CAREER GUIDE Friday, August 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India

E-commerce — the in thing
Vikas Vats
-commerce has been one of the widely sought and mostly misunderstood career option offered by versatile growth of information technology. Speaking etymologically e-commerce is nothing more than "commerce using e", where the "e" is electronic data transfer.




E-commerce — the in thing
Vikas Vats

E-commerce has been one of the widely sought and mostly misunderstood career option offered by versatile growth of information technology. Speaking etymologically e-commerce is nothing more than "commerce using e", where the "e" is electronic data transfer.

The advent of IT has provided a business with access to an ample amount of important information, varied and swift methods to reach people, share, transfer and analyse customer information and most significantly the omission of middleman between the producer and the consumer. E-commerce in true sense is the capability to think of new business ideas to tap all these advantages.

Unfortunately, what most educational institutes are teaching in the name of e-commerce is a combination of various software and development tools used to develop websites for e-commerce. After completing these courses one can surely become an e-commerce programmer or developer but will not be able to think of astute e-commerce strategies and business models. This kind of developer will work on contemporary software under the command of senior management and will never get a chance to be a part of the think-tank. The upward career movement is limited and remuneration low.

One who wishes to be a true e-commerce professional and rise high, should not only possess technological know-how but must be a management graduate. He should be creative enough to know how technological advantages can be used for business development. Here only sky is the limit.

There are numerous courses available for e-commerce. Do not go for a short cut. Complete your BCA or BBA-IT from a university recognised by the UGC or the AICTE. Any short-term course after 10+2 will not be a good idea for long-term career plan. After graduation MBA with specialisation in e-commerce or IT will pave your way to a successful start of career in e-commerce. If you feel, do go for part-time courses in e-commerce development tools while completing the MBA.

Always remember in any e-commerce business it is the think-tank, coming from the management, who plans all strategies and gets paid highly. The programmers or developers play the same role as stenos and clerks in conventional businesses.

It is not necessary that one learns e-commerce only to adopt it as a career option. In coming years all professionals and consultants will require to use technology. If you can have a teleconferencing with your doctor sitting at your home, you will least prefer visiting him. Similar will happen in case of your tax consultant, lawyer, etc. If you wish to be a consultant or professional, your art to use the science of e-commerce will decide how far you grow.

The future of e-commerce as a career option seems very good if sought in a planned way. The power of e-commerce to deal with a mammoth population, without a similarly large workforce, will force more and more businesses to go for it , increasing the demand for experts in this field. Since its birth, the core of IT has been innovations and improvisations. So if you have astuteness of a businessman and intelligence of a technocrat, no doubt you will succeed in this field.


Q For the past two to three years, I have been participating in various dance competitions. Everyone around me is very appreciative of my dancing skills. Can I look up to a career in film choreography?

Manpreet Kaur

A Dance has always been a critical ingredient of Indian films. In fact, there has been a dance revolution in Bollywood in the last decade. Today, some of the best careers in the world of cinema are in choreography. Farah Khan, Saroj Khan, Shiamak Davar are celebrities in their own right today.

But choreography goes far beyond giving tips on body movement to actors. It also involves finer details such as lighting, camera angle, costumes, etc. In most cases, dances are woven around the script and the choreographer has to keep in mind every detail of the story.

Being a good dancer, which you say you already are, is the single most important requirement. The job calls for long hours and odd work schedules. You must also possess excellent inter-personal skills.

Most people start out as junior assistants to established choreographers.

You can learn the basics of dancing from any dance school. From there, you can hone your skills at a dance theatre. Working backstage for such productions is also an excellent idea. Dance institutes such as the Shiamak Dawar’s SDIPA offer a range of courses for amateurs as well as budding professionals.

Choreography requires a passion for the big screen. Unless you have the stamina, the drive and the feet to make the world your stage, you will find it difficult to survive.


Q I will be passing out of school next year. Instead of wasting three years in college, wouldn’t it be better to start something of my own and gain experience along the way?

Navinder Sekhon

A When you hear success stories of people who quit studies after school, it may be tempting to believe that education doesn’t matter for the entrepreneurially inclined. But unless you have an idea that is absolutely time-critical which just can’t wait, it’s probably better to complete your education.

For one thing, it is unusual for a person of your age to be taken seriously in business. As a teenager you will find it very hard to raise money or hire good people (unless your father is a ‘money bags’). More importantly, college offers a tremendous all-round experience. Besides the regular course work, there is valuable learning outside the classroom which has a direct bearing on whatever you undertake. The social bonding and extra-curricular activities and opportunities for self-exploration and widening your mental horizons which college life offers are a tremendous asset that will hold good throughout your life. Besides, a degree can be critical for pursing higher studies or even a job later. For instance, even though Microsoft was founded by a couple of college drop-outs it is unusual for them or most other companies for that matter, to hire anybody in a key position who has quit his or her education midway.

Most importantly, the world is getting to be an increasingly competitive, complex and specialised place. Which makes higher education as critical today as high school education was at one time. "Go to college", implores Mr Bill Gates, the world’s richest and most successful entrepreneur-industrialist who now strongly regrets having left Harvard midway. Closer home, our own JRD Tata and Dhirubhai Ambani may not have done their MBA, but just try applying to any Tata or Reliance group company today - without a good PG qualification!

A recent study conducted by the US Census Bureau underscores the point that advanced degrees pay off, literally over an entire lifetime. The new data shows that education makes an enormous (millions of dollars) difference in work-life earnings. The study estimates that Americans with a Bachelor’s degree can expect to earn about 1.8 times as much as high school graduates ($2.1 million as compared with $ 1.2 million for the latter).

Those with a Master’s degree can expect to earn $2.5 million and those with doctoral degrees: $3.4 million. Doctors, dentists, lawyers and vets top the list with an average of $4.4 billion.


Q I am keen on doing a course in disaster management. Could you please recommend some courses? What’s the scope in this field?

Vinod Bala

A The Orissa floods and the Gujarat earthquake has shown us that however much we may know about the environment, there is still a great deal more to learn about disasters - both natural as well as manmade.

And even more than knowledge, we need clear and practical strategies for managing large-scale disasters - what to do, how to channel help in the aftermath, how to establish clear links of communication, etc.

Teams comprising health and social workers, engineers, administrators, scientists and psychologists need to be directed and co-ordinated by specially trained disaster management experts.

Besides excellent organisational and problem-solving skills and domain expertise, the job calls for a deep sense of commitment and the ability to work swiftly under pressure.

Where to study:

Administrative Training Institute, Nainital.

Bureau of Indian Standards Courses: Diploma and Certificate courses

CBRI (under CSIR), Roorkee.

Central Water Commission, Delhi.

National Centre for Disaster Management (set up by the Y S Chawan Academy of Development Administration) Course: 6-month certificate course in Disaster Management.

The NCDM conducts workshops and seminars for civil servants and government officials. It is also the nodal agency for co-ordinating relief and rehabilitation work during natural calamities.

CSIR, Delhi.

Disaster Management Institute, Bhopal

Gorakhpur University. Course: PG Diploma in Disaster Management.

HSMI (HUDCO), Delhi.

Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). Course: PG Certificate in Participatory Management of Displacement, Resettlement and Rehabilitation. (6 months.)

Institute of Ecology & Environment, New Delhi. Courses: Correspondence programme in Disaster Mitigation. The programme is spread over 2 years and 10 papers, including a thesis. Elig: Bachelor’s in any discipline; PG Diploma in Disaster Management.

Institute of Fire Services, Nagpur

ISRO, Bangalore.

Nagpur National Civil Defence College. Course: Diploma in Fire Safety.

National Centre for Disaster Management, Delhi, set up by the Indian Institute of Public Administration

PRT Institute of Postgraduate Environmental Education & Research in affiliation with the Institute of Open & Distance Education, Barkatullah Vishwavidyalaya, Bhopal.

University of Pune Course: 6-month certificate course. Elig: 10+2.

Several universities, schools of public health and community medicine in the USA and Europe also offer focused programmes in disaster response at the postgraduate level.

While these courses have started gaining popularity, career opportunities are still pretty limited. Openings are mainly found in some government and non-government agencies. Large industrial establishments, particularly those in the high-risk fields like chemicals, mining, petroleum have disaster management cells. The International Red Cross and some UN organisations also empanel trained professionals for working on humanitarian missions to handle major calamities and emergencies.

As the lack of adequate trigger mechanisms or quick response intervention that can be automatically activated in an emergency becomes glaringly evident with each disaster, the need for well-trained disaster management experts will only shoot upwards.


Q I am a first year student of BCom. I want to know who is a finance manager. What is he expected to do?

Jeevan Kulu

A Finance managers oversee the flow of cash and financial instruments, monitor the extension of credit, assess the risk of transactions, raise capital, analyse investments, develop information to assess the present and future financial status of the firm, and communicate with stock holders and other investors.

Some of the financial positions in corporations include accountant, budget analyst, credit analyst, insurance analyst, loan officer, securities analyst, etc.

With growing complexities in global trade, changing national and international laws and regulations, and proliferation of new financial instruments, continuing education is becoming vital for financial managers.

You must have the ability to work independently, analyse detailed information and establish effective personal relationships.

Financial analysis and management have been revolutionised by technological improvements in data processing equipment. Knowledge of computer applications is therefore vital to upgrade your managerial skills and to enhance prospects.

Please send in your query preferably on a postcard along with your name, complete address and academic qualifications to:

Editor, Career Hotline,
The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160020, or at




1. Who was posthumously decorated with Ashok Chakra at the Independence Day function this year?

2. Name the 12th Vice-President of India.

3. Who recently became the youngest-ever wicketkeeper to play in a cricket Test match?

4. Who recently made the highest individual score of 210 runs in the women’s Test cricket?

5. Which state tops in the country’s coal reserves?

6. Which Australian state is likely to effect an all-time high kangaroo cull this year due to severe drought in the state?

7. In which country is the Darra Adam Khel arms bazaar situated?

8. Which Indian state has the maximum number of small-scale industries?

9. Which river in Germany recently wreaked havoc in the country by rising to its highest level in about 150 years?

10. Which movie was recently voted the ‘best-ever film made’ in a worldwide poll conducted by the British Film Institute?

11. Expand CIL.

12. Name the coach of the Brazilian World Cup team who quit his job recently.

13. Name the Moroccon athlete who recently smashed his own world record in the 3000m steeplechase event at Zurich.

14. What is the capital of Bolivia?

15. Name the head of the seven-member Kashmir Committee.


School address...........................

Winners of quiz 163. The first prize by draw of lots goes to Ishan Kumar, class 9, Govt Sr Secondary School, Kotla, tehsil Jawali, dist Kangra-176205.

Second: Gopali Nayyar, class 7-B, Manav Mangal School, Sector 11, Panchkula.

Third: Pankaj Sushant, VIII-A, MGN Public School, Kapurthala.

Answers to quiz 163: Sandeep Pandey; India; Uttar Pradesh; WTC crash site in New York; Terrorism Information and Prevention System ; Hiroshima; Helen Clark; Accra; Rs 1crore; 124; Athletics; 6; India; 32 gold, 21 silver, 19 bronze; Australia.

Cash awards of Rs 400, 300 and 200 are given to the first, second and third prize winners, respectively. These are sent at the school address.

Tarun Sharma