Archive for the ‘Information Technology’ Category

In simple words, Information Technology (IT) can refer to ‘anything that we use in modern daily-life to communicate with each other using technology globally’. Technical experts who work in various aspects of developing and supporting the IT products/services can be broadly called as IT Professionals; while business firms who work to serve people’s need using IT products/services can be collectively named as IT companies. Yet, have we really understood ‘what IT growth may mean for us in Manipur?’

Setting up of proper infrastructure in the entire country (i.e. back-bone network connectivity such as laying fiber-optic cables, installing core routers and switches) is the duty of the government for socio-economic development (by tendering projects to private firms). Interested private companies (such as Internet Service Providers) may then bid for govt licenses to do business of providing IT network services (e.g. 2G/3G spectrum allocation). In Manipur, Department of IT and Department of Science and Technology (Govt of Manipur) are entrusted with infrastructure building responsibilities. Creation of a Software Technology Park of India (STPI) at Imphal and ongoing development of an IT park at Imphal are some activities that govt of Manipur has been taking up to provide localized IT infrastructure for having offices of IT companies. In the past, BSNL has undertaken such laying fiber optic cable activities in various parts of Manipur. Also, IT infrastructure development activities are often carried out within large corporate firms whose business may or may not be within IT domains.  Network engineers and server administrators work in such IT sectors with skills of telecom/networking (e.g. Cisco certified courses, Sun certified courses). Since Manipur and other North East Indian states are yet to have proper IT infrastructures in place, IT graduates can focus to be Network engineers and server administrators while Tech-Entrepreneurs can focus on such IT industry sectors for supply/sales of network/server devices to govt offices and startup companies in Manipur. Cabling of wires/fibers and installation of network/desktop devices for setup of new offices also require support of experience IT network engineers.

On non-infrastructure oriented IT sectors, there are many IT software/hardware companies which develop products/services meant for end-user customers at home or office. Nature of products/services in a region does depend on the available IT infrastructure and social usage habit of tech-gadgets in that locality/state. There are already many distributers/Tech-Entrepreneurs in Manipur doing business for selling IT products (such as laptops, desktops, mobile phones, tablets, printers, scanners, high-end smart phones) for general consumers (end-users). In bigger business scale, Tech-Entrepreneurs can even think of sourcing components from global manufacturers (in Taiwan, Thailand, China, Malaysia, etc) and assemble in Manipur for sales distribution across NE India and neighboring countries. This is the similar business model adopted by Dell (and Indian companies such as HCL, Wipro, etc) for their company branded PC/printers/office-accessories products. IT graduates can also aim to be technicians who can fix issues on such IT products (software/hardware). Yet, it may be hard for local IT graduates from Manipur to get recruited into product development companies located in big Indian cities (such as Nokia, Samsung, Cisco) to design such tech-gadgets, since such companies used to have the recruitment norm of having only high quality Bachelor degrees in Electronics/Communications/IT from top-reputed engineering colleges in India. Interestingly, there are very few Indian companies focusing on hardware design and manufacturing of IT products due to not wishing and inability to compete (in terms of marketing and sales) with IT products of global multinational product companies; though some Indian IT companies may have the skills and experts to develop hardware products.

The IT knowledge areas wherein startup IT companies in Manipur may focus are development of end-consumer-based applications software such as mobile apps (for iPhone, iPad and other smart phones), enterprise management software (for resource utilization and check), video games/animations (for fun) and serious games (for simulation and modeling), website/intranet/ecommerce portal, etc. It’s worth to remember that ‘Responsibility for programmers/engineers is to deliver the technical aspects of the client’s requirement, whereas the owners of a startup IT company is to deliver the overall IT solution catering to business need of the client’.

On business aspects, the key hurdle in setting up startup IT companies around consumer application-based software domains will be finding clients who will offer the IT projects. Also, most Indian companies (including big ones) procure such IT projects from western countries and other developed nations (wherein society has more usage of modern gadgets and technologies/infrastructures are in place). Also, more the organizational maturity of the IT company more is the confidence to advise clients on IT solutions that serves the business problems of clients. On technical aspects, skills required for undertaking such IT projects may be experience on some programming languages, database management, web-development scripts, graphic designing, etc. Learning materials (and demo programs) are extensively available on internet for free in various websites and books can be bought by want to-be techies to develop apps and software programs by self. Most of the software programmer/developer or IT geeks in the world are often self-created masters through self experiencing rather than out of university teachings. Though having studied courses such as Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) or Master of Computer Application (MCA) are always useful during handling IT projects, any IT graduates and techies can still be able to master the programming skills though self hands-on learning enabling them to take up such end-consumer-based applications development.

IT companies are in fact just firms providing technology solutions (products/services) enabling efficient operations for businesses in other industry companies. So, only having engineers and project managers with technical skills within the company isn’t sufficient. Running a successful IT company requires having experienced business managers to identify which industry sector and which business issues of targeted client segments – their company is going to provide solutions through their IT products/services. Ability to source IT projects and manage effective potential client engagement is also critical to survival of an IT company (just similar to other companies in other industries). Building list of project portfolio undertaken in the past and embedding organizational maturity/processes so that potential clients can rely on are also essential for sustainability of an IT company’s existence.

In addition to software development businesses, IT-Enabled Services (ITES) such as BPO (Business Process Outsourcing), KPO (Knowledge Process Outsourcing) are feasible for setup in Manipur, if provided there is uninterrupted broadband service and power supply. Such ITES projects are often sourced from western countries and other developed nations (though those projects can be from within India as well), and their business model is based on providing low-cost and 24hrs IT enabled support to clients need/business. Such ITES businesses may provide jobs/money to local employees, but they don’t create much meaningful values on local knowledge market since their project activities doesn’t involve any software or hardware development.

Thus, Graduates and Tech-Entrepreneurs in Manipur should first evaluate which industry to serve and what skill-sets are necessary to work in IT industry. Rapid IT growth in Manipur can be achieved by focusing on supporting local application-based software development IT companies that serve businesses in other industries (including e-governance projects of Manipur govt).

About the Author:

Shanjoy Mairembam (BEng, MBA) is a Business Strategy Consultant based at London (UK). He supports mentoring of young entrepreneurs in ‘conceptualization of ideas into business case’, and offers role of a ‘Business Doctor’ to local NGOs/SMEs in Manipur.

For further info, visit http://www.shanmaiconsulting.com

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This article is based on the responses I got from many adorable readers of my earlier articles in e-pao.net regarding how to grow with the knowledge of IT in our current scenario in Manipur & North-Eastern Indian; if not we are able to work in reputed firms and software industries like other friends and neighbor colleagues; the reason being… In order to get into reputed software firms, one needs to be excellent in software knowledge and should be from reputed institutes in India.

So, what benefits we can get via the courses that we join and learn via some institutes; if not we are able to study those professionals like BE or MCA or other courses. Well, I am going to point out the possible career options and dreams that can be achieved with the little IT knowledge that we have. So, this article is purely based on my analysis of how to use the knowledge we have gain via some computer/ IT courses via some institutes and how far we can grow with that knowledge in the current scenario in Manipur and North-Eastern India; if not we are not able to get into reputed software firms in India.

Before I go on discussing on career options for those who has just the ego to learn and play around with computers (only that much if not with high qualifications); let me give a brief idea about the high-end options available in the current software industry environment so that this idea acts as the benchmark/ dream for the fellow enthusiastic persons who would like to be an achiever in the software field. Currently the software jobs in India are many and plenty though the nature of the jobs may be classified like software development or software testing or IT enabled jobs like BPO and other industries.

Let’s not go into various definitions of software jobs. But, briefly jobs may be in the domains, of Networking – Switching & Routing (CISCO, ALCATEL, NORTEL, etc); of Datacom – Networking protocols/Mobile technologies (Motorola, Siemens, Nokia, etc); of Consumer Electronics (Philips, LG, etc); of Mainframe Technologies (IBM, CSC, etc); of Embedded technologies (Dell, Delphi, Motorola, etc); of Enterprise domains (Wipro, Infosys, TCS, etc.); many more…. Getting into these high profile companies requires a good qualification and good institute. If not, one has to pass many reputed certification exams like Cisco certified, Microsoft certified, Oracle certified, Linux certified, etc and a good number of year of experience.

So, these jobs are not about smaller projects that a group of people just can complete and sell as products. These are ongoing process and there is no time limit as such to complete project as many more features are added after every release so as to attract customers from other competitors… More or less, Indian companies are service companies due to financial constraints… Indian companies are less oriented to product based ideology so as not to clash the market share with the present clients they have.

There is no stopping for any well qualified Engineers to get into these Multi National Companies (MNCs) if they are from reputed engineering colleges like NITs, IITs, or other well-known colleges in India. So, this is a brief idea about the various MNCs and Indian companies… I wont be going into the details of career options after BE (various branches) or MCA as such; though I would mention a brief to make youngsters understand. Then, the question is if we are not among those highly qualified Engineers from those reputed colleges and institutions or, if we are not BE graduates, what benefits, we will get from learning other computer courses from other institutes like NIIT, SSI, etc. So, the full article is just about that…. If not I am working in those big hi-fi companies; how to earn enough money to become millionaire if not Billionaire…

In Engineering field, there are many branches and broadly, they can club into two sections from the industry’s perspective: Circuit Branches & Non-Circuit Branches. Circuit Branches may include Information Technology (IT), Computer Science & Engineering (CSE), Electronics, Electrical & Electronics Engineering (EEE), Electrical, Telecommunications, Electronics & Communication Engineering (ECE), Electronics & Instrumentation (E& I), etc…. Non-Circuit Branches may include Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Bio-Tech Engineering, etc…

In every branches, nowadays, Knowledge of basic Computer and applications along with software’s’ related to the branch is a must. Software/ IT companies look the circuit branches under one perspective though in some specific cases, particular branch is preferred to others. The question is then, why so many various branches and which one to study??? Studying Bachelor of Engineering (BE) is very basic and there is very little knowledge that can be applied to the industry environment or work place. The basic principle here is the student should grab the basic idea of fundamentals & principles and should have the enthusiasm to learn and think newly with the related field as such while in B.E. So, the company doesn’t take much time giving basic training to get the things done to those Fresh Engineers from various related branches. For other courses like MCA, Software companies prefer less compared to BE graduates and there are many fields that MCA graduates find hard to enter as they don’t have basic engineering background.

Well regarding other courses, like BCA or B.Sc. (computer) or other courses; they are more or less replica of BE course. So, Software companies find hard to trust and believe the courses’ possible outcomes and utility. But good news is that some companies like Wipro has started recruiting those B.Sc. (Mathematics/Computer/Electronics) or BCA students to work like those BE graduates by providing them to pursue M.Sc. (software Engineering from BITS, Pillani) while adapting them & making aware to the various software projects and development domains with some stipends per month. Or there is less options for those graduates and they need to continue further studies as the companies don’t expect or believe the quality from these certificate courses though the courses may be good to learn.

Well let’s not go in-depth to those careers options for BE graduates. Even those who don’t get into the various software companies via either in campus placements or out-campus also need to look out other options. So let’s concentrate now on those other options available.

The basic learning’s that most need to have for a career in software industry may include
1) A programming language (like C or C++ or Java or any)
2) The software life cycle (i.e. the brief idea about how to go about planning, designing, coding and testing to bring out a software product).
3) Front-End software (like HTML, ASP, VB, etc for designing the user interface)
4) Back-End software (MS-Access, Oracle, DB-2, etc for using as database for enterprise projects)
5) Multimedia software (like Maya, Macromedia, etc for designing games, videos and many interesting fun & creative stuffs)……. So it goes on like this…

The planning can be in many ways. I will do suggest some feasible projects which would just need the enthusiasm to play around with computers only but will fetch huge money in return. Before going ahead into any project, the very necessary things at first are as follows,
1) The project domain (the coverage of the project in terms of technical perspective)
2) The market area (the places and group of people to whom the software product is meant for)
3) The financial and intellectual needs (the amount required to lunch the project and the man-power to complete and sustain in future too… along with the required technical knowledge’s)
4) The basic idea of approach to software development (i.e. software life cycle so as to make aware of the proper approach to the development of the software product)
5) Integrity and proper management (the whole process has to be divided among the group of people undertaking the project with confidentiality and trust to the software project)

Some suggested projects are
1) Online Tutorial for various courses from high school to universities/ for various entrance exams like Medical entrance, engineering entrance, 10th exam, 12th exam, degree exam, etc..
(This project can be done in many ways under many levels to replace cum enhance the current deteriorating education system in Manipur and even whole over India)

A) Technical knowledge:
(1) User interface à Multimedia software’s like Macromedia Flash or HTML or VB or any
(2) Scripting Language à Java script or VB scripts or any
(3) Database à Oracle, MS-SQL if going to be fully web based. Or any other ideas
(4) Documents and notes à the notes from reputed professors/teachers in the related field and recommended books, etc

B) Market Area:
(1) Coverage meant for High Schools or Higher Secondary or College or University
(2) Coverage meant for Manipur University/Board or other universities
(3) Coverage in English or other languages
(4) Coverage in CD based or Online web-based or Tutor based Power point presentation
(5) Coverage in Text mode or visual mode or audio mode
2) Billing system for grocery shops, textile shops, departmental shops, hotels, Cinema Halls, Net-café usage, CD Corner, Hospital billing, government taxing, etc. (This project can be done to bring out computerization in various government and many other institutions)

Requirements: (like above … just as examples)
A) Technical Knowledge:
(1) VB for user interface
(2) Oracle for database
B) Market Area:
(1) Shops, government offices, hospitals, etc wherever billing is needed.
3) Games and E-Greeting Gifts/Cards
à (This project can be done in various ways just like time pass but. Earning in huge profits by selling)

(A) Technical Requirements:
(1) Any Multimedia software just to make the kids and game lovers exciting (2) Web-based E-cards for any celebrations and greetings by having a site for that (3) Having a tie up with some electronic firms to develop toys, gaming devices with the ideas of the game development
(B) Market Area:
(1) Through out the whole world
4) Many Web-based activities for Promoting Tourism, for learning History and culture of Manipur, career counseling, Sharing expertise in Agriculture/ medicine/ fishery/ education/ Nursing, etc

So, like these options, there can be many more options available related to many other field of daily day-today life if not in some professions. So, there is less worry and pity to feel if we are not able to work in those reputed software firms. At least we ourselves can become entrepreneurs and think of what software firms we can establish. Thus, these small ideas could lead to the path of great ideas and renowned software firms or consulting firms in future. BIG ACHIEVEMENTS INDEED …. YES… IT IS… “JUST THE THINKING MAKES PEOPLE DIFFERENT”.

So, Dear IT Guys and Gals … there is a lot that can be done with less finance. But it needs strong will-power and ambitions to achieve. So, let’s do something GREAT and I am sure… we can earn not just money in millions but fame & dignity.

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