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The Ultimate Guide to Taking a Degree in Information Technology

Index
 

Introduction to IT


As we know that Information Technology (IT) runs the world, it would be a gross understatement. The basic human activity of communicating and doing business is now heavily dependent upon Information Technology. It is thus, more aptly, called Information and Communication Technology (ICT). What meant just computers a few decades back now means a plethora of systems interconnected for the seamless flow of information.

IT is a term that includes various forms of technology, used to generate, accumulate, exchange and use information in myriad forms. This may include, but not limited to, business data, voice data, images, videos and multimedia presentations./p>

IT essentially is a means of collecting humongous amount of data, analysing it and making a clear sense of it. As the amount of information throughout the world has been increased by exponential proportions, the indispensability of IT solutions seems more inevitable than ever. IT has touched every facet of human life and only the person who is living deep in the jungles of the Amazon Rain Forest has not been touched by it.

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Why IT?


Be it education, business, healthcare or administration, IT has become a crucial element in every sphere of human life. With the world becoming smaller with each passing day and people coming closer to one another, the global marketplace is expanding and getting bigger by the day. Information is power and those who have access to the latest information are the new billionaires of our age.

With such a scenario, it is surely a mouth-watering prospect to carve a career in the field of Information Technology. Today, with technological advancements in the field of IT becoming redundant even before people have the opportunity to fully appreciate it, experts in the field of IT are at the helm of cutting edge technology.

With its vast demographic dividend and a highly intelligent young population, India is already an acknowledged force in the IT sector, the world over. The outsourcing boom started with the global companies’ recognition of India’s unfettered talent in the field of IT and computing. India has its own answer to the famed “Silicon Valley” of the USA and has some of the best minds working in this field. Today, Indian IT companies are providing business solutions to a large number of corporations in all major countries around the world. The success stories of companies like TCS, Infosys and Wipro are the living testimony to this fact.

The best IT companies in the world have reciprocated and opened centres in India, employing millions of Indian IT professionals. IBM, Motorola, Oracle, Microsoft, Google, HP and many others big corporations are vying for a piece of the Indian pie. There was never a better time for IT professionals to work in India than now.

The indispensability of IT in our lives means that there is always a requirement for the best talent across the country by the major corporations. And for attracting the best talent, the remuneration has to be paid accordingly. The IT industry currently pays some of the highest salaries to its people. However, the IT industry is always short of requirement as opposed to availability and this gap can be easily filled with ambitious, talented and highly motivated young people, looking for a career in IT.

Let us delve into the details of how one can get into this lucrative and highly challenging and demanding field of IT.

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Who Should Take up Courses in IT?


If computers and the internet excite you, you have the basic ingredients to carve a career in the field of IT. But that’s not all. You should have a quick and analytical mind and a creative bent to be successful in this field. A liking for mathematics will be an added advantage. As you have to work at the forefront of technological advancements, you should have the passion and zeal to make a positive impact in the lives of millions. Since computing and IT are a part of basically all that we do in the 21st century, your work will have the ability to touch innumerable lives.

Some of the essential qualities needed to become successful in the computer and IT world include the following:

    1. Excellent Analytical Skills;

    2. An Attention to Detail: Computer personnel must pay close attention to the minutest detail to ensure everything works correctly and efficiently;

    3. A Commitment to Learning: Those who keep themselves abreast of the latest developments in IT , will become the most successful;

    4. Good Communication Skills;

    5. An Aptitude for Mathematics: Strong mathematical skills are necessary because mathematics is applied in many computer applications;

    6. The Ability to Learn & Memorise Programming Languages;

    7. An Ability to Handle Multiple Tasks: People working with computers are often involved in many tasks at a time, therefore, they must be able to manage all of their responsibilities simultaneously;

    8. Solid Problem Solving/Troubleshooting Capabilities;

    9. Technical Writing Skills: Technical writing skills help a computer-savvy person to explain complex concepts to those who have limited knowledge of the computer world;

    10. Versatility: The most successful computer professionals have skills that extend beyond information technology.

Your job as an IT professional will be to help people in various sectors understand all the technology around them. People look up to technology whenever they face any challenge. You must have the wherewithal to help people manage huge amount of genetic information which can then be used by biologists to conquer diseases. You can help create relevant interfaces for diagnostic and imaging equipment for proper diagnosis of human health. You can build customised networks for e-Commerce, social networking, mobile computing, websites and ancillary services. And this is only a fraction of the scope of work a job in IT offers.

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Careers in IT


The two major aspects of IT are Hardware and Software. Let’s understand the two in greater detail.

  • Hardware: The major career opportunities in hardware are of hardware engineers and network specialists. The job of computer (hardware) engineers is to design, test and implement computing devices and related computer hardware, like chips and controllers.

    The swift proliferation of computer networks in corporations requires specialists to design, administer and secure these networks. Their primary job of the specialists is to ascertain that the networks are functioning smoothly as the entire business is dependent upon these networks. The network specialists maintain the central server and connected peripherals and have to do troubleshooting, when required.

  • Software: The most diverse aspect of IT is software development, which provides a wide range of career options:

    Computer Programmers, or Software Engineers, who write programs that eventually runs the computer. This is a highly challenging career option wherein a clear, concise and logical mind is required to conceive and design software which enables a computing system to solve problems. Programmers, again, have two options, to be of Applications Programmers, who focus only on specific applications, like business or science or engineering. Their job is to create custom applications or to modify existing software. Another option is to be of a Systems Programmer, who creates systems software, like Operating System or Compilers, which are the backbone of a computing system.

  • e-Commerce Solutions Specialists: The raging popularity of e-Commerce has thrown open a new field of e-Commerce solutions, wide open. Specialists have emerged within the IT domain, who help businesses set up their e-Commerce portal by creating a customised platform along with the necessary paraphernalia like products display pages, payment gateways, etc. They also provide solutions for targeted marketing and sales conversions.

  • User Interface Designers: These specialists help “humanise” a computer. They design amazing user interfaces of a computing system. A user interface (UI) is what the user sees or experiences while working on a computer. A UI designer conceptualises original ideas that make the user interface look simple, attractive and user friendly. UI designers can achieve this by adding attractive graphical images, interactive voice commands, animations and visual effects with a user friendly approach.
  • Systems Analysts: The systems analysts work closely with the management team of a business to understand their specific requirements. Once done, the systems analysts or systems developers design the system to be implemented within the business set up. After calculating the cost-benefit ratio and understanding the available system resources, they help in implementing the system and perform checks and tests to ensure seamless integration of the system into the existing business set up.

  • Web Developers: Web Developers or Web Designers are multimedia specialists who create websites and ensure their smooth functioning. The Internet Age has made it almost mandatory for businesses to have a web presence through websites. This is where web developers come into picture. They design and build websites and then provide on-going support for maintaining them.

  • Game Developers: Game Developers are software developers who are specialised in creating video games. They can be specialised in developing certain video games such consoles, Microsoft Xbox, play stations, etc.

  • Cloud Specialists: There are three types of job profiles in the field of cloud computing. Cloud Security Specialist is one of the available job profiles. He/she is a professional having extensive knowledge about all the security issues associated with a cloud platform and also knows how to make it secure. The second type of cloud professional is a cloud solution architect who gives a total cloud architect solution as per the needs of the client. The third type of cloud specialist is a cloud virtualisation specialist who emulates a virtual cloud environment on a single computer to be used by multitude of environments.

  • Education: Well, someone has to teach about IT to students want to pursue a career in IT! With a degree in IT and a supporting degree to be eligible to teach in a college, a person, desirous of and passionate about teaching, can very well join an educational institute and become a Professor. The pay scale of college teachers is pretty good.

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Jobs Prospects in IT Sector


IT has a vast scope of jobs for professionals. Jobs in various fields like hardware, software, application development, web designing, etc, are available in top MNC’s like TCS, Oracle, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, L&T, Infosys, Tech Mahindra, Yahoo, etc. The best IT companies in the world have reciprocated and opened centres in India, employing millions of Indian IT professionals.

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Choosing the Right Educational Institute


It is imperative to get admission in a good educational institute to reap the rewards of the degree in IT. Some planning is required in choosing the right college.

  • Affiliation: The first and most important thing to look, while taking admission, is the affiliation of the college. Every educational institute has to be affiliated to a University. Previously, every college was required to be affiliated to the University of that region only. But now, a college can be affiliated to Universities of other regions also. For example, a college in Thane can be affiliated to the University of Pune. It is also vital to check that the University is renowned. The second thong is to check the affiliation of the course. Courses of the same department can, very likely, have affiliations with different institutions, like AICTE, DTE, University, UGC, C-DAC and so on. Choose courses that are affiliated to nationally recognised institutions. If your course is not affiliated by a recognised institution, it will create lot of issues during employment.
  • Accreditation: Quality status of an institute can be clearly understood by the accreditation received by it. The accreditation adds as a gem to the crown of glory of the institute.
  • Faculty: Do some research on the faculty of the college you intend to join. Their qualifications, expertise and experience are all important aspects. If you have a good teaching faculty, the in-depth knowledge you get proves to be invaluable for your future success. Technological tools, teaching aids and innovative ideas used by faculty to impart education also contribute to your success.
  • Syllabus: IT is a highly dynamic subject and as mentioned earlier, technological advancements happen at such a rapid pace that even newer advancements become redundant very quickly. The syllabus of the course should be up-to-date and should have the flexibility to incorporate newer technologies as and when they become available. It must be approved by a recognised university or recognised by a national or international technical body like AICTE, C-DAC, etc.
  • Industry Interactions: Check how much industry interaction does your college and course permit. This is vital to give you a feel of what skills are required by the industry and how you can make yourself ready for the industry once you finish your course. These interactions can be in the form of guest lectures by industry leaders and other personnel, seminars, symposia, conferences and visits.
  • Infrastructure: Being a technology-dependent course, the educational institute must have the latest and robust infrastructure. This includes labs with dedicated workstations having latest configurations, wi-fi connectivity, well stocked library, etc.
  • Placement Assistance: After completing the course, you do not have to struggle to find a job. Your college should have a placement cell which will organise placement workshops, counselling and all types of assistance required by the student to land a good job.
  • Alumni Association: The college should have an Alumni Relations Cell to keep a track of all the students who have completed their courses from the college. The Cell should organise get-togethers with alumni and current students so that students can interact with Alumni and get a feel of the future prospects.
  • National or International Technical Societies: Membership of professional societies like CSI, IEEE, etc, helps the institute to grow professionally and also helps the students to develop their technical skills and organising capabilities by organising workshops, seminars, contests, etc.
  • Technical and Cultural Events: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Truly goes the saying, hence technical festivals and cultural programmes held annually bring a spark to the institute and attracts the student community.
  • If a college has satisfactorily answered all the above questions, the student needs to start preparing for getting admission in that college. Remember, the better the services, the more difficult it is to get admission in that college. For example, if a college has an excellent faculty, a great interaction schedule with industry and a very good placement record, than more students will be attracted towards that college. Thus, it becomes difficult for everybody to get admission in that college due to limited number of seats. This creates competition and the college has to rely on an Entrance Examination to choose the students who will eventually be admitted to the course. Therefore, one has to be prepared to compete with a lot of students via an Entrance Examination to get into a good college.

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Funding for Your Studies


Educational Loans are provided by all major banks; nationalised and private. Check out the terms and conditions governing each scheme before choosing the best suited loan for you. The educational loan from banks enables you to start repayment only after you have landed a job and have started earning. If your salary permits, you can foreclose the loan by making the full payment and relieve yourself from paying additional interest.

There are many private and charitable organisations which offer scholarships to meritorious students. Even most of the educational institutes have their own scholarship programmes which students can avail. Do get all information in this regard to get maximum financial assistance for the duration of your course.

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Final Word


There are many educational institutes offering a variety of courses in IT. It becomes the onus of students to select the best course, suited to their aptitude from a good institute. Not only the institute has good infrastructure and faculty, but it also provides opportunities for the students to get placed in good workplaces. At the same time, if some students wish to start their own venture, the institute should guide them through accordingly, by organising events on entrepreneurship. This will go a long way in inculcating an entrepreneurial temperament in students.

IT is a fast-growing field. It demands a cool head, high discipline and physical and mental stability of the professionals. The students need to get themselves ready to go through the rigours of a fast-paced work life. The remunerations are also in proportion to the quantum of work and responsibility. It all begins with choosing the correct course and the right educational institute.

The students should also be ready to keep on updating their skill sets due to the dynamism of the field. It may be through a company-sponsored course or a conference or a symposium, which they can attend to stay abreast of the latest developments in the field.

A diligent and honest work ethic and single-minded focus towards a personal goal is required to excel in this field. Many students find their motivation from the fact that they are working at the very edge of technology. It is a rewarding profession, if the students are ready to put in their hard work.

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