A career as an economist is a professional who studies and analyzes various economic issues, such as the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Economists use economic theories, models, and data to understand how economies function and to provide insights into various economic phenomena.
Economists often work in a variety of settings, including government agencies, research institutions, universities, financial institutions, and consulting firms. Their work is diverse and can involve researching and forecasting economic trends, evaluating policies, advising governments and businesses, and contributing to economic theories and literature. Its also important to understand that economists play a crucial role in shaping economic policies, helping to understand the impacts of decisions on different sectors of society, and finding ways to improve economic outcomes. Their work can have a significant influence on government policies, business strategies, and the overall welfare of societies.
I will walk you through the steps required to start a career as an economist.
Steps to Begin a Career as an Economist
Obtain an O’level Certificate:
You must have a minimum of five (5) credit passes in subjects such as English Language, Mathematics, Economics and any two (2) Arts or Social Science subjects.
Register and write the JAMB examination:
The required subject combination includes Mathematics, Economics, Government and Literature in English. Additionally, you have to make sure to score at least 200 and a good Post-UTME score to be able to get admitted into the University.
Apply to an accredited University:
Check the precise requirements and admission process of the school of your choice. Additionally, confirm that the university you are applying to is accredited to study Economics in Nigeria.
Obtain a Bachelor’s degree:
You need to complete the four-year course in the University to gain a Bachelor’s degree in Economics or a related field such as finance, statistics or mathematics. This will give you the foundational knowledge you need in your career pursuit.
Gain Relevant Skills:
You need to focus on developing analytical skills for economic data analysis and trends, while also honing quantitative skills in statistics and mathematics. Additionally, learn to create economic models to simulate real-world scenarios and predict outcomes.
Consider Advanced Education:
This is not always necessary. However, pursuing a master’s degree or a PhD in economics can open up more advanced and specialised career opportunities.
Apply for Internships:
You can seek internships or entry-level positions in economic research firms, financial institutions, government agencies or consulting firms. This will enhance your understanding of real-world economic issues and strengthen your resume.
Consider Specialising in a Specific Area:
You may want to consider specialising in areas such as macroeconomics, microeconomics, international economics, environmental economics or financial economics.
Network with Professionals:
You should attend seminars, workshops, and conferences related to economics. Network with professionals, economists, and researchers in the field. Building connections can lead to job opportunities and valuable insights.
Be Persistent and Adapt:
Starting a career as an economist may require persistence. Additionally, you have to be open to different roles and industries that can leverage your economic knowledge and skills.
Areas of Specialisation In Economics
As an economist, you may choose to specialise in one or more of these areas.
- Macroeconomists: They study the general performance and behaviour of the economy. They look at things like GDP, inflation, unemployment, and fiscal policies.
- Microeconomists: They delve into individual economic agents’ behaviour such as households, firms and industries. They research supply and demand, market structures, and customer preferences. Development Economist: They study factors influencing poverty, income inequality, and sustainable development to develop policies that promote inclusive and equitable economic advancement.
- International Economists: They explore international trade connections, exchange rates, international finance, and the influence of globalisation on economies.
- Environmental Economists: They analyse the effects of environmental legislation, resource management, and long-term development. They also investigate the relationship between economics and the environment.
- Financial Economists: They examine issues such as asset pricing, risk management, and the operation of financial institutions. They also look into the relationship between financial markets and the overall economy.
- Health Economists: They investigate the financial elements of healthcare systems. They evaluate healthcare policies, medical intervention costs, and the effects of healthcare on general economic well-being.
Universities to Study Economics
- Covenant University
- University of Nigeria, Nsukka
- Nnamdi Azikwe University
- University of Lagos
- Bayero University
- University of Ilorin
- Afe Babalola University
- University of Ibadan
- Obafemi Awolowo University
- University of Benin
- Abia State University, Uturu
- Babcock University
- University of Calabar
- Imo State University
- University of Jos
- University of Port Harcourt
Places to Work as an Economist
- Financial Institutions
- Government Agencies
- Central Banks
- Research Institutions
- Consulting firms
- Energy and environmental organizations
- Healthcare institutions
- Education sector
Salary of Economists
The average salary of economists in Nigeria ranges from N70,000 to N700,000 monthly. This is dependent on the level of experience and sector being worked under.
A career as an economist is not only a fascinating field of study but also a driving force behind the nation’s progress. The diverse career opportunities in this field offer a pathway for individuals with a passion for economics to make a tangible impact on Nigeria’s economy and society as a whole. By pursuing a career in economics, prospective professionals have the opportunity to create a lasting legacy of wealth and constructive change for the nation.