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Career Advice

OPINION: Walk the career talk

Published by Afterschool.my on Apr 19, 2017, 05:40 pm

UPDATED: Two years ago, our team met with an interesting person by the name of Ali Syazwan Bin Mustapha. At the time, he gave some interesting pointers about paving the path to your dream job. His pointers are still relevant.

Afterschool.my is always on the lookout for young talent and their opinions. One of our readers, Ali Syazwan Bin Mustapha shared tips on how to pave your way towards your dream career.


(This post has been edited for clarity.)

Time to be a real keyboard warrior!

Malaysian students should know these vital things on the way you “walk” to reach your ambition. Here are some of my favourite tips:

0. Step ‘Zero’

Image via Wiki

This step is for the clueless and the ones who draw a blank when considering a career path after SPM.

I suggest you to try out vocational tests such as the Holland Code career Test (aka RIASEC Test), as well as the Jung or the Enneagram Personality Test.

Determining your future career using a personality test will help you choose a job that is not only closer to your passion but also matches your personality!

1. Understand your career choices.

Image via Pixabay

‘Interrogate’ people who are already working in the industry related to your dream job. Asking more experienced people compared to fresh workers might help you a lot.

Other ways include finding a lecturer teaching the course related to the career you have in mind, read the job prospects in any company related to the industry, or visit university websites for courses related to your career.

Blind passion is not enough as you will need to understand the career's scope of work, what you need to do in that job i.e. programming, handling machine etc.

2. Build a bridge.

Image via Wiki

After filtering your career choices, you can start to find a way to link or bridge your career via a degree or diploma or even skill/vocational certificates.

For example, if you want to be a Space Shuttle Engineer you might choose Aerospace Engineering course. Those aspiring to become ambassadors may find that International Relation suits you best.

Look for universities offering the course; regardless if it is local or abroad. Courses accredited by MQA will enable you to apply for PTPTN.

It is also important that there is a professional board recognising the programme. Those interested in pursuing Engineering should look up these courses on BEM's official website, including for studies abroad.

3. Find your foundation.

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To get a degree, you will first need to find a suitable pre-university programme such as diploma, STPM, foundation or matriculation, A level, IB, Ausmat, etc.

Bear in mind that not all universities are able to accept a diploma credit transfer. You have a better chance at getting a Bachelor's degree after graduating diploma programme by getting a job first as the diploma programme's purpose is to create semi-professional workers.

Do some research on which pre-university or Foundation programmes that are accepted as the entry requirement by any particular university. Pre-university is considered a solid path to your dream degree.

4. What is your end game?

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Whichever path you take, look for the requirements needed to enter the degree programme. For those applying or possessing a scholarship follow the requirement set up by your sponsors. Read the agreements carefully and research what you are getting bonded to.

For those interested in getting a skills or vocational certificate, remember that not all universities will offer the path to diploma, as some courses are certificate standalones where you will end up with just a certificate you can use to find a job.

5. Start early!

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Do your research early because you might discover a lot of courses you have never heard of in school, such Naval Architecture, Zoology, Marine Science, Oceanology, Astrophysics etc.

Listing out the pros and cons for each degree programme you think you might like is a must. Considering the syllabus or subjects you will learn in university will help you choose a stream in SPM and pre-university while at the same time help plan your investment in education.

If you are able to secure a sponsorship or capable to go for IPTS just go for it as there are also private institutions that might be best in certain subjects!

6. Getting advice

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Students planning to enroll in public Universities (UA) MUST refer to UPU's e-Panduan. If you're interested in private universities, check their reviews and visit their official website.

Don't trust blogs or websites that are not up-to-date as well as those that do not provide authentic facts. For scholarships, explore trustworthy websites such as Afterschool.my.

Do not jump into a hasty conclusion based on the opinion of your siblings, relatives, friends or father/mother's friends unless they are working in that specific industry or studying a related course.


(All Clear and Good Luck!)

Ali Syazwan studied at International Islamic University Malaysia.

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