One of the most crucial decisions that a young person makes in life is choosing which career to pursue, meaning it’s a pretty big decision. A decision that young people in Zimbabwe often make without enough consultation, exploration and guidance. The people most affected by this dilemma are high school students. One of the most common grievances you hear among young people in their 20s is, they never knew quite how many options were available to them. A great deal of young people become aware of these possibilities after committing to pursuing an academic qualification, or graduating and navigating the industry. Whilst it’s possible to start afresh, it’s often a painful and expensive process that could have been averted with prior career guidance. This problem can be solved in various ways, such as a mobile application or web-based application. But first, more detail on the importance of career guidance.

Why career guidance is important

Choosing a career path can be incredibly difficult, especially for young adults (19-25 years) and yet, this is the age at which they’re expected to make such an important decision. The majority of them are students, and the lack of information can make it increasing difficult because of the illusion of limited options. Career guidance allows this demographic to access useful information from more experienced and knowledgeable adults. Information alone isn’t a solution, rather, organized and detailed information is essential. Too much information can be overwhelming, and that’s a common pitfall of trying to find relevant information on the internet without suitable filters. With career guidance, students are able to make more informed decisions. Receiving appropriate guidance avoids the grief of choosing a career that one despises and trying to rectify that mistake in future.

The perfect solution

In the age of the internet and the prevalence of smart devices, the perfect solution could easily be found in a web-based application. This provides easy and quick accessibility for students. Students are often glued to their smartphones, and placing such a platform within easy reach could make it more effective and desirable. The application could provide organized information on the various areas students need to be cognizant of when making their decisions. A perfect example includes the subjects which students need to be familiar with to pursue a certain academic degree or higher qualification. Subjects such as biology are necessary in the health sciences, geography is important for environmental sciences and so forth. The application will also provide the more prominent areas, such as the various professions available across all the industries; the qualifications necessary for each one; and the interchangeability of some qualifications.

Going the extra mile

The idea of a career guidance app is not an entirely new one and like most businesses, it has been done before. This simply means, as an entrepreneur, there is need for innovation…to go the extra mile, or maybe kilometer? The application could include personality testing and other psychological assessments to measure cognitive abilities. Suggestions towards career paths more fitting for the student can then be suggested based on the results of the assessments. Cognitive abilities impact the effectiveness of professionals in their work, and assessments can indicate areas of strength, weakness and those of improvement. Therefore, students need to make decisions fully aware of how well they may be able to excel in a certain profession. Additionally, personality also plays an important role in career functions. An extrovert would find a career in sales or customer service much easier than would an introvert.

The application could also provide information on income expectations for each profession, including approximate minimums and probable maximums in hard figures, along the progression of one’s career. Information on where certain professions are most valuable in the world monetary wise, as well as comparisons across the globe, would also be incredibly useful information. It is the kind of information that can greatly affect a student’s decision to pursue a career path. As a bonus, suggestions on the best places to enroll for higher education in each field will help set apart the application. A combination of different aspects and deep research could differentiate the site from many.

Potential problem areas

The amount of research required to undertake this project is enormous, and exhausting all the career options might not be feasible, given new professions are constantly emerging. Keeping up with the variations of a similar professions might also prove to be tedious. Moreover, the information loaded onto the app requires constant and regular updating. Acquiring the accurate bandwidth of salaries for different professions might not be easy, especially in Zimbabwe, where the figures variate wildly. Psychological testing might be another problem, requiring licensing in order to access reliable and valid psychological tests. However, these hurdles can be worked around, and solutions can be found, allowing the entrepreneur to proceed full speed ahead. Which leads us to the next stage, monetization.

Monetization options

There may be many ways to monetize, but the most lucrative here could be having features rolled out via a Freemium model. This means part of the service will be free, but users will be required to pay a subscription fee to access more detailed information, and other important features of the application. The free version could offer basic guidance that gives the user a glimpse of the value the app will be offering. Additionally, the app could have by-products; such as self-help books and online courses on choosing a career; derived from the content on the site. Alternatively, a stronger model could be third party contextual advertising. This would allow universities to place non-intrusive advertisements in sections where the programs they offer appear within the site.

Career guidance is a lucrative field where entrepreneurs could offer real value, and generate income simultaneously. A well-executed business plan could benefit millions of students over the years, as they make one of the most critical decisions of their lives. A bold entrepreneur could provide immense value for others and wealth for himself or herself.

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