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Career Hotline

I want to serve my country

Q: I am an IT professional and I want to serve my country by joining the defence forces. Is it too late for me? What are the options that I have in case I want to join the army?
Jayendra Kumar

A: IT professionals can join the Territorial Army (TA) and undergo two months training in a year so that in case of emergency they serve the country with their expertise in the IT sector. Basically, the idea of a TA is that you can work somewhere else while volunteering to join the TA. This way, when there is a need, the nation can avail of your services.

In the first place, the idea of building a TA force was to cater to the increasing demands in the time of National Emergency. Presently there are 66 units in the Territorial Army of which 42 are departmental units. In all, more than 48,000 jawans are engaged in the TA.

There are quite a few IT professionals who work as commissioned officers. They train their unit for eight hours every weekend while continuing with their regular jobs.

In times of war or similar situations, TA officers and personnel are called in for active duty and become regular army officers drawing the same perks and emoluments as the others.

All you need to do is train for 46 days in a year on weekends and enjoy all the privileges of being an officer.

The mayor of Delhi has recently called upon Indian citizens to join the Territorial Army to serve the nation.

The mayor announced that every Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) officer and employee who joins will be given two months’ leave with full pay to undergo training.

Anyone between the age group of 18 and 42, who clears the Services Selection Board test and the medical exam can join the Territorial Army.

Favourite choice

Q: What does the FMCG sector actually cover?
Krish Nagpal

A: The fourth largest sector of our economy, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) covers a range of products, eg, toiletries, detergents and non-durables, eg, stationery, glassware or batteries. Pharma, consumer electronics, packaged food and drinks are also included in this category. FMCG products are different from consumer durables, which are purchased less than once a year. Well known players in the segment include HUL, Nestle, Godrej, P&G, Unilever, Brittania, Dabur and Emami. The size of this sector is estimated to be in the region of Rs 89,000 crore with an urban-rural split of 66:34. It constitutes nearly 50 per cent of the average private consumer spend (Rs 625 per capita). In fact, the sector is expected to scale up to $ 33.4 bn by 2015 in India. Despite the boom in IT and telecom, the FMCG sector remains a favourite career choice for management students.

Twenty thousand leagues under the sea

Q: I am doing my masters in oceanography. After finishing this course, what jobs can I get? What are the industries that are likely to provide job opportunities in my field?
L.V. Saha

A: Most openings for oceanographers are in organisations handling environmental conservation and protection. Industries involved in the packaging, marketing or export of marine products also provide employment to oceanographers besides oil exploration, petroleum and petrochemicals industries such as Essar Oil, Reliance Industries, ONGC, and government bodies like the GSI and National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, which is involved in ongoing frontline research.

Oceanographers spend months in data processing, computer programming, analysis, writing, budgeting, planning and conferring. Also, since most of the time is spent outdoors (although not necessarily at sea), the job demands physical fitness and adaptability to variations in the work environment.

Laboratory work demands precision, computer efficiency and the ability to consolidate data. Communication skills and the ability to work as part of a team are also essential.

Depending upon the subject you major in (i.e. physical oceanography, chemical oceanography, marine biology, marine geology), you can be working in the respective research departments of institutes like NIO or their research stations.

Besides the satisfaction of working in a growing profession, people who love the sea get to experience the exhilaration of actively doing something about conserving and protecting ocean life and its environment.

The world’s coastal ecosystems are currently in critical condition and there is no accurate record of their history. Just as doctors have a better chance of saving the patient’s life if they know his medical history, scientists would be better equipped to help reverse the dwindling marine population and restore the balance of marine ecosystems if they know the history of these environments.

Most research jobs are usually filled by those who have doctorates in the subject. As a fresh PG, be prepared to carry out routine jobs in the beginning. If you are deterred by vast amounts of paper work and mathematics, then oceanography might not be your cup of tea (or saline water). Also be prepared: This line of work requires constant travel.

Send your queries to Career Hotline, Careergraph, The Telegraph, 6, Prafulla Sarkar Street, Calcutta 700 001. Fax: 22253142; e-mail:
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