SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS/SYSTEM ANALYSTS/SOFTWARE ENGINEER
HARDWARE DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT ENGINEER OR COMPUTER HARDWARE ENGINEER
NETWORK ENGINEERS AND ADMINISTRATORS
SERVICING & MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS/ENGINEERS
DATA PROCESSING ASSISTANT/DATA ENTRY OPERATOR
EDP/ SYSTEM MANAGER
Welcome to the world of Information Technology. The day's not far when anything and everything will carry the prefix 'e' with it. If you haven't already been bitten by the IT bug, this is your last chance. Here's all the dope on Information Technology that you ever wanted to know.
You have probably heard that Information Technology is the biggest thing to hit the Indian shores. If you haven't already done a course in computers you probably haven't gauged the magnitude of the situation.
Information Technology is about data collection, storage and warehousing of data, processing, analysing, interpreting, transferring and transmitting data. It also involves using various applications in almost all the fields you can think of -from medicine to biotechnology and even engineering. Wireless application technology, Digital data transmission technology, Multimedia technology, etc. are all offshoots of this Information Technology wave.
Information Technology also uses various equipments like public telephone networks, optical fibre networks, V-SAT terminals (we call them dish antennas), communication satellites etc.
Here are a number of positions to choose in the field of IT
They use a range of tools and programming methods to conceptualise, develop and construct various sets of software codes.
Softwares are of two types-system
software and application software. System softwares are required for running a
computer (for e.g. Windows, DOS, Unix, Linux). Application software are needed
to utilise the versatility of the computer to do a number of jobs like storing
data, creating graphics, etc.
Developers and engineers are also responsible for implementation and maintenance of the software they develop-mainly the customised application or system software. The system analyst's job is to study systems. You will understand and outline the requirements of software and determine the specifications of the required software. In fact, the system analysts and the developers/engineers work as a team.
These days the job of a system analyst is further specialised and their domain has been expanded. They are now called System Architects. Your job is to study a given system/situation in an establishment which requires a software/hardware. You have to design the system and build it as per the requirements of the client with the help of a team of developers/engineers. You are also required to integrate various systems, the hardware and software to create and design user-friendly systems.
Hardware Design and Development Engineer or Computer Hardware engineer
The computers we use need to be designed and developed first. Not the exterior, but the microprocessors, the electronic chips, etc. All these need careful design and development. Once the design is done, then the chips have to be produced and manufactured. Then the computer is assembled and produced. You as a hardware designer and development engineer will be responsible for these activities.
A telecommunication engineer is an integral part of the IT setup. You will be involved in researching, planning, developing and implementing various components like V-SAT, wireless and broadband technology, satellite communication, etc. You will develop, manufacture and maintain various electronic equipments used in telecommunication. You will also designs and develop specific hardwares and softwares required for telecommunication.
Network engineers and Administrators
Networking is the key in IT. You need to be connected all the time. There is Internet, Local Area network (LAN), Wide Area Network (WAN), Intranet, Global Area Network (GAN), etc. Your job will be to plan, develop, construct, implement and maintain these various types of networks.
You as a Database Administrator will be responsible for entering, storing, categorising and retrieving data.
As a designer you will design user-friendly Internet interfaces (like a web page) and other forms of communications. Without the design, the interfaces would look just a set of technical mumbo-jumbo. Multimedia designers use various tools and technologies to design these interfaces.
You will develop and maintain the technical aspects of a web site. You in collaboration with the designers will produce the web site.
Servicing & Maintenance Technicians/Engineers
You will handle computer hardware and software and maintain them for optimum performance.
You will teach and give practical training to people who wish to be computer savvy in terms of software and hardware.
Assistant/Data Entry Operator
You would basically be involved in creating, storing and processing large amount of data.
EDP/ System Manager
It's basically a troubleshooter's job. You will manage database, handle installation, monitor, implement and maintain the overall system.
Firstly, your personal attributes:
Educational and professional qualifications:
Software Developers/System Analysts/Software
The best jobs go to those who have done their B.E/B.Tech/M.E/M.Tech in Computer/MCA/M.Sc. in Computer Science, etc. Those with an M.Sc. in Mathematics/Statistics/Applied Physics with a basic knowledge of computers also get jobs but at entry levels.
People with BCA, B.Sc. in Computer Science, B.Sc. in Physical Science background with good knowledge of computer have a good scope. MBAs with specialisation in Systems/IT have good job prospects. Alternatively, you can also do your DOEACC 'B' level.
These are very specialised jobs. You can only get in after about 5-7 years of experience in software development.
Hardware Design & Development Engineer or Computer Hardware/ Hardware engineer
You got to have an M.E/M.Tech/B.E/B.Tech/Ph.D. in Computer Science & Engineering/Electronics engineering/Telecommunication engineering. Best jobs are usually snatched by M.E/M.Tech/and Ph.D. graduates.
You got to have a B.E/B.Tech/M.E/M.Tech/Ph.D in Telecommunication/ Communication/Electronics & Telecommunication/Electrical Engineering.
Network Engineers and Administrators
You will be preferred if you have an Engineering degree along with a qualification/certification from o ne of the network software/hardware producing companies. You can have a certificate in Windows Network, Sun network, Linux, Unix, etc. With MCA/M.Sc./B.Sc. in Science and one of these qualification, you can also get good jobs.
Best jobs go to people with a qualification/certification in hardware/software, which is used for administration of a database and a basic degree like MCA, B. E/B.Tech/M.Sc./BCA/B.Sc. in Science/DOEACC 'A' or 'B' level, etc. For example, for maintaining a database in Oracle, one needs to qualification/certification in Oracle.
Your basic qualification could be anything-Arts, Commerce or Science. But to be able to work as a designer you need to have learnt packages like Coral Draw, Photoshop, Director, 3D Max, Flash etc.
You need to have a degree in B.E/B.Tech/MCA/MBA with Systems or IT specialisation/M.Sc./BCA/DOEACC 'A', 'B' level etc. with a sound knowledge of web technologies.
Servicing & Maintenance Technicians/Engineers
A diploma or degree in Engineering will do. You need to have a qualification in Hardware maintenance.
You need to be B.Tech/M.Tech/MCA/B.E/M.E/M.Sc. with good knowledge of various software and technologies. But if you have a qualification in Computer Software with a degree in any discipline, you can still get a reasonably good job. You can also have qualifications like DOEACC 'A', 'B', or 'C' level.
Assistant/Data Entry Operator/Computer Operator
You have to know basic computer operations with good typing skills. Degree is not very important. 10+2 level of education should suffice. Additional qualifications like DOEACC 'O', 'A' level ensures growth to senior levels.
You need B.E/B.Tech/MCA/MBA with Systems or IT specialisation with good knowledge of computer software, hardware and various tools and packages. You can also have qualifications like DOEACC 'B' level.
Here are some areas and companies where you will work:
*Computer hardware design, development, and manufacturing companies like IBM, CISCO System, Hewlett Packard, Apple, etc.
*Operating and system software development companies like Microsoft, Sun, Computer Associates, CISCO Systems, Novel Netware, etc.
*Numerous Application and system software development companies as well as System Consultancy companies like Infosys, Satyam Computer Associates, HCL Infosystem, TCS, etc.
*Companies specialised in telecommunication, networking and are developing telecommunication hardware and software like Synacar etc.
*User companies like HLL, Reliance, etc. and numerous medium and small scale companies.
*Other medium and small time users such as schools, departmental stores etc.
Money & Other Benefits
In computer hardware design, development, and manufacturing companies, you start with about Rs 16,000 - 20,000 a month, plus other attractive options like ESOP (Equity Share Options - where you will a part owner of the company!) if you are working on Indian shores.
Foreign salaries start at US $ 3,500 a month. You can reach to Rs 45,000/ US $ 7,000 a month, within 5-6 years of experience.
In large scale organisations and numerous medium and small scale companies at the high end you will start with about Rs 8,000 - 12,000 a month. The low end is really low at Rs 3,000 a month.
The software industry (which is the major component of IT industry) is the fastest growing segment within the Indian IT industry and is earning India very valuable foreign exchange. The Indian software sector has reached a massive size of Rs243.5bn during the financial year 1999-2000. The sector grew by 53% during the year. The growth during the last six years has been awesome - in 1995 the size of the whole software industry was just Rs26.05bn. This translates into an annualized growth of more than 56%.
And though now there is a massive downward trends in the industry due to slowing down of US economy, the long-term prospects of IT is very promising. All the down turns are only temporary and may not have any adverse long-term effect.
This is because, though the US economy is slowing down, Indian software companies are finding out new markets in Europe and other countries in the world. For example, Germany is offering 20,000 working VISA to Indian professionals. UK is also offering a large number of VISA to Indian professionals. So once the panic dies out, the overall job market scenario won't be bad.
Also the growth of IT is not restricted to the software development sector, but the IT enabled service sector (like Medical Transcription) is also going to be Rs 81,000 crore by the year 2008 from the current Rs 2,400 crore. And this IT -enabled sector will employ about 200,000 people by 2008. The spectrum of IT enabled services includes call centers, medical transcription, back office operations, accounting and legal services, content development especially for the internet, payroll management, logistics management, GIS mapping, etc. The entire range of IT enabled services vary from pure and simple data entry to customer interaction, which is complex and requires intelligence.
Then there is the e-commerce sector, which is growing. Though the rate of growth is not as meteoric as was predicted, it is still growing sufficiently to create a good number of job opportunities.
All this means, there will be a considerable demand for qualified IT professionals over the next decade and beyond, even though there is a lull currently.
But there is a word of caution. Since, the growth in the industry may not be as big as was predicted, the real number of people getting job may less and therefore, only the right candidate will get jobs. This means, those people who are well qualified. According the industry trends, people with BE/B. Tech/ ME/ M. Tech/ MCA/ M. Sc. degrees get the most preference. Then comes all the other degrees like BCA/ B. Sc. (IT)/ BCS/ B. Sc. / BIT etc. come.
It's a fact that computers are no longer stand-alone machines. They are connected in small offices, large buildings and over cities, states, counties and continents. It is not something as simple as connecting two wires together. There are innumerable software and hardware issues that go into networking. As a Network Administrator you will be a wizard who makes sense of it all. You will make and maintain LAN (Local Area Network) i.e. connect computers in the same floor or building. Or it could be WAN (Wide Area Network) say linking all colleges in Mumbai. You could even maintain the vast servers, which host these websites. In simple words you will be building and maintaining these information superhighways. A Network Administrator has to have sound knowledge of both hardware and software. So you might not really be programming softwares but you sure will know their functions. In major corporations, your work could also include ensuring security of stored information and giving access to relevant people. New hardware and softwares will be installed on your recommendation. You will have to constantly update yourself with the latest advances in this field.
Practical knowledge counts the most in this field. You need to have good problem solving abilities. A clear logical thought process helps as well as thorough knowledge of your subject. A diploma or degree in Engineering with specialisation in Networking is usually the starting point. There are numerous certification courses offered by networking companies such as Cisco, Novell, etc. You can keep upgrading these certifications to reach higher positions. Strong interpersonal and communication skills are required, as you will have to sit down and explain complicated technologies in layman terms.
Wherever there is more than one computer, you will be there in small or medium sized firms in any industry. Alternatively, you could work for computer firms and be in charge of networking needs of your client companies. You could move to senior positions where you will work as a consultant to set up computer infrastructures of huge projects. ISPs (Internet Service Providers) like VSNL also employ Networking Administrators for maintaining their servers and ensure smooth data transmissions to their clients.
Money & Other Benefits
Diploma holders usually start off with around Rs 6,000. A well-qualified Engineer with a Cisco certification will start with something like Rs 10,000 a month in India. Additional certifications and experience that counts. You could be well placed in two to three years time with around Rs 20,000-25,000 a month.
The need for connectivity is growing by the hour and technology is changing at a rapid pace. Without doubt good networking professionals are much sought after. The emergence of wireless technology such as WAP and Blue Tooth has only increased the need for skilled professionals to make sense of all these technicalities involved.
In a computer, hardware refers to the information capture, processing, storing, and communicating devices linked together electronically, while software refers to the sets of instructions or programmes which control these hardware devices, so that they can carry out the required operations.
As a Software Engineer your job begins with researching specific problems and investigating ways in which computers can be programmed to perform certain functions. Then you have to develop software applications customised to the needs and desires of the business or organisation you are catering to.
Software Engineers working for a particular industry are expected to have a certain level of proficiency in the functions of that industry. The nature of the job of a software engineer thus, differs from industry to industry and project to project.
As a Software Engineer, you will be required to first visit the client's office to note the problem. Then you can either work from the comforts of your office or at the client's office. The job involves drawing up a detailed proposal, which includes estimates of time and cost allocations.
Delivering what the brass wants can be quite stressful. Expectations have mushroomed and as soon as the boss knows it can be done he wants it done yesterday. This job calls for long hours.
A successful Software Engineer should have good communications skills, strong technical knowledge and an eagerness to meet the challenge of working with new technologies.
Practical experience is most important here. Prospective employers will be more eager to know the projects you have successfully handled than the names of the courses you have cleared.
Technology changes rapidly in this field, so continuous study and learning are part of a professional's life.
You have to learn to listen
carefully for the distinction between what people want and what people need
from their computer systems.
Flexibility, strong interpersonal skills, and a friendly disposition are highly valued traits in this industry.
However, the bottom line is performance, and those without strong technical skills find themselves quickly outpaced by the expertise their job demands.
For entry as a Software engineer you must have completed one of the following courses:
* A four-year degree course in BE
or B Tech/Computer Science/Engineering/ Information Technology.
* Four-year undergraduate course in Information Technology.
* Three-year BSc computer Science or Bachelor of Computer Science.
* Three-year bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA)
* Three-year Master in Computer Applications (MCA)
* Four-year Bachelor of Information Science.
* Four-year Bachelor of Information Technology
* Three-semester M Tech in IT
* Two-year Master's in Informatics/Information Technology/ computer Science, etc.
* DOEACC Society: O, A, B and C, level, courses. B level, is considered equivalent to MCA and C level to an M Tech. Electronics/other engineers can make a bid too. A three-year B Sc in computer Science could be the base for proceeding to post graduation in computer Science or Computer Applications.
Commercial certifications from Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, etc are popular with professionals. There are numerous private computer classes that teach the subjects. It is wiser to speak to the students of these classes before you secure admission. Find out what's the syllabus and the how good is the faculty.
BEs/B.Techs from top engineering institutions and MCAs from reputed universities can work in companies providing e-business solutions and innovative customised software for clients around the globe like:
Money & Other Benefits
BE/B Techs from top engineering institutions and MCAs from reputed universities get the cream of the jobs. In a multinational company salaries are in the range of Rs 10,000-20,000.
However, in a small to middle range company the range could be Rs 5,000-8,000.
The number of jobs in the IT industry is expected to grow faster than the average for all jobs. Software is perhaps the only industry where the export industry eclipses the domestic one. India is currently one of the dominant players in the global IT scenario.
The current wave is big enough that those catching a ride on it will see opportunities and earnings continue to increase. Working abroad and earning in dollars seems to be one the attractions in this field.
It's not just software, it's a solution to simplify and automate business processes. Business process re-engineering has taken a strategic dimension these days. Systems are at the core of business process re-engineering. A System Architect helps a client to build up a total business system.
Your job will involve analysing the system needs of your client, auditing the present system, identifying and building up the system logic, drawing up the system algorithm, developing the system and its maintenance.
You will develop programmes, which integrate various hardware and software systems in a company to generate object oriented tasks. This object oriented task makes computer usage very easy. Yours will be a specialised skill highly in demand.
The trend today is in offering a complete solution to the client vis-à-vis his needs for hardware and software. Your job is to make sure that a complete solution is developed, installed and offered to the client.
So apart from just doing the software engineering, you will also identify and source the hardware and integrate the hardware with the software. You will even sometimes develop a customised hardware using VLSI (Very Large System Integration) design logic.
Your job will also involve sourcing different technologies to create interfaces among various technologies so that a particular task is done automatically. This means the convergence of various technologies.
You can also develop special expertise in various upcoming areas like e-CRM (electronic customer relationship management), VLSI (Very large system integration), Business Intelligence, etc.
First about your personal attributes:
Please remember, there are no entry-level jobs in this field. You can only get in only after 5-7 years of software development experience.
The best jobs go to B. E/B.Tech/M.E/M.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering/Information Technology/Electronics Engineering/MCA/ M. Sc. in Computer Science.
MBAs with specialisation in Systems/IT also get very good jobs.
You will find opportunities in:
* Computer hardware design, development and manufacturing companies like IBM, CISCO System, Hewlett Packard, Apple, etc.
* Operating and system software development companies like Microsoft, Sun, Computer Associates, CISCO Systems, Novel Netware, etc.
* Large scale application and system software development companies as well as System Consultancy companies like Infosys, Satyam Computer Associates, HCL Infosystem, TCS, etc.
* Companies specialising in e-CRM, Business Intelligence, VLSI, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), and other areas of Information technology.
Money & Other Benefits
You just have to ask and you get it. Do you get the idea of how much money there is to be made in this field? You are a person with extremely specialised skills.
You can command Rs 40,000-80,000 or more per month plus other attractive benefits like ESOP (Equity Share Options, whereby you will actually be a part owner of the company you work for), etc.
Well, if have a penchant for green dollars; you will earn anything between US $ 5,000-10,000 or more per month. That's Rs 2,30,000 - 4,60,000 man! Cool, isn't it?
The IT software and services industry in India grossed an annual revenue of Rs 24,350 Crore (US$ 5.7 billion) during 1999-2000, according to the annual industry survey by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), the apex body of IT services industry in India.
NASSCOM predicts an exponential growth in the software industry at an annual rate of about 60 per cent over the next decade. And software export is growing at a rate of 57 per cent p.a., with future projections pegged at a growth rate of 60 per cent.
All this means, there will be a huge demand for qualified IT professionals over the next decade and beyond. And as a System Architect, you will be in high demand as well.
Moreover the IT industry is a global one with job opportunities in USA, Southeast Asia, Japan, Germany and other countries.