According to a Forrester Research study, global spending (in US dollars) on IT products and services will drop by three per cent in 2009, but subsequently rebound by about nine percent in 2010. Though the current slowdown has drastically impacted the IT sector, fact remains that the demand for software professionals in bound to increase once the recession ends. This because organizations – be it governmental or MNCs are constantly looking to leverage the power of information technology in order to become more efficient and technologically advanced.
The three year Bachelor’s / Master’s in Computer Applications (BCA / MCA) courses were designed to meet the growing demand for qualified professionals in the field of IT. The programs focus on providing students with sound theoretical knowledge and relevant practical exposure in the field of computers. The programs are intended to provide a modern, industry oriented education in applied computer science. A student pursuing a course in computer applications not only receives training in computer related subjects such as networks, wireless technology, advance database, network security, etc, but also in areas of accounting, financial management, communication skills, probability, statistics and operational theory.
Generally conducted as full time courses with regular classroom lectures, BCA and MCA programs can also be pursued via the distance learning mode. An MCA via distance learning is best suited for someone who is already working in the field and feels the need to upgrade his/her skills while acquiring an official certification.
Just as any other profession, pursuing computer applications requires one to have a keen interest and aptitude for the field. A student must be enthusiastic about the software field and should also have clarity of basic mathematical and logical reasoning concepts. Additionally, some a-priori knowledge of C/C ++ programming languages is also beneficial. It helps in preparing for the state level Common Entrance Examination (CET) as well.
Just like fresh engineering graduates, companies hire BCA / MCA graduates as software engineers/professionals. The average industry compensation that both, engineering and computer applications graduates, receive is the same, that is Rs three lakh per annum (currently). However the difference is that while an engineering graduate would command this salary after four years of passing class 12, and MCA student would get it after six. However, a business analyst, Robosoft Systems mentions that this difference should not be looked at negatively. The MCA course is not only more practical and intensive than a regular engineering course, but it also trains students in key management areas that help them expedite the progress ladder once employed. Moreover, the value and demand of a software development professional is largely gauged by the experience and skill set that he/she develops over a period of time rather than the degree he / she possesses. In fact, the scope to grow in the IT industry as an NCA is vast. Depending on the performance an MCA professional can expect to be promoted to the position of a project manager within 6-12 years. A BCA degree too offers a scope for professional growth. Take the case of graduate with BCA degree three years ago and works as a senior SAP consultant with Sparta Consulting with Sparta Consulting now.
As far as campus placements are concerned, many offer letters have been kept on hold and joining dates have been postponed due to the current slowdown. However, this in no way implies that MCA and BCA graduates are not being hired at all. Companies are still hiring graduates who are well versed with the core knowledge acquired during the course ad who possess an open mind. Students in general too are upbeat about the placement scene. The course curriculum is up to date and helps students stay abreast with the latest technology.
Entry to most BCA / MCA courses in Maharasthra is through a state level MAH – MCA-CET. The details of the test are stated below:
Eligibility criteria: Graduates from any recognized university with minimum 45 per cent in aggregate (40 per cent for candidates of backward class belonging to Maharasthra state only) are eligible to apply. Candidates in their final year of graduation an also apply. Applicants must have studied mathematics or statistics as one of the subjects at 10 + 2 level or higher level examination.
The MAH MCA – CET comprises of two papers – Paper I: General Aptitude (GA) and Paper II: Computer Concepts (CC) – that have multiple choice objective type questions. The questions are to be answered on an Optical Mark Reader (OMR) sheet. Each of the two 100 mark papers is of one hour duration and contains 25 objective type questions. There is negative marking for wrong answers.
Paper I: General Aptitude
Covers topics such as logical reasoning, quantitative reasoning, high school mathematics, vocabulary, English comprehensive and verbal ability.
Paper II: Computer Concepts
Covers questions on computer basics, data representation, computer architecture, computer language, and operating system basics.