I am a Chartered Accountant. I want to know if it is possible for me to learn programming. At present my knowledge levels are not too high in the field of programming. I ask the question because of the fact of there is plenty of computerisation and automation. Do let me know the way forward.

Abid Mulla

via e-mail

In the accountants' world of today, computers and programming play a pertinent role. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) (www.icai.org) organises a course where computer-aided auditing techniques, e-filing, digital signatures etc., are taught. Most of the aspects though are learnt as one gets into the profession.

Considering that there has been plenty of changes in the world of accounting, there has been a tremendous adherence to the new norms. One such area that is a must for any CA today is the ICAI-XBRL filing software that supports converting financial information of a company into the XBRL format as per the corporate affairs mandates and protocols.

There are various accounting packages that one can learn based on the need. SAP Accounting, and Tally 9 Accounting Software are some of them that will support you in your function based on the need and requirements of the organisation.

I completed Diploma in Mechanical Engineering in the late 90s and am now working in an industry. I am eager to do B.Tech or BE but I cannot go through a full-time programme. Can you help me out?

Shivkumar M.

via e-mail, Bangalore

Part-time programmes cater to the needs and requirements of professionals who do not have access to quality education in the technical world.

You should get in touch with the Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) (www.vtu.ac.in) and get the details of the part-time programme that is offered by a few constituent colleges of the University.

You can also contact the BMS College of Engineering (www.bmsce.ac.in) located near Bull Temple, Basavanagudi, which offers a quality-oriented part-time engineering programme and benefit from the same. The above mentioned classes (conducted in the evenings) are compulsory.

Besides the above, if you are interested you could pursue the Distance Learning programmes with adequate classroom inputs from Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani (www.bits-pilani.ac.in) which offers world-class engineering programmes in myriad fields that will suit every individual.

A qualification from BITS will hold you in good stead in the corporate world because of its recognition.

The admissions for the BITS Distance Learning programme will commence in the month of April.

You can contact the Dean, Distance Learning Programmes Division, Faculty Division III, BITS, Pilani-333 031, Rajasthan. Ph: 01596-242210/201596, extn: 216. E-mail: brnt@bits-pilani.ac.in

By taking to higher studies, you will be allowing your experience to do the talking as whatever you have attained will help you to make a mark.

I have finished graduation in Commerce and also specialised in computers. Currently I am pursuing M.Com through distance education. Am I eligible for the NET exam conducted by UGC?

Budan Sab

via e-mail, Harihar

The National Eligibility Test (NET) (http://www.ugc.ac.in/inside/net.html) of the UGC does not discriminate against postgraduate qualifications attained by the campus mode or distance education.

Hence, you are eligible to attempt the same. However, you should have as minimum percentage of 55 in the two years of postgraduation.

The UGC notifies the two examinations that are to be conducted in June and December every year.

For a better understanding of the UGC-NET get to know the eligibility conditions:

i) Candidates should have completed/be pursuing a UGC-specified Master's degree.

ii) Candidates should have secured at least 55 per cent marks (without grace or rounding off) in Master's Degree (or) equivalent examination from universities/institutions recognised by UGC in Humanities (including languages) and Social Sciences, Computer Science & Applications, Electronic Science etc. Scheduled Caste (SC) / Scheduled Tribe (ST)/ Physically Handicapped (PH)/ Visually Handicapped (VH) category candidates should have secured at least 50 per cent marks (without grace or rounding off).

iii) Candidates should have appeared OR will be appearing in the qualifying Master's degree examination and whose result is still awaited OR candidates whose examinations have been delayed. However, such candidates will be admitted provisionally and shall be considered eligible for award of JRF/Lectureship eligibility only after they have passed their Master's degree examination or equivalent with at least 55 per cent marks (50 per cent in case of SC/ST/PH/VH category candidates).

Such candidates must obtain their P.G. degree/marks sheet within one year from the date of NET with required percentage of marks, failing which they will be treated as disqualified.

I am a Diploma student of Apparel Design and Fabrication Technology. I will be finishing it in June this year. At present, I am very confused about my career — whether to take up a job after my course or to go for higher studies. Recently I visited a garment industry where I came to know that the three-year and one-year diploma holder have the same job and same pay scale. If I go for higher studies which are the courses that will give me the best job?

Sanghamitra S.

via e-mail, Bangalore

The qualification that you will be securing in June will definitely have an impact in the long run. There are two options ahead of you:

Join an organisation that will not only further your career, but one that will help you to learn and apply to the practicalities of the issues involved.

Attempt for higher studies from reputed institutes such as the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) (www.nift.com) who have created a niche for themselves. The NIFT centre in Bangalore (www.bangalore.niftindia.com) is located at CA Site No. 21, 27th Main Road, Sector 1, HSR Layout, Bangalore-560 034.

One or two years of experience and a postgraduation will surely help you to reach the top echelons of the world of apparels and fashion technology.

I am in second year science stream of Pre-University. My optionals are the traditional PCMB papers. I am interested in pursuing a career in cryogenics and solid-state mechanics/physics engineering. Please provide information about the same.

Praneetha

via e-mail, Bangalore

Physics is the study of the fundamental laws of nature governing the inner working of everything from a baseball pitch to a black hole. The laws of nature studied by physicists form the framework upon which all the other natural sciences are built.

The need to express those natural laws in mathematical language has been the driving force behind many technological advances, and physics lies at the core of applied science and engineering. The best place where you could pursue your dreams and ambitions is the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (http://www.iisc.ernet.in). You could contact the department concerned and get details of the programmes.

SHAHEED KHAN

(Shaheed_k@yahoo.com)