Career Choices

What is the Best Course to Study in Malaysia?

What is the Number 1 or Top Course to Study in Malaysia?

Choosing a course to study is a process in finding out who you are, what you are good at and its job prospects. Choosing the right course to study in Malaysia after high school is one of the most important decisions you can make in your life. This can be a confusing and difficult time if you are unprepared. Therefore, one of the top questions for a student is “What is the Best Course to Study?”. Technically, there is not one best course to study in Malaysia for you, the question should actually be, “What is the Best course to Study in Malaysia that Fits Me?”

It can be confusing for students to choose the right major for their undergraduate degree studies in Malaysia. Preparations should have been made even before this time but fear not it is still not too late if you have not decided on a career path. It is important for you to research carefully the career that you intend to pursue.

In addition, Industry 4.0 is signalling a change in the traditional manufacturing landscape. Also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0 encompasses three technological trends driving this transformation: connectivity, intelligence and flexible automation. BETWEEN 3.3 million and 6 million jobs are expected to be created in Malaysia by 2030, but with the new age of automation Industrial 4.0, preparation and training are fast becoming the critical factor as the new workforce would need new skills.

Furthermore, the International Labor Organization has estimated that almost 300 million jobs are at risk due to the coronavirus pandemic. Of those that are lost, almost 40% will not come back. According to research by the University of Chicago, they will be replaced by automation to get work done more safely and efficiently.

What are the implications of these future trends for key aspects
of the future workforce and workplace that would concern you as a student? To address this question, we take a closer look at the major factors that are expected to shape the world of work in the coming decades so that you can be prepared by choosing the best course to study so that you will be prepared for a career in the era of Industrial Revolution 4.0 in Malaysia and globally.

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Which Courses are the Best for a Future Career in Malaysia?

Choosing the right course to study in Malaysia after high school is one of the most important decisions you can make in your life. This can be a confusing and difficult time if you are unprepared. With the wide variety of courses available to a student, it can be confusing if not guided properly by an experienced and knowledgeable education counsellor.

To choose which is the best course to study for you, you have to ask the following questions:

  • What are my interests?
  • What am I good at?
  • What are my talents?
  • What’s the results from my high school exams? This would reflect which subjects you are good at.
  • What is the budget for my studies?
  • What kind of lifestyle do I want in the future? A big bungalow or a simple house? Expensive car or fuel efficient? Travel?
  • How much money would I need to take care of my future family?
  • How much money would I need to take care of my parents when they grow old?
  • What is the future job demand for the course that I am interested in?
  • What is the future salary for the job?

A Fast Changing Future Job Landscape

The International Labor Organization has estimated that almost 300 million jobs are at risk due to the coronavirus pandemic. Of those that are lost, almost 40% will not come back. According to research by the University of Chicago, they will be replaced by automation to get work done more safely and efficiently. Particularly at risk are so-called “frontline” jobs – customer service, cashiers, retail assistant, and public transport being just a few examples. But no occupation or profession is entirely future proof. Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), even tasks previously reserved for highly trained doctors and lawyers – diagnosing illness from medical images, or reviewing legal case history, for example – can now be carried out by machines.

At the same time, the World Economic Forum, in its 2020 Future of Jobs report, finds that 94% of companies in the UK will accelerate the digitization of their operations as a result of the pandemic, and 91% are saying they will provide more flexibility around home or remote working.

The world of work is in constant change. Email, video conferencing, and cloud sharing are now the norm and millions of people now work in the gig economy, rather than on structured payrolls. But perhaps the greatest debate about the future of work is centered on automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics, and their potential effects on jobs.

BETWEEN 3.3 million and 6 million jobs are expected to be created in Malaysia by 2030, but with the new age of automation Industrial 4.0, preparation and training are fast becoming the critical factor as the new workforce would need new skills.

The unemployment rate among fresh graduates is expected to increase to 25% this year, 2020. In comparison to last year, it is a jump from 13.8%. The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) said 75,000 out of 300,000 fresh graduates are expected to be unemployed in 2020 due to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, 41,161 out of 330,557 graduates from 2019 are still unemployed. With the addition of 75,000 from 2020, the total unemployment among the group will add up to a whopping 116,161 people.

Last year, 189,543 out of 330,557 graduates managed to get a job six months after they graduated.

The youth unemployment in Malaysia is at 13.2%. The highest unemployment rate is seen among those aged 15 to 19, at 18.7%, followed by those aged 20 to 24, at 11.9%, according to the Economic Outlook Report 2019 issued by the finance ministry

Furthermore, the ever-increasing cost of living in Malaysia is making it challenging for fresh graduates and working professionals to support their lifestyle. In light of that, it would be important for students to plan ahead what career that you want to enter into so that you can choose a course that has future job demand and high salary in Malaysia.

By having a view of emerging job trends, it is hoped that students would be inspired to draw up study plans and select career choices and pathways as early as schooling years up to university level that will ensure success in future careers and work environments.

Rapid Change in Technology Impacting Jobs of the Future

Malaysia government’s focus was also in line with its efforts to meet the challenges of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) that requires highly skilled human capital. More new job opportunities would emerge as the digital revolution unfolded, and cited the World Economic Forum’s estimate that 65% of the workforce will work in the yet to be created job sector because it requires digital skills.With the evolution of technology, the current job landscape in Malaysia has changed drastically. In many industries and countries, the current in-demand occupations or specialties did not exist 10 or even five years ago. The rise of technology has led to a disruption in the way we work and live. The Digital Era has changed the way we work.

As the digital economy grows, Malaysia must be prepared to choose jobs that will be in demand in the future as well as still exist. 75 million job roles are expected to disappear by 2022 according to the “Future of Jobs Report 2018” by the World Economic Forum,. Furthermore, another 133 million roles are expected to emerge.

In 2017, the McKinsey Global Institute found that about half the activities people are paid to do could potentially be automated using technologies that exist today. While few occupations can be entirely automated, 60% of all occupations have at least 30% of constituent activities that can be automated.

Some of the biggest changes will occur in jobs that require routine physical activity in a predictable setting, such as operating machinery or preparing food. About 50% of the work time in Malaysia is spent on these types of highly automatable activities.”

McKinsey says its study indicates that by 2030, automation could displace up to 25% of hours (equivalent to about 4.5 million workers) in Malaysia. Yet, the country’s job outlook is ultimately promising as the job losses will be more than offset by the demand for new skills and labour.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), artificial intelligence (AI), innovation, automation, Internet of Things (IOT) and other technological advancement would impact all industries. The Industry 4.0 will change the kinds of jobs needed across all market sectors. Therefore, students must possess the right skills to value-add, creative, empathetic and interactive in a technology-driven job landscape.

Malaysia has a high unemployment rate among its graduates. Thus, it is vital for students to consider carefully in the early stages which courses that would lead to jobs that will be high in demand in future. Ask advise from knowledgeable and experienced counselors who can assess you, advise you with evidence based information and guide you to the best course that suits you.

Choosing the Right Course, Possessing Soft Skills & Having a Good Command Increases Your Chances of Employability

The study showed that having good grades did not guarantee employment for Malaysian graduates. Therefore, graduates must have a good command of English and other soft skills such as analytical thinking, intelligence, independence, leadership, communication and computer skills and work experience.In a research, commissioned by the Ministry of Women and Family and Community Development, it was found that there was very little variation in CGPA between employed and unemployed graduates. This explains why the overall academic performance did not affect the chance of becoming employed graduates. On the other hand, graduates who had higher English proficiencies were employed compared to unemployed graduates.

The results showed that the chance of being employed rose with an increase in English proficiency. The only significant personality variable is leadership and technical skills and this variable consisted of constructs such as possessing analytical thinking, being intelligent, independent, having leadership skills, communication and computer skills and possessing work experience.

Most of these challenges are more pronounced for graduates who come from rural areas because they are less exposed to speaking in English and almost all of them study in the public universities where Bahasa Malaysia is used as the medium of instruction.

In another study by the Ministry of Higher Education on the National Graduate Employability, Prospective employers complain of fresh Institution of Higher Learning (IHL) graduates lacking the  prerequisite attributes; more than 50% of fresh graduates are deemed to be unsatisfactory in English  communication skills, and yet, many of these young, inexperienced job-seekers expect unrealistically high starting salaries.

Currently, deficiencies are seen in the areas of communication, ICT knowledge, and professional and technical skills which have resulted in an insufficient supply of employable graduates. This situation is further aggravated by university students not pursuing fields of study that are relevant to industry

Every year about 180,000 students graduate with diplomas and degrees from institutions of higher learning. The most common problems identified by employers are:

  • poor command of English (55.8%)
  • poor character, attitude or personality (37.4%)
  • asking for unrealistic salary/benefits (33%)
  • mismatch of skills (30.2%)
  • choosy in job/company (27.7%)
  • no demonstrated ability to solve problems (25.9%)
  • skill knowledge not in-depth enough (23.8%)

As the main demand of industry is to employ graduates who are GSA (Generic Student Attribute) centred, from the above it is obvious that these skills are lacking among fresh graduates.

Top Courses to study for a future Career in Malaysia

Check out the best careers that you can get today as well as the ones that are more futuristic:

Below is a list of Top 10 Courses that students can consider studying in Malaysia. Some of them have very high job demand and salary, while others not so much. There are many factors in choosing a course such as your interest & skills, your academic results, the budget for your studies, job demand, salary, and more.

The list would serve as a guide in your decision-making.

  1. Best Computer Science, Computing & Information Technology (IT) Courses to Study in Malaysia
    Software Engineering at Asia Pacific University (APU)

    I was confused about what to study & at which university. Talking to EduSpiral helped clear my doubts.
    Zen Yi, Graduated from Software Engineering at Asia Pacific University (APU)

  2. Best Accounting, Finance & Quantitative Studies Courses to Study in Malaysia
  3. Best Business Management Courses to Study in Malaysia
  4. Best Engineering & Built Environment Courses to Study in Malaysia
  5. Best Mass Communication Courses to Study in Malaysia
  6. Best Hospitality, Tourism & Culinary Arts Courses to Study in Malaysia
  7. Best Art and Design Courses to Study in Malaysia
  8. Best Health Science Courses to Study in Malaysia
  9. Best Applied Science Courses to Study in Malaysia
  10. Best Humanities & Social Science Courses to Study in Malaysia

Do your Research so that you can Choose the Best Course to Study

  • The internet, newspapers, television and people around you are the best sources of information.
  • Check online about the courses you are interested in and find out about the career prospects and the other info.
  • Find facts and evidence to support the career and job prospects.
  • Starting salaries and how much you can earn eventually.
  • Go to education fairs and Open Days to see the campuses and collect the brochures.
  • Speak to professionals in your field of interest and find out what it is like working in that job.
  • People who have completed university courses can give you an insight from a student’s perspective – they can tell you the pros and cons.
  • Listen to people who are experienced in the industry or know what they are talking about. Not just simply listen to Aunties or Friends who don’t know what they are talking about.
  • Talk to your school counselor or an experienced career guidance counselor. This is important as you would not ask a Doctor on how to repair your car so you must ask the right person to help you.
  • Ask your parents and friends what type of personality you are and what could fit you however note that some parents may not be objective and want you to choose the course they want for you.

What do I want to do for my career?

"I was confused and had some questions. EduSpiral met up with me and my mum to explain more about the course and helped me choose the right course."

“I was confused and had some questions. EduSpiral met up with me and my mum to explain more about the course and helped me choose the right course.”
Gary, Accounting Graduate from University of Wollongong Malaysia (UOWM) KDU

You may have a clear idea of what you want to do for a career which makes choosing a course to study easier, particularly if you want to become a doctor or lawyer. You can search our articles section to see if we’ve already written about your dream graduate career and how you can achieve this.

When making a decision about your career, it is important to take into consideration the average salary. Starting salaries in Malaysia is about RM2800 to RM3000 for most careers while starting salaries in Singapore is about SGD2714.

Although starting salaries is generally the same level for everyone, what you do in the following years of your job will determine how much higher you would get.

Sometimes, the course that you are interested in may not have a high job demand or salary in Malaysia, hence, you have to weigh the cost of taking that course. You have to balance between passion and money.

If you come from a rich family then I guess you have no worries and can go for your passion but if you’re like general population, then you have to consider carefully the future salary of the course that you intend to take.

Many students forget that when they grow older, most will get married and start a family. In addition, you will need to care for your parents when they get old. All these will need money.

Therefore, it is also important to choose the right university that would equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to move up in your career.

Many students make the mistake of choosing the cheapest university for their studies and then later realise that they cannot get the promotion or salary increment because they did not get the skills needed.

English is one of these skills that most students do not take seriously about its importance for promotion and salary increments in future jobs. Think about it, if you are unable to write a report or email in proper English or do a presentation smoothly, how would you be able to become a manager or CEO eventually?

Help! I don’t know what course to choose to study at university- what do I do?

EduSpiral advised & helped me choose the best college for A-Levels. And now I have graduated from a top ranked UK University in Malaysia Dexter Leong, A-Levels at HELP Academy & Degree from University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

EduSpiral advised & helped me choose the best college for A-Levels. And now I have graduated from a top ranked UK University in Malaysia
Dexter Leong, A-Levels at HELP Academy & Degree from University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

It is important to choose the right course to study – you don’t want to waste your time and money on a Course you don’t want to do (or end up dropping out of). To help you decide which course is right for you, make a list of courses that are of interest to you.

Is it a subject you have already studied? For example, maybe you loved the English subject and you read novels for pleasure in your own time. You can consider Teaching English as a Second Language, journalism or Mass Communication. In addition, you don’t have to do a journalism degree to become a journalist – many degrees are considered!

Maybe you’ve always been interested in computers and the internet at home, and enjoyed maths at school, so are considering a degree in computer science, a course subject you probably won’t have studied before.

Experienced education counselors are able to analyse your interests, personality and exam results to help you make a list of possible courses for consideration.

Culinary Arts Graduate from KDU University College

I found information on KDU’s Culinary Arts programme easily through EduSpiral. He answered all my questions quickly & helped me to register.
Wei Kang,
Culinary Arts Graduate from KDU University College

Looking at your results in SPM, UEC or O-Levels could help you to decide which course you would be good at. If you are good in Maths & Physics then you can consider Engineering courses. Having good results in Chemistry, Biology & Maths, you can think of a career in Food Science, Pharmacy or Medicine.

Talking to an experienced education advisor would help you to navigate through this confusing time of choosing the best course that fits you.

Many students make the mistake of just listening to advise without verifying whether the information given is true or not. In addition, just because you have heard or seen a lot of advertisements by a particular university, doesn’t mean that it is the best in that course.

You should also ask yourself if you would still be interested in that subject for a further three or four years – enough to motivate yourself to work and research independently? Remember, you are going to work in this career for the next 50 years after graduation, therefore, you should have a high interest in the course.

The course that you choose should also have a job demand for you after you graduate. Choosing a course that you are passionate about without job demand and you may end up being jobless. Look for statistics and research to support whether there is a job demand for your future career in Malaysia or overseas.

Here at EduSpiral Consultant Services, we do our research on the job demand for the careers in Malaysia, Salary Reports, and universities so that we can advise our students based on facts and evidence.

Now why would you want to talk to EduSpiral Consultant Services when you can contact the private universities directly? Well, EduSpiral Consultant Services staff have more than 15 years experience in counseling students.

Having worked in the private education industry, we have in-depth knowledge of each private university and college in what they are good at. We have worked with our partner universities and colleges for many years while the counselors at the private universities or agents’ offices change every few years therefore they would not have the in-depth knowledge of the courses and the university that they are working at.

What am I good at? What am I not good at?

I contacted EduSpiral to find an affordable college for culinary arts. He arranged for me and my mother for a campus tour & helped me find a college that had excellent facilities that I could afford. Fu Wei, Diploma in Culinary Arts Graduate from YTL International College of Hotel Management

I contacted EduSpiral to find an affordable college for culinary arts. He arranged for me and my mother for a campus tour & helped me find a college that had excellent facilities that I could afford.
Fu Wei, Diploma in Culinary Arts Graduate from YTL International College of Hotel Management

An undergraduate degree course in Malaysia lasts three to five years – that’s a long time to spend studying something which you don’t enjoy, especially at a more intense level! First of all ask yourself what you have enjoyed studying at secondary school in Malaysia.

Your SPM or O-Level results will show what you are actually good at. Having good results in Maths, you can consider Actuarial Science, Accounting, Computing or Finance courses.

Certain courses have compulsory subject requirements to enter into them such as the science subjects for Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, etc or Maths & Physics for Engineering courses. If your results are good in these subjects then you can consider them.

Having narrowed down to these courses, you can go for the Foundation in Arts for 1 year before really choosing which one to study for your degree.

Alternatively you can also think about subjects you definitely don’t want to study at university level and which you can’t wait to say goodbye to. Crossing these off will make your list of options smaller and less overwhelming.

Your parents and friends would also be able to give you an idea of what you are good at. Looking at your hobbies and interests would help to narrow down the list. Your hobby in drawing could open the possibility of choosing design courses.

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