This is the Information Age, an era when potent cutting-edge technologies are transforming the very outlook of our world. In a short time, information technology has burgeoned into a huge industry.
Computers have become an integral aspect of the present milieu, and their application, as vast and various as the complexities of modern living. Their usage ranges from space exploration to banking, and from communications to food processing.
They have assumed strategic importance in business and are an indispensable feature of offices and homes. In some countries, a computer now costs about as much as a television set.
At present, the international software market is worth US $300 billion. India, too, has been caught up in this information revolution.
The first computer was installed in Calcutta in 1956, and the industry really took off at the end of the seventies. By the eighties, it was booming. The pace still shows no sign of slackening.
The years 1978-89 saw nearly a tenfold increase in the number of hardware engineer-entrepreneurs, or vendors. The government's ambitious plans for this sector's development, together with a sharp price decline, have contributed to the industry's phenomenal growth rate of 45% per annum.
Today over 5.2 lakh computers are being used in India. It is likely to be nearer 30 lakh by the year 2000. In terms of revenue, the computer industry's earnings rose from a little over Rs 100 crore in 1982-83 to Rs 1,675 crore by 1989-90, with some successful companies doubling their turnover each year.
The scope of computers has been greatly enlarged since their original numbers crunching function. They measure assess and monitor facts, figures, progress and procedures. They are devices that process information. Therefore, they are now covered by the wider term, information technology,
IT, describing a convergence of office automation telecommunications and computing.
Many of today's micro and mini computers are approaching the power of yesterday's mainframes, and the technology continues to develop: Versatile, and in most cases, easy to operate, they relieve drudgery by taking over monotonous, time consuming an troublesome tasks. Virtually any job today requires some computer-handling skills.
The expanding field of information technology has generated a range of career opportunities for appropriate qualified personnel. Media estimates place the current demand at approximately two-lakh computer professional in all functional areas. The present availability of skilled qualified people meets only 5% of this requirement, leaving a large gap to be filled by those with ambition and aptitude and the willingness to work hard in a dynamic field.
Women tend to do very well in the information industry there are few constraints here, and opportunities an available for work within and outside the home. A large number of female computer professionals are employed at levels of skill and seniority. Many women hold top executive positions in the industry, and in some organizations, the constitute almost 50% of the total employee strength.
As this is a very young industry, the average age computer professionals including many of the vendors-considerably lower than in most other sectors. The professional environment, though achievement oriented, informal.
Work is challenging, and excellence is well a quickly rewarded. While in other disciplines it takes between twelve and fifteen years to reach an executive position, qualified computer professional requires a maximum of several years to get to the top of the ladder.