There are several professional pathways to explore in the Indian defence sector, besides the usual Army, Navy, and Airforce tracks. But one thing remains common throughout – most defence careers require the masterful application of one’s self-discipline, leadership qualities, and problem-solving skills.
The defence sector offers opportunities to protect our national frontiers from foreign aggression. That said, it opens up other possibilities of serving civil society and venturing into creative fields. Here’s a compilation of some unconventional career paths that aspirants can consider to combine their analytical Left brain with the artistic Right brain.
List of some offbeat defence careers
Do you have a passion for writing? Are you interested in taking accurate and valuable information to the public? Would you like to apply your gift of words to make an impact? A career in journalism provides a chance to do all this and more.
Many news correspondents and journalists choose to specialize in defence studies. They cover war stories and other events related to military history, international relations, and geo-politics. Their job can also require them to travel, conduct interviews, and report about military exhibitions. Weapon and defence expos are organized both nationally and internationally around the year. These events typically organize press trips to ISRO, DRDO, air bases, nuclear installations, etc.
Similarly, photojournalists highlight relevant topics through the visual medium. They apply their imagination, capture real moments, and use their photographs to bring attention to matters that need public attention. Did you know that war photographer Nick Ut won the Pulitzer Prize for his contributions during the Vietnam war?
You must be familiar with the Medical Corps in the Indian Army. This branch has professionals like doctors and surgeons who offer licensed services to army personnel, veterans, and their families. But there can be many other alternate tracks for those interested in healthcare.
You can think about pursuing a career as a dietician, nutritionist, or wellness expert. Nutrition care specialists are an essential part of the food-service team in the Army. They ensure that the regiment’s diet is as per the set standards and requirements. They also work closely with hospitals, clinics, and other field units to support individual staff members’ ongoing treatments and care. A culinary background or an interest in cooking would come in handy for this role.
Additionally, physical training centres of the military often employ Yoga teachers and wellness instructors. Yoga sessions can prove beneficial in relieving the stress that comes with the job.
- Science & Engineering
Almost all engineering branches have relevance in the defence sector. The technical entry scheme of the Indian armed forces makes it possible for specialists to work on various projects as operators, designers, programmers, and project managers. Openings are available in streams like information technology, mechanical, electrical, and cyber systems.
The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) also recruits for scientific positions in technical fields, such as aeronautical systems, combat engineering, naval systems, etc. Did you know that former Indian president Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam used to work as a scientist at DRDO? The Missile Man of India started his career by designing a small hovercraft!
Suppose you are inclined towards education and research as a professional pursuit. In that case, you can look at completing a Ph.D. in Defence Studies. Doctoral research fellows can find employment as esteemed professors in Indian universities and other educational institutes. They utilize their knowledge, skills, and experience to contribute policy recommendations on defence and security issues. Their job profile includes other aspects like training civilian and military officers of the Government of India.
- Emerging Technologies
Our current defence systems need to integrate new technologies to remain globally competitive. Some examples of emerging tech are drones, big data, autonomous weapons (powered by artificial intelligence), wearable devices, and nanotechnology.
The Ministry of Defence has several projects on the horizon to make use of these capabilities. In the coming years, we will see many opportunities for young scientists who wish to apply advanced imaging techniques or manufacture better military use equipment. So, positions like GIS Analyst and Nanoscientist (Defence R&D wing) are likely to be in high demand.
Nowadays, students have the option of studying unconventional courses like MBA in Defence Technology. Such qualifications can open up lucrative avenues in defence procurement, logistics, and operations.
As Logistics Officers, your primary duty is to apply your managerial prowess in supporting all the missions on the ground, air, and sea. You will need training in subjects like Inventory Management, Finance, and Supply Chain Management.
You can even work in the defence vertical of a strategy consulting and research firm. Global policy think tanks hire Land Warfare Analysts who have expertise in security and military operations.