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Best degree to do if you don't know what to do

Confused about what to do at university? Here's ex-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball's advice. Source: Getty

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull studied law at university, but had a stern word for prospective students at this year’s StartCon event. 

“A lot of people study law because they think it’s a good background degree,” he said.

“It’s not. If you want to acquire some skills that are of general applicability, look at anything that is quantitative.

“That might be computer science, engineering subjects, it might be maths or financial subjects.”

But he said the issue is the government isn’t promoting the value of digital literacy. 

“We need to promote the value of digital literacy as an academic endowment in and of itself,” he said. 

“In other words, I think being digitally literate is an advantage regardless of whether you go into coding or software, or any form of technology business.”

Freelancer.com chief Matt Barrie had the same advice in September's Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit. 

“If you get a lot more people into the right areas in university, then four years later, they'll come out and get high paying jobs, and they pay more income tax, they start companies to pay company tax and so forth,” he said.

“But to fix that, you've got to fix the secondary school system. You’ve got to do it for year 10.

“Every kid wants to build the next Facebook, work on Google Glass, Space X, AI but they cannot connect the dots between what they're told at school and the career path and you’ve just got to fix the education system, and then out the other side in four years, you'll have people with a lot more skill and get better paying jobs.”

And shaking up Australia’s education system when it comes to the skills sector was a point minister for innovation, technology and the future of work, Clare O’Neil, raised with Yahoo Finance too

“I reckon anywhere you go in the country, every party in the skills sectors including teachers and students will tell you there’s a lot of quality difference from state to state, institution to institution,” O’Neil said.

“And, there’s huge frustration from students coming out the other end often having paid a lot of money for qualifications that actually haven’t fit them that well to do the work that is needed.”

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