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Top 10 Best Career Options for Science Students: Which Should You Select in 2024

Choosing a career stream or science line job is one of the most path-breaking moments of an individual’s life. It defines the future course of their professional and personal journey and is a stepping stone to the millions of dreams they have harboured. Career options for science students are abundant.

The study of the three streams of science, namely physics, chemistry, and biology opens up a whole new world of opportunities ranging from the study of space and nuclear particles to the study of the sand and soil. 

Studying science, especially physics, chemistry, and biology, is incredibly important for understanding how the world around us functions. Physics explains the movement of objects, while chemistry shows how things are built, and biology teaches us about living organisms. Pursuing any field of science also equips us with problem-solving skills crucial for finding solutions to real-life challenges. It can involve developing new medicines, sustainable energy sources, technological advancements, and life-upgrading innovations. 

A solid foundation in these sciences opens up diverse science stream jobs and opportunities in medicine, research, engineering, and more. They are vital for understanding nature and the environment, paving the way for practical applications, meaningful careers, and sustainable world development.

You can also check out our free courses offered by upGrad in Management, Data Science, Machine Learning, Digital Marketing, and Technology. 

Learners receive an average Salary hike of 58% with the highest being up to 400%.

Read on to learn about the importance of science.

The importance of Science

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Almost all human activities and things we take for granted today have been made possible by scientific knowledge in some way or the other.  

Human progress has relied on the collective scientific knowledge of man across generations and spaces from the get-go. From discovering fire to making commercial space travel possible, man’s scientific pursuit has come a long way. Whether answering the greatest mysteries of the world to problem-solving our most fundamental problems, science has been at the forefront of all human endeavors.

At every historical juncture when humanity has encountered challenges, whether inventing life-saving medicines or creating resilient crop varieties, science has made it all possible. Science has not only helped us overcome challenges but has greatly benefited us. Although we take all this for granted, these advancements would have appeared fantastical for our generation without scientific know-how. 

The importance of science makes it very important that students opt for careers in science. Professional courses for science students give them the technical and analytical skills to be valuable to humanity. If you were to look up the “best careers in science,” you would know that a career in science can be very lucrative. Read on to learn more about the top 10 science jobs in 2024.

Gone are the days when becoming a doctor or engineering were the only career options for science students to pursue. Even today, in common parlance, one only hears the mention of the conventional professions to pursue. New age professions are often shadowed or considered economically unreliable. Thus, pushing a large number of aspirants into the same rut of the mad rat race. 

To resolve this issue for you, we have listed down ten exciting and unconventional career options for science students and science stream jobs. To help you in your decision making further, we have also provided some trustworthy resources where you can learn more about these professions.

Read: 6 Best Career Options after BSC: What to do After B.Sc?

How to Choose the Right Course After 12th Science?

Choosing the career for science students after completing 12th grade with a science background is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your future career and personal growth. With numerous options available, carefully considering your interests, strengths, and long-term goals is important. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed decision.

  • Assess Your Interests and Passions

Start by evaluating your interests and passions. What subjects in Science do you enjoy the most? Do you lean towards mathematics, biology, physics, chemistry, or a combination of these? Identifying your interests can guide you toward a field that resonates with your natural inclinations.

Try joining clubs, science fairs, or online courses focusing on the subjects that excite you the most. Talking to experts or professionals in these fields can also give you practical insights into what working in those areas is like. Exploring these interests further helps you figure out what you love and what might be a good fit, especially when looking for science career options in the future.

  • Identify Your Strengths

Reflect on your strengths and aptitudes. Are you drawn to problem-solving, creativity, logical thinking, communication, or hands-on practical work? Matching your strengths with a suitable course can enhance your learning experience and potential for success.

Consider what you’re good at. If you’re great at solving problems, fields like physics or engineering might be a good match because they involve a lot of analytical thinking. If you’re a good communicator, you might enjoy careers in scientific communication or healthcare where you can use those skills daily. Recognizing what you’re good at will help you find the ideal science stream jobs suited for you.

  • Research Available Courses

Research the various courses available after 12th Science. Consider both traditional options like engineering, medicine, and pure sciences, as well as emerging fields like data science, biotechnology, environmental Science, and artificial intelligence. Explore each course’s curriculum, career prospects, and job opportunities.

Additionally, look into science stream career options, growth potential, and industry demand. This research will give you a clearer understanding of the pathways available and help you align your interests and aspirations with the courses that match them.

  • Set Long-Term Goals

Think about your long-term goals. Where do you see yourself five or ten years down the line? Do you envision a research, industry, academia, healthcare, or entrepreneurship career? Choosing a course that aligns with your goals can provide a clear sense of purpose and direction.

Deciding the best science career options for your future helps you narrow down your choices and pick a course that fits your goals. If you want to be a researcher, choose a course with the scope to discover new things. If you dream of starting a business, look for courses focusing on innovation and business skills. 

  • Consider Personal Values

Your values, such as work-life balance, societal impact, ethical considerations, and the environment, should also play a role in your decision-making. Choose a course that resonates with your values and allows you to contribute positively to the world.

Also, if caring for the environment is crucial, look for career options in science that focus on sustainability or environmental sciences. Choosing a course that aligns with your values gives you a sense of fulfillment and purpose.

  • Evaluate Career Prospects

While passion is important, consider the practicality of your chosen field. Research the current and projected job market for the course you’re interested in. Are there ample job opportunities, growth potential, and a stable professional demand?

Assessing these factors can give you insight into whether the science student jobs you opt for offer stability and potential for career advancement. It ensures that you’re making an informed decision based not only on passion but also on the field’s potential for long-term growth and professional development.

  • Talk to Professionals

Reach out to professionals already working in the fields you’re considering. They can provide valuable insights into their careers’ day-to-day tasks, challenges, and rewards. Networking with professionals can also help you make informed decisions.

By talking to them, you gain practical knowledge about their day-to-day work life, the challenges they encounter, and the rewards they experience in their careers. This interaction can help you understand if the reality of the job aligns with your expectations. Additionally, connecting with professionals can open doors to mentorship opportunities, guidance on career paths, and valuable advice for entering and succeeding in any science student job.

  • Consider Further Education

Some courses, such as postgraduate degrees or specialized certifications, might require or benefit from further education. If you’re open to pursuing higher education, factor this into your decision-making process.

Additionally, some industries continually evolve, demanding professionals with higher qualifications. If you aspire to take up advanced studies or if your choice in career options for science students requires you to have higher qualifications, selecting an undergraduate course that aligns with future educational needs is the ideal path to take. Ensure the undergraduate program provides a solid foundation and prerequisites for further education in the field of your choice.

  • Explore Cross-Disciplinary Options

Don’t be afraid to explore interdisciplinary or cross-disciplinary courses. Combining your science background with management, design, or communication courses can open up unique career paths and broaden your skill set.

Combining science with other areas helps you learn different things and opens up new science students’ career options. For example, mixing science with business could help you start a science-related business or manage a scientific company. These combined courses give you more skills and let you explore different job paths.

  • Evaluate Course Structure

Look into the curriculum and course structure of the programs you’re interested in. Are the subjects and projects engaging? Does the program offer practical exposure through internships, labs, or industry collaborations?

Check how the course is set up. Make sure the subjects match your interests and what you want to do in your career. Look for courses that let you do hands-on things like internships or labs. These practical parts help you learn through practical experiences.

Internships let you try out what you’ve learned in a real job. Labs help you understand your course by doing experiments. Also, courses that work with companies or industries give you an idea of how things work in the real world and offer the best job for science students.

  • Consider Financial Implications

Assess the financial aspects of your chosen course. What are the tuition fees, living expenses, and potential return on investment? If the course requires a substantial investment, weigh it against the potential benefits.

Some courses might be expensive, so it’s essential to evaluate if the knowledge, skills, and future prospects gained from the course justify the investment. Consider the potential return on investment and whether the course will lead to a satisfying and high-paying job for science students.

  • Visit Campuses and Attend Workshops

If possible, visit the campuses of the institutions offering the courses you’re considering. Attend workshops, seminars, or open-house events to get a feel for the environment and interact with faculty and students.

This firsthand experience allows you to immerse yourself in the campus atmosphere and gauge if it resonates with you. Interacting with faculty and current students and attending sample lectures or workshops helps you understand the teaching style, facilities, and overall learning environment. It also enables you to ask questions and gather insights that aid in making an informed decision about the suitability of the college and course for which job is best for science students like you.

  • Trust Your Intuition

While research and analysis are important, trust your intuition as well. If a particular course excites you and aligns with your aspirations, it might be the right choice, even if it doesn’t follow conventional wisdom.

If you’re genuinely excited and passionate about a course, even if it doesn’t seem like the most obvious choice, it could still be the perfect fit. Your intuition often aligns with your genuine interests and aspirations, guiding you toward a fulfilling and personally rewarding path.

  • Keep Alternatives in Mind

Having a backup plan or alternative options is important if your first choice doesn’t work out. Flexibility and adaptability are key in navigating your educational and career journey.

Being open to different options allows you to navigate changes more effectively and helps you determine in science which field is best. It also helps you align with your interests and goals, ensuring you can adjust if your initial plan doesn’t go as planned.

Career Options for Science Students

1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

With rapid digitization creeping into almost every function of modern living, professionals who can understand this are going to be priceless. AI and machine learning are not only innovative and exhilarating but also greatly in demand. Moreover, large corporations are also investing huge amounts of money in people who have expertise in these processes. Thus, making it an extremely commercially viable profession as well. A lot of universities in India are offering these courses as a degree program. 

Some of the best reasons why AI and ML are among the top science background career options in India are:

  • High Demand: Booming demand for AI/ML experts in almost every industry.
  • Cutting-edge Innovation: Involves exciting work at the forefront of technological advancement.
  • Financially Lucrative: Companies heavily invest in AI/ML, making it a financially rewarding field.
  • Versatility: Opportunities exist across diverse sectors due to digital integration.
  • Career Growth: Potential for advancement and exploration of various job roles and industries.
  • Problem-solving: Involves solving complex challenges using cutting-edge technology.
  • Global Appeal: AI/ML skills are globally sought-after and transferable across borders.
  • Future-proof: Promising prospects due to AI/ML’s increasing integration in society.

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To pursue practical AI and machine learning as a career, a degree in computer science with additional courses in AI and ML can suffice. You can also pursue a Master’s program in AI/ ML post your undergraduate degree. Though, if you are someone who has already crossed the degree program stage, you can refer to courses like the machine learning program offered by IIIT Bangalore and other management institutes that are brought to your doorsteps by upGrad. 

You can also check our Machine Learning Program from IIT Delhi. IIT Delhi is one the most prestigious institutions in India. With more the 500+ In-house faculty members which are the best in the subject matters.

An approximate salary that an AI/ Machine Learning professional can make in India ranges from 6 lakh to 8 lakhs at a fresher level. Experienced professionals can take home quite a higher package. Up to approximately 16- 18 lakhs an annum. 

Read: Career options in science after graduation

2. Data Science

Data Science simply is the study of different kinds of data by the application of scientific methods, processes, and algorithms. As AI and machine learning, this is also one of the new-age career options available for science students to practice. In today’s time, data is considered the most important thing in an organization. Companies are relying on mining and decoding of high-quality data to implement in their operations.

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It has become a benchmark for driving growth for investors and corporates alike. A mixture of computer science, math, and analytics, data science helps a professional to forecast future business numbers and other technical data. This can be very helpful for companies in planning future operations. 

Some industries where data science has key significance are risk management, farming, and forensics, and fraud management. 

You can become a data science professional by simply pursuing a degree in computer science at the undergraduate level and then pursuing a short term course or post-graduation in data science for additional expertise. If you are keen on studying data science but want to avoid going to a physical college, there are various online courses also that can help you achieve your goal. Courses on data science offered by IIIT Bangalore through upGrad are especially good in this domain. 

The top reason why data science roles rank at the top of any science subject jobs list is their widespread applicability and impact across industries, making them highly sought-after professions. It also has a constant and increasing demand for data scientists across industries.

Speaking about salary, in India an entry-level data scientist can cash in up to INR 6-7 lakh rupees an annum, rising steeply with the accumulation of year on year experience and skill development. 

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3. Business Analytics

Though used alternatively in various contexts, data science and business analytics are not the same. While business analytics and data analytics, both are the study of data, the nature of data studied varies. Data Science is the application of algorithms and mathematical formulas to study data later used in devising mechanical processes whereas business analytics is the study of business data used to make key decisions of the company. 

Data science involves the study of structured and unstructured data, while business analytics studies highly structured data to bring in important changes in business decisions. 

A profession in business analytics is highly technical and intellectual in nature. It involves dealing with the top rung of a company’s management and is hence, considered highly rewarding. 

If you are wondering which career has more scope in future for science students, you can choose data analytics for the following reasons:

  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Vital for businesses aiming to optimize strategies and operations.
  • Profitability: Helps companies enhance profitability through data-driven insights.
  • Competitive Advantage: Provides an edge by extracting valuable insights from data.
  • Career Growth: Offers diverse career paths and opportunities for advancement.
  • Global Relevance: Applicable to businesses worldwide, ensuring broader job prospects.

You can pursue a career in business analytics by obtaining a specializing in business analytics as part of your undergraduate or postgraduate degree. 

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Top companies in India, hiring business analytics professionals to reward them handsomely. With salary ranges from INR 7 Lakhs to 17 Lakhs depending on the level of experience and market conditions. Some big corporates where business changes are more frequent and radical are also known to go beyond the 17 Lakh figure in compensation. 

To conclude, MBA in Business Analytics is an up and coming area of expertise that is gaining increasing traction in all sectors of the industry. The specialization shows a positive and promising outlook, and for those of you who have long been skeptical about choosing this career path, you can go ahead and start your MBA journey in Business Analytics!

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Also read, Career options in medical

4. Blockchain Developer

After the bitcoin revolution in the late 2010s, blockchain and professions associated with it gained great prominence. Blockchain is something that has enticed every young individual in the country with blockchain developing becoming a sought after profession. 

To the unintended, blockchain is simply an offshoot of Data Science, where the data is organized in blocks. These blocks are then connected with each other using cryptography.  This is a very complex and new-age technology, famous for creating cryptocurrencies and other important statistical documents. 

With the increasing awareness in cryptocurrencies and its trading, the demand for blockchain developers has grown exponentially. An interesting field, blockchain development requires a high level of understanding of complex computer software, mathematics, statistics, and algorithms. 

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Since this is also a tech-based profession like the ones mentioned above, to become a blockchain developer you need to possess a degree in computer science and software with an advanced specialization in blockchain and its development. These courses are offered by sophisticated universities as part of their post-graduation programs and by online platforms like upGrad. 

One of the main reasons why blockchain is one of the best science stream career options is its transformative potential and the numerous opportunities it presents. Blockchain is an innovative technology with the potential to revolutionize various industries. Its decentralized nature ensures data transparency, security, and immutability, disrupting traditional centralized systems.

The average salary that a blockchain developer in India can expect has a wide range. With more and more corporates using this technology to streamline their processes, a profession in this field can expect anything between INR 5 Lakh per annum to INR 50 Lakh per annum. Depending on prevailing market conditions, level of experience, and complexity of tasks performed.  

Additionally, if entrepreneurship is your dream, you might also be able to follow in the footsteps of Vitalik Buterin (founder of Ethereum) and create your own cryptocurrency using this technology. 

Read: Top 7 Highest Paid Science Jobs in India for Freshers & Experienced

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5. Software Designing

If your interest lies in making innovative programs, software, and apps that make life and processes easier for people. Then this one’s for you. Similar to the professions mentioned above, software designing and development also involves advanced knowledge of computer programs and languages. 

A highly creative field, software designing can enable you to let your imagination flow freely to create useful software for individuals and companies. Through this vocation can be pursued by graduates from other fields as well, a degree in science is preferred. 

The key reason why software designing is considered one of the best science stream jobs is its integral role in driving technological innovation and shaping the digital landscape. As a software designer, you will be pivotal in creating innovative solutions that power various technological advancements. You will also be tasked with catering to diverse industries such as healthcare, finance, entertainment, and more, applying their expertise in creating tailored solutions.

Software designing is very easy to study and practice. You can pursue it even while you are studying for your undergraduate degree. However, for a more substantial and profitable career, you may want to do a specialized course in the field. 

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Since the volume of software designers is very high and this profession requires a lesser amount of specialization like the others, the returns are considered average. However, software designers with an enviable portfolio and good experience can easily rake into a few lakhs a month. 

Also, Check out online degree programs at upGrad.

6. Spacetech

While being a doctor, engineer, biologist, pharmacist, are some undisputed career options for science students, the interest in the sciences of space is also slowly rising in young adults. Nevertheless, now with technology becoming integrated with almost every field of study, space tech is surely gaining momentum. 

Space tech basically is the application of digitization and technology to create tools and machines that can be used in operations related to outer space and the solar system. Space technicians create vehicles, machines, and other tools that help scientists research outer space better. 

Spacetech is also regarded as one of the top-paying science career options because of its unique blend of high-level technical expertise and specialized skills and its significant impact on innovation and exploration beyond Earth’s boundaries. Working in spacetech requires a deep understanding of intricate scientific principles and engineering concepts due to the complexity of space missions and technologies. Due to the critical nature of space missions, precision and accuracy are paramount, leading to high demands for top-quality work.

A highly specialized field, to practice in the space tech industry you would ideally need a degree in space sciences and mechanical engineering. Though however, this is an interesting career option for individuals interested in decoding the mysteries of outer space. 

Individuals practicing space tech and space sciences can earn anything in the range of a few thousand per month to a few lakhs. The scope in this field is still growing, hence making the opportunities for growth endless. 

7. Geology

If rocks, earth, soil, and land are your area of interest, then Geology is for you. Geologists are scientists who specialize in the study of the earth and soil. These specialists study an area and forecast any potential threats like earthquakes, volcanoes, etc. Based on this study they draw up plans for builders and construction companies to create structures. 

Geology is an important but underrated and unconventional field of science. To become a geologist, one can pursue a four-year bachelor’s degree in geology along with a master or doctorate for further specialization. 

As mentioned above, since it is a very underrated and unconventional field of study, the salary is not as high as the professions mentioned above. However, this is a passion-driven profession, and earning does rise as one gains more expenses. Starting salary can be in the range of INR 3.5 lakh to 5 lakh per annum. 

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8. Forensic pathologist

Forensic pathologists are doctors specializing in dead bodies and their secrets. Their role is to basically help the lawmakers in finding criminals by decoding clues from a dead body. Forensic pathologists spend hours doing the post mortem of a dead body to identify the causes of death and any other clues. Interesting isn’t it? A simple MBBS with a specialization in forensics can take you here. 

Forensic pathologists usually work with government agencies and are very well paid. An average forensic pathologist can make an approximate amount of up to INR 25 – 30 Lakh an annum. 

Also Read: Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in India

9. Technical writer

With content slowly becoming the king for consumers, technical writing has grown more than ever. Technical writers are authors who have specialized knowledge in a field and create content and opinion pieces around that field. 

The barriers to entry in this field are typically negligent. You can sign up as a writer for a specialized science-based magazine or create your own independent content through Youtube or Instagram.

As regards salary, technical writers are paid for their knowledge on a per word basis. This amount can be anything from INR 5 to 10 per word. For more experienced and proficient writers, this can be even more. 

10. Astrophysicist

This one’s for all the astronomers, stargazers, and The Big Bang Theory fans. Astrophysics is a field of science where principles of chemistry and physics are employed to study matters in outer space. 

Ring a bell? These scholars deeply study the birth and death of stars and cosmic matter and base their research on them. 

These scientists usually have a doctorate degree in Astrophysics and are paid anything between INR 15- INR 50 Lakh per annum by leading corporates and research institutes in India. 

Now that you know the top 10 science student jobs for you in 2024, here are a few tips to choose the best career in science for you.

How to choose the best career options in Science?

After completing the professional courses for science students, you may be confused about which option to choose. There are infinite careers in science, but not all of them may be the right fit for you. Here are a few things you should consider when thinking about the jobs for science students.

  • Answer the question: “What am I passionate about?” It will be the first step toward deciding which careers in science interest you. As the saying goes, do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life. So, instead of simply looking up the top 10 science jobs, see if any of them interest you. 
  • Research the career options that interest you. There is enough information available, so read up till you are sure that you know enough to make a decision. Seek counseling from professionals if you think that will help.
  • Look at the prospects and growth potential for the careers you have narrowed down to. Speak to people in the field and ask them for guidance. See if they align with your aims and goals in life. And then make a well-informed choice.  

Conclusion

Listed above are some of the best career options for science students to pursue after their 12th grade. Based on factors like innovation, level of study and average pay, students can prioritize these as per their interests. These options are not exhaustive. There is a whole wide universe of other career options for science students that are related/ unrelated to science.

These are in no way lesser or less valuable to a career in science. Thus, a student and other stakeholders associated with them should focus on their interests as the one and only thing while choosing a career stream. This will help them excel at whatever they pursue and make them step in the revolutionary and specialized courses of the future.

Should I choose the Arts or the Science stream?

When you are standing at the crossroads of your career, a very common debate is what to choose between Science and Arts streams. But to decide between these two streams, you need to understand and evaluate certain things carefully. Firstly, you need to understand which one you are genuinely interested in and not look at what others say or do. There are endless opportunities in both career streams, but you need to understand what you are most comfortable with to make the most of them. Once you know what interests you the most, you will find your inclination and make the right choice.

Is Commerce easier than Arts?

It is impossible to compare two educational streams that are diametrically opposite to each other. But there are varied benefits of studying either. Studying Arts or Humanities can help you develop your potential for expression and analysis. On the other hand, having a sound understanding of basic commerce can be of great help to any career prospect. From economics to financial markets and the latest management practices, knowledge of commerce is valuable everywhere. If you are comfortable with numbers and mathematics to some extent, you can be satisfied even if you choose commerce. However, if you do not want to deal with numbers but want to become a more creative person, choosing Arts will be better.

Are all scientists smarter than non-scientists?

People often tend to associate science students with smartness. That is how our society is wired to view – the stereotypical idea about non-scientists and scientists. But fact says that just because one is a scientist does not necessarily mean that the person is smarter than another non-scientist individual. We tend to frame genius as an intrinsic trait instead of considering it situational. And in this way, subconsciously deny the potential for achievements to a major portion of society who are non-scientists. Nobody is born a scientist, and it is not true that science is meant only for geniuses.

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