Are you stuck on a career choice? 

You could flip a coin. Roll a dice. Or close your eyes and blindly pick your career from a list of courses

Or, you could do the smart thing and keep reading. We have shortlisted the hottest courses that will suit your strengths and aptitude. These ten educational programs command respect and prestige within their industries. We have included courses for commerce students and a few others, in case you are not one.

So does your potential lie in investment services? Or are you a prospective ACCA candidate? Let’s find out.

Course #1: The CFA program 

The CFA course sets the benchmark for global standards in investment services. It is an intense program with rigorous training that sharpens your knowledge and skills. 

Eligibility criteria

  • Graduates with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in commerce or finance
  • If you are from an Arts or Science stream, you can apply for the CIFP certificate to prepare for the CFA
  • Professional experience is not mandatory. However, if you’ve worked in an investment advisory firm, your time here will be counted as part or whole of your work requirement to qualify as a CFA member

Course details 

  • The program is divided into 3 parts – CFA level 1, 2 & 3
  • The syllabus covers all the major concepts and topics within the investment management industry
  • Subjects include ethics, economics, portfolio management, corporate finance, equity investments and quantitative methods
  • The CFA exams are 3 hours long with essay-type questions and case studies

Career opportunities

As one of the best professional courses in the investment field, the CFA opens up many job prospects across many major financial firms as

  • Portfolio manager
  • Risk manager
  • Equity research analyst 
  • Investment banking analyst
  • Corporate Financial analyst
  • Credit analyst 

Salary packages

  • Companies such as Deloitte, Ernst & Young, ICICI Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase and KMPG are known to hire CFA members
  • The average annual salary is between 4 to 8 lakhs if you haven’t finished all three levels
  • If you have cleared level 3 exams, you can expect to earn around 7 to 10 lakhs a year 

Accomplished professionals 

Course #2: Financial Modelling course

The Financial Modeling certification is perfect for students interested in accountancy or finance-related professions. The system uses spreadsheet software to make financial predictions and enhance company performance. 

Eligibility criteria

  • Students can do the course after graduation
  • Students should have studied maths, accounting or finance 
  • Undergraduates must have scored 40 per cent or more in their examinations
  • Working knowledge of MS Excel and accountancy/financial concepts may be required 

Course details 

  • The duration of the course is 3 to 6 months, although many students complete it in 4 months
  • Subjects include basic and advance Excel techniques for financial modelling, financial statement analysis, financial ratios, project finance and equity research modelling
  • There are additional online training options that offer VBA and Macros, SQL along with investment banking mergers and acquisitions 
  • After finishing the course, you can apply for an NSE certification
  • You can do the course online or attend a coaching institute 

Career opportunities:

Professionals who have completed the financial modelling course enjoy an edge over their competition. They can apply for job profiles such as: 

  • Equity research analyst
  • Investment banker 
  • Merger and acquisition associate
  • Financial analyst 
  • Financial planner 
  • Consultant 

Salary packages: 

  • While most people take the FM course to supplement their existing qualifications, a financial modeller makes an average salary of 7 to 8 lakhs a year. 
  • Ernst & Young, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Reliance and JP Morgan Chase are some of the larger companies that hire professionals with a financial modelling certification

Accomplished professionals:

Course #3: Certified Financial Planner

The CFP course is an internationally acclaimed program that specialises in financial planning and wealth management. 

Eligibility criteria

  • You should have cleared your 12th-year exams or have a bachelor’s degree at the time of applying for the CFP course 
  • You can apply if you have an existing professional qualification such as CFA or CA

Course details

  • The course duration can last between 6 months to 2 years
  • The syllabus has three modules — investment planning, retirement and tax planning, and risk management and estate planning 
  • You can study for the CFP in a classroom, online or through distance learning
  • The three-track exams are computer-based, two hours long and have multiple-choice questions
  • The computer-based exams are 4 hours long and have case studies
  • After clearing the track exams, you can apply for certification by paying a small fee

Career opportunities 

The CFP-certified professional can take on many roles within the financial planning industry, such as:

  • Relationship manager 
  • Financial planner
  • Stockbroker
  • Asset manager
  • Tax consultant
  • Wealth manager 

Salary packages

  • Junior level professionals can earn between 2 to 5 lakhs a year
  • Mid-level managers can take home 5 to 12 lakhs annually
  • Senior management and department heads can make over 20 lakhs per annum
  • You can work for companies like LIC India, ICICI Bank, Deloitte and Ernst & Young

Accomplished professionals

Course #4: Data Science certificate/PG diploma

As the corporate world undergoes a radical digital transformation, there has never been a greater need for data science than now. The data science course teaches you how to turn data into insights that help businesses improve their profits and performance.

Eligibility criteria

  • To apply for a PG diploma in data science, you need a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 50 percent average 
  • It helps if you have a degree in computer science, engineering or technology 
  • Working knowledge of maths and statistics is required 

Course details

  • It is a one year program
  • It uses a case-study approach to give a more hands-on learning experience
  • The syllabus covers business analytics, AI and advanced ML, data tools and projects 
  • It includes programming software and tech tools such as Python, SQL, Tableau and statistical methods 
  • You can learn online or in a classroom 

Career opportunities 

All corporate businesses stand to benefit from hiring data scientists. Some industries that use data science effectively are:

  • Banks
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Automobile industry 
  • Retail
  • Travel and hospitality 
  • Media services 
  • E-commerce 

After you receive your diploma, you can apply for job profiles such as:

  • Business analyst 
  • Business intelligence developer 
  • Data engineer 
  • Marketing analysts
  • HR analyst professionals 
  • Data scientist 

Salary packages

  • Even though this field is relatively new compared to other professional courses, the salaries are on par
  • The average salary is around seven lakhs a year for most data scientists 
  • Freshers earn approximately four lakhs a year 
  • Experienced professionals can make 20 lakhs to a crore
  • Companies like Amazon, Flipkart, Accenture and IBM are always looking for data science specialists

Accomplished professionals

Course #5: Cyber security certificate/PG diploma

Students with a penchant for IT, coding and technology can opt for the cyber security course. It is one of the fastest rising fields, as there is a strong demand for digital protection and safety procedures against cyber threats. 

Eligibility criteria

  • You should be a graduate, preferably from an IT or computer science background 

Course details

  • The certificate course is for one year
  • Teaches you valuable skills and establishes a strong foundation in IT-based knowledge 
  • The certificate offers three modules — System, network deep dive and security analysis
  • Subjects include operating systems, networking concepts, network security, attacks, threats and vulnerabilities

Career opportunities 

While the field is relatively new, the opportunities are booming. Job profiles include:

  • Security analyst
  • IT auditor
  • Security engineer 
  • Network and cloud engineer 
  • Cybersecurity architect 

Salary packages

  • Beginners start with an annual salary of 4-5 lakhs 
  • Experienced candidates can earn 10 to 17 lakhs a year
  • Established professionals can make over 20 lakhs per annum
  • Most companies need cyber security experts but especially those in IT such as Apple, Intel and Microsoft

Accomplished professionals

Course #6: Business Analytics course

The Business Analytics certification helps students learn to use data to enhance business operations and company performance by using specific tools and techniques. 

Eligibility criteria

  • Students with a degree or diploma can apply 
  • Professionals can also register 
  • A good understanding of maths is needed

Course details

  • The duration is 3 to 6 months
  • Subjects taught include statistical methods, data mining techniques along with software expertise such as SAS, R and Excel
  • You can attend a classroom, live virtual classes or study via distance learning

Career opportunities 

Your business analytics certification can get you a job as a:

  • Business analyst 
  • Data scientist 
  • Project manager 
  • Assistant general manager

Salary packages

  • Entry-level salaries are at five lakhs a year
  • Experienced professionals can earn around 14 lakhs annually
  • Upper management can take home over 25 lakhs every year
  • Companies such as Citibank, Mckinsey, LIC and Airtel hire business analysts 

Accomplished professionals

Course #7: ACCA course

The ACCA is a globally accepted certification in accounting and has a strong presence in India that is slowly growing from strength to strength.

Eligibility criteria

  • You can apply after your 12th year, but you need at least 65% in English and Maths or accounts. 
  • You need a minimum of 50% in the other subjects
  • You can apply after finishing your bachelor’s degree in commerce or finance 

Course details

  • The syllabus has three levels — Knowledge, Skills and Professional 
  • There are 13 exams 
  • Some professional qualifications can get paper exemptions
  • The exam schedule is flexible and online 
  • The course takes 2-3 years (depends on how many exemptions you have)

Career opportunities 

An ACCA certification makes you eligible to work as an accountant in many major companies worldwide. Some of the profiles are:

  • Management accountant 
  • Tax accountant 
  • Business advisor 
  • Fund manager 
  • Risk manager 
  • Chief financial officer 

Salary packages

  • Some companies who hire ACCA-certified employees are the big 4 firms, Citibank, Accenture and HSBC
  • The annual salary for a fresher is around 3 to 4 lakhs
  • The average salary for an experienced accountant is 8 to 14 lakhs 
  • High ranking ACCA executives can earn 25 to 50 lakhs a year 

Accomplished professionals

Course #8: CIMA

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants is a prestigious accounting course with an international presence.

Eligibility criteria

The course is open to almost everyone, with a few conditions attached

  • If you are an undergraduate or a graduate from a non-commerce stream, you will have to do a fundamental course before you can apply 
  • Commerce graduates, M.com graduates and certain professional certifications can apply and receive exemptions 

Course details

  • The syllabus has four levels. The first level is only for non-commerce students. The remaining three levels are — Operational, Management and Strategic
  • The exams take place every quarter. The paper will have two components — objective and case studies
  • Takes 3 to 6 years to complete. If you go through a good coaching school, you can finish it much sooner

Career opportunities 

A CIMA qualification will open up many avenues for you as:

  • Management accountant 
  • Financial controller
  • Forensic accountant 
  • Business analyst

Salary packages

  • The average annual salary is around ten lakhs 
  • Highly experienced professionals can earn 30 lakhs or more
  • You can work for companies such as HSBC, Accenture, Standard Chartered and Shell India

Accomplished professionals

Course #9: Investment Banking certification

The Investment banking course leads to a lucrative, booming financial career where you learn how to increase wealth and raise capital for many companies.

Eligibility criteria

  • It is a good course for undergraduates 
  • MBAs and graduates can also apply 

Course details

  • You can attend classrooms or live virtual classes
  • The syllabus incorporates topics such as finance basis, Corporate finance and valuation, mergers and acquisitions
  • You also learn MS Excel basics and financial modeling 

Career opportunities 

Some of the roles you can apply for are:

  • Equity research analyst 
  • Investment banking analyst 
  • Portfolio manager 

Salary packages

  • Average salaries are between 4 lakhs to 10 lakhs
  • Join companies like KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Credit Suisse with your certificate

Accomplished professionals

Course # 10: Digital Marketing course

As the world moves online, traditional marketing is slowly giving way to digital marketing. The Digital Marketing professional course teaches new-age advertising and marketing techniques.

Eligibility criteria

  • You must be a graduate to apply for this course

Course details

  • The syllabus includes subjects such as internet marketing foundations, SEO, email marketing and social media 
  • You can do the course live online or in a classroom

Career opportunities 

  • Digital Marketing Manager
  • SEO Specialist
  • Social Media Manager
  • Brand manager

Salary packages

  • Digital marketing professionals start at around 5 lakhs a year
  • Experienced managers can earn over 19 lakhs per annum

Accomplished professionals

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