There are myriads of courses studied in Nigerian universities; while some of these courses offer students promising career opportunities, others lack value in the labour market. Indubitably, lying at the heart of your job prospects (employability) is the field you opt for at the inception of your program in a tertiary institution. A sizeable percentage of Nigerian graduates today are not employable, and what plays a key role in this menace is, making poor choices as regards the course of study.
By some estimates, tertiary education institutions in this country churn out as much as 500,000 graduates every year. And some Nigerian graduates that have acquired their education abroad also come back home to compete for jobs. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Minister for Finance, said in 2014 that no fewer than 1.8 million Nigerian graduates enter the labour market annually. These developments — coupled with the high unemployment rate of 23.1%, according to the National Bureau Statistics 2019 report — are a pointer to the stiff competition graduates face in the labour market.
Most Marketable Courses in Nigerian Universities
Choosing your course at the university, strategically, can go a long way in strengthening your job prospects upon graduation. Here are the top 10 marketable courses in Nigerian universities today. (Kindly note that these areas of specialization are not listed in any particular order.)
Economics/Accounting and Finance
One of the competitive advantages an Economics graduate has over their counterparts in Accounting/Finance is that they can work in many roles. While Accounting is among the best courses you can study in this country — since the services of accountants are required in every professional field — getting a degree in Accounting alone without any professional qualifications may not be quite helpful. Having said that, graduates of Economics, Accounting, and Finance are well sought-after in companies and businesses all over Nigeria. To enhance your job prospects after getting a Bachelor’s degree in accounting, you can try to seat professional certification examination, or enrol for Master’s program as well as a doctorate degree in different sub-fields under Accounting.
It is very rare to see a qualified Medical Doctor that is unemployed. While you may not earn up to ₦500,000 a month when your career as a doctor is still at the nascent stage, medicine is a course which guarantees you job the most. Medicine and Surgery is one of the most competitive courses to study in a Nigerian university and runs for 6–7 years, depending on whether you are a UTME or DE (direct entry) candidate. On completing your degree, you will be granted M.B.B.S. or MB.B.Ch.B.
According to the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON), “Architecture is the art and science of the theory and practice of design, erection, commissioning, maintenance, management and coordination of allied professionals inputs thereto of building or groups of buildings… .” It is among the top courses that are studied in this country, today. One thing you can be sure of as a graduate of architecture is, you can work for a building firm and simultaneously work privately. As an architect, your expertise will always be required for designing and constructing buildings as well as other structures.
Biochemistry is another field that is growing in popularity in Nigerian tertiary institutions. Biochemistry, which deals with the study of the chemical processes that take place within living organisms, is an interdisciplinary course, involving both biology and chemistry. It’s divided into 3 broad fields: protein science, molecular genetics as well as metabolism. As a biochemist, you can work in hospitals, clinics, public health agencies, health-based NGOs, etc.
This is a broad field incorporating various kinds of management positions. Business administrators are needed in different companies and businesses, including independent businesses and major corporations. And what a trained administrator does is to handle the managerial, organizational as well as operational responsibilities of a firm or a company. Getting a degree in Business Admin offers you several lucrative and well-paying opportunities in the labour market.
Though in recent times, Law has declined in economic value as the supply is rapidly outstripping demand, which affects pricing, it is still one of the best courses in Nigeria. You still stand a good chance of making decent earnings with a degree in Law, whether you go into the corporate world or decide to practice or venture into allied things, such as real estate agency.
Chemical Engineering &Petroleum Engineering
These 2 are among the most marketable courses in Nigerian universities. And the reason for this is clear: Petroleum has been the mainstay of the Nigerian economy for quite some time. Hence, petroleum companies are one of the highest paying companies in this country. Thus, when it comes to career prospects and financial reward, petroleum and chemical engineering are among the top courses in this country’s tertiary institutions.
Civil Engineering ranks high among the best engineering courses in universities in Nigeria. According to the Institute of Civil Engineers (also called ICE), “civil engineers design, create and connect up the world around us.” Civil Engineering’s a professional engineering field that has to do with design, construction as well as maintenance of the naturally & physically built environment, in addition to constructions, like bridges, airports, canals, pipelines, dams, sewerage systems, roads, railways, etc. Created in 1970, the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (C.O.R.E.N.) is a statutory body of the FG (Federal Government) for regulating the Practice of Engineering in every aspect and ramification in this country.
Computer Engineering & Information Technology
Not only are these 2 courses among the most marketable courses in Nigeria, but also around the world. As we’re in the digital age (the fourth industrial revolution), the information technology (IT) industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors all over the globe, today. If you are a professional in this field, your skills will be in high demand in any country in the world, particularly if you have acquired special IT skills. Getting a degree in computer engineering or IT presents you with several wonderful career prospects. You can even learn special information technology skills outside the four walls of a university.
Engineering courses, generally, are one of the most sought-after courses in universities in this country. Further, among these engineering courses, Electrical Engineering’s one of the most popular courses prospective undergraduates opt for every year. As an Electrical Engineer, you are an expert in the study & application of electricity, electronics as well as electromagnetism. While job opportunities for Electrical Engineers aren’t readily available, the field is still among the most marketable courses you can go into in the country.
Highlighted above are the marketable courses in Nigerian universities this year. While enrolling for a marketable course is a key factor that can boost your employability when seeking jobs, you can also enhance your job prospects by acquiring relevant hands-on skills, such as IT skills, writing, designing, farming, sowing, plaiting, etc. Because irrespective of the course you studied in school, what employers are looking for is the value you can add to their firm or company.
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