feel for the story that the data tells. This set of skills is also used in marketing roles as well journalistic jobs.
Yes, there surely is a lot more to it. However, it’s important to remember that you will also learn on the job. Nobody starts out knowing everything. The important part is showing that you have a keen interest in the field and that you have taken some first steps towards acquiring the knowledge. One way of doing that is by taking courses, such as Generally Assembly’s Data Science Bootcamp. Don’t shy away from the challenges – your effort will be rewarded.
Another industry that offers great long-term job prospects and is sought after by Singaporeans is the banking and finance industry. You don’t have a Business MBA or degree in finance? Don’t lose hope just yet.
Do you have analytical and problem-solving skills? Are your interpersonal skills above average? If so, then you might have a future in the financial industry. After all, open and clear communication is one of the most important abilities in this field.
If you are looking to learn more, you can consider doing a MSc in Applied Finance (MAF) from the Singapore Management University (SMU). This course will equip you with the necessary skills as well as the practical experience to be successful in this space.
It’s perhaps a less obvious choice, but the healthcare industry is becoming increasingly popular among Singaporeans switching careers. There is good news and bad news. The bad news is that you do need to have some training and that this industry might not be for the faint-hearted. The good news is that there are numerous courses and classes that help you to gain the necessary skills.
For example, both NUS Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies and Nanyang Polytechnic offer classes, courses and even bachelor degrees in nursing and related specialities. If you are serious about this switch and have an eager mind that wants to learn, then a career switch to the healthcare sector might be for you.
Regardless of what industry you plan on switching to, it’s crucial to identify the skills you will need to break into your new career as well as those skills that you already have.
If you don’t know where to start, it’s best to consult a career coach, who will help you analyse your academic, professional and technical skills. Be sure to give yourself enough lead time to go through the following steps:
1. Do your research: Before jumping head-on into a new role, make sure you do your due diligence and find out as much as you can about the job, including salary, job scope, future prospects, industry news and more. Do also talk to people who currently do this job. Industry meet-ups are also great ways to meet people.
2. Identify the skills needed for the job: Although it’s different from your current or old job, there might be a lot of transferable skills. Find out in what areas you still need to skill up.
3. Take a class or course: Once you are sure about your choice, it’s time to get serious. A class or course that is closely-related to the job is the best way to get an authentic feeling for what the role will be like. The length of these courses ranges from half a day to several months – pick what works best for you.
4. Upgrade your skills: After your research and the course, you will have a very good idea of what you are good at and what you still need to master to get a job in your new chosen industry. Be it reading, self-learning, workshops or side-projects – there are different ways of acquiring these skills.
5. Market yourself: When you feel ready to challenge yourself with the job interview, you need to first renew your CV, update your job site profiles, create a portfolio (if possible) and perhaps even build your own professional website.
Here’s a breakdown of how much these different tasks cost, allowing you to pick and choose for yourself.
|Career coach||A coach will help you identify your professional needs and goals. Some career coaches even offer a first complimentary 30-min session.||Free – S$100|
|Half-day course||Introductory classes, such as at the General Assembly, start already at S$ 220 (Design your Data Bootcamp).||Starting at S$220|
|2-4-day intensive course||Intensive courses are available for a variety of jobs and industry. They are usually split across several weekends and cost on average less than S$1,000.||S$950|
|CV Portfolio design||You can get both copy and design help from freelancers to create a CV and portfolio that will stand out.||Starting at S$100|
|Website||A personal website isn’t always necessary, but it can give you an edge over the competition. Keep it simple and professional with an About, Portfolio, and Contact page. WordPress and other website providers make it easy enough to create your own page. Design support starts at around S$ 200.||S$100 – S$300(Hosting / Domain – S$100 / year)(Design help – from S$200)|
|Interview coaching||Most career coaches also specialise in job interview training. If you are very nervous, it might be a good idea to prepare yourself.||Starting at S$150|
As mentioned before, it’s a long-term vision that will benefit you most when switching careers. Don’t jump on a sudden new trend on the job market, but follow a career path that you will be content with and that will offer you the opportunities you desire for many years.
Pooja Khandelwal is Content Marketing Lead at ValueChampion Singapore, a personal finance research firm. She is responsible for planning and executing sponsored content projects, building relationships with media partners, and evaluating financial products for consumers. Pooja holds degrees in Economics and Psychology from Rutgers University. Her prior work experience includes founding and leading a content marketing consultancy and working at eCommerce, AI, and B2B SaaS startups in Singapore. Pooja has contributed insights to Her World, Tech in Asia, Yahoo!, and many other publications.
Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to collaborate on content.
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