New horizons, careers and opportunities for students


New horizons, careers and opportunities for students

Students should choose degree programmes that will provide them skills that are relevant to the world of tomorrow

By K Raveendran

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Published: Thu 20 Jun 2019, 9:58 AM

Last updated: Thu 20 Jun 2019, 12:06 PM

The fast pace at which the world is changing obviously has its impact on what we need to learn. It is important for parents that they choose an educational institution that will provide their wards with skills that are relevant to the world tomorrow.
Many of the businesses that were flourishing yesterday have been consigned to the dustbins of progress, and many of today's jobs and occupations will also meet the same fate tomorrow.
The top in-demand degrees for the future offer careers in science, engineering and finance. Particularly of importance are also courses relating to new learning techniques, health, sustainability and the digital world.
All the degrees of tomorrow may not be available for students who just passed out of schools in the UAE locally. But luckily for them and their parents, quite a few of them are available.
A number of institutions in the UAE are offering newly-designed and forward-looking courses that will prepare their students for meaningful careers by the time they graduate.
Of course, the need for engineers, doctors, accountants, financial planners, healthcare professionals, business consultants etc. will stay strong as long as these disciplines are integral to the success of any industry or business.
But a number of new options are awaiting UAE students who are about to enter a crucial phase of their education and career.
Courses centred on forward-looking technologies have reached the shores of the UAE, and the students are now in a position to opt for diversified careers by equipping themselves with the degrees that will be in demand as the years pass by.
Careers that involve the design, manufacture, monitoring and maintenance of such technologies are new, and the UAE colleges are joining the trend by offering programmes for the emerging career fields.
For instance, information technology today offers multiple and varied positions and the trend will only strengthen in the days to come.
Hardware, software and firmware technology advances across fields like healthcare, finance and even entertainment create high demand for software professionals qualified in coding, debugging and testing programmes and app.
Data science is another emerging specialisation that is available locally. So are courses that prepare data security experts.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the hottest courses in demand and, fortunately for students, these are offered by some of the colleges here. The attempt to build artificial systems that have intelligent behaviour has different directions, each one of which could develop into a career. 
One is to enable students to comprehend natural intelligence through the utilisation of computer models.
The other enables students to develop methods and innovation to build systems capable of intelligent decisions and actions. In this way, the AI that students learn is both a science and an engineering discipline.
Applications of AI range from 'smart' controllers for household devices to computers that can converse in natural languages such as English, play computer games, conduct intelligent web searches, or act as the brain of a robot. The recent major trend is the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 for establishing a 'smart factory'.
The British University in Dubai (BUiD) offers one of UAE's first AI courses, integrating computer science and smart solutions, for the automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies.
It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, and cognitive computing.
Machine learning is another futuristic area. It is the science of getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed. In the past decade, machine learning has given us self-driving cars, practical speech recognition, effective web search, and a vastly improved understanding of the human genome.
Machine learning is so pervasive today that it is used dozens of times a day without our being aware of it. Machine learning is yet to be offered at the university level in the UAE, but there are online courses and institutes that offer certification courses.
Data science has become one of the most powerful tools for modern businesses to grow. Any student specialising in data-related studies can be considered to future-proof his or her career by developing skills in this hot field.
Dubai's SP Jain Global offers a Bachelor of Data Science (BDS), a three-year undergraduate programme designed to bridge the ever-widening gap for data scientists.
The application-based full-time programme will help students participate in mandatory capstone projects and internships in data science while exploring foundation topics in Statistics and Programming, as well as specialist topics such as Algorithms, Data Structures, Data Integration and Warehousing, Visual Analytics, Machine Learning, Data Mining, Social Web Analytics and Big Data Processing.
Game Development is emerging as a major discipline for students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Courses have been designed to meet the current global demand for skilled graduates in the areas of game and multimedia system development.
The course equips students with skills to apply techniques to the development of video games and related systems on computers and mobile platforms, including devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and wearable devices.
Approaches to solving real-world problems in video games and multimedia systems are also taught. A number of colleges and universities in the UAE are offering courses relating to game development and animation.
Innovation, leadership and sustainability are some of the other specialisations that are increasingly in demand. These are mostly offered by mainstream institutions that have been offering degrees in basic courses such as engineering, management, arts and sciences.
But they have also joined the diversification drive, adding cutting edge to their specialisations. Several colleges and universities in the UAE offer these courses.
Among the considerations that weigh on the minds of students and their parents when opting for courses offered by local institutions are factors like cost and quality. And yet there are options that offer high cost-quality quotient, although it may not be applicable to all the institutions.
The takeaway, however, is that most of the courses that are in demand in the rest of the world are also available locally, which is a major positive for the country's educational scenario.
Establishing a knowledge-based economy in Dubai
Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) is the world's largest free zone dedicated to higher education.
Established in 2007 as part of TECOM Group's education cluster, DIAC aims to develop the region's talent pool through world-class education and to help establish the UAE as a knowledge-based economy through the provision of multi-tiered academic institutions for students around the world. 
DIAC is located on a fully-appointed 18 million square feet campus with state-of-the-art facilities. It is home to 27 universities from nine countries, including Amity University Dubai Campus, Heriot-Watt University Dubai Campus, University of Birmingham Dubai, University of Wollongong Dubai, BITS Pilani Dubai Campus, Hult International Business School, Murdoch University Dubai, and The University of Manchester Middle East Centre., to name a few.
Within the education community, it offers more than 500 certificate, diploma, undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD programmes to over 27,500 students of 150 nationalities and continues to grow as per the needs of its robust and talented academic community. The most popular degrees include Business, Engineering, IT and Media/Design.
Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP) is a premier destination in the region dedicated to Human Resource Management, including supporting organisations involved in vocational training, executive search and professional development.
DKP was established in 2003 to support the Government of Dubai's vision to transform the Emirate into a knowledge-based economy and develop the region's talent pool.
With over 500 business partners, including SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), CIPD UK (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development UK), CEB-SHL (Talent Management), DKP is helping to meet the needs of business by offering required training and skills development programmes to professionals and by providing a home of recruiters who will then match these new skills with employers.  

Institutions in the UAE
Technology studies: American University in the Emirates (AUE); Canadian University Dubai, American University of Sharjah, Higher College of Technology, UAE University, University of Sharjah, Manipal University, BITS Pilani, University of Wollongong, Murdoch University, SAE Institute, Amity Dubai.
Medical Studies: RAKMHSU prepares students for critical skills in medical and healthcare fields.
Leisure and tourism studies: Middlesex University, Amity University, National Institute of Vocational Studies.
Innovation: University of Wollongong, Rochester Institute of Technology, Middlesex University, Hult International, Insead, Abu Dhabi University.
Project Management and Management: MENA College of Management, Herriot Watt University, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, University of Dubai, American University in Dubai, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, American University of Science and Technology, Ajman University.
Business management & Finance: University of Birmingham

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