Be focused on what gives you the highest income for the next 15 to 20 years, taking into account your passion and talent. Consider the following factors.
Odds for success. In many professions although the payoff can be very great, success is a long shot. Even though the rewards are exceptional, only a few people can make it in these niche careers. Examples: international sports, international models, concert pianists.
Length of the career. and the possibility of back-up options. In niche careers, one could be incredibly rich very early in life. One could even leverage the success into another phase – e.g. sportsmen become commentators, models create their own fashion labels, Formula 1 drivers become team owners. On the other hand, the opportunity may not arise or injuries may cut it short.
Know the targeted profession’s income level compared with other occupations. Example: in the past most investment bankers earn much more than most lawyers, dentists more than general practitioners do. data
Know the range of income within a profession. Example: The income of great dentist or lawyer can be more than 10 times the average earnings in the profession. Example: A certain dentist in Sydney practiced in the highest income neighborhood in the city – each residence was more than 5 times the city average. He focused on cosmetic orthodontics which yielded the highest income compared with basic procedures, and targeted mature people who had the propensity to spend to look good.
He handled 3 patients at the same time, supported by 3 dental assistants. These assistants were dentists qualified in other countries and were waiting to qualify in Australia – they handled the routine procedures under the dentist’s supervision. With high demand and productivity, he was able to gross more than 10 times the average dentist’s income.
Look at supply and demand now and in the future for your career. Obviously go in for an industry or profession that is about to boom. Example: In many countries, chiropractors earn more than doctors do because the former is a relatively new profession. In contrast, many steam engineers had to go back to university to re-train for another profession after the industry petered out decades ago.
Be wary of parental and peer influences. Unfortunately, many young people entering university succumb to well-meaning but misleading ideas from these groups of people. These include:
The most popular courses. The problem is that demand may not increase as much as supply. This was true of IT graduates in the seventies and early eighties when demand had not yet picked up.
The most difficult courses to enter. Difficulty of a university course has little to do with what income you will get. This is already true or becoming true for courses such as law and medicine. Many rocket scientists and nuclear physicists had to look for unrelated jobs.
What the father or mother or uncle did. Often what is attractive in one generation is no longer attractive by the next generation.