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Internet Opens Many New Careers
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The rapid growth of the Internet has opened up many avenues for service providers. Thre are about 70,000 people who either have Internet connections in India or can access it through the Ernet and they are growing at an exponential rate. While most users may still be trying to understand the Internet and using it for education, e-mail or entertainment, a tremendous opportunity exists to expand businesses. With more awareness, people will want to put up their home pages, provide e-mail facilities much like the telephone booths that are in vogue today. Or they will went to use it more creatively. A growth like this will yield many employment opportunities and will require trained people. Once the government allows it to expand on its own, many people will find jobs through the Internet or make careers by providing services. This feature describes the different opportunities that are arising from this global marketplace.

Few people expected the Internet to have grown like it has. It is today a vast network of people connected through computers and telephone lines, communicating with each other, offering products and services or using it for education and entertainment. With connections increasing by the day and all major companies having set up their home pages, it has also become a vast marketplace where everything is available. One can use it to expand business beyond national boundaries or use it as a global resource of information.

Either way, it has created a demand for people who have the skills to provide services such as designing web sites, helping people to put up their resumes or other information, maintain servers and web sites and so on. The opportunities are actually limitless and are bound to grow as awareness catches on. Already, Indian companies are putting up their pages on the Internet and professionals are advertising their services. Newspapers has even offered services where matrimonials and resumes can be put up in order to get global response.

The advantage of being on the Net is that one is not limited by physical constraints_people from all over the world can access your page and if the service you are providing is worthwhile, you will never be short of customers. Being on the Net is also much of customers. Being on the Net is also much cheaper than advertising in international papers and magazines and that is why it has caught on rapidly.

 
Understanding the Internet

The Internet is a vast network of computers connected through telephone lines. People have e-mail addresses which work just like post boxes. One can communicate to anyone in the world with an e-mail address in a matter of seconds. The information on the Internet is a free resource and anyone can access it. The World Wide Web, or Web for short, refers to the vast network of computers. Anyone can create a website on it, which means an address holding some pages of information. Anyone in the world can access a website. Companies use websites to display their products and services, often with the help of graphics and videos. There are also shopping arcades, called cybermalls, on which one can inspect products and even place orders for them. In India, the Internet is catching on but if the VSNL makes it easier, lakhs of people will gain access. Already, many companies have got their websites and individuals are using it to send e-mail to friends all over the world. One major advantage of the Internet is that it is cheap and one can communicate with anyone at the cost of a local telephone call. Another is that communication is instantaneous. Since it is a growing field, the demand for trained personnel is likely to grow. As the number of users grow, trained people will be needed for many kinds of Internet services.

 
Avenues on the Net
 
Some of the avenues that have opened up with the Internet are :
  • Website and home pages designer
Providing services to students and job seekers to put up their resumes :
  • Providing e-mail or surfing services
  • Providing server for hosting pages
  • Opening or expanding an export business

Designing home pages is an exciting option. Anyone with an artistic mind can become a designer. The success of the site depends on how many people feel attracted to it so it has to be reallycreative. If you have a degree in fine arts or are a graphics designer, this could well be a career option. A formal degree is, however, not required and it really depends on how good you are. Of course a knowledge of computers and multimedia is essential. Since web pages use text, photographs, video and audio, a knowledge of all the packages used for designing home pages is required. One also needs to know languages like Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Java and Perl, which are used to design websites.

To start your career as a home page designer, the hardware that you need is a personal computer with a multimedia kit, photoediting software, web-site manager software and an Internet connection. It may be a good idea to work for a while with any of the on-line service provides to get to know the technology and the different options available. It is not enough to be a graphic designer only but a computer expert as well. Web page designing is not limited to placing some pictures and text on a screen but 3D animation and video or audio must be incorporated. If the site is not interesting, few people will feel compelled to visit it.

Creation of websites is not limited to companies only. People can have their own website created, which may include information about their work, hobbies and can even put up their resume and hope to get job offers. Companies, on the other hand, can put up commercial websites which give information about the company and its products. A designer charges per page of developing a site and later for site management and updating. It is important to remember that the designer has to be aware of the practices all over the world as people from all over the world access Internet. If it is not world class, the site would be all but useless.

Alternately, one can set up a business to provide services to people such as providing e-mail facilities, putting up their resumes on the Internet, or provide a facility for people who do not have a connection to surf the net, like video game parlours of yesterday. Cafes that provide such services have already opened in some cities in India and reportedly are doing good business. Another option would be to provide e-mail facility where people can send and receive mail just like the telephone and fax providers. Since e-mail is cheap, it is fast replacing traditional methods of communication.

The Internet is also a boon for people who want to set up an export house. Once could set up a shopping mall with all types of products ranging from handicrafts to jewellery. Of course what you have to offer must be unique and of good quality to interest the international buyer.

 
Where to study

Some computer institutes provide training for the Internet and many more are expected to jump in the fray. Before enrolling, one must decide which field one wants to get into and look for specific training. There is no point doing a generalised computer training course and hope to make a career in Internet. You need specilised training depending on your needs.

You will gain much knowledge by surfing on the Net, so make sure you have a connection. Also, make sure you keep abreast of all the new technologies. With the world changing fast, a professional has to know what is happening, or he will be obsolete in no time.

 
Prospects

There is much money to be made in Internet careers. A web page designer would charge over Rs 1 lakh for developing a site which is about 15 pages long. Smaller sites may be cheaper than that. Many companies hire their own designers to develop and maintain sites, constantly upgrading the information on them. Others work on a free-lance basis. The hours can be flexible and one can work from one's own home.

If one wants to start an Internet cafe or a small shop to provide services of e-mail and surfing, the field is really wide open as the trend is catching on. An international call is quite expensive and people will find it cheaper if they can send an e-mail message to their friends and relatives in distant countries at the fraction of the cost. It is not too far-fetched to assume that Internet service providers may mushroom in India just as telephone serevice providers mushroomed a few years back.

The right time to set up a business or take training is now. The Internet is poised for a very big leap and is growing at a very fast rate. Because of its high growth, there is already a shortage of good, trained people. If you can get on the bandwagon now, you will be in time to reap the rewards when the boom occurs. At present Internet access is controlled by the VSNL but in times to come, it may become free as in other countries and that will certainly result in phenomenal growth. Since it is a growing field, the prospects for Internet trained people are limitless.

 
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