We had a computer program at school called Kudos. Being an eternal daydreamer and future fantasist, I loved it. It was a piece of careers software that asked a series of questions, each designed to ascertain your preferences and suggest your ideal career path. I treated the program like my mother. I told it what it wanted to hear. At that stage, I wanted to be an investment banker or stockbroker. This was due to the perception I had that these people made copious amounts of money and strutted around in great suits. I fed the program the answers I thought it needed to spit out this career option. Needless to say, I got ‘investment banker’ as my ideal path, and needless to say I would’ve made a terrible investment banker.
The new careers software on the block is a website called Plotr. The site is a government backed not-for-profit that is careers advice tool for young people. The site is packed with resources, articles, interviews and general content to interact wit, enabling you to find out more about the world of careers. The tour de force of the site, however, is the Plotr game. This little gem takes the place of my beloved Kudos software. The game takes you through a series of questions, each designed to ascertain your ideal career.
The first step in the process is to create a Plotr account. This can be done by connecting the service to your Facebook, speeding up the process. . When I logged in for the first time, I was presented with numerous careers articles of exciting appearance (due to great photos) and alluring headlines. I opted not to read any of these and headed straight for my old nemesis, the careers game.
The game is split into 9 levels, each one delving deeper into the careers landscape. The questions are a mixture of preference based choices(Strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, strongly disagree), ranking in terms of preference and likes and dislikes. All are multiple choice and are easy to go through.
Level one had me selecting “like” or “dislike” in response to a number of career scenarios. I resolved myself to be completely honest, avoiding the temptation to input answers I thought would lead to careers like “Brad Pitt’s stunt double” (unfortunately I am too good looking) or “Tropical Island Gardener” (unfortunately I’m afraid of tropical islands and gardens). As you go through the game, your careers suggestions are listed on the right hand side, and are ever changing depending upon your answers. Plotr even tells you its confidence levels based on how much of the game you have completed and the answers you have provided.
A career as a psychologist was the early front runner, holding on to top spot for a number of rounds. You could “click out” at any stage and read more about each career suggestion. I was in it for the long haul though. I had come this far and needed to know my fate.
The levels progressed from “career must haves” to “basic interests” to “abilities you want to use in your career” and to “company culture”. After each level, I was awarded a badge that stated my allegiance to Plotr, from “Newbie Enthusiast” to “Advanced Enthusiast”.
The game took about 40 minutes in total. In the main, I was motivated to continue. There were occasions when the questions felt repetitive and my attention sidetracked, but Plotr offered plenty of options for the easily distracted soul. At any point, you could explore the plethora of resources on the site and discover more about careers you are interested in.
The best thing about Kudos at school was getting to the end of the quiz and watching the game load with bated breath as it decided your future. It was as if the decision it arrived to was legally binding, banishing you to a life in that particular career regardless of whether you liked it or not. At the end of Plotr, there was no loading bar (due to technological advances, alas), just the option to view its recommendations. I clicked on the “recommended careers” button to seal my fate. I was to become an Astronomer. Brian Cox, watch your back, I have a telescope and I am not afraid to use it!
I slipped back into old school days habit when I got the result, clicking straight through to the “average salary” tab. Some things never change!
All in all, the game was fun to play, easy to understand and complete, and was also very insightful. The quiz was a little long for my impatient nature, but within the context of a classroom, this is probably a good thing; it would’ve kept me busy for 40 minutes.
The insights at the end confirmed some things I already knew, such as my love for science, but also suggested careers that I had never really thought of. Exploring these was fantastic fun and a valuable exercise for a young person to complete.
You can create a Plotr account, for free, here. Discover your future in a few short clicks!