CAREER GUIDE Friday, May 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India
Make a mint at sea
Trilochan Singh Trewn
he operation and management of merchant ships, including passenger liners, provide on board as well as shore-based career opportunities for aspirants.




Make a mint at sea
Trilochan Singh Trewn

The operation and management of merchant ships, including passenger liners, provide on board as well as shore-based career opportunities for aspirants. Although there are more than 20 modes of entry for sailing ships, the basic categories are as follows:

Deck Cadet: Is an undertraining navigating officer who is trained by the government on board T.S. Chanakya, Mumbai, as well as through private arrangements as per directions of the DG (Shipping). Min qualifications 10+2 PCM 60 per cent; age: 17Ĺ-21; health: standard; promotion to Captain within 10 years subject to passing professional exam conducted by the DG (Shipping); pay scale: Rs 10,000 to Rs 2,00,000 per month depending upon the type and ownership of ships.

Engine Cadet: Is an undertraining marine engineer officer who is trained at a government engineering institute as well as at certain private engineering institutes in the country as approved by the DG (Shipping). Min qualifications: 10+2 PCM 60 per cent; age: 17Ĺ-21; health: standard; promotion to Chief Marine Engineer within 10 years subject to passing professional exams conducted by the DG (Shipping); pay scale: Rs 10,000 to Rs 2,00,000 per month depending upon the type and ownership of ships.

G.P. Ratings: Are sailors who assist officers on the deck or in the engine room to carry out watch keeping/maintenance duties (common to seamen and engineering branch) Min qualifications: matriculation with maths, English and science; health: standard; exceptionally good hands can seek promotion to officersí rank subject to passing exam approved by the DG (Shipping); minimum pay in Indian and foreign flagship companies: Rs 10,000 to Rs 35,000 per month, respectively.

Saloon Ratings: Their job is to provide catering facilities, including cooking and serving food and beverages to officers as well as to carry out house-keeping duties of their accommodation. Min qualifications: matriculation with English as subject along with a two-year approved diploma course in hotel management with 50 per cent marks; age: 17Ĺ to 21 years; health: standard; pay scale as applicable to GP Ratings.

Ship Management: It is a shore-based job, which does not require to sail on board ship. Min qualification: 10+2; age: above 18; health: standard; pay scale varies from Rs 10,000 to Rs 40,000 for those who qualify in specified exams conducted by renowned international institutes/organisations.

Besides, there are other categories like electrical officer, electrician, engine fitter, plumber and welder. Board and lodging for all personnel is free of cost. For detailed information the aspirants may contact the following offices:

1. Director-General of Shipping, Jahaz Bhavan, Ballard Pier, Mumbai

2. Hindustan Institute of MaritimeTraining, 141, Purasawalkam High Road, Kellys,

Chennai, Tamil Nadu

3. Training Ship Rehman, Jahaz Mahal Annexe, 170 K, Samandar Point Estate,

Worli, Mumbai

4. International Maritime Institute 13, Institutional Area, Knowledge Park I,

Surajpur Kasna Road, Gautam Budh Nagar, dist UP

5. ARI, B-1, Hauz Khas, New Delhi

6. T.S. ChanakyaKarave, Nerul, New Mumbai-400706

7. Marine Engineering & Research Institute, Hay Bonder Road, Mumbai-400003

8. Coimbatore Marine Centre, 1166, Maruvarsi Complex, Trichy Road, Coimbatore,

Tamil Nadu

9. National Institute ofTechnical Education, 17, Technology House, Stadium Road Attawa, Sector 42-B, Chandigarh.

Entrants to the merchant ship service enter young and leave relatively young after attaining ranks of Captain/Chief Engineer, thereby creating a continuous chain of vacancies at sea. About 200 new officers join mercantile marine ships in Mumbai alone every month as per published statistics.

How does one become a media planner?

Q What is media planning and how does one become a media planner?

ó Harvinder Singh

A In the advertising industry, the media planner is responsible for placing advertisements in the right place at the right time, so that they reach the desired audience for the least amount of money. They study the viewing, reading and web-browsing habits of the target audience to determine, which medium (newspapers, magazines, TV radio, Internet) is best suited to get their message across. They then study the number and types of people reached by different media and then calculate the reach.

A Masterís degree preferably with a specialisation in marketing, advertising or math/stats is considered ideal for a media planner. Those with a background in marketing or statistics and years of experience usually fill research positions.

Foreign varsity

Q I am studying BTech (Electronics) and am interested in doing postgraduation in technology or management from a foreign university. Can you please tell me if I will also have to take GATE, besides appearing for TOEFL?

ó Param Gill

GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering) scores are not required for admission to postgraduate courses abroad.

For seeking admission into an MS or MTech course, you need to take the GRE, particularly if seeking financial aid for studying in the USA.

For MBA courses in the USA, GMAT (Graduate Management Aptitude Test) scores are necessary. However, for Canada, the UK and Australia, the marks you have scored here and TOEFL/IELTS (International English Language Testing Service) scores would generally suffice. Admission to postgraduate courses in these countries is mainly based on academic merit. The good B-schools require at least 2-3 years of work experience over and above good GMAT scores.

However, do check out the specific requirements of the course for which you wish to enrol on the institutionís website.


Customs officer

Q I am a first-year BSc student. I wish to pursue a career as a Customs Officer. Could you please help me in realising my ambition.

ó Daljeet Singh

A Customs Officer deals with the formulation and application of policies for collecting of customs and central excise duties, preventing smuggling, etc. To become a Customs Officer you will have to take the Civil Services Examination which provides entry into 27 different services including the Indian Customs & Central Excise Services.

Actually two separate services, this is one of the two main tax collecting departments of the government whose function is divided into two broad areas:

  • The control of imported and exported goods for the purpose of duty, statistics and checks for entry of prohibited and restricted goods, especially smuggled drugs.

  • The administration and collection of most of the taxes on consumer expenditure (indirect taxes) levied in the country.

Customs officers work mainly in airports and docks, both in uniform and plain clothes to ensure that the due import and export licensing procedures are complied with. Initially they are posted in coastal towns and later at airports. They also conduct preventive checks i.e. physical examination of ships, aircraft, vehicles, freight and cargo to detect concealment of goods and duty evasion. Rising from Asst Collector of Customs to Dy. Collector, Addl Collector, Collector and finally, Principal Collector of Customs.

Excise duty is levied on a range of goods, including alcoholic drinks, fuel, tobacco products, textiles, etc. Many of these are produced under a licence which governs their production and processing. Excise inspectors visit establishments to check that the correct duty is paid and to ensure that manufacturers are suitably licensed and operating in accordance with the law. Sophisticated intelligence tools and innovative measures have to be adopted to combat revenue evasion and commercial fraud.

Starting as Asst Superintendent, you will move on to Addl. Superintendent, and finally Member, Central Board of Excise & Customs.

The Civil Services Exam is conducted in two parts consisting of a Preliminary and a Main Exam. Although a Bachelorís degree in any stream is the basic qualification, in fact most people who make it to the Civil Services are postgraduates and above.

Those selected for the Customs Service are trained in Chennai while training for the central Excise Service is done in one of the metropolitan cities. The recent restructuring of the department has improved the career progression of officers. The Departmental Training Academy regularly updates officers on changes in law and procedure to equip them for the challenges ahead.

You can also take your State Public Service Commissionís Allied Services Exam for state-level jobs in Customs and Excise.


Q I discontinued my BCA course last year because I did not like the college atmosphere or the teaching. My father, who is a cancer patient, has great expectations of me. I am desperate to fulfil his wishes. I tried to join a college in Chennai in the IInd semester but it was too late. So at present I am sitting idle at home. Please tell me what IT course I should choose? Iím feeling very tense and dejected. I donít want to disappoint my father at any cost. Your advice could change my entire life. Please help me out.

ó Bhupinder Gill

Dropping out of college midway without an alternative in hand is not a terribly wise step. Anyway, do one thing: write to the Director, School of Computer & Info Sciences, IGNOU (e-mail: as well as to the Student Registration & Evaluation Division (e-mail:, outlining the syllabus you have covered so far in your BCA course. Explain your situation at home and request them to transfer the credits of your course to the third semester of IGNOUís BCA programme, if possible. This way, if you have given your first year exams, you will not loose out on a year. After you have completed your graduation, you can decide whether to go in for further studies in IT or do something else like management or whatever else catches your fancy. Letís hope this helps.

Software firm

Q I am working in a software development firm in the quality assurance department. I have a postgraduate diploma in industrial engineering and a diploma in mechanical engineering. Do you think that there is any future for me in this field? If yes, then what else should I do? I donít know any of the programming languages.

ó Amarjeet Singh

Despite the slowdown, software development still remains the promised land for many of todayís new knowledge workers. You are already in the field and should be able to seize many opportunities. Software quality assurance itself is an important area in view of the fact that the growth of Indiaís software industry hinges on its ability to deliver software of global quality.

There are several courses available in QA. STQC IT Services Centres run by the M/o Communications & Information Technology offers courses and workshops in on software quality assurance for industry professionals. For details, e-mail: Since you are already working with a large successful firm, check with your seniors in the field what particular specialist training would really add value to your capabilities.


Q Could you please give me some information about the Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal and its complete address.

ó Jatinder Kaur Singh

The Indian Institute of Forest Management, Nehru Nagar, Bhopal 462003 (MP), an autonomous institute under the M/o Environment & Forestry is the only one of its kind in that it focuses on the economics of forestry and natural resources of India and South-East Asia.

The IIFM offers a 2-yr postgraduate course in Forest Management. The course is designed to familiarise students with various aspects of forestry as well as in the development and management of forests preparing them to become professional natural resource managers.

Admission to the programme is on the basis of the Common Admission Test (CAT) scores.

The fee for this 21-month long course is Rs 50,000. A stipend of Rs 1500/- pm is awarded to Indian students (except NRI sponsored) and those from SAARC countries.

The IIFM has an active placement cell that boasts of 100% placement through campus recruitment. Organisations like the World Wildlife Fund, Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI), World Bank, SIDA and US Aid Society for Development of Wasteland Development recruit students from the IIFM.

After you have obtained the CAT Bulletin, you must write to the Coordinator-PFM Admission at the above address to obtain the separate application form.

For further details, visit their


M.Sc (Life Sciences)

Q I have completed MSc in Life Sciences. What career options do I have in this subject?

ó Jimmy Singh

You could either take up teaching at the school level after doing your BEd or at the college and university level (after clearing the NET Exam for Lectureship and Junior Research Fellowship) or SLET for teaching at colleges in your state.

If research interests you then you should pursue your PhD at any reputed university or prestigious institution like the National Centre for Biological Sciences (TIFR), Bangalore.

Most jobs in life sciences lie in research in universities, scientific research organisations, government health departments or pharmaceutical companies. Bioinformatics is another hot option. Several institutions offer one-year courses in bioinformatics for postgrads in life sciences.

You are also eligible for the post of Scientific Officer advertised by the Union Public Service Commission.

ó Pervin Malhotra, Director, CARING

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

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