Q: I love dabbling in photography as a hobby, but I'm not very sure about the prospects it offers. Will a course help'
A: With the spurt in industrial growth and commercial activity, awareness of photography and the demand for technically perfect pictures has grown tremendously in recent times. Therefore, photography has become a respected and rewarding profession today. However, establishing yourself as a professional photographer is no cakewalk, which is why, many talented photographers remain amateurs.
The climb can be hard and long, and the financial returns, not very satisfactory in the beginning. Only those with tenacity coupled with a real passion stick on and become a success. However, since few full-fledged courses are available in this field, it would be a good idea to work with an established photographer as an understudy before starting out on your own.
Be prepared to lug heavy equipment and set up lighting and props. In return, you'll gain invaluable learning experience and master some very useful 'insider' tips and tricks of the trade. If you have a sharp eye for detail, composition and colour coupled with a fair amount of imagination and aesthetics, you can make a go of it. Try to develop your own distinctive style and not imitate someone else's.
There are lucrative career and job opportunities depending on your choice of specialisation. Broadly, you can choose one of two categories ' employment or a freelance career. A seasoned photographer can even set up his own studio. Although most of the known names in photography are self-taught, change is in the air. A number of photography schools have mushroomed. While there are many things a course won't teach you, you'll learn how to hold and use a camera along with some essential tricks.
Apply in the Fall semester
Q: I am a final-year student of BE (electronics). I am planning to apply to universities in the US. When should I apply for admissions'
A: As an international student, it is better to apply for admissions in the Fall semester because financial aid is relatively more easily available in the Fall semester than in the spring semester. Besides, more students are admitted in the Fall semester than in the Spring semester, so naturally, your chances of getting in are greater. Timing your moves correctly while applying to a US varsity is a most crucial factor.
Start applying at least 18 months in advance of your intended date of enrolment ' e.g., if you wish to enrol in the Fall session, ie August/September 2007, you should start the process around April 2006. Browse the net for college rankings and other useful information. There are plenty of websites including www.usnews.com and www.fulbright-india.org.
Plenty of opportunities in biostatistics
Q: I am pursuing BSc (maths). Is there any specialisation that will make me eligible to work in the field of healthcare or medicine'
A: One option that immediately comes to mind is biostatistics which is an inter-disciplinary field that applies statistical methods and techniques to collect, manage and analyse data on living organisms and biological systems. Biostatisticians also study the risk factors that lead to the development of a disease and apply experimental design and projection methods, descriptive statistics and specific applications to health and biological sciences.
The real skill lies in identifying and assessing the sample and accurately analysing the mass of data. The work also involves analysing clinical trials of new medicines before they are released in the market.
There are three phases of a trial: the first step is to check the toxicity of new drugs on volunteers; the next step is to study the economic viability of the drug and the last step is to determine the exact dosage. Biostatisticians perform all these assessments.
However, biostatistics ' and even applied statistics ' are only just beginning to take shape in India. You can opt to work in any of the following areas: programme management, policy analysis or teaching.
Exciting new methods make this field highly challenging for those with a bachelors in maths (pure or applied) or statistics, and computer science and an interest in health and medical sciences.
Only a handful of universities offer a specialisation in biostatistics at the masters level. Typically, a bachelors degree in maths, applied maths or statistics is required for admission to these courses. The following institutes offer these courses:
• The Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), 203, Barrackpore Trunk Road, Calcutta, and 7 & 7, S.J.S. Sansanwal Marg, New Delhi.
• University of Pune, Ganeshkhind, Pune offers biostatistics as a component in BSc and MSc courses.
• IIT-Mumbai, PO IIT Powai, Mumbai 400076. Offers a course in applied statistics and informatics. n Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University, Chennai. Course: MSc (non-clinical) biostatistics. n University of Madras , Centenary Buildings, Chepauk, Chennai. Course: MSc biostatistics. n Christian Medical College, Vellore. Course: MSc (medical) biostatistics.
Biostatistics is also offered as a subsidiary subject at the bachelors degree level in some universities.
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