Students now are questioning the mundane ways involved in traditional education system. In India’s current economic structure, plenty of options are becoming available for students who want to work after completing high school. All one needs is to be aware of one’s capabilities and be focused. Nowadays, there are various aptitude and assessment tests to help students figure out their areas of specialty.

Almost every business organisation needs two compulsory departments – Accounting and IT. Given the ubiquity of these functions, young candidates can directly earn expertise in these two fields via specific certifications that cover essential skill sets required for working knowledge and fulfill the role requirements of entry-level employees in fledgling companies and gain a foothold in the corporate ladder.

Accounting: It is more than just numbers and calculations. It involves analysing and summarising financial records in combination with auditing and monotonous bookkeeping. It allows shareholders, investors, managers and tax authorities to gain insights into where the company is headed financially and provides the backbone for decision-making inputs in every other business function.

One can pursue chartered accountancy by undergoing the professional exam conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. After school, one is eligible to appear for the Chartered Accountancy Proficiency Test. One may also specialise in cost accountancy regulated by the Institute of Costs and Works Accountants of India or become a company secretary via the Institute of Company Secretaries of India.

Banking: Banks are considered the backbone of the economies of developed nations as organisations and individuals regularly need credit to take advantage of new opportunities and drive growth. It also provides a great platform for young employees to understand how the economic machine works. Banks in India may be private or public, regional or national. To become a banker one has to pass examinations conducted by the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection. Alternatively, one may opt to become bank tellers, marketing representatives, book keepers and so on by undergoing specific courses for these roles such as a diploma in banking and finance.

Finance: Finance roles require considerable analytical skills to process financial statements as well as data points in both qualitative and quantitative terms. Being good at statistics is essential. Courses that cover both finance and accountancy are good starting points to join finance or commercial staff to gain entry to a corporate organisation.

Taxation: Compliance with the law is an essential function of any business and taxation is a job requirement that is constantly growing with greater numbers of start-ups emerging. Besides, laws for corporate entities, such as the GST are significantly complex and are constantly changing. This career demands a professional to constantly upgrade both knowledge and skill to remain relevant as well as add value to one’s qualifications.

For all these careers, obtaining a degree in commerce and an MBA are one way to gain entry. However, those are recommended for students who have scored 75 per cent or more in +2. One can begin by learning accounting concepts and the importance of business communication. Tally, Quickbooks, SAP or other ERP specialisations help to practice the roles of staff accountant. Accounting is like learning a language – the more one uses it, the better one gets at it. Income tax, GST, TDS, making journal entries and ledger scrutiny allow students to gradually climb up the job ladder with experience. Starting salaries range from single figure thousands per month to upwards of Rs 1 lakh for chartered accountants.

In India there are about 3 lakh CAs, only half of whom are in practice. Whereas roughly 75 lakh accounts and back office professionals are employed by various businesses. Demand for accounting professionals has increased 25 per cent in the last two years while salaries have also increased by 30 per cent. A fresher can expect a job at 2 lakh CTC , which can rapidly increase to 5 lakh within three to four years.

Sales and marketing: These are all about exhibiting a product and service in such a manner that they capture the attention of prospective buyers and create strategies to sell to the greatest number of buyers. To successfully sell a product in the market, it is of vital importance that the sales and marketing department maximises its resources without wastage and knows how to close the deal. Every organisation invests a considerable amount of money and resources to consolidate the sales and marketing department and sales and marketing personnel are given significant incentives, freedoms and perks to help them perform.

Starting a business: Being your own boss is a full-time job that requires discipline, pragmatism, careful consideration and weighing of risks. Nevertheless, there is no job more rewarding and gratifying than working for oneself.

As a young innovator, one relies on instinct and what fits into one’s pattern of values, to make decisions. For this reason, young business owners are advised to build on current working knowledge. No industry is really free from competition and mediocre work will quickly lose its way in today’s dynamic world.

The writer is founder chairman, ICA Edu Skills.