CAREER GUIDE Friday, August 30, 2002, Chandigarh, India

Options galore for the adventurous
Kapil M.
EALISTIC people like to work on practical, hands-on problems and their solutions. They enjoy dealing with real-world materials, including tools and machinery. They enjoy work that takes them outdoors rather than being office-bound and buried in paperwork. And the enterprising sort prefer action over investigative thinking; they like initiating projects and ventures, leading people, taking risks. They are somewhat of adventurers, whether in business or other enterprises.
  • Material engineer

  • Gemologist

  • Defence officer

  • Sound recordist

  • Tourist guide




Options galore for the adventurous
Kapil M.

REALISTIC people like to work on practical, hands-on problems and their solutions. They enjoy dealing with real-world materials, including tools and machinery. They enjoy work that takes them outdoors rather than being office-bound and buried in paperwork. And the enterprising sort prefer action over investigative thinking; they like initiating projects and ventures, leading people, taking risks. They are somewhat of adventurers, whether in business or other enterprises.

Can you identify yourself with these descriptions? If so, here is a serving of career options for the practical adventurers, for those who are both realists and venturesome. It is a varied menu in terms of fields, educational preparation, etc. Some are relatively traditional careers based on rigorous academic preparation, a few relatively new options based on your skills, abilities and experience rather than class-taught knowledge. No option is better than the other for what is goose for one is gander for another. The important thing to remember is to seek work environments and career options that match your interests. The better the match, the more satisfied ó and successful ó you will be in your job.

Material engineer

Material engineers both develop new uses for known materials, and research new materials to create products as wide-ranging as computer chips and television screens and golf clubs and snow skis. Material engineers specialising in metals are popularly called metallurgical engineers while others work with composite materials or specialise in one type of material, such as graphite, ceramics and glass, plastics and polymers, and naturally occurring materials.

Key knowledge base: Engineering and technology; mathematics; technology design techniques, principles, tools and instruments involved in the production and use of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

Educational preparation: Like all engineering professionals, material engineers require at least a bachelorís degree in engineering. Material engineering specialisation is available in many engineering colleges in the country.

Outlook: Though a relatively small specialisation in engineering, material engineers are widely distributed among manufacturing industries because materials are building blocks for other products.


Remember how many B-grade Bollywood flicks have had sub-plots involving deception about the quality of diamonds or precious stones? How the evil villain would offload a fake on an unsuspecting and trusting old lady, and so on? Well, as a gemologist you can re-write the script.

As the name suggests, a gemologist or gem expert, examines gemstones, such as jade, sapphires, and rubies, to evaluate their genuineness, quality, and value, utilising knowledge of gems and market prices. A gemologist examines gem surfaces and internal structure, using optical instruments such as polariscope, refractometer, and microscope to differentiate between stones, identify rare specimens, or to detect flaws, defects, or peculiarities affecting gem values, identify key properties of gemstones or substitutes, which indicate physical characteristics of stone for gem identification, quality determination, and for appraisal. He/she grades stones for colour, perfection, and quality of cut and appraises wholesale and retail value of gems, following pricing guides, market fluctuations, and various economic changes that affect distribution of precious stones.

A course in gemology will help you ascertain the quality of precious and semi-precious stones that go into the making of jewellery.

Key skills and abilities: Inspecting and evaluating the quality of gems, determining how best to cut and polish it to highlight and enhance its intrinsic, quality. A gemologist needs manual dexterity, a steady hard and a keen eyesight.

Educational preparation: Short-term courses in gemology are offered in several places, among them at: the Indian Institute of Gemology, Karol Bagh, New Delhi., Indian Gemological Institute, Jhandewalan, New Delhi, the Gemological Institute of India, Mumbai., Aligarh Muslim University, Jewellery Design and Technology Institute, Noida. What hones the gemologist is not so much higher education as practical, on-the-job training.

Outlook: The unending Indian love affair with jewellery and a booming Indian diamond and jewellery export sector, which greatly rests on an economic grading and cutting of diamonds, fuel the need for trained gemologists.

Sound recordist

If the cameraman is the one who brings us one half of the magic called television, the sound recordist presents the other half, the sound. It is the sound recordist, or sound engineer who picks up everything from the response of an interviewee to the muted snatches of conversations as people whisper among themselves or the pitter-patter of raindrops to create an appropriate ambience. The sound recordist can work outdoors, accompanying a correspondent on location or can be at home in a sound recording studio with complex electronic gadgetry. For the professional sound recordist, an ear for detail is as important as is the eye for a cameraman. Here again, you have to train with an established professional or a studio-production house as an assistant if you have not had professional training at a film institute.

Outlook: The mushrooming growth of television channels and FM radio channels ensures a growing demand.

Education and training: Postgraduate courses in audiography are available in select universities and specialist institutes, including the University of Mumbai, FTII, Pune, the Film and Television Institute of Tamil Nadu, Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata, among others. In addition, there are some good private institutes as well; you may like to check if there are any in your city.

Tourist guide

The booming growth in the variety of tourism now makes it possible to turn your youthful outdoor passions into a career. For instance, do you know that the path to the top of Mount Everest, once considered unclimbable by man, is today over-crowded with hundreds of amateur thrill-seekers being led up to the top of the world by professional mountaineering guides? Closer home, from foreign tourists to schoolchildren are trekking, white-water rafting, jungle-camping, wildlife safari-ing in larger and larger numbers. And, companies are sponsoring their executives to adventure holidays both to re-charge their bodies and also spur their minds to think differently. And, lo and behold, they are all marching behind this new-age adventure travel guide.

An adventure guide plans, organises and conducts various kinds of adventure trips for individuals and groups, plans the itinerary applying knowledge of countryside to determine best routes and sites. He/She arranges for transport, equipment and supplies, instructs participants in the use of adventure gear, coordinates camping and food, and administers emergency first aid. Some of them also sell or rent equipment, clothing and supplies.

Key expertise needed: Proficiency in the sport involved, whether it be climbing, rafting, etc. Plus, a service orientation. Also, you need to be able to speak well in order to convey information and instructions to others. Time management skills are important so that the group sticks to the itinerary along with knowledge of the area and terrain you are travelling to or operating in.

Training: More than educational training ó even a plus two is enough, graduation can add polish to your personality ó it is proficiency in one or more fields of adventure that leads people into this profession. So turning your hobby into such a career requires experience and internship more than degrees. And, a pleasant personality is a plus.

Defence officer

Military officers are easily, the best-known of practical adventures; being an officer in the armed forces is a time-honoured profession. India Today recently picked the Indian armed forces as the most treasured national institution, the one thing Indians are most proud of. Though the financial attraction of serving in the armed forces could now do with a polish, but few career options can still match the life-long vistas that armed forces offer for those who like their lives enlivened by adventure.

Entry routes: You can join the armed forces after class XII or after graduation, in the various combat arms or in the increasingly important technical branches. The entry routes are well-known and well publicised. And, the armed forces are in need of great officers.

I wish to pursue a course in physiotherapy. Please advise

Q I am a student of class 12 (PCB). I wish to pursue a course in physiotherapy or occupational therapy. Kindly give the names of the universities offering this course.

Kalpna Singh

A A physiotherapist has to undergo three years of study and six months of internship in a recognized institute or hospital. Some courses are now of four-and-a-half-year duration. Employment opportunities are good as almost all hospitals - government or private, require physiotherapists. Some universities offering training in this field are:

Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot. Course: Bachelorís in Physiotherapy

Delhi University. Course: Bachelorís in Physiotherapy

Dr B R Ambedkar University, Agra. Course: Bachelorís in Physiotherapy

Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi. Course: Bachelorís in Physiotherapy

Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. Course: Bachelorís in Occupational Therapy

Jamia Hamdard, Delhi. Course: Bachelorís in Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy

Kurukshetra University. Course: Bachelorís in Physiotherapy

Punjabi University, Patiala. Course: Bachelorís in Physiotherapy

For most of these courses the eligibility requirement is 10+2 (PCB) and a minimum of 50 per cent marks. There is a written entrance test for admission to most institutes. The courses are generally three years long followed by an internship period of about six months.

Before applying for admission to any institution, do ensure that it is recognised by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI).

Hotel industry

Q I wish to join as an apprentice in the hotel industry. Could you please tell me how to go about it?

Sanjeev Aggarwal

A You can get a junior-skilled job in the hotel industry after completing apprenticeship. By law, all hotels and establishments covered under the Apprentices Act Ď61í are required to engage apprentices.

Apprenticeship consists of basic instruction followed by on-the-job training to prepare you in the following areas: as a cook, steward, baker and confectioner, housekeeper, hotel clerks, receptionist and front office personnel.

Each apprentice is paid a nominal stipend (the rates vary between Rs 680 to Rs 1020 pm).

You can apply directly to your local apprentice office. If selected, your name will be forwarded to various hotels.

However, it is not necessary that youíll get a job in the same hotel where you complete your apprenticeship. You will, if there are vacancies; otherwise you will have to look for a job elsewhere. This will, however, not be a problem once you have completed your apprenticeship and passed the tests and exams that are periodically conducted by the National Council for Vocational Training to assess your knowledge. On clearing the exam, you will be awarded the National Apprenticeship Certificate.


Q Could you please suggest some scholarship or financial aid programmes for pursuing postgraduate studies in engineering?

Kanwaljeet Dhillon

A Under AICTEís Early Faculty Induction Programme, scholarships are granted to final year students of BE/BTech/BPharma/Barch courses who would like to opt for a career in teaching on completion of their post-graduate studies. You will of course have to qualify in the GATE exam.

Detailed information, prescribed forms and the list of participating host and receiver institutions is available on the AICTE website:


Q I am a qualified teacher and am interested in teaching in an Army school. Do they have a separate recruitment policy?

Raman Kaur

A The Army Welfare Education Society (AWES) annually recruits teachers for their 115 Army schools all over the country. These English-medium schools are affiliated to the CBSE board.

The minimum eligibility for recruitment is strictly as per CBSE rules. The applicants should be below 40 years of age. This limit can, however, be relaxed for experienced teachers.

Selection is through written test followed by interview.

For further details you could contact/write to the principle of any Army school. Forms for the written test can be obtained at a nominal cost of Rs 150/-. For the complete list of Army schools please log on to You could also contact the Director, AWES, Adjutant-Generalís Branch, Army HQ, 153, Kashmir House, Rajaji Marg, New Delhi -110011.Tel: 3018702/3018363.

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

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