This is that one question I receive countless times and its nature of individual uniqueness makes it difficult to provide a satisfactory answer. This time, I will try better by drawing three different analogies.
Scenario 1: Chidimma is a graduate of Computer Science but has not practiced since after graduation. Rather, she followed her passion and has acquired over three years of work experience in Fashion Designing. Can Chidimma gain admission and scholarship to study Fashion Management?
Response: In most cases, Chidimma may not get admission but can get a scholarship. Many admissions are based on previous academic qualifications and foundation, and a degree in Computer Science is not a foundation for a Masters in Fashion Management, and in such a case, it is harder to win admission. However, there's a chance here. Some institutions look beyond academic qualification. Such schools will request for a "Statement of Purpose" or a "Motivation letter" and in other cases, can invite candidates for interview. If you get that chance, it is in your hands to win the admission by simply emphasizing your years of experience. For a scholarship based on academic qualification, you may stand little chance of winning it. However, if the scholarship is based on professional experience, then your chances of winning is high despite the change in program of interest.
Scenario 2: Obinna applied for a Masters program in Informatics. He is a graduate of Computer Science but has been working as a Fashion Designer. Can Obinna gain admission and scholarship? Response: Just like the case of Chidinma, Obinna may gain admission but fail at scholarship if the scholarship is based on professional experience. In this case, Obinna should target scholarships based on academic qualification.
Scenario 3: Amaka is a graduate of Computer Science and applied to study Informatics at Masters. She has over two years of work experience as a Computer systems specialist with ABCD Company and volunteer experience as a Chef in ABCD NGO. Can she gain admission and a scholarship?
Response: Yes. In the case of the scholarship that needs volunteer experience, unless the volunteer nature is specified, any volunteer experience will likely count as most often, the scholarship committee wants to see your impact on social change through volunteerism and not work expertise. However, having a volunteer experience that supports your expertise is golden.
It is relevant to note that these scenarios are not exclusive and immune to other factors for admission and scholarship. However, in answer to the question of whether your experiences and qualifications must be in the same industry as your prospective academic journey, your most accurate reply is from the entry requirements and purpose of the admission and scholarship respectively. Study this, and in there, you find your answer. However, generally, that candidate from a Bachelors, with experience in same Bachelors field and looking forward to getting a Masters in same bachelors field will have a smoother ride than many others.
Read my short opinion piece on purposes of some scholarships: