CAREER GUIDE Friday, October 25, 2002, Chandigarh, India

Options galore in IT
Vikas Vats
he versatile growth of information technologies in India has provided the young generation with a plethora of career options. Paradoxically, one will find a large number of qualified IT professionals looking for a suitable job. Is it a job saturation point ? Is IT market overflowed with manpower ? Mostly not.

What exactly does a videotape editor do?


Options galore in IT
Vikas Vats

The versatile growth of information technologies in India has provided the young generation with a plethora of career options. Paradoxically, one will find a large number of qualified IT professionals looking for a suitable job. Is it a job saturation point ? Is IT market overflowed with manpower ? Mostly not.

The lack of proper career guidance at undergraduate levels is to blame. Their are still high remuneration jobs available waiting for the right manpower, of course in the palette of IT. Most aspirants, when they think of joining the IT workforce, their knowledge is limited to programming or website development. This is the reason that the IT market is presently overwhelmed by these professionals in quest of jobs. There are a lot many work areas available where one can specialise and earn handsome salaries. Starting with the conservative ones various ‘in demand’ IT careers are mentioned below.

Programming: A programmer writes various computer programs to be used by end-users. There are small to big multinational companies who employ novice to trained programmers. Within two to five years a good programmer with sound managerial capabilities can become a project manager. The salary range for these positions is Rs 5,000 per month to Rs 80,000 per month, depending on the type of programming you do. No short-cuts in education; you must complete your B.Tech or BCA. A combination of these with M.Tech or MCA, respectively, will give you an advantage over the others. Short-term specialised courses will definitely enhance your armoury.

Website development: Web-based IT careers primarily consist of web designing and web programming. A web designer must possess an aptitude for designing and an eye for colour combinations. A specialised course in contemporary designing tools after a degree course in IT will suffice. Web programming requires basic skills and qualifications of a programmer and a two- to-six-month specialised course.

Networking and server: All computers in a company are inter-related and this is called a network. The main computer that controls the network is the server. This is the most important area where a downtime of even one-hour may cost badly to a service-oriented company. The job of a network engineer is to keep all computers in his network running with no or minimum downtime. He is also responsible for virus protections, backup policies and access controls. One mistake in these areas will cost heavily to the finances and reputation of a company. This is the place where skilled manpower is always required, in India and abroad. The advent of wireless networking will keep here the demand open for many years to come. A specialised six-month course after a basic degree will be sufficient qualification for a network administrator.

Hardware engineering: There are many small to big companies in India which manufacture computers of their own brand. They require hardware engineers for manufacturing, research and customer service. The preferred qualification is B.Tech in computer science.

Information security: Very few companies employ anyone solely for this position. If you are interested in this field there are companies providing consultancy in information security. The importance of this position is widely underestimated in India and in future a lot of experts will be required.

Techno-commercials: Also known as pre-sales consultants, the job of a techno-commercial expert is to help sales teams clinch big orders. The actual profile includes making project reports, budget estimates, presentations and direct meetings with prosperous clients. The sale of IT products and services requires expertise well above the levels of sales force, consisted mostly of MBAs. A techno-commercial expert helps these sales teams and earns lucrative commissions along with handsome salaries.

The gamut of IT contains much more to offer to its aspirants. The key to success in all IT fields is consistency of change. One has to continuously learn new technologies or will become obsolete. Do remember that the degree you pursuit must be recognised by the UGC or the AICTE.


Q What exactly does a videotape editor do? What are the career prospects?

Ankita Bawa

A It is the Videotape Editor who puts together a film or a programme. Wading through the footage of tapes shot by the crew, a Videotape Editor arranges it in sequence to make a coherent, crisp programme.

You may perhaps be surprised to know that only half of the film is made in the pre-production and production stage. The rest of it is made by the editor at the editing table.

Editing is a crucial job that goes far beyond matching visuals and sound in accordance with the script. It is the editor who adds the music and works on sophisticated machinery to add special effects to make the programme complete and arranges footage for maximum impact on the viewers.

A good editor combines strong technical knowledge with a meticulous eye for detail and a style of message delivery that is sensitive to visuals and sound.

Since editing is a highly sensitive task, it calls for more than a mere diploma or degree.

An in-depth course in TV production coupled with some multimedia skills is just a starting point. The real training will of course happen on the job which could be in a TV channel or independent production studio.

Job change

Q I am getting very bored in my job. But in the present scenario I’m afraid to speak to my boss about it. I have learned all I’m likely to in my current position, and —although I realise that, with so many people out of work, I’m lucky to have a job — I just feel stuck. Should I start looking for a new job? What do you suggest?

Sanjeev Singh

A Have you discussed your frustration with your boss?

It may be a big mistake not to. With all the economic uncertainty, many people are afraid they’ll rock the boat if they talk about developing their careers. But talking over the situation with your boss is a good first step in getting unstuck. Sometimes new or more responsible opportunities aren’t offered to employees simply because they’ve never expressed an interest. Don’t wait for your boss to take the initiative. Ask to take on more responsibilities, offer to lead a special project team or volunteer to serve as a mentor to new recruits. Taking on additional tasks, and doing them well, is one of the best ways to get noticed — and get your career moving forward. Your contribution will be appreciated, and the organisation will be glad to expand your current job profile.

As you take on more responsibilities and begin to look at your work in the context of the broader picture, you are bound to discover more interesting aspects that will challenge your mind.

Read up on new developments in your field; master the new technology. Think of ways to improve the business…and you’ll have your hands full!

Of course, you can always look for a new position somewhere else. But — as anyone looking for work in this lean job market would tell you — that should be your last resort.


Q While the condition for college lectureship is minimum 55 per cent marks in MA, I have 53 per cent marks in this exam. However, after that I did my MPhil & PhD. If I appear in MA again for improvement, will my PhD & MPhil still stand valid? Please guide me.

Prakash Aggarwal

A I have specially checked up from the UGC, regarding your query. You can certainly reappear for M. A. to improve your scores since that is the base qualification for the UGC-NET (50 per cent in case of SC/ST). Your MPhil & PhD being subsequent qualifications acquired from a recognised university would doubtless stand valid.

Incidentally, even those who have got PG degrees (MA/MSc/MCom) through correspondence from some universities are permitted to take another exam to improve their previous performance on payment of a penal fee (Rs 5000/- in the case of the University of Madras).

Risk Managers

Q Who are risk managers and where do they work?

Sweety Thukral

A Opening a factory in Bangladesh may help a garment manufacturer’s bottom line — but is it worth the risks? Progressive firms are relying on risk managers, previously the worriers who recommended safety plans and disaster insurance, to plan the future. While looking at the plant in totality, the risk manager might assess earthquakes, currency fluctuations, and damage to reputation if an unscrupulous manager begins using child labour. Then the manager proposes solutions: Spend more to make the building earthquake-proof, pay foreign expenses in local currency, closely monitor employees. If the project is deemed worthwhile, risk managers will transfer the risk to another party, perhaps an insurer. It goes without saying that companies who know how to manage risk will have a competitive advantage.

A background in finance, calculus, economics, accounting, and insurance plus knowledge of investment banking is important, as many firms will use risk managers from investment houses.


Q What exactly is biometrics? From where can I get more information on this subject?

Ramya Singhal

A Once the stuff of futuristics and science fiction, biometrics - the authentication of identity through an individual’s unique physical or behavioral traits has been hailed as one of the top 10 emerging technologies that will change the world.

The biometric industry is growing at the rate of 300 per cent, especially after the September 11 attacks. The impact is evident from the rise in stock prices of companies in this sector.

Common physical biometrics includes fingerprints, hand geometry, retina, iris and facial characteristics. Behavioral characteristics include signature, voice, keystroke pattern and gait.

Iris-recognition based systems for access to high security areas and biometric signatures for speedy clearance of large quantities of cheques in a bank are already in use.

The challenge lies in making them more user-friendly and foolproof (by minimising FAR (false acceptance rate) wherein a wrong person is identified and well as the and the FRR (false rejection rate) wherein a the right person is denied access.

You only have to key in the word "biometrics" in your search engine on the Internet to be presented with a plethora of listings on this subject. Happy browsing!

Environ sciences

Q I am a science graduate keen on doing PG in Environmental Sciences from JNU. Could you please provide me the details of this course.

Harpreet Bhatia

A The School of Enviro-nmental Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University offers courses in environmental sciences at the MSc, MPhil and PhD levels.

MSc in environmental sciences is an inter-disciplinary course with an environmental orientation drawn from relevant areas of biological, chemical, earth and physical sciences. The eligibility for admission to this course is graduation in any branch of basic or applied sciences (55 per cent agg). Selection is through an entrance test. The duration of this course is four semesters, including field trips.

Regarding research programmes, the research activities of the school can be grouped into five broad inter-disciplinary areas ie. earth and atmospheric processes, environmental pollution, environmental biology, ecological and social processes and modelling of various processes.

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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 [email protected]