|CAREER GUIDE||Friday, January 17, 2003, Chandigarh, India|
Make learning fun
Q Who is a software trainer? Is he different from a software engineer? Please explain.
Trilochan Singh, Chandigarh
A The dynamism of the software industry coupled with the growing trend of outsourcing trainers has given birth to a new breed of software professionals known as software trainers. They are engaged by software companies for imparting training in the areas in which they (trainers) work. So the emphasis is now shifting from theoretical concepts to hands-on experience.
On the trainer’s part, it is sheer love of teaching and the opportunity to keep abreast with the latest in technology. While choosing this career, a software professional should keep in mind two constraints. Firstly it requires considerable development experience in the area concerned. Secondly full-time software professionals may not choose this option due to time constraint.
Microsoft Corporation offers the global Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) programme to train qualified, young technical trainers who are equipped with the right instruction skills and product knowledge. Targeted at trainers, the MCT, is a globally recognised certification for those who hold Microsoft’s other certifications i.e. the MCSE, the MCSA, the MCSD. The programme approximately fee is Rs 4,800 for freelancers.
Through participation in role plays, case studies, group discussions, written exercises, action-learning games, and trial presentations, you will learn to deliver more effective presentations both to trainees and to top management, answer all kinds of questions, and handle interruptions - like a pro.
You will also learn how to use humour, physical gestures and body language effectively and to pepper your presentations with examples drawn from your own experience.
Following the major shakeout in the IT education segment, training institutes with unimpressive credentials and grey market operators have been thrown out of the race, while the large players have taken an equally sound drubbing. Some of the biggies have moved into training for call centres in the IT-enabled services (ITES) sector.
Job cuts, layoffs and hiring freeze have prompted students to adopt a wait-and-watch policy resulting in drastic fall in enrolment. Which means it will be a while before IT training (particularly of the generalist kind) is back in the limelight.
Q I am a student of MBA in a B-grade college. Due to the present market conditions we are expecting few companies for final placements. I want to make the best of this opportunity. Please give me some tips to handle the interviews.
Paramjeet Singh, Hoshiarpur
A The first secret of getting the dream job is to be clear about your career goals. Ask yourself: What is really important to me in my job? Is it making money? Is it living in a particular city? Or working with nice people?
This clarity will then underpin your strategy to get into a certain company on campus.
Such clarity is different from your answer at the interview when you are asked: "Why should you join us?" "Where do you see yourself three or five years down the line?" "What are your career plans/aspirations?"
Coming back to the strategy, try to narrow down your list of prospective employers. Ask around.
Not only your seniors, but also your super-seniors. While they won’t be with you on campus, you can meet them during your ‘summer’ and even trace them out through your institute’s alumni file.
Here are some questions that need careful thought and prior preparation:
What made you apply to us?
Why should we select you? (Your strengths are hidden here. It is the tried and hackneyed question of ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’)
What do you need to improve?
Why are your academic results not better?
What made you choose your specialisation?
Details of your summer project
What did you learn from your summer employer/ project/ supervisor?
What made you choose this particular project/ employer?
Tell us something about yourself (This can be a big googly usually because it’s often the first question).
Tell us something about your family background.
What will be your contribution to our organisation?
To what extent are your engineering skills valid post-MBA?
What made you choose your dissertation topic?
What have you learnt from it?
In addition, you can be asked to talk on the following topics:
State of the national economy;
Your interpretation of its impact on a particular industry;
International trends, especially some new theories in Management
Your hobbies and their influence on you.
Practically anything under the sun.
Q I am a final year BSc student. Could you please suggest where I could pursue courses in astrophysics?
Prakash Chand, Ludhiana
A Astrophysics studies the behaviour of astronomical phenomena and related physico-chemical interactions in outer space. It includes study of cosmology, plasma, kinetics, stellar physics, convolution and non-equilibrium, radiation transfer theory, non-Euclidian geometry, mathematical modelling, galactic structure theory and relativistic astronomy.
As astrophysics is grounded in mathematics and physics I presume you have done your BSc in either of these subjects.
Astronomy and Astrophysics are taught as special MSc programmes in the Physics or Mathematics departments in a number of universities. Here are some of the better ones: Andhra University, Visakhapatnam 530003. Course: MSc Space Physics (3yrs). M P Birla Planetarium, 96 Jawaharlal Nehru Rd, Kolkata 700071. Course: PG Diploma in Astronomy & Planetary Sciences.
JNTU College of Engineering, Hyderabad. Course: MSc (Tech) Space Physics). National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Pune & Bangalore Campus, (www.tifr.res.in/~gsch). Research Programmes in Astrophysics & Astronomy (Radio Astronomy & Astrophys, Theoretical Phys & Astrophys, Elig: MSc (Phy/Astro/Appl Math/Physical Chem. BSc/BE/BTech with exceptional record can also apply.
Osmania University, Centre for Advanced Study in Astronomy, Hyderabad 500007. Course: MSc (Astronomy). Eligibility: BSc (45% in the rel subj).
Physical Research Laboratory, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad. Courses: PG Diploma in Astrophysics, Space & Planetary Physics.
Punjabi University, Patiala 147002 (Punj). Course: PG Diploma in Space Sciences. Eligibility: MSc (Phys)/BSc/BE/BTech (50%).
Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada University, Dnyanteerth, Gautami Nagar, Vishnupuri, Nanded 431603, (Mah). Course: MSc (Astrophysics). Eligibility: BSc (45% agg) and 50% in the concerned subject.
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (www.iisc.ernet.in).
University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram 695034.
Birla Institute of Astronomy & Planetarium Sciences (BIAPS), Kolkata offers a 6-month Postgraduate Diploma in Astronomy & Planetarium Sciences.
Eligibility: BSc (Hon)/MSc degree with at least two of the following: physics, chemistry, mathematics, statistics or geology. Selection: entrance test and interview.
Indira Gandhi Institute of Developmental Research, Gen. Vaidya Marg, Goregaon (E), Mumbai 400065. Courses: 1-year PG Diploma.
Please send in your query preferably on a postcard along with your name, complete address and academic qualifications to:
Make learning fun
Studies claim that the door to a child’s learning abilities should be opened within the first three years of life. Children, even infants, are always learning by listening and observing the people and objects around them. Children have a natural curiosity and try to mimic or repeat things that they hear. If you want your child to be an avid learner, you, as the parent, need to be an avid teacher from early on. How does a parent go about teaching a small child? The first thing you can do is talk to your child and read to them. Children learn to speak by listening and trying to imitate the sounds. The more often you talk to your child or read to your child, the more opportunities they will have to learn and repeat the words.
Several studies have shown that the best way to teach your child to read at an early age is for you to begin reading to them at an early age, from infancy. In what other ways can you get your young child interested in learning? Young children, especially of the preschool age, are more interested in playing and having fun than they are sitting down to learn something, The best way to teach them is through play. There are several ways to help your preschool child learn while still having fun.
Young children may not have the attention span to follow a detailed story. However, most children enjoy the melody of rhymes. Get them a few good books with suitable illustrations to read and understand. They should be simple to understand and use silly, rhyming words and phrases to teach colours, shapes and numbers. You can use these types of books to grab a young child’s interest in reading and in learning.
Songs and music
Children also enjoy songs and music, and can be taught with these methods. Children have been singing the "ABC song, twinkle twinkle little star, Johny Johny yes papa" and other songs for ages. Teach your children these learning songs, they will be learning without even realising it, they just thought they were singing! Singing is also a good way to help build a child’s memory skills. They will want to learn the song that they can sing themselves.
Encourage your child to be creative. This can be done at an early age with the use of silly putty, play-dolls, clay, crayons, paints, and markers. Using paints, crayons and markers not only teach a child to use his creativity, it also teaches them dexterity, how to hold and use pencils and crayons. Silly, putty play-dolls and clay also teaches a child coordination by urging it to use hands, eyes and mind to create an object.
We all know how youngsters love to ask questions! Why? How? Where? Indulge them! Use their curiosity as a teaching tool. To get them interested in a subject, try asking them a question about the topic. For example, if you want to teach them the colours, you could say, "Do you know what colour your shirt is?" Instead of trying to tell them something that they do not necessarily want to know, you have to get them interested and willing to play along.
Children of all ages love games. You can use board games, computer games or games that you made up, to teach your preschool children new things. Playing board games will also teach them patience, they will have to wait their turn to roll the dice or move their game piece. Sportsmanship can also be taught with board games. Life skills, including patience and sportsmanship, are taught just as counting and ABC are taught.
You can use these methods or many others to get your pre-schooler interested in learning. Getting them on to the path of learning at a young age will help develop good habits throughout their learning years.
Your child’s personality will help determine what learning method works best for them. If your child likes to draw and colour, use that as a method of teaching. If music and songs get their interest, incorporate those into a way to teach them. With a bit of patience and practice, you will be able to lead your child down the path to a lifetime of fun and learning!
1. Who was recently entrusted with the control of the Nuclear Command Authority by the Cabinet Committee on Security(CCS)?
2. Who is India’s first Commander-in-Chief of the Strategic Forces Command(SFC)?
3. Which Australian batsman recently equalled Sir Donald Bradman’s record of 29 Test centuries?
4. Which drug was recently declared safe by the Indian Medical Association(IMA) after conducting a countrywide survey involving more than 5 lakh patients and scientific analysis of data?
5. Name the first woman and also the first Indian to be appointed to the prestigious post of the United Nations Civilian Police Adviser.
6. Name the artist, popularly known as the doyen of Indian art, who died recently.
7. Name the ropeway project in J&K, considered to be Asia’s highest and longest, which is likely to be completed by the end of this year.
8. Which symphony of Ludwig Van Beethoven was recently included in the exclusive Memory of the World Club of UNESCO?
9. Expand BIFR.
10. What is the capital of New Zealand?
11. When is the Army Day celebrated?
12. Who was recently sworn in as the new Governor of Andhra Pradesh?
13. Around which planet were three more moons discovered recently by Canadian and US astronomers?
14. Who was recently named the best referee in the world for the fifth consecutive year by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics?
15. Name the events for which Sunita Rani’s name was cleared of all doping charges levelled against her during the Busan Asiad?
Winners of quiz 173: The first prize by draw of lots goes to Varun Bhat, BCM School, Chandigarh Road, Sector 32-A, Ludhiana-141010.
Second: Ravi Sharma, Holy Himalayan Public School (near Rang Mahal), mohalla Surarra, dist Chamba( HP).
Third: Mandeep Tuli, class 9, Maharishi Vidya Mandir, Chetru, teh & dist Kangra (HP).
Answers to quiz 173: Swajaldhara; Shahdara and Tis Hazari; Brigitte Boisselier; Dr Vijay Kelkar; Gen Nirmal Chandra Vij; Sahyadri; Dhirubhai Ambani; Ratan Tata; United Nation Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime; Quito; Mwai Kibaki; Bankim Chander Chattopapadhyay; MCC — London; Sunita Rani; Andhra Pradesh.
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.