The 3 career questions to ask yourself before choosing a degree.

Edith Cowan University
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How do you make a Gen Zer freak out? Wear ankle socks? Say skibbidy toilet sigma something? All valid options but, no. 

The fastest and easiest way to stress out Gen Z is to ask them what they want to do when they finish school. Especially if they’re planning on going to university. Now I think of it, it works for their parents as well. So why does a seemingly simple question elicit such a visceral response? Because these decisions are the big ones. This choice is a metaphorical fork in the road and the path you choose will indeed determine every other path from this road hence.  

It always perplexes me, this notion that these 17- and 18-year-olds are supposed to know exactly what they want to dedicate their working lives to when they are essentially, still children. Heck, I’m 42 and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. 

So, we need to take the pressure off a bit. Here's a ‘stress less’ guide on how to figure out what you (or the teen in your house) might like to be when you (they!) grow up. 

What are you passionate about? 

Okay, so there’s no use sugar coating it – you are going to spend 1 trillion hours of your ‘one wild and precious life’ at work. Soooo… you’re gonna have to choose something you give a stuff about. Oh, and then combine that thing with something that can pay for one aforementioned ‘wild and precious life’. 

The good news here is that you have options. The bad news is – you have options. If you’re anything like me, sometimes too many options can lead to analysis paralysis. So, let’s say you’re a STEM fan and you know you’re interested in the science/technology areas. A great place to start getting ideas of what’s out there would be to check out one of the most modern and innovative universities out there, Edith Cowan University (ECU). 


To me, ECU is like the cool aunt of unis. ECU is relatively new, coming in at just under 50 years old (that’s about 18 in “university years”). It also has three campuses across WA offering students a hands-on, experiential, industry-connected learning environment. This helps students not only land the job of their dreams, but also equips them with the skills, knowledge and experience they need to do the actual job out in the real world. 

Wondering what degrees ECU has on the menu? A big shout out has to go to their gold standard Science and Technology degrees. Here, you’ll find Bachelor of Science (cybercrime) and Bachelor of Counter Terrorism Security and Intelligence. Students in their 2022 Student Experience Survey confirmed that the course creator, lecturers and tutors truly know what’s up and connect those studying the profession to the experts on ‘the frontline’ – guaranteeing you’re set up as best as you possibly can be when it’s actually time to 'grow up'. They also pride themselves on developing creative thinkers, 5-star ‘quality teaching’ according to the Good Universities Guide and ‘best overall student experience’. 

Overall, ECU is a great place to start scoping out your options.  

What are your strengths and skills? 

This can be a really hard question to answer on your own. To get you started, think about what you enjoy as this can help point you in the right direction. Do you find public speaking fun and invigorating? Are you the friend others go to when they’ve hurt themselves or they need something techy figured out? What do you do for fun? Write? Draw? Teach? 


Once you have a bit of a list going, hit up those who know you best for their input. You might be pleasantly surprised by what your loved ones see in you that you might not have seen in yourself. Teachers can be a really good source of information on the topic of you. More often than not they’ve known you since Grade 7 and witnessed you at the ‘workplace’ of school so they have more of a read on you than you might know. 

What do you value? 

Okay, so it might feel like I’m going a bit life-coachy here but hear me out – knowing your values and maybe even what you think your purpose in life might be can benefit you greatly when deciding on what to study. When you spend a bit of time reflecting on who you are and what a meaningful life looks like to you, you’ll have a significantly shorter list of options to choose from. Which is great. 

Ask yourself if making loads of cash is important to you? Is making a difference non-negotiable? There’s no right answer here – except the one that feels right to you right now. Follow your own lead – you got this. 

Find an undergraduate course at ECU to match your career aspirations. Want help choosing a course? Try the quiz.

Feature Image: Getty.

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