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November - 1999 - issue > Career Advice
Your Career Concerns Addressed
Monday, November 1, 1999
I am fresh from college and currently working for a company in Bangalore. I would like to shift my area to e-commerce. Could you advise me as to what skills are needed for a career in this arena? --Praveen

E-commerce is just one of the many applications on the Internet -- although it may certainly end up being the biggest. To work in this area, you have to first determine whether you want to be on the technical side or the business side. If you desire to be on the technical side, you'll need to be skilled in HTML, Java, data warehousing, and other technologies for the software areas and networking technologies, web hosting, server management, routing technologies and other competencies in the hardware areas. If you are interested in the business side, you'll have to learn all the disciplines that are taught in an MBA program or you'll need to sharpen your skills in technology management.

Stealing Ideas

I have an idea in telecommunications business that I would like to sell to a company. My ideal target company would be an Internet company like Yahoo! or a telephone company. I don't want to start a company or build a product. Is there any place where I can sell my ideas without fearing that someone might steal it? --Anshu

If you worry about someone stealing your idea from the get-go, your idea just might get stolen. I think you should start thinking positively in terms of partnerships and strategic alliances. Also, no company will go ahead and buy an idea without knowing that it has proven market value. Most often, an idea becomes saleable only when a concrete product has been built around it, or at least a prototype is created. Often, prospective buyers and investors want to see that a customer has bought into the idea or there is a potential buyer who has expressed serious interest in purchasing the product. Get going and start building your ideas!

SAP Vs. Financial Services

I just graduated with a degree in finance, then I signed on with a major consulting firm with which I am an SAP consultant. My major concern is that I will not get the necessary exposure to financial services clients (i.e., Banks, Mutual Funds) that will advance my career. How do you suggest that I gain more broad exposure to financial services? --Saumya

In my opinion, it is undoubtedly financial services. SAP is a comprehensive ERP application in the financial management domain. You are working as an SAP consultant assisting organizations that are installing SAP. On the other hand, you are talking about gaining experience in the financial services industry -- a great idea, as this industry is likely to remain booming for a long time. You would probably do best to find opportunities to work on SAP projects in the financial services industry, thus killing two birds with one stone. If you don't find this opportunity in your current organization, try another organization -- there are plenty of opportunities.

Working with IT Firms

I am a software engineer with skills like Internet, Java, Visual Basic, C++ and databases. I have been involved with development for the past five years and am doing very good in my consulting job. However, lately, I feel I have reached a kind of limit in what I can achieve with a single job on a H1 visa in the US. I am hoping to get involved with IT firms working in India and help them from here in any possible ways. --Rahul

You could try sending your resume to companies like NextBase. But realistically, this seems like a difficult proposition to achieve. One of the real secrets of effective career success is to be realistic about your expectations both personally and professionally. There are many companies in India who will be glad to have a person of your skills, but I doubt they will let you remain in the US if you are working on projects in India.

Unix Futures

I have been a software engineer with experience in storage device drivers on different Unix platforms for about four years. I have a bachelor's degree in engineering from India. What is the future of this particular area of work? Are there any other career shifts I should make, including higher studies, to stay in the job market? --Nelogal

Because you have a very narrow career focus, I urge you to diversify. The future in what you are working in currently still remains quite bright, but it will be to your advantage to broaden your experience. I recommend getting your Master's degree in engineering. I would also try and get some experience inside the Internet arena in some way - the Web will remain a dominant career area for a very long time.

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