Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Story of opportunities - from NEN

I was thinking for sometime to take stock of the variety of opportunities that is open for the present generation as a career options. It took a while to capture the thoughts and could manage to pen down few things out of my perspective and experience. Please excuse me for bowling and juggling over the things while you read.

To start with I remember the days where most of the parents from typical middle class background dream of their kids becoming doctors, engineers or lawyers. To some extent this is even applicable now. I began to show interest in engineering domain as my parents told me that I am good in imagination, construction etc in my childhood days. I never know or even think of any other domain until recently as a career option. Of late I think I have come into terms in understanding the other domains, field of interest, career options and business.

At the bubbling age of my career I felt to take up entrepreneurship in manufacturing, production, typical machine shop, as I was fascinated to imitate some of the success my relatives were in such field.

I used to wonder about the banking guys, handling money and transactions. My definition of banking industry is that you keep and play with some one?s money or asset or the so called futures to make out of it and pay back some percentage of the profit (interest) in many forms.

Back to engineering domain, initial days in mechanical, civil stream saw plenty of tools floating and coming up to solve, create, present, imagine and analyse a problem. This paved a way to open up a job market, as many started learning the tool than the process, or technique behind the commonsense. Added to that many started to hire and buy those and thus a huge learning in terms of software tools and product design came in to fore.

To name a few, Proe, Auto cad, Catia, UG, Ansys, Staad were some of the modeling tool released some time back in 1995.Down the line saw some more deeper fluid problem solving tools like Fluent, Gambit, Tgrid, Cfdesign etc. Few the so-called experienced guys (2to 3 yrs) felt to take up it to explore job opportunities than domain knowledge. Ofcourse now there are much more to the scene like Abaqus, Hyper mesh, Lsdyna, I-deas, Nastran as meshing Analysis preprocessing, post processing tool.

Again if you take the automotive domain, OEMS, Tier 1, 2 suppliers, few are into core product design, process solutions, and simulations on performance and process capability. While some of the tier 1 companies are in to styling, BIW, art to part design solutions.

I had an opportunity to be part of many organizations that include brands like GE, Cummins, and Caterpillar. One of the things that fascinate me is the process focus in GE i.e. in to 6 sigma initiatives, technical achievements and people focused business in Caterpillar.

6 sigma is yet another tool, method opened up big opportunity in the career market as a meaning full way to improve things in a methodical manner, which require basic understanding of the situation, process, function or domain of interest. It is also a platform of placing people in an organization for career growth.

Product / process life cycle management is another version derived out from the office of big 3 where huge pay cheques are possible in NA even today.

Back to career options, 6 yrs back I was more focused to get a brand in my resume and was keen to work with companies like GE as that was my dream irrespective of what I do, but I think it still hold good for many due to the features, benefits, that it gives for an employee. There are lots of programs, interesting engagements, entertainments, and extracurricular activites at GE with games, GYM, play ground, tech stuffs for brainy.

Cummins is again people oriented, have decent market share and has good management focus on the need to survive in the market, while caterpillar is a fantastic organization where I learned leadership, people focus, employee engagement, process, a new way to look at 6 sigma.

How about investment domain, finance domain, trading, stocks? This is a wonderful place like banking where you can see many math geeks playing and adventuring money in soft form and creating a virtual asset. You know only 4% of the currencies are available in hard form rest 96% are in assets appreciation and invisible form held in papers. There is a huge opportunity like in this domain right from start up career to software career. I could see many are in to insurance field, mutual fund certified professionals, tax consultants, financial advisors. In my view if I had a change to switch and sustain I would have preferred to take up this as my career to mint money. I do play money games in stocks where there are many born lot prefer to lose money. I had made decent returns ranging from 5 % to 2000% profits with the little investments so this is obviously a lot to me. I use to hear my colleague say that many worship their computers, which they use to trade in stocks by red tilak, puja and ceremonies.

While I was hunting to do something on my own, I was pulled in to many things including MLM and burnt my fingers. I felt MLM is not my cup of tea and am not fit for that though it is lucratively sound in terms of the plan. Suddenly through some common contact I got in to a start up of a call center too while I was in Bangalore working for GE with a minimum investment in lacs!. I came to know about the business plan and no doubt is a huge opportunity. It is nothing but an investment in to the so called dubious huge data base of customers where the guy who sits over here in India would call up to find any opportunity to sell his product or concept. I could see even a 6 month experience guys would fetch some where about 16 to 20 k per month as salary at ban galore. Huge risk of life and business are at stake in this domain if you ask the direction of your career after 3 to 4 yrs?. But for business sake it is a short-term huge margin, high-risk stuff to adventure.

While I was again in to a hunt after burning my finger in a call center I got to know about Art works, painting as business. What a world it is? ?.I could browse through some of the fine art works, where people sell their arts for whooping lacs in a single deal.

Again is it a career for those who have passion like sports. I think it needs a special mindset and encouragement with the environment and parents. Similarly with the filmdom, theaters, luxury world of illusion right from technician?s artists, support service, directors, and producer to the guy who carries the films rolls to the theatre for collections. Any one knows the business of film distributorship?. The deal is like 70:30 in the beginning of the movie release for the distributors to 30: 70 for theatre owners who release the film in their theatres after few weeks to month of running.

There are lots of niche areas like R&D, cryptography, aerospace, plastics, composites, and biotechnologies. In terms of sectors like energy sectors, Textiles, Glass, wool, hatcheries and chemical are few. Of course there are many like telecommunications, Jewelry, Knitting dying, Publishing, Pharmacy, agriculture etc to think about choosing as a career.

In fact my first career started with a hosiery unit in Trichy where I was responsible for purchasing and process improvement in a dying unit. I was instrumental in setting up the stitching unit and Knitting unit for the hosiery garments which is a 100% EOU. That was a nice experience, which taught me about the variety of cloths, textures, processes, dying, matching colours etc. Could be a decent career with risk attached if it is a 100% EOU as the business mainly depends on the buyers.

Luckily my wife has Biochemistry background with MBA and her family has branches of doctors even in Moscow. An opportunity to learn medicine career to a small extent. As there is lots of domain and specialties to offer. Oncology is one niche area where there are very few specialized in India, head and neck surgery. Pathology can pave way to open clinical laboratories on own.

HR is one stream of late I admire, as I believe they play a vital role for any org in their goals and strategy. Some time back there was no the situation. Now the market shows lot of focus on talent management, competency mapping, and Employee engagement, training in soft skills. Recruitment, Balance scorecards are now the hot topic.

To put an end to this topic I wish to list few more avenues to think about career options.

Like retail segment where Reliance, Bharati is coming up in a big way. Tourism, catering, Education are other side where there are plenty of opportunity for career beginners and entrepreneurs. Back to mechanical stream there are still lots of opp into manufacturing sector, Sheet metal, Automotive electronic domain, metal cutting, punching shearing jobs

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