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Career Opportunities And Guide In Sociology – An Enriching Discipline

In individual’s life career plays a very prominent role and the choice of a career is one of the most critical decisions in one’s life. Career shapes our future and determines our life style. In today’s fast changing consumerist and technological society many people have started feeling the burden of selecting a lifelong career. Success in most careers depends upon both long-term preparation and short-term responses to changing circumstances. Due to multiplicity of choices, selection of a career is not an easy task today. Due to inadequate knowledge and unrealistic professional aspirations, a large percentage of thousands of educated job seekers who pass out from colleges and universities every year seek traditional careers, such as, civil services, defence services, education, engineering, law, medicine etc., where there are limited options. And for those who are made aware of their aptitudes and strengths, and provided the appropriate information, there are hundreds of alternative career options.

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As an independent social science, Sociology emerged in early 19th Century in France as a reaction to several modern complexities enshrouding over human existence. Sociology as a humanizing science grew out of a need to explain humankind’s behavior that was not addressed by those social sciences such as political science, economics and history.

It was Auguste Comte (1798-1857), French scholar, who coined the term “Sociology” in the year 1938, while delivering a series of lectures, which later shaped up in the form of a book entitled ‘Positive Philosophy’. He was the first man to distinguish the subject matter of sociology from all other social sciences. He considered it as ‘Master Science of Society’. Like many other social sciences, it has attained the status of a full-fledged discipline only in the last century. Comte deserves the credit for having established sociology as an independent science and to obtain for sociology a respectable position in the family of social sciences. Hence, Auguste Comte is considered as the ‘founder’ or ‘father’ of sociology. It has a number of sub-fields. The traditional sub-fields include :

  • Sociology of Small Groups
  • Sociology of Religion
  • Sociology of Economic Life
  • Sociology of Family and Marriage
  • Sociology of Law
  • Sociology of Deviance and Control

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The modern sub-fields are :

  • Industrial Sociology
  • Urban Sociology
  • Gender Studies
  • Human Rights
  • Sociology of Science and Technology
  • Sociology of Environment
  • Sociology of Communication

The world sociology is derived from the Latin world ‘socious’ meaning society (associate/ companion) and Greek word ‘Logos’ meaning science or study. The etymological meaning of ‘sociology’ is thus the science of society. Sociology deals with the (theory and practice) description and analysis of social institutions, social processes, social behavior and social system. As a discipline, sociology focuses on the description and explanation of social action, social interaction, social relationships, and social structure and the role of expectations or common beliefs and values people are likely to have about themselves and others within what they regard as their groups. Sociologists use both humanistic and scientific perspectives and tools and a variety of methodological approaches, such as, sociological, structural, functional, institutional, and system’s to examine the processes, systems and social dynamics of all societies and regions of the world.

Sociology provides rich fund of knowledge about society, social institutions, social action, social interaction, social relationship, social change and the causes and consequences of human behavior, and hence is an excellent preparation for life in general. Studying sociology not only increases the understanding of human society but also helps to classify human social behavior systematically. Sociology (the science of society) assists an individual to understand himself, his capacities, talents and limitations. It tells us why man is a social animal, why he lives in groups, communities and societies.

It enables man to adjust himself to the environment. Knowledge of society, social groups, social institutions, associations, their functions etc., help us to lead an effective social life. Modern sociologists study the phenomena of globalization, the concept of nuclear families, the problems of child labor, drug abuse, divorce, gender studies and technology society. While opting subject, a student who becomes interested in Sociology may wonder what possibilities it holds for one’s career. Since its subject-matter is intrinsically fascinating, it offers valuable preparation for careers in a wide variety of Government, Non-profit, and private sector jobs.

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Sociology has always been one of the most popular declared majors and in recent years the hummer of students graduating in sociology is on the rise. In recent times career opportunities are undergoing a number of changes, all of which will be beneficial to the students who graduate with a degree in Sociology. In the times of economic recession, it is understandable for students to worry about their futures and wonder whether their B.A. in Sociology will open the doors to a specific career or even whether there will be any kind of job waiting for them at the end of their Graduation/Post Graduation.

But in recent years due to globalization, privatization, economic liberalization, information communication and technology revolution, a false impression is being created that social sciences including sociology are not useful. Hence, it is increasingly propagated for social sciences to make way for professional courses in colleges and universities.

This pessimism has resulted in ‘few takers’ of social science subjects on the one hand and a ‘low self-esteem among he graduates of this stream on the other. the argument against social sciences is based on the logic of ‘earning power’ of the learning. This article argues that the basic function of education i not just to enhance the skills and information of the learners but to promote humanization stand as a bulwark against dehumanizing forces in society. Social science subjects exactly do this. Organization of behavior is central in management sciences and one of the major elements in non-management Human behavior is what the social sciences focus upon in understanding different domains of society.

Moreover, in terms of “earning power” also Sociology graduates have some advantage over others for their ability to think abstractly, formulate problems, ask questions, search for answers, examine situations and analyze analytically, reorganize material, rite well, make oral presentation that help others develop insight and make decisions. They also acquire a sense of other cultures and times; the interconnectedness of social life; and different dimensions of life. Consequently, a sociology graduate can have a competitive advantage in today’s information, communication and technological society. Given the breadth, adaptability and utility of sociology, employment opportunity abounds for BA graduates. The following paragraphs present plethora of choices for careers in sociology.

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Teaching

Teaching is one of the popular professions for a graduate and a post graduate with degree in sociology. sociology is of great help in the sense; it keeps us up-to-date on modern social situations, national and international social issues and developments. About seventy percent of sociology degree holders are employed as teachers by the educational institutions (schools/colleges/universities).

They report that their sociology backgrounds very useful in the classroom. Civics is the basic area of study at the school level. If you want to become a sociology/social science teacher, you need Graduation degree in Sociology plus B.Ed. For Lecturer ship at 10+2 level one should posses Masters Degree in Sociology. At the College and university levels one needs a Masters degree in Sociology (55% marks) plus and have cleared National Eligibility Test (NET examination).

This test is conducted by the UGC, New Delhi twice a year in June and December. Although NET is not compulsory for those who have earned M.Phil or Ph.D, yet is is always advantageous to pass this test. Some states also conduct State Level Eligibility Test (SLET) on the pattern of UGC. However, with NET one becomes eligible at all India level, whereas SLET makes one eligible at the state level only.

The Government of India has made announcement for setting up 30 new and world-class Universities, 370 colleges in educationally backward districts, 6000 top class schools in each development blocks, 8 Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), 7 Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) among many other educational institutions. It is worth mentioning here that all IITs and IIMs have recently introduced Sociology as a subject in their social science departments.

Business

Individual’s undergraduate training in sociology can open a variety of doors in business and human service. Sociology majors who enter the business world work in marketing, sales representatives, sales manager, customer relations, consumer research, insurance, human resource, real estate, consumer affairs officer, employee relations, employment interviewing, advertising, mass communication analyst, public opinion pools, trainee officer, personnel officer, consultants in industries etc., find their training in this subject very fruitful in dealing with varied situations in the world of work.

In recent years have there has been an explosion of international organizations, both public and private. This has been accompanied by a similar increase in the number of domestic organizations in India, especially in early 1990’s. Whether it is the United Nations or its specialized agencies or the environmental, human rights, economic and political interest groups, all of them need personnel for management, research and interactions with other public and private entities. While a degree Sociology is an excellent preparation for job in this field, students can further enhance their job prospects by developing some substantive expertise in a particular field.

Administrative Services:

The present world is passing through information communication and technological revolution. The modern society is beset with several social problems of huge concern like family disorganization, community disorganization, juvenile delinquency, drug abuse, alcoholism, terrorism, crime, casteism, untouchability, youth unrest, racial problems, unemployment, poverty, beggary, over-population, environmental degradation, etc. Sociological knowledge is necessary for understanding and planning of society.

The most obvious career path Sociology students consider is in the government levels. At the Central level, the “dream jobs” include IAS, IPS, IFS nd allied services. The Union Public Service Commission, New Delhi conducts preliminary and mains examinations each year for recruiting candidates for these top jobs. One has to qualify the Provincial Civil Services examinations conducted by the State Public Service Commissions for getting inducted in to the State Administrative Services such as Assistant Commissioners, Sub-divisional Magistrates and other junior administrative positions, and Allied Services like BDO, Tehsildar, District Public Relation Officer, CDPO, Tehsil Welfare Officer, and many other important positions.

Sociology is considered as one of the most scoring papers in these examinations. Sociology students have advantage over others in General Studies, Essay Paper and Interview as most of the questions are related to the Sociology. It is therefore not surprising that several IAS toppers and majority of the aspirants have taken Sociology as one of their optional subjects.

Research

A student after completing M.A. can step further for M.Phil. or Ph.D or make an end itself. The Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is the highest degree in academics, while the Master’s degree is a preliminary effort to become a researcher. M.Phil. is the sandwich between M.A. and a Ph.D. degree. It is a further extension of research in sociology and for that one needs to have a Master’s degree in the subject.

There are some premier Research Institutes and Universities in India that undertake major research projects on various current issues in sociology sponsored both by Indian or foreign funding agencies. A research degree in sociology enables students to opt for jobs, such as, Social Scientist/ Research Fellows / Research Officers / Research Analyst / Research Associates / Investigators / Demographer / Policy Analyst / Urban Planner / / Community Counselor / Programmer Evaluator, etc. research scholars may avail fellowship from UGC, Research Foundation, Ministry of HRD, Ministry of Social Justine and Empowerment and Social Defence, Criminology and Correctional Administration (Ministry of Home Affairs), UNICEFF, WHO, NGOs, and other leading institutes and funding agencies.

Community Development And Social Service

Sociologists are involved in polity formation, evaluation and programme implementation in the field of planning and rural development. There is increasing attention of planners and administrators towards the crucial contribution sociologists and other social scientists can make in the field of rehabilitation and counseling.

Hence all developmental projects have opened new avenues for the students of sociology. Opportunities are in abundance in social sector as well, such as, neighborhood and community service development, or in social policy areas dealing with child, youth, agenizing, women’s issue and programmes. They are also involved in programme implementation and development, in social and environmental impact assessment, child welfare, adoption and child care agencies, fund raising for social service organizations, social work, public welfare, community development agencies or environmental groups and in evaluation in areas from health programmes.

Health, Family And Child Development Services

The sociological perspective in particularly useful in understanding and solving various social problems and building a foundation for life-long learning. The sociology major students can become health educators, liaison officer, child development project officer, district programme officer, family and child development officer, marriage counselor, gerontologist, substance abuse counselor, family and health planner, rehabilitation counselor, etc. in government and non-governmental organizations.

Media And Journalism

Sociology students have for long found employment in some fields of communication but this trend accelerated in India in the mid 1980’s. Newspapers, News Magazines and to a lesser extent the electronic-news media have always needed individuals capable of understanding and communicating the significance of national/international social issues.

There are more opportunities for those who understand socio-economic-political issues, research problems and then write clear coherent stories. A student with degree in sociology have advantage over other others to work in areas such as Mass Communication Analysis, Public Opinion Polls, Media, Media and Public Communications, Community Consultations, and TV, Radio and Internet Advertising, etc. However, Sociology students considering a career in Journalism and mass communications are advised to get a degree or diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from recognized University.

Criminology, Correctional And Educational Institutions.

A major in sociology can find job in Social Service Agencies, Non-profit Organizations, Rehabilitation Centers, Educational Instructions, and Correctional Institutions. Some may work for non-profit groups dealing with issues, such as domestic violence, women’s rights, prisoner’s right, and child advocacy etc. One can get appointed as Prison Welfare Officer, Probation Officer, Parole Officer, Rehabilitation Officer, District Drug Prohibition Officer, Substance Abuse Counselor, Admission Counselor, Placement Officer, Private Security Officer, and Criminal Justine Worker.

List of Universities in India

Almost all Universities throughout the Globe offer Graduate, Postgraduate and Research Degrees in Sociology. Following is the list of some top Universities in India that offer degrees in Sociology.

  • Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh
  • Allahabad University, Allahabad
  • Banaras Hindu University.
  • Himachal Pradesh university, Shimla
  • Jadavpur University, Kolkata
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  • North Eastern Hill University, Shillong
  • Pondicherry University, Pondicherry
  • Panjab University, Chandigarh
  • University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad
  • University of Madras, Chennai
  • University of Mumbai, Mumbai
  • University of Rajasthan, Jaipur
  • Utkal University, Bhubaneswar

Summing up this discussion on carrier opportunities, it may be argued that Sociology gives enough choices in building one’s career. It provides students with a useful background to develop an understanding of the complex nature of human societies. Sociology stimulates awareness about contemporary socio-cultural, political and economic issues, and examines these issues in a rigorous and analytical way. To be clear enough, it is not just that the present job opportunities are good but the future is equally bright in Sociology.

Job seekers can get most job advertisements in Sociology through internet, newspapers, Employment News / Rozgar Samachar and from College / University’s Information and Guidance Bureau. Above all, one need to explore avenues and sociology definitely holds promise in variety of careers.

By
Dr. Ravinder Chauhan

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