Information Technologist Career Information
What an Information Technologist does
The day's not far when anything and everything will carry the prefix 'e' with it. If the IT bug hasn’t already bitten you, this is your last chance. Here's all the dope on Information Technology that you ever wanted to know.
Information Technology is about data collection, storage and warehousing of data, processing, analysing, interpreting, transferring and transmitting data. Information Technology 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 fiber 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
Software Developers/System Analysts/Software Engineer They use a range of tools and programming methods to conceptualise, develop and construct various sets of software codes.
Soft wares are of two types - system software and application software. System soft wares are required for running a computer (for e.g. Windows, DOS, Unix, Linux). Application software is 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. As an analyst, 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.
System Architects 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 as a System Architect 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.
As a System Architect 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.
Telecommunication Engineer 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.
As a telecommunication engineer you will develop, manufacture and maintain various electronic equipments used in telecommunication. You will also design and develop specific hardware and software 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.
Database Administrators You as a Database Administrator will be responsible for entering, storing, categorising and retrieving data.
Multimedia Designers 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.
Web Developers You will develop and maintain the technical aspects of a web site. As a webdeveloper you will in collaboration with the designers produce the web site.
Servicing & Maintenance Technicians/Engineers You will handle computer hardware and software and maintain them for optimum performance.
Trainers/Faculty members You will teach and give practical training to people who wish to be computer savvy in terms of software and hardware.
Data Processing 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.
Here are some areas and companies where you find work as an Information Technologist:
• 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.
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 growth rate of 57 per cent p.a., with future projections pegged at a growth rate of 60 per cent.
The boom is not restricted to the software development sector, but the Information & Technology enabled service sector (like Medical Transcription) is also going to be Rs 81,000 crore by the year 2008.
All this means, there will be a huge demand for qualified Information & Technology professionals over the next decade and beyond.
Moreover the Information & Technology industry is actually global with job possibilities in USA, Southeast Asia, Japan, Germany and other countries.
Abilities & Traits Required
Your personal attributes:
• Strong analytical and reasoning skills
• Strong numerical ability
• Discreet and clear in your thoughts
• Good communication skill
For the educational and professional qualifications:
Software Developers/System Analysts/Software Engineer: The best jobs go to those who have done their BE Computer, BTech Computer, ME Computer, MTech Computer, MCA, MSc in Computer Science, etc. Those with a MSc in Mathematics, MSc Statistics, MSc Applied Physics with a basic knowledge of computers also get jobs but at entry levels.
People with BCA, BSc Computer Science, and BSc 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.
System Architects: These are very specialised jobs. You can only get into this only after about 5-7 years of experience in software development.
Hardware Design & Development Engineer or Computer Hardware/ Hardware engineer: You got to have a ME Computer Science, MTech Computer Science, BE Computer Science, BTech Computer Science, Ph.D. in Computer Science & Engineering/Electronics engineering/Telecommunication engineering. Best jobs are usually snatched by ME, MTech and Ph.D. graduates.
Telecommunication Engineer: You got to have a BE Telecommunication, BE Communication, BE Electronics & Telecommunication, BE Electrical Engineering, BTech Telecommunication, BTech Communication, BTech Electronics & Telecommunication, BTech Electrical Engineering, ME Telecommunication, ME Communication, ME Electronics & Telecommunication, ME Electrical Engineering, MTech Telecommunication, MTech Communication, MTech Electronics & Telecommunication, MTech Electrical Engineering
Network Engineers and Administrators: You will be preferred if you have an Engineering degree along with a qualification/certification from one 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 qualifications, you can also get good jobs.
Database Administrators: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, BE, BTech, MSc, BCA, BSc in Science/DOEACC 'A' or 'B' level, etc. For example, for maintaining a database in Oracle, one needs to qualification/certification in Oracle.
Designers: 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, and Flash etc.
Web developers: You need to have a degree in BE/BTech/MCA/MBA with Systems or IT specialisation/MSc/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.
Trainers/faculty members: You need to be BTech/MTech/MCA/BE/ME/MSc 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.
Data Processing 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.
EDP/System Manager: You need BE/BTech/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.
In computer hardware design, development, and manufacturing companies, you start with about Rs 16000 - 25000 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.
As a system analyst you can expect a starting salary in the range of Rs.10000 - 15,000
Foreign salaries start at US $ 3500 a month. You can reach to Rs 45000/ US $ 7000 a month, within 5-6 years of experience.
Interview with an Information Technologist
Sabeer Bhatia, Information Technologist
Sabeer Bhatia who is at last count, worth some $400 million talks about how he became the hottest male in town with hotmail.
Sabeer did his early education at Bishop Cotton's School in Pune, then St Joseph's College in Bangalore. After that he joined the Birla Institute of Technology (BITS) at Pilani where he won a transfer scholarship to Cal Tech. He was the only applicant in the entire world (usually about 150 give it a try) in 1988 to get a passing score on the tough Cal Tech Transfer Exam.
Initially Sabeer was planning to complete his BSc and return home. But he went on to do his master's degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University after which he joined Apple Computers as a systems integrator. He was however inspired by the exploits of his fellow students at Stanford like Jerry Yang and David Filo, creators of Yahoo! "The entrepreneurial wave started in the 90s and I was swept into it as well," he recounts.
The first idea that Sabeer had was that of a web based personal database system that could be accessible for anywhere in the world. He shared his idea with his friend and co-worker Jack Smith, and they both felt that the idea worth pursuing. Most of the time Sabeer and Jack would exchange their ideas via e-mail but a firewall system installed at Apple put an end to that. It was the frustration of passing ideas over floppy and chits of paper that led to the birth of Hotmail. Says Sabeer, "It was then that the idea of a web based email system struck us."
Sabeer started taking his business plan to numerous venture capitalists (VC). "We were scared of people stealing our ideas," says Sabeer. Selling the idea too was not an easy task. In fact, as many as 19 VCs turned him down. "'Many of them said we were too young, had very little experience, no management experience at all, and had hardware backgrounds. But we never gave up," reminisces Sabeer.
Then came the meeting with Steve Jurvetson of Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Sabeer got $300,000 to make a prototype of the system. It was not a great deal of money and utilizing it to the maximum was a challenge for the Hotmail team. Out of the initial staff of 15, only three got full time salaries and the rest ware paid in stock options. Said Sabeer while talking about his employees "People take a risk with you but they too get the reward," The gamble eventually paid off.
"The power of the Internet is such that a good idea spreads like wild fire," remarked Sabeer. This was true in the case of Hotmail. It was launched on July 4, 1996. By mid 1998, the company was signing up new users at the rate of 1.25 lakh a day! In just over two years, Sabeer had built Hotmail's user base faster than any media company in history. "Today hotmail has over 150 million subscribers. This is out of a total of 2300 to 350 million users of the Internet," said a very pleased Sabeer on the current status of hotmail.
How hotmail came to be a part of Microsoft is also an interesting story. Initially Hotmail provided its Services to users of the Microsoft network (MSN). However the prospects of a merger began to be tossed around when it began to emerge that both the firms had similar plans for expansion and growth. Sabeer and two of his colleagues were invited to the Microsoft office at Seattle where he met Bill Gates for the first time. After the initial meet were a series of negotiations. The initial offer made by Microsoft was a cool 160 million dollars. Sabeer made a counter offer of 700 million dollars! This was not a wild figure. "I wanted to make a billion dollar company and we kept on negotiating for three months," said Sabeer. Eventually the final sum agreed to was 400 million dollars and Sabeer became the poster boy of young entrepreneurs throughout the world.
Under the deal with Microsoft, Sabeer could have continued as president of Hotmail, for a period of three years. Most people would have stopped at that. But not Sabeer. He quit before the stipulated time and started arzoo.com a website dedicated to e-commerce. However things didn't turn out quite the way he wanted it to and arzoo shut shop. But Sabeer remains enthusiastic as ever about the prospects of the Internet and is keeping his future plans a closely guarded secret. Who knows what new hot ideas we can expect from this hot male?
- Siddhartha Roy