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Getting a jump on 5 popular career choices

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Choosing a career while still in high school can be a very tricky business. Most experts advise that picking a career be done gradually and with care. There are many reasons for taking this approach, and one of the most important reasons is simply that it can be risky to make choices as a teen that will have lifelong ramifications. That having been said, some youngsters are ready to get a jump on the competition and take steps while still in high school that can lead them to a career that excites them. So let’s pick some popular choices (according to recent polls) and look at how to prepare for them.

1. Doctor

It goes without saying that becoming a doctor is one of the most challenging career choices possible. It requires many years of very hard work, not to mention a huge amount of dedication. While still in high school, it can be very helpful to nurture the long list of skills required to succeed in medicine: patience, analysis, collaboration, and especially an understanding of science. Spend as much time as you can exploring the sciences, particularly those related to biology (anatomy, genetics, biochemistry, and so on). You should also try to gain as much real-world experience as possible, for existence arranging for job-shadowing. And while still in high school you may be able to become certified as a Certified Nurse Assistant, and that would give you lots of practical experience.

2. Lawyer

Becoming a lawyer is certainly very difficult, and requires years of hard study. In truth, there’s not very much practical work you can do in high school that will help you become a lawyer. You can, however, develop skills that are central to the legal profession. One of them is research: knowing how to seek out information, not simply through web searches or asking a librarian, but by exploring original sources, while learning to comprehend those sources, even if the writing is complex and technical. The other key skill is the ability to write, not simply in the structure of high school essays, but much more advanced documents -- in other words to develop the ability to take complicated facts and convey them in rational, logical papers that are fully and completely accurate. Advanced reading and writing, in other words, will serve you very well not only in law school but getting into law school.

3. Computer programming

This is a profession that you can not only do lots to prepare for in high school, but which you can actually join. In fact, it would be strange not to do so. In many ways, programming, or coding, can be an extremely demanding field, requiring hour after hour of exhausting labor, staring at a computer screen and striving to maintain a demanding level of accuracy. But for those who enjoy it, the best approach is to just do it. While still in high school, which computer languages are growing (the list is constantly changing), try to master them. Build apps, learn how operating systems work, do whatever you can to learn. Take courses on the side. In fact it’s not at all unusual to become a paid consultant while still in one’s teens. Indeed it would be strange, if hoping to study computers in university, not to have an extensive resume when filling out your application. So get cracking!

4. Architect

Architecture is one of those fields that combines mathematics and engineering with arts and creativity. In other words, it can be mighty demanding. There’s also tons of competition! While in high school, it will really help you to get fantastic grades, in as many honors and AP courses as possible. At the same time, it will really help to practice the craft as much as you can. Master Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, and start designing structures. Get a sketchbook and start scribbling. And read like crazy -- there is a vast body of work related to architecture, from how it works today to how it came to be over the centuries. In other words, deepen your understanding of architecture so that you’re in a strong position when college applications roll around.

5. Scientist

Well “scientist” is a vague word, and describes a vast range of possible jobs. But one thing that should be a top priority is to get the highest grades you possibly can in math and science courses. You need to demonstrate a real aptitude for numbers. But there are other things you can do as well. For instance, if you have an interest in a specific field, for example astronomy or biochemistry, why not try doing a bit of research? Find out how data is gathered and documented, and start producing your own results. You’d be surprised how much research can be undertaken in an ordinary home these days -- but make sure you stay safe at all times!

As a high school student, chasing a career can be difficult, even frightening. Students are advised to resist the pressure to have a crystal clear picture of what to do with their lives. Fate can be surprising, and if you’re too rigid you might miss out on amazing opportunities. So it’s good to be focused, but keep your eyes open!
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