Psychosocial Factors Involved in Opting Engineering as Career: Qualitative Analysis
Authors: Fatima Afsar and Dr. Humaira Jami
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Research has shown a decreased readiness and motivation of students to pursue engineering fields despite of increased demand for trained workforce for economic growth and development. The present study was undertaken to explore the factors influencing students at their high school level to pursue engineering as a career or not. The objective was to explore students’ perception of psychosocial factors involved in their academic satisfaction, and persistence intention to pursue career in engineering while studying at pre-engineering level. Twelve focus group discussions with students from BS engineering (7) and non-engineering (5) educational fields from different public universities of Islamabad were conducted. Thematic analysis was done to analyze the data. The major themes emerged were academic and vocational interest, motivation, social support, personality characteristics, barriers etc. The result suggests the importance of these factors in pursuing career in engineering where there must be interest of the students in the field opted; they must be motivated to learn in context of social support extended by friends, family and teachers. Beside this, there are some barriers from different sources like academia, parents, teachers, etc. that restrain the students from perusing and getting into engineering field. There were some major group differences among engineering and non-engineering students regarding perception of different themes. Conclusively, both groups differed in their interest, motivation, support, and barriers although students from non-engineering academic fields had high grades and potential to continue engineering, but barriers were stronger in some situations or interest and motivational factors were lacking that inhibited them to pursue career in engineering.