CAREER FOCUS ADVICE
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CAREER ADVICE-Social networking sites are shifting from providing entertainment to job leads-'Net' Working for Career Gain- Slash Career-The Laughter Business towards Success-THE FLOURISHING BPO SECTOR HAS GENERATED EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES FOR VOICE AND ACCENT TRAINERS-Fresh out to college, now is the time to zero in on “the right” career path-If computers are your passion and programming your forte, then dot net developing may be the career for you-Choose your first job with care, for it is the basis of your career -

IT CAREER ADVICE

Dear Pretty,

I have been hearing about GNIIT Program for the past 5-6 years. Can you tell me if the course is the same or has it been modified to suit current requirements? And can someone without a science or maths background do this program?

Hemant Kumar, Allahabad

 

Dear Hemant,

I am very glad that you have been smart enough to explore the various opportunities around you. Well about GNIIT, I heard that NIIT was sprucing up their GNIIT Program with a brand new Business Systems & Information Management Track. I dont know whether theyve announced it in public, but heres some inside information. Instead, it focuses on Business Processes, Information Systems, and Business Intelligence Technologies and on the data generated by these systems. It uses world-leading technology/platforms like SAS and Microsoft to teach the latest technologies in the domain.

The Business Systems & Information Management Track teaches you IT skills suitable to any choice of career. And this caters to students of all academic backgrounds. There are no complex programming languages or mind-boggling coding procedures.

         What makes this new track interesting is that its divided into a number of components like static Core IT courses, Disciplinary courses aligned to current and future technologies and Elective courses, which provide an option to specialize in areas of individual interest. In addition, Professional Skills & Industry Orientation courses add to the development of the complete IT professional required by todays industries.

Moreover it gives you globally recognized certifications. So you actually gain a triple qualification advantage Under-graduate Degree + GNIIT + Global Certifications. 

         As you can see the new GNIIT program have a lot of advantages to offer. I would suggest you run to your nearest NIIT center and get your facts straight and doubts cleared.

Dear Pretty,  

I have just completed my 12 standard exams with a score of 82%. Although I plan to pursue a B.Sc. degree, I would like to know what qualifications are required for a career in the IT industry? I heard about the GNIIT program but I want to know if that is sufficient to pursue a career in IT or do I need any additional qualifications and certifications?

M. Laxmi, Chennai  

 

Dear Laxmi,

82% wow! Congratulations on such a good result. But what are even more admirable are the goals that you have set.

It’s great that although you’ve scored wonderful marks you are still trying to better your prospects by going in for a professional qualification along with your graduation.  

         Coming to your query, the industry-endorsed GNIIT Program is probable the most comprehensive IT training program for IT aspirants from any academic background.

It is designed in consultation with industry experts and in partnership with the academia and IT majors like Intel, Microsoft, Oracle and Sun Microsystems. This ensures that your IT skills are at par with, or superior to peers in professional IT programs. 

         With a one-year internship and global certifications, you become a full-fledged professional, ready to perform from day one! Thus, your graduation degree along with the new GNIIT program is probably all you need at this stage to make a start in the IT industry.

Dear Pretty,

While I am applying to various colleges for my graduation, I am also interested in an alternate IT course from a globally recognized institute. With so many IT training institutes around, I am utterly confused. Please suggest an institute that offers such programs for a high school pass out like me?

Ashit Chakravarty, Shimla

 

 

Dear Ashit,

I hate taking sides, which is why I am usually a bit when it comes to making a recommendation.

However, in the case of IT training, if it’s a trustworthy institution you’re in search of, you needn’t look any further than NIIT. It is the pioneer of IT education in India and it has been around for about 26 years. 

         They are possibly one of the few in the business who have a presence in more than 32 countries across the globe. Regarding the course that you should do, maybe you can walk across to an NIIT center close to you and enquire about their GNIIT Program.

The program is designed especially for college students who want to take up an IT Program while pursuing their undergraduate studies.

         The GNIIT program has been designed in consultation with top IT companies, keeping in mind their present and future requirements. So once you graduate, you are ready to be employed.

Now for the best part, the GNIIT Program has a nationally present Industry Collaboration Cell, which helps to place you in India’s top IT companies.

         GNIIT tailors portions of its curriculum to the precise requirements of the companies with which it has a Placement Partnership. These companies, in turn, provide students with an internship and expose them to live case studies. Students get a stipend, which means you can earn while you learn! And you graduate with great opportunities ahead.

Looking for work on Face-book

Social networking sites are shifting from providing entertainment to job leads,

As anyone who has ever received a virtual Jagerbomb or fought off intergalactic cyber chickens knows, social-networking sites are designed to be entertaining. If there werent so much fun to be had, there wouldnt be so many articles warning that what you post on your profile—that is, photos of you in a beer helmet and a tequila bandolier—could one day cost you a job. Yet sites like Face—book, Friendster and My Space are evolving beyond their reputations as procrastinators Xanadus.

           With American consumer confidence at a 26-years low and one in seven workers telling the Pew Research Center that they fear they will be laid off, social-networking sites are becoming, for some users, platforms from which to network for job leads, to forge professional contacts or even to announce to friends that you are out of work.

           Landing a job through a social network not designed for that purpose appears to be a rarity. But savvy users say the sites can be effective tools for promoting ones job skills and all-around business networking. Even human resource professionals are encouraging people to log on.

           In a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers published in March, employers indicated that whereas in the past they used social-networking sites to check profiles of potential hires,” said Marilyn Mackes, the groups executive director, today more than half will use the sites to network with potential candidates”.

           Career Builder.com, the job search site, officially introduced a Face-book application last month that enables companies to find candidates. It joins other job-oriented Face-book applications, including one by Jobster that has more than 26,000 members.

           Christine Pon Chin, a real estate agent with Bellmarc Realty in Manhattan, uses Face-book for both social and professional networking.Its helping me get additional buyers and sellers for the future,” said Chin, who began posting some of her exclusive property listings on Face-book a couple of months ago, when business slowed.

           Since then, she has corresponded with potential buyers.One Face-book Im getting in touch with people I havent seen in years and who dont necessarily know what I do — so it puts the word out,” she said.   

           Sonia Meertins, 32, who relocated to Los Angeles when her husband accepted a job, went virtual with her own job hunt about six weeks ago. A recruiter suggested she create profiles on Face-book and Linked In (designed expressly for business networking).

           But Meertins, who is looking for work in sales and marketing, has been taken aback by the ghosts of classmates past who have friended her on Face-book. “You have absolutely no idea why they want to be connected to you,” she said, adding that Linked In feels more appropriate for job hunting. Still, she said: “Every resource thats available, you try to use it. You see what washed out”.

           Even recent college graduates who have had Face-book profiles for years are refining them into business tools. Take Melissa Gilmore, Shanna Allen and Shani Alston, research assistants at the Center for Family Planning Research at Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh, whose task is to recruit women for a birth control study. About a month ago, the researchers, all 23, created a Face-book group for the center and took the creative step of linking to it on their own personal Face-book profiles to enlist friends for the study.   

           Gilmore, a graduate of Duke University with more than 1,000 Face-book friends, said she hoped eventually to pay a finders fee to online friends who referred people to the study. 

           Last year, Face-book itself began facilitating professional networking with the introduction ofpages”: profiles for businesses or professionals that other Face-book users can become fans of and receive updates about.  

         When somebody joins your group on Face-book, theyre much more likely to be receptive to your message,” said Dustin Luther of Calabasas, California, who leads real estate seminars for sales agents and is the founder of the popular Seattle blog RainCityGuide.com. “My last seminar, a group of us all went out to dinner and we were able to post photos and videos. It kind of keeps everybody engaged in what youre doing in an informal way”.

           Certainly, social-networking sites have always been used for self-promotion. And since the deluge of attention about the perils of posting too much or wearing too little, many users have become discreet. More people make their profiles private, or benign enough to be read by colleagues in their employee networks. Even so, some job recruiters are leery of mining the sites for talent.

           Lars Asbjornsen, the vice-president of online marketing for Robert Half International, a staffing service, said he saw the most potential for recruiting on a business site like Linked In. A survey published this month by Robert Half, based on interviews with 150 senior executives from 1,000 of the countrys largest companies, found that while executives were interested in recruiting from social-networking sites, more were interested in doing so throughprofessional networking sites.   

SHAPING THE FUTURE

‘Net’ working for career gains

Registered your presence on social networking sites? Do it fast as that’s where staffing companies are prospecting the most now

Looking for an SBU head proclaims an HR consultants home page on Linked In. Visit other business and social networking sites like Ryze, Connects, Face book, My Space, My worker, Orkut and Global Business Networking and the striking thing is the sheer number of HR professionals who are present. Clearly business and social networking websites are emerging as the important places for potential hires.

    Perhaps the best advertisement of this new hiring landscape is none other than Linked In CEO Dan Nye, who got his current job by registering his presence on the site. Closer home there are countless examples of people switching jobs, thanks to social networking sites or blogs. Sushma Bhatia, a free-lance editor, describes how she got a lucrative offer for online editing work from an educational company, thanks to Linked In. A reference in Orkut led Rajeev Kumar, a graduate from Lucknow, to land a remunerative job in a BPO.

    HR professionals point out how these sites have opened up a vast field for them, giving them access to passive candidates, who otherwise would never think of a change. With membership on sites like Linked In (15 million users at last count), Face book (52 million members with 20,000 new user log-ins per day) and Orkut growing by the day, it is a veritable goldmine for recruiters prospecting for new talent. Each of these communities has a huge database of professionals from every field, cutting across all geographies.

   Since 2006, I have seen a huge surge in the number of HR professionals present on social network-ing sites,” says Raghav Pandit, senior consultant, Mancer Consulting, a Delhi based firm specializing in HR solutions. Pandit himself uses sites like Linked In and Brijj (naukris affiliate portal) exten—sively.

     Pandit also shares an interesting trick he employs to widen his online network – throw some quest-ions on the forum. “For instance, if I am looking for a person in the banking and financial field, I will post a question on that subject on one of the social networking sites. As answers pour in, I can get a candidate with expertise in that field, with which I was not even linked in,” he says.

     One reason why so many HR professionals are up there on the Net may be explained by the huge numbers they have to start out with while recruiting for MNCs. To fill 100 posts in a company, a re—cruiting company has to start off with 5,000 CVs, which gradually gets distilled down to 500. Social networking sites are then certainly a good place for database mining.

     Apart from the recruitment agencies, even the talent acquisition teams of companies are joining the online networking sites in droves. Says David Raj Jesumarian, director – HR, Virtusa Corp, a Hyderabad-based IT outsourcing solution provider: “Net hunting is one of the key sources for us to attract senior position and specialist roles like architects and SMEs”. But, Jesumarian says the whole thing is done very subtly, “The members of our talent acquisition team are very active in these net—working forums, to increase our contacts. They create opportunity to talk about Virtusas values, strengths and benefits of working with us. We dont talk about job opportunity at the first interaction. We build relationship and create excitement for the candidate to explore the opportunity with us”.

     Spotting the opportunity in this space, a host of Indian social networking sites have sprung up. Jhoom, Mingle Box, Yaari, Humsubka, Yo4Ya, Yuvacafe are all picking up members fast. And, if you think that the Internet social networking medium is restricted to white-collar workers, think again.

MY SAY

IT Consulting, Technology & Outsourcing Services: 6 skill sets

The key focus for us has always been to spot and attract well rounded people”. Vitusa looks for the following skill sets:

1.  Technical and domain compete-ncy with the ability to work in stringent deadlines.

2.  Personal competencies like abili-ty to think out of box, people skills, good team player and multi-tasking.

3.  At senior levels, ability to work in global multicultural environ—ment.

4.  With IT companies operating in global locations, communication skills play a vital role.

5.  Ability to learn and adaptability to change are pre-requisites for a successful career.

6.Clarity of thought, entre-pre-neurial skills and building high performance teams are also key leadership competencies for senior level positions.    

     Baba job, a Bangalore-based start-up, has started a social networking site for the floating under—class in India, those seeking jobs as maids, chauffeurs, peons and security guards. Whats more, the site has a unique cash incentive scheme, much like its parallel site Babalife.com. Other sites, which offer rewards for referring people are www.techtribe.com, www.reffster.com and www.youmint.com.

   According to a recent Assoc ham survey, junior, mid-level and senior executives accounted for more than 50% of the online job seekers. And, 46% of the online job seekers are in the 26 to 35-age group. With an estimated 120 million Indians logging on to the Net in 2007-08, head hunting through networking sites is a trend that will only increase. Whats more – it is estimated that over 50% of job placements happen through word-of-mouth referrals, and being networked online with your friends and past colleagues gives an advantage in terms of getting to know about new openings.

    But even as the advantages are coming to the fore, there are many who warn about the hazards of virtual recruitment. After a point, social networking sites can become irritants in your inbox. This might even have an adverse effect on the company that is recruiting. While networking is a good way of getting initial contacts, you still have to call up, probe and run physical checks – both from the employers and the employees end. As one HR professional says, “E-recruiting does not substitute for looking someone in the eye. One has to have that person-to-person feel to intuitively grasp inner character”. As Jesumarian says: “While we use such sources, we conduct thorough screening process-es before recommending candidates for the next level of interviews. It is extremely important to assess the expertise, type of work and accomplishments one claims”.

    Right now, its a fad to be on the social networking sites – but how sustainable it will be in the long run remains to be seen. One thing however is certain; it will help get more candid and valuable decision-making information since recruiters interact in members-only arenas. Also it stands to help small geographic-specific recruiter groups with limited infrastructure and financial muscle to easily locate and communicate with potential business partners, networking contacts, and industry experts. Detailed member profiles, discussion groups, activity ratings, endorsements, user definable recruiting partners,’ and other tools would inevitably sustain the online recruitment process. And last some financial rewards for references are sure to fire this process in the coming days, like Babalife which lets you earn money for the effort you put in.

JOB CHECKS ON THE NET

   Even as they fish for new talent, recruiters are also using the Net to run background checks on candid—ates. With most people putting up their entire lives on social network-ing sites or blogs, the Net is now an important place to verify the candid-ates suitability.

   How important the Net is as a recruiting tool is belied by a study conducted in the US by the execu-tive search firm ExecuNet, which found that 77% of recruiters run searches of candidates on the Net to screen applicants.

   That is why, it is important for potential jobseekers not to be indis-creet on the Net. Digital dirt can smear your fair name and sully your job prospects. However much you might like to date, boast, flaunt your achievements on the Net, remember a potential recruiter is running check on you and might catch you doing something that employers frown upon or catch some unsavoury comments about you. Here are some tips:

1.    If you have blogs up on the Net, make sure you dont put up revealing or risqué photos, use foul language or lewd jokes – all these will be viewed as a reflection of your character.

2.    Most of the social networking sites offer the option of setting your profile to private,’ so that it is viewable only by friends of your choosing. This is advisable. Also, its best to have some short of comments filter.

3.    Use a search engine to look for online records of yourself to see what is out there about you. If you find information you feel could be detrimental to your candidacy or career, see how you can get it removed. 

 

 

 

ALTERNATE VIEW

To move or not to move

It’s the eternal dilemma every career person faces – a job offer that sounds simply great on paper, yet you just cannot decide whether to move or not. Simply ask yourself the following 5 big questions, which go beyond better remuneration

WILL THE NEW JOB OFFER YOU ANY NEW CHALLENGES?

Every time you change jobs, you should be able to expand your learning curve and develop new skill sets. Never move if there is no butterflies in your stomach about the heightened responsibilities for challenges keep the adrenalin going. Often, start-ups offer these challenges. And as Tanya Kapadia of ID8, a media agency says: “In a small company, you get noticed earlier and you grow faster”.

WHAT KIND OF NON-MONETARY PERKS COME WITH THE PACKAGE?

Fully paid, extended holidays up to a year, on-campus restaurants or spas and the option for your spouse to join you on an off-site assignment are commonplace now. Butthings like subsidized gym or in-house gyms, food and transportation reimbursements on the days I work late and regular travel-related perks definitely go towards tilting the scale,” says Hema Prasad, who has previously worked with Star TV and Yahoo India. “I am considering taking a course in MBA, so if a company offers part or full cost of the course, then that would be a huge bonus,” she adds. Non-monetary perks are best describes by Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, who says, “The goal is to strip away everything that gets in our employees way Lets face it: programmers want to program, they dont want to do their laundry. So we make it easy for them to do both”.

WHAT’S THE BRAND IMAGE OF THE FIRM, AND ITS CORE VALUES?

Nobody walks in uniformed anymore. If they are here for an interview, it means they have heard something that they liked about the company,” says Sabina Anandaraj, director, Vaishnavi. It could be their products, promotions, advertising, word-of-mouth, consumer types, associated personalities and the values they profess – be it fun, power, money, intelligence or numerous other qualities. But sometimes it is also the small signs that get into peoples head – if they are reimbursing your interview travel expenses, and how long were you kept waiting before the boss finally met you etc.

WHAT ARE THE PERSONNEL POLICIES OF THE COMPANY?

Ask how much does the new company you plan to join invest in its employees – in terms of training, stress management, mentoring? Also, variable income is fast emerging in corporates as the center—piece making the pay packet more attractive. “If the employee meets the KRA or does some except—ional work, then he has an option to share profits. It works immensely for both the employee and the company,” according to Sabina. For Tanya Kapadia, factors like no hierarchy, informal atmospheres, as well as policies like a long break between Dec 27 and Jan 4 every year are equally important. “We offer employees interdepartmental job rotation and also rotation of job roles across geographies,” adds Sonya Tandon of Ibibo Group. Even things like funky battleground-inspired meeting room names like at the Yahoo office, all natural light and sound campus of Ion idea, multi-coloured graffitied walls of Channel [V], all show that increasingly companies are breaking out of straightjacket setups.

WHAT IS THE LOCATION OF THE COMPANY?

The other aspect being actively considered by new hires is the companys location. It could be either moving to a different city or other part of town, where issues like availability of suitable housing, amount of green spaces, schooling for children, and even micro issues like parking or access through public transport also comes into play. Even the image of the city in which the office is located matter.If you are single and a woman, this will play a huge part,” says Hema.

   To sum up, weigh all your options carefully and look at the complete package before you decide to take up that offer.             

EVER WONERED WHY SOME MAKE IT BIG?

WATCH OUT!

The most successful top-level executives were not necessarily the smartest kids in the class, nor were their education or pedigree. They were just ordinary people who rose to become extraordinary leaders with time. Archetypal life-shaping experiences contributed to them turning out as extraordinary leaders with time.

Some common traits have emerged that have made them successful and a source of inspiration for others to follow: First is their character that makes them always acts in good purpose of the enterprise. Second is their appetite to lead and to be always in charge of the situation, critically examining ones own values, beliefs, behaviors and even if it is not ones job, always figuring out the root of the problem or opportunity. Third is the capacity to take calculated personal risk without specific knowledge of how to succeed. Four is the innate capacity to be decisive at all times and making tough choices. Fifth is the ability to inspire and engage all. Selling something and getting others to buy in. Connecting with others and understanding what motivates others – also walking the talk and speaking their language, enlisting them as much by ones own deeds than just words. Sixth is being a parent at work, helping others to grow and to perform exceptionally.

Last, being a team builder. Gathering and leading a group in a common endeavor, and succeeding, thus making average players to play like stars. Adding new members and weeding out under performers. Setting direction and changing it while keeping the team together.                 

     

Slash career

Indian society frowns upon people who seek unorthodox careers 

     At clubs and corporate cocktail parties, where men of 40 and 50 congregate, you will often hear stories of what could have been. The Bacardi & Bitters tells the Black Label on the Rocks that he should have been an actor, not an architect. The Rum & Coke (they are called cocktail parties, but Indians have never taken to cocktails) regales the pretty young Gin & Lime with tales of his prowess as a lead guitarist. I could have been an Eric Clap-ton,” he sobs into his drink. But social pressures stopped me”. So instead of his guitar gently weeping, hes doing the job himself.

     It is true that Indian society frowns upon people who seek unorthodox careers. In fact, even today various polls show that the prime consideration in a career is the amount of money you will make. Natural inclinations are ruthlessly subdued. If a street sweeper were to get a six-figure salary, half of India would line up for the job. Sweeping as a profession would suddenly acquire a status akin to that of investment banking.

     But there are signs of change. Even as job security reduces, work security – for want of a better ex-pression – is constantly improving. You may be sacked from a company that is downsizing. But most people are confident that they will fall on their feet and land another job. This is one of the reasons there is an upsurge in entrepreneurship: people today are prepared to take risks.

     For those who want to have their cake and eat it too, there is another way out – a slash career. This is, of course, American slang. Pundits in that country spend a lot of time devising acceptable jargon. What it means is a second career or even a third. Thus, you may have an engineer/artist – the slash between the two denoting its a second career. 

JUGGLING MANY BALLS AT ONCE

The slash effect is where adults choose many careers during their lifetime, sometimes simultaneously. A comple-mentary union is when one job pays the bills and another feeds a passion. Accountant by day and poet by night, the slash effect can work for anyone searching for balance in his or her life. It is helpful to use skills from one career to aid in the next slash, or career move.

      As we live longer and become healthier as we age, we have a chance at a second act to re-invent our lives. With a little imagination, a slash career can work wonders in rejuvenating your life. 

     A distinction needs to be made here. In India, for those who do not have an organized sector job (and even for some who do), it is common to have several careers”. A peon in the morning turns in-surance salesman during lunch hour and (if he works in a public sector organization) a delivery boy in the afternoon. But this is an attempt to eke out a living; it is not a conventional slash career.

     The Tata group recently started a Second Career Internship Programme for women professionals. This is to re-engage women who have taken a break (at least four years of prior experience; not more that eight years break; a professional degree; and dont ask why about all these details). But this too is not a slash career.

     What should really differentiate a slash career from run-of-the-mill changes or a second job is that it satisfies a deep desire. It is a career move led by your heart, not your head. (Not everybody agrees on this, however; some think just a change is enough).

     Second, it must make money, perhaps more than what you are making from your main career. Otherwise it becomes a hobby. Even the Small Beer at the cocktail party probably works out at tennis during weekends, when he could have been a national champion had he tried.

     Take a look at Chetan Bhagat, author of Five Point Someone. In real life, he is a banker handing distressed assets for Deutsche Bank. Now he is writing film scripts too. There may be a synergy between the book and the film, but banking is a world apart.

     Bhagat is 34. And thats one more thing about a slash career: you should do it when you are still young. The retired colonel who is now the chief factotum of a housing society is probably bored to death. A slash career has to be fun.

 

                                 

THE LAUGHTER BUSINESS

A STAND-UP COMEDIAN IS IN THE BUSINESS OF GENERATING LAUGHTER, AND MIND YOU – THE LOUDER THE LAUGHS, THE BETTER THE CHANCES OF SUCCESS,

This genre of entertainment is beginning to catch up in the big cities and TV has done more than its bit to popularize it with the masses. Shows like The Great Laughter Challenge, and in the past, Mov-ers and Shakers, have contributed to the popularity of this genre. The trend has caught on at both ends – with youth who want to crack up on stage, and also with the audience who want to be entertained. Formal training plays a minimal part and hands-on experience counts for almost everything.

Pre-requisites: A cool temperament and the ability to laugh at oneself are the basics required along with the ability to make people laugh. Nanjappa Appachu, Ampro (armature-professional), budding comedian from Bangalore, says, “My mentor, who is my dad, asked me to define my stage persona after he saw a couple of my performances. Defining your own stage style is important to continue in this trade. In the beginning, impersonators can be tolerated, but continue too long and you wont go far,” he cautions.

The material: The content that is delivered requires preparation. “What looks like an effortless perfo-rmance is something thats involved grueling preparation,” says Bangalore-based comedian Ajit Saldanha. Where do they get their gigs from and how do they figure out what kind of material to inc–lude? Ajit says, “Stuff also comes from current happenings, and bloopers”.

      As Ajit puts it, “Its their ingenuity to seize an apparently boring moment in comedic terms”.

Advice for beginners: Dont fold your cards immediately just be cause your first show bombed. Making audiences laugh comes only when you have the ability to laugh at yourself. “Doing as many performances whenever theres a chance will enable you to write better jokes, tailor the show for each audience type, assemble a routine, handle hecklers, pace a show, develop a personality,” says Ajit. Where does one go to learn some stand-up? Ajit recommends learning by watching”. He says, “No formal courses exist, but studying professionals, their attitude, style and jokes can be helpful. Imitat–ing your favorite comic can be a good starting point, and then work towards developing your own style”.

Where do you perform? In India, there are no comedy clubs, says Ajit. So do most stand-ups start from emceeing and performing theatre? Ajit says, “Stand-up has a class of its own. Thinking out-of-the-box becomes a habit”.

      Nanjappa said, “I joined a local theatre club and acted in various plays and created a niche for my-self”. Another place to perform is doing corporate comedies between corporate events.

Remuneration: Your pay will materialize once you have earned a name for yourself. A stand-up can expect anywhere between Rs.25,000 to Rs.1 lakh, says Ajit.

      But for starters, hosting a corporate event can be a little more rewarding. They are usually paid Rs.20,000-25,000 to host a three-hour event, says Murli Ramu, who regularly employs fun emcees for events.

Institutes: Stand-up comedy courses exist abroad, but there are virtually none in India. Doing a med-ia course or creative writing is the only option, or a BA or arts course that gives you a lot of free time to learn and figure it out on your own, say experts. Abroad, Pepper stock is a well-known institute in the UK that offers comedy courses. Also, Salford University and the University of Kent.  

                              

                     

                                                  SPEAK RIGHT

THE FLOURISHING BPO SECTOR HAS GENERATED EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES FOR VOICE AND ACCENT TRAINERS. PROVIDES DETAILS ON HOW SKILLED COMMUNICATORS CAN SHARE THEIR TALENTS WITH BUDDING BPO PROFESSIO–NALS AND EXPECT ENVIABLE MONETARY RETURNS

The BPO industry is booming like never before, and since voice and accent training is acknowledged as an essential requirement in the BPO industry, an individual with a good command over his speech, can pursue a career as a voice and accent trainers with great ease. Voice and accent trainers make your voice globally intelligible and teach young aspirants basic speech skills like when they should pause and how they can regulate their speech.

Talent to talk: Although there are no specific educational qualifications required to be a voice and accent trainer, a basic graduate degree is generally the prerequisite and a degree in English could be beneficial.

     The skills required vary depending on the project and the type of business that is being handled. However, trainers need to have a natural instinct for the language, a sound knowledge of grammar and the ability to accept feedback while training. Deeksha Singh, Manager Partner, WCH Training Solut-ions, New Delhi, explains, “A voice and accent trainer polishes the already present linguistic skills in an employee. The trainer helps improve communication skills, trains individuals on concepts related to listening and dealing with various customer types by using voice modulation and other soft skills”.

     As a voice and accent trainer, one should be comfortable with the language, including aspects like pronunciation, spellings, grammar, vocabulary and fluency in verbal English.

SKILLS:

1.        Natural ease with the language.

2.        Good grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation.

3.        Comfortable when interacting with people.

4.        Creative teaching methods.

MONEY:

1.        Associate voice coach: Up to Rs.20,000 per month.

2.        Voice and accent trainer: Up to Rs.30,000 per month.

3.        Senior trainer: Up to Rs.40,000 per month.  

While earlier, executives were required to be trained in a specific American or British accent, now, a neutral, global English is the accepted norm.

     Another important quality is a natural ease with people, and the ability to associate with them. One also needs to be creative in order to invent ways to keep up the energy levels during the training pro–cess. Many companies prefer to hire candidates with experience. But anyone, whether it is a house–wife, a fresh graduate or even a retired professional, has the option of joining can join the industry if they have the requisite skill set.

Training time: There is no standard timeframe for training, as this occurs mostly on the job. How–ever, it may vary between four to twelve weeks,” reveals Amit Rautela, Business Manager, People Tree, the IteS centric strategic business unit of Tech Tree IT Systems. He adds, “The areas covered are accent training, syllable stress, phonetics knowledge, slang training, cross culture knowledge, accent neutralization, telephone/telesales etiquette, interaction skills, customer relationship, manage-ment skills and call center terminology”.

Job prospects: There are many institutes, where voice and accent trainers are employed. Most large BPOs have an in-house training and development team to facilitate continuous learning. Besides call centers, one can seek employment with call center finishing/training schools, which have sprung up across the country. Rhea De Melo, CEO, London Institute of Corporate Training says, A good speech trainer today can join corporations, airlines, or even the retail industry”.

Institute watch:

1.        Ma Foil, Chennai

2.        Mind Speed, Bangalore

3.        London Institute of Speech and Personality Development, Mumbai

4.        Aaroha, Mumbai

Accuses Global Technologies, Kanpur         

                                  

Make the right choice

TEAMLEASE EMPLOYABILITY PRIMER: Fresh out to college, now is the time to zero in on “the right” career path. Start by collating all the information about the jobs available. This chapter has listed a few important categories from among the 500-odd career choices reportedly available worldwide besides providing detailed information on nascent industry segments in the country with a five to 10 years growth perspective. The objective of this chapter is to highlight the emerging industry sectors in India with an indication of the kind of career openings that would be available to us for the next decade. The career decisions you take today will dramatic-ally impact your lifestyle in the future. The career you plan to pursue will determine where you live, your income, how much time you spend at home, your work hours, travel and how you spend your leisure time. Planning ahead and researching your options will help you make a considered choice.

     Loaded with facts and figures, on the prospects, job profiles and key players in each segment, the information in this chapter is a window to the job market world. Given below is a combinat-ion of existing and emerging businesses likely to create the maximum job opportunities.

The Hot industries of this decade

1.        Indian Information Technology industry is projected to generate 2.2 million jobs by 2008.

2.        Total addressable market for global off shoring is approximately $300 billion, of which $ 110 billion will be off-shored by 2010 and India is expected to capture more than 50% of this opportunity.

3.        BPO market will directly employ approximately 2.3 million people and provide indirect employment to another 6.5 million by 2010.

4.        Indian KPO sector is also expected to employ more than 2,50,000 KPO professionals by the same time, compared with the current figure of 25,000 employees.

5.        Organized retailing is estimated to be US $30 billion by the year 2010 and will employ about two million Indians.

6.        Gaming will be one of the fastest growing segments of the media and entertainment industry worldwide.

(1)     Gaming is expected to reach $55.6 billion by 2008.

(2)     One of the fastest growing regions would be the Asia Pacific (compounded annual growth of 23% for the decade to 2008.

(3)     Indian mobile gaming market will touch about $336 million by 2009.

(4)     20 million people will be playing games on phones by 2009.

7.        Animation industry alone would require 300,000 people by the year 2008.

8.        Indian Biotechnology sector will achieve $5 billion in revenues by the year 2010 (CAGR of 35.91%) with the increased growth in the biopharmaceuticals, bio-services and bio-informa-tics fields. Currently, the sector is worth $1.5 billion.

(1)     The Indian biotechnology industry segment is expected to grow by 25 to 30% over the next five years, outperforming the global expected growth of 12 to 16%.

(2)     This year, about 175 new companies have come up in this sector, of which 158 are based in Bangalore. Currently about 55,000 people are employed in this segment. It is expected that by the year 2012, another 100 million jobs are likely to be added in the bio-techno-logy field.    

9.        About 1,00,000 new jobs are going to be created in the insurance sector by the end of 2006.

10.     Tourism is said to become the worlds largest industry by the year 2010.

11.     Industry experts believe that in India alone, about 180,000 vacancies are expected to be filling in the hotel industry by the next decade.

12.     The Indian government is aiming to augment telecom connections to 250 million by the year 2010. Mobile coverage will extend to 85% of the country.

13.     The health sector is projected to employ 9 million people in the next decade. Currently, India spends only 0.9% of its GDP on healthcare in the public sector; this is expected to go up to 7% within the next 10 years.

14.     With a work force of about three million and an estimated 25,000 units engaged in the diamond industry alone, the industry is churning out new employment opportunities for many.

15.     Industry estimates indicate that 50,000 new jobs will open up every year in the civil engineering sector.

           While a permanent full-time job may still be the norm, labor markets worldwide are changing and India is no exception. The job-for-life is being replaced with life-long learning and a working life with multiple careers and flexible hours. This has given rise to a paradigm shift in the nature of jobs. 

           Part-time jobs, project-based assignments, freelancing, consultancy and temporary employment have gained ground even in organized sectors such as manufacturing, banking etc.

           Of these, temporary staffing is a nascent and interesting phenomenon. Earlier temporary staffing was routed through small agencies, chartered accountancy firms and small time placement consultants. Today, this segment has become more organized with large and medium staffing solution companies entering the fray.

           Finding a good career match is a continuous process. Your interests may change. The needs of the world change. You may discover a talent or a passion you didnt even know you had. But as long as you keep learning about yourself, you will have a fulfilling career.  

On the dot

If computers are your passion and programming your forte, then dot net developing may be the career for you.

The boom in the IT sector has opened up lucrative job options in many areas. One such domain is the dot net framework that has a demand for developers. “Microsoft dot net framework is a software component that is a part of several Windows operating systems,” explains a senior Microsoft spokes-person. “It has a large library of pre-coded solutions to common programming problems and manages the execution of programmes written specifically for the frame work”. The dot net framework is a key Microsoft offering and is intended to be use by most new applications created for the Windows plat-form.

   Dot net developers are responsible for looking after the execution of the dot net framework in a soft-ware environment that manages the programmes runtime requirements. Part of the dot net framework is the common language runtime (CLR). The CLR is the virtual machine component of the Microsoft dot net initiative. The CLR provides important services such as security and memory management.

   For students who want to make a career as a dot net developer, it is very important to have a solid background in mathematics and science right from the school level,” says S. Krishna, professor of computer science and IT at Bangalore University. Krishna emphasizes that it is important for students to learn the basics of computers right from school so as to prepare themselves for the challenges ahead. One must be well versed with the different programming operations to handle the intricacies of dot net development.

   A degree in computer science or IT is a must for one aiming to be a dot net developer. Rajendra Singh, a professor of IT at the University of Madras, says that students must have a mindset for learn-ing things beyond the confines of the classroom if they want to succeed as dot net developers. “One has to learn things independently since the industry is changing every now and then and one has to keep abreast of new developments constantly,” says Singh.

   Expert users of Microsofts software programming language dot net can earn between $75,000 (Rs. 3,238,525 approximately) and $85,000 (Rs.3,671,217 approximately) a year in major cities. “Starting salaries could be as high as Rs.45,000 for dot net developers in India,” says Susheel Sukhraj, CEO of Indigoids, a dot net company based in Delhi. The principal qualities a dot net developer needs are enormous patience, a curiosity to learn and persistence. “One has to be tenacious to make a mark in this profession,” Sukhraj observes.

   Another job profile that is gradually gaining popularity is that of quality assurance analysts. Says Michael Sherman, CEO of Creative Solutions, a software company based in Bangalore, “Computer systems analysts who do in-depth testing are called software quality assurance analysts. In addition to running tests to determine what computer software and hardware are needed to set up a system, these workers diagnose problems, recommend solutions and determine whether programme requirements have been met”.

   To begin an assignment, quality assurance analysts consult managers and users to define the goals of a system. Analysts then design a system to meet those goals. “They specify the inputs that the system will access, decide how the inputs will be processed and format the output to meet user needs says Anju George, CEO of Micro nix, a software firm based in Bangalore.

   Like dot net developers, quality assurance analysts too, must have a strong background in mathema-tics. “Numerical skills are an essential prerequisite right through ones educational career to become a good quality assurance analyst,” says Mumbai-based quality assurance consultant Ranjan Kar. He mentions that apart from math, students should also do well in physics at the higher secondary level to gain entry into an IT or computer science or computer application course. “The level and type of edu-cation that employers require for quality assurance analysts reflects changes in technology,” says Sherman. Employers usually prefer applicants who have at least a bachelor degree in a related subject. For more technically complex jobs, people with postgraduate degrees are preferred.

   Salaries for quality an assurance analyst could be as high as $50,000 (Rs.2,156,170 approximately) per year. “Quality assurance analysts could be paid as high $80,000 (Rs.3,448,708 approximately) per year given the appropriate level of education and experience,” says a spokesperson of Robert Half Technology, a software firm in New York. In India, according to Susheel Sukhraj of Indigoids quality assurance analysts could command a salary of at least Rs.50,000 to start off with.

   So, if fiddling with computers has been your passion and programming your forte, then go for a career as a dot net developer or a quality assurance analyst.  

                             

All’s well that begins well

Choose your first job with care, for it is the basis of your career

If you are looking for your first job today and have both the qualifications and the confidence, you dont have to jump on the earliest offer. Its easy, for instance, to get a job at a business process out-sourcing (BPO) company or call center. They pay you well and there are plenty of perks. But look before you leap you could well be blighting the rest of your work life.

   Joining a BPO is, in a way, putting off a decision,” says Mumbai-based HR consultant Shashi Rao. You know thats not what you want to do in life. You are just marking time until you find your miss-ion”.

   A BPO, she points out, comes with problems you dont realize. First, you get used to a certain salary level. It is difficult to join another company – and a job with a future – where you have to take a pay cut. Secondly, other industries dont regard your BPO stint as work experience. Thirdly, some recruiters regard the BPO phase as negative; they feel that you pick up a lot of bad habits that you have to unlearn.

   In the West they have started making a distinction between the best companies to work for and the best places to launch a career”. A Business Week list of the latter (see box) indicates that its the consultancies and the finance companies that dominate. There are also some technology companies like Lockheed Martin, IBM and Google.

   If such a survey is done in India, some definitions need to be re-looked at. The unstated assumption in the Business Week survey is that all the companies are basically decent places to work in. Here, thats not the case. Theres the BPO example given earlier. A more treacherous trap is the giant family-run business to which you get seduced by a huge pay packet and promises. You will find soon enough that you are tarred for life. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. It is sometimes easier to make a list of worst companies to start a career with.

   Data from B-schools do throw some light on this issue. It would have been better if this had been clubbed with information on how many jobs at these so-called top companies are actually accepted and, more importantly, how many of the people who join stay beyond two years. Anecdotal evidence says that attrition is more than 50%. Many of these, then, are good companies to start a career with (but not make a career with).

   Look at placement 2008. Some of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) did not make the data available. As is well known, they are now at the top of the heap. With other institutes catching up, the only way they can go (relatively speaking) is down. They thus refuse to participate in Indian surveys. They fawn over foreign surveys, where none of the IIMs feature among the worlds top 100 B-schools.

   In 2008, IIMs Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Lucknow and Indore did not reveal much of their placement information. At IIM Bangalore, according to a Cool Avenues compilation, Mc Kinsey was the top re-cruiter (15 offers) followed by Lehman Brothers (11), Boston Consulting (11), Deutsche Bank (7) and Bain & Co, AT Kearney and Merrill Lynch (6 each). At IIM Kozhikode, Reliance ADAG made 34 offers and Reliance Industries 23. They were followed by Deloitte & Touché (13), Price-water-house- Coopers (13) and Accenture (8).

   ICICI Bank and its subsidiaries feature amongst the top recruiters in a lot of places. Cognizant, Infosys and Wipro are fairly prolific. And you have an overdose of banks (HSBC, Yes, Kotak, Axis), finance companies and consultancies.

   It must be remembered, however, that these are offers made. In fact, some companies dole out offer letters liberally because they know the hit ratio will be very low.

   Rao doesnt like the high attrition rate. “MBAs from the top B-schools have a choice,” she says. Unlike many others, they dont have to take the first job that comes their way. They have an infor-mation system in the alumni. If they then make a wrong choice, there must be something seriously wrong”.

   We are still in the money-matters-most mode,” she concludes. “And those at the top – the IIMs – are the most affected”. 

The right step

The best places to launch a career

1.        Ernst & Young

2.        Deloitte & Touché

3.        PricewaterhouseCoopers

4.        Goldman Sachs

5.        KPMG

6.        Marriott International

7.        Google

8.        Lockheed Martin

9.        IBM

10.     J.P. Morgan

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