The size and reach of the information industry has generated innumerable spin-offs. Some of these are:
Systems analysts and designers can ultimately become independent consultants. Their work involves advising prospective users on whether a system would be beneficial to their operations, and if so, which computer would best suit the requirements of their company. Considerable experience of the IT scene, plus specialist knowledge in a sphere like commercial banking or retailing, or an industrial or educational area, is essential.
A group of professionals can also open their own consultancy organization and provide services like feasibility studies, hardware or software selection, software development, data processing, and other computer-linked services.
Those services are generally categorized as consultancies, for which appropriate fees are charged. Clients may be the government or companies in the public or private sector. Work is in major areas of development, including software engineering, communications, and strategic planning for computerization.
Computer professionals with an aptitude for teaching can make this their full-time career. This is an important function, and could involve
· Training personnel in organizations in end-user computing;
· Training students aspiring to a career in computers; or
· Training computer professionals in advanced technologies.
Employment opportunities would be as computer instructors in training institutes.
This work involves writing technical manuals, especially for mini and microcomputers. It requires the ability to describe complex processes in clear, succinct and unequivocal terms, as well as a thorough understanding of both, the capabilities and limitations of the machine and its functions.
Manual writers must know much more about the subject than do the people for whom they are writing. Written material can be for print or for `screen dialogue', and must be user friendly to be easily understood by amateurs and experts. Technical writers may be employed by manufacturers, consultancies, or companies with large computer installations. They can also work freelance.
A new and fast growing area of work, this involves the application of `expert systems' to commerce, industry and service sectors. A knowledge engineer designs computer systems that are normally associated with a human expert-for example, medical diagnosis or industrial safety systems.
Network and Communications Specialists
They support the local area networks, which allow computerized stations to communicate with each other. Networking has become a means of integrating both, computer applications and business functions. Work in this area covers networks design, implementation support, and management. This is predicted to be a big potential growth area, and suitable staff is in short supply.
The pace of computerization has already been set in India, and cannot remain unaffected by developments abroad. Computer networks offer economies of scale in hardware, software, and human resources. For this reason, they are being increasingly employed by private and government
organizations. Computers are becoming almost as popular as the typewriter.
The current requirement for computer personnel is approximately 2,25,000 fully qualified professionals. Apart from this, about 75,000 full-time and 1,80,000 part-time operators are required to run them. With the growing number of microcomputers being installed in the country, and an added emphasis on software export, the demand-supply gap is expected to widen further.
Rough estimates projected at the year 2000; place the future requirement for computer professionals at 4,00,000. Besides this, the number of executives and other professionals needing computer-handling skills will be well over 16,00,000.
The major areas of expansion in computerization are financial services, including banking and insurance production planning and control; design development (CAD) management information systems; and all other sectors that require the monitoring of large resources and projects.
Engineering, management services, operational research, science.