Wednesday, July 18, 2018

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Posted at: Jul 19, 2017, 1:05 AM; last updated: Jul 19, 2017, 1:05 AM (IST)CAREER HOTLINE : PERVIN MALHOTRA

The medical connection

Q.I took PCBM in school to keep my options open, but ended up doing BTech (Comp Sc). But I would still like to be connected to the medical sector in some way. Could you please throw light on opportunities in the healthcare sector for someone with an IT background? What are the future prospects of this sector? — Jspreet Thapar

A.There’s a veritable boom of employment opportunities in the health sector — both public as well as private. You’d be amazed to know that nearly 50 per cent of the top 30 occupations globally are currently health-related. While healthcare is a huge, huge industry globally, in India it’s expected to account for 7 per cent of the GDP in the next 10 years employing millions people.

The government is keen to develop India as a global healthcare hub. It has created the National Health Mission (NHM) to provide effective healthcare to both our urban as well as rural population.

Healthcare BPOs and KPOs would be the best place to look for job openings for someone with an IT background. Outsourcing in the healthcare sector has come a long way from low-end claims processing and medical transcription to medical analytics and clinical processing to telemedicine and mobile-based health and diagnostics apps.

Moreover, the US healthcare industry outsources not only its medical billing and insurance processes to India, but also data analysis and software development. Although Indian, healthcare BPOs are still in the nascent stage, medical services outsourcing from US has witnessed a mega spurt.

The multi-million dollar medical outsourcing industry has four key clients – the Provider (hospitals and physicians) involving medical billing and raising claims; the payer (health insurance companies) which mainly involves outsourced data entry work; the pharmaceutical companies and finally the healthcare IT companies. You may well find your niche in the latter. For example, several Indian IT majors handle KPO work like consultancy, technology management, claims processing etc.

The medical transcription segment and the newer KPO — medical analytics (analyzing medical data) are the other big growth areas you could venture into.

Besides this, virtually all operations (and I’m not talking about the surgical ones, although even some of these) in a hospital be it billing, patient records, inventory, occupancy, appointments or recruitment are computerised. All major hospitals use computerised Management Information Systems (MIS) and special ERP packages that need functional area specialists, implementers and maintenance professionals.

Scope for women artists

Q.I am a schoolteacher who has been pursuing painting as a hobby. My paintings have drawn praise from all my colleagues and friends. Now, I would like to turn my hobby into a profession and sell my paintings in galleries and auctions. Where should I begin? What is the scope for women artists? — Radhika Jain

A.For several years now, women artists have been bringing a new perspective to canvas (stone and metal) while making their presence felt in the contemporary global art scene. Several like Anjolie Ela Menon, Arpita Singh, Jayasree Burman, Nalini Malani, Nilima Sheikh, Shobha Broota, Gogi Saroj Pal, Manu Parekh amongst a bevy of talented artists have created a name for themselves in this field that includes sculpture, collage, installations and photographic art. That said, art is by no means gender-specific. In the sense that when someone is buying art, the artist’s gender is hardly ever an issue.

If you want to turn your art hobby into a profession, go where the market is. In India, the major markets for art are Mumbai and Delhi (Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai are catching up). Understandably, the art galleries in these cities are more proactive. Which is also why, consultants to international auctioneers are mostly located in these two cities. And that’s also partly the reason why young contemporary Indian artists from other places find relatively poor representation in auctions, especially those staged abroad.

But the last one is no longer a constraint. Interestingly, an array of startups and aggregators like Ardizen, HuesNStrokes, Artmikado, have sprung up offering subscription-based art rentals  and customisation for corporates and large establishments and individual clients.

Of course don’t forget to post your work on online art galleries like, besides Amazon, Snapdeal etc.

Has MCA lost sheen?

Q.I’m presently doing my MCA (final year). I’ve been hearing that MCA has lost its sheen. And as a result, many MCAs only end up getting maintenance and tech-support jobs. If this is true, what should I be doing to make sure I land a decent job? — Kishore Thapar

A.While this is not entirely true, there is a downturn in the perceived value of MCAs – largely due to the glut of institutes offering substandard programmes. Quantity is not equal to quality.

Besides good coding skills (regardless of whether you’ve done a BTech or MCA), employers also look for people with the right attitude (adaptability, learnability and an open mind), logical, analytical and problem-solving ability and good communication skills. The last is very important because besides the core computing skills, you need to be able to communicate effectively both with the client and your team. If you take care of these and have a sure grip on the fundamentals, you have nothing to worry. Also, do take your industry project seriously because that’s where you’ll get the maximum practical exposure. And with automation rendering many tech jobs redundant combined with the ever-shortening cycle time of technology advancement, you need to stay on top of every coming wave. Learning to learn is a must-have skill to survive in this industry.

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