Archive for December, 2008

Careers in IT/ ITES

December 7, 2008

High school students are keen on knowing the prospects of IT/ITES careers in India. Here is my quick take

IT-ITES generates the largest number of jobs in India; currently there are 2.2 million employed in this category. 500,000 are in Karnataka alone; Government of Karnataka (GoK) employs a similar number! Considering the fact that many GoK jobs are in Class III / Class IV, IT/ITES sector is great for jobs.

The “slowdown” will impact everyone including IT/ITES; but it will eventually turn for the better; after all it is cyclical; by the time the High School graduates enter the job market (2-6 years from now), the position will indeed be good.

B Tech / MCA are the preferred qualifications. MSc / BCA / BSc too have openings. There is a confusion that IT/ITES careers are only for Math guys; while many engineers have taken to IT, it is open for others too. MP3 was inspired by music, iPod  is a design innovation; so IT is for everyone.

IT-ITES offers a variety; you can pursue M Tech / PhD and even chase a Nobel Prize / Turing Award. You can join services, grow into a project manager, have a “cool” and “comfortable” job with an attractive salary. You can turn entrepreneurial either immediately or later, and create jobs and wealth; in IT/ITES what you need is a compelling idea and NOT huge initial investment.

You can work in services companies as well as product companies; India has product companies like Infosys Finacle, iFlex, Tally, Subex, Megasoft too. There are R & D outfits like Infosys SET Labs, TCS R & D, IBM Research, Microsoft Research, HP Labs, Intel Research, Motorola research, Nokia Research..

Also there are technology & IP licensing companies like Ittiam and Sasken. There are hardware companies too.

Do remember IT-ITES has a broadband. Not all ITES, is a low end BPO. There are KPO (Knowledge Process Outsourcing) and LPO (legal Process Outsourcing) where you as an expert provide services over a wire at very high charges ($ 100 to 300 / hour!).

IT also has services that may not need a college degree; hardware servicing, support that too in remote areas can be sought even with SSLC / Diploma

In a nutshell, you have large number of jobs, well-paying jobs, opportunities for wealth creation and jobs for people with varying qualifications SSLC to PhD. You can earn money, win laurels or create wealth; IT /ITES offers all

Best of luck!

(Career Forum organized by Bangalore University and Eduquity at Central College Auditorium in Bangalore on December 6, 2008)

Industry Academia Interaction

December 5, 2008

It is important for industry and academia to work together. However caution must be exercised. Such an interaction is the “icing on the cake”; it is important, but  the cake is equally important. Industry professionals bring the much needed “relevance” and “context” to the knowledge that academics must continue to impart at the highest level without sacrificing the rigor.

It is important for the students to study the classic and legendary textbooks and papers; product specific information can be utilized to illustrate the concepts. What is undesirable is to jump the gun; teach “Oracle DBMS” without the basics of RDBMS. Institutions should NOT be reduced to training outfits of corporations.

Academics are “slow” but they are “steady” and they have their role to play. This important role is being appreciated much these days, thanks to reckless investment banks.

(Panel discussion at EMC sponsored Storage Conference at Nitte Institute of Technology during Dec 3-4, 2008)

Storage in the curriculum for CS students

December 5, 2008

Compilers, operating systems, networking, databases, artificial intelligence or graphics are all subjects that undergraduate students study as part of the curriculum. They use products (Microsoft c++ compiler, Linux O/S, Cisco routers, Oracle DBMS, LISP / PROLOG and AutoCAD, for example). They all use storage on their desktop, but never get to appreciate the complexity; it is a peripheral (like printer). The back-end storage at the data center is something they do not see; the sophistication of enterprise class servers or the super-store employed by Google / Yahoo / MSN is part of the “cloud”. Naturally, storage is NOT part of the standard curriculum today.

Institutions like IIIT-B introduce storage as part of the “High performance computing” course.

To start introducing the subject of storage, it is best to start with an Elective Course that  the colleges can offer; industry must help the College thru the establishment and support of a Lab. That would be a sure shot way on “initiation”. Based on such an experiment, future strategies can be prepared.

(Panel discussion in the Storage Conference held at Nitte Institute of Technology, Karnataka during Dec 3-4, 2008)

Tata’s Titan launches Braille watches for blind

December 3, 2008

Titan Industries Ltd has unveiled Braille watches designed for the visually impaired, branded Titan Braille. These watches crafted with a protective liftable top cover and raised patterns on the dial make a great aid for visually impaired people to have time on their fingertips. The Titan Braille watch has been designed in-house by the Titan Design Studio and is manufactured at the company’s manufacturing plant in Hosur. The watches come with a special instruction manual in Braille, which has been developed in consultation with the National Association for the Blind. Designed in round and rectangular stainless steel cases, these watches use a quartz movement. The stainless steel cases make it sturdier and reliable. Priced at Rs. 995, the watches come with a warranty and battery life of two years. (as per their Press Release of Dec 2, 2008)
It is an interesting development; it demonstrates one more commitment of the Tata group to address larger societal issues.
Personally I feel touched that Indian designers are getting busy with addressing India’s problems (India is home to the largest number of blind people in the world)
One hope this trend becomes the “in thing” and our scientists & technologists focus more and more on solving India’s problems, that too pressing problems.