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In the 1980s, solar powered calculators- usually manufactured by Japanese companies- were a novelty. After all, who had ever heard of a device that did not require a battery or an external connection to a source of electricity? How many such devices do you see around you even today?

All that is about to change- we will soon live to see a world without high tension wires or gas stations. The dominance of fossil fuels will continue at least for another decade to come, but there is no halting the rise of renewable energies.

Thanks to the rapid progress achieved in the field of energy research over the last two decades, combined with governmental policies and rising awareness, renewable energies are becoming astonishing affordable. In India, for instance, solar energy is now cheaper than power generated from fossil fuels, with prices currently below 4 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh).

Admittedly, the outlook does not appear too bright for the immediate future as far the United States is concerned. All the same, the Trump Administration’s decision to pull America out of the Paris Climate Accord or the massive budgetary cuts on energy innovation that were recently imposed will only slow down development in the field of energy research, not stop it altogether.

If you intend to pursue energy research as your major, rest assured that it is an excellent career option. With some smart planning, you can lay the seeds for a bright future. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind.

  • Find a good university: First and foremost, check out which are the best institutions. The university that you go to makes a huge impact, not only at the beginning of your career, but well beyond it. The course design and quality of pedagogy are no doubt crucial, but factors like the reputation of the institution, the quality of your peers and the alumni network can help you network and open up opportunities long after you graduate.

  • Writing Skills: The admission process will almost certainly involve writing letters of motivation to universities. Once in college, you will need to write assignments, the odd short essay and even research papers. The need to present your ideas in writing will continue long after you leave university. It pays to develop your writing skills.

  • Extra-academic activities: While selecting your university, you also want to check out the extra academic activities on offer in campus. The best institutes produce people who are not only good in their area of specialisation, but are also well rounded personalities. Besides, these activities help you develop your social network. That’s where several lifelong friendships are formed.

Plan your finances: This is a mantra that ought to be given to every student before he or she embarks on higher education. This may seem boring and even pointless for a person looking to make a career in energy research. Nevertheless, managing the personal finances is an important life skill. With student loan defaults on the rise, make sure you have your plans in place to avoid falling into the vicious spiral of indebtedness.

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