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MCA

A few years ago, an MCA was one of the most sought after degrees. With the fall of the IT industry and the recession, the demand for MCA as a profession lessened. But look for this scenario to change soon. So what if the US doesn’t want any of our computer professionals? Thanks to call centers and other backend support companies, their computer jobs are still being done by Indians right here in India. Our IT industry is getting a new lease of life. BPO companies, that seem to be multiplying by the day, need professionals to understand and design systems and who better than an MCA for the job. So all those who think they made a wrong decision by taking up MCA, think again! The future’s brighter than it seems.

The course
Typically, the MCA is a 3 year fulltime degree course consisting of six semesters. It covers various aspects of computing, accounting, finance, programming, design and managing networks and databases.

How much does it cost?
MCA programs in colleges cost anywhere between Rs 15000 to Rs 1 lacs depending upon whether it is a government or private college.

Is it better to first do BCA and then do MCA?
This actually depends upon what exactly you want to get into 10 years down the line. If you want to solely be in the pure application development area, then any graduation is fine. However, if you are inclined towards research or teaching in the future then go for some course that covers Maths or Stats. This is because after a point, Computers becomes more about maths than about computing. In this regard, a B.Sc. Maths & Stats or a BCA are equally good courses to take up. BCA students feel they have an advantage when it comes to computer related questions in the test as they dont have to study for it.

Eligibility:
Most MCA institutes require certain educational backgrounds like say Maths as a subject in 11th and 12th and minimum of 50% in graduation. Admissions are given on the basis of a written entrance test carried out by each university. Since there is no centralised test, you have to keep a look out for the dates in leading newspapers or check the institute websites. Generally, the information appears between March and May. Those appearing for their final year graduation exams may also apply. Just in case you havent studied Maths in your 11th and 12th, you can still get admissions in some places like Delhi University provided you have scored above 55% in graduation.

Sr. Name of Institute Eligibility
1 Delhi Univ. MCA Program Applicant should have taken at least 2 Maths papers at graduation OR 1 paper in Maths and another in Statistics/ Computer Science / OR have scored minimum55% marks in graduation
Tentative Date: February
Test Area: Higher level Maths, Quantitative Aptitude, Reasoning
2 Jawaharlal Nehru University Applicant should have scored minimum55% marks in graduation
Tentative Date: May
Test Area: Higher Level Maths
3 Banaras Hindu University Applicant should have taken Maths as a subject at +2 level and scored minimum 50% in graduation.
Tentative Date:  March
Test Area: Mathematics, Computer Fundamentals
4 Roorkee Univ. MCA Program Applicant should have taken Maths as a subject at Graduation Level with minimum 60% marks.
Tentative Date:  June
Test Area: Maths, Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude, Computer Fundamentals
5 REC Trichy MCA Program Applicant should have done Maths / Stats as a subject in Graduation with minimum 60% in graduation, 50% for SC/ST.
Tentative Date: March
Test Area: English, Programming, Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude
6 VJTI, Mumbai MCA Program Applicant should have done Maths / Stats as a subject  of study at +2 level OR at a higher level (i.e during Graduation) with minimum 55% score.
Tentative Date: January
Test Area: English, Computer Fundamentals, Quantitative Aptitude, Reasoning, +2 level Maths
7 Pune Univ. MCA Program Any graduate with minimum 50% marks in Graduation
Tentative Date: February
Test Area: Higher Level Maths, Quantitative Aptitude, English
8 MP PRE MCA(for ICSE Indore,MACT Bhopal and other colleges in M.P.) Applicant should have done Maths as a subject of study at +2 level with 50% in Graduation
Tentative Date: February
Test Area: Maths, Computer Fundamentals, Quantitative Aptitude, Reasoning, English
9 MNREC Allahabad(Thru UPMCAT) Applicant should have done Maths / Statistics as one of the subjects at Graduation with 50% marks in Graduation. (45% for SC/ST.)
Tentative Date: May
Test Area: Higher Level Maths, Reasoning
10 Jalgaon University Maths at +2 level with 55% marks in Graduation.
Tentative Date: May
Test Area: Maths, English, Quantitative Aptitude, Reasoning.

Women in Mumbai can also opt for SNDT that offers an MCA course for women only.

Which institutes have the best campus placements?
Pune has by far the best placements and the maximum of them are abroad. Other institutes that offer good placements are Delhi University, Roorkee (a few of them are abroad), REC Trichy, VJTI, and BHU. JNU also has good placements.

Entrance exam tips:
The entrance test for MCA is generally objective. Unfortunately, many institues follow the practice of negative marking. Since there is no centralised admission, there’s also the problem of having to prepare separately for each test and choosing between institutes.

Here are some tips to make the process less frustrating:
1. There are 165 government recognised MCA institutes in India. Shortlist the institues where you want to join (you can refer to the top ten institutes listed above) and prepare for tests according to their test areas.

2. Most tests cover the following areas: Statistics – Quantitative and numerical aptitude, Reasoning – mathematical, logical and analytical. They are divided according to these subjects and different weightage is given to each them. Focus on you strong areas and maximise your score in those sections.

3. You can play safe by applying at institutes that have large number of seats. For example, Gujarat and Andhra University who have more than a thousand seats. This way, you have a backup just in case you dont make it to the really competitive institutes.

4. Preparation for these tests takes the better part of at least five months and longer for people without a strong background in Maths and Logic. If you are not realy confident of coping with these subjects, enrolling in a coaching class. Also try your hand at mock tests; they help develop confidence and strategy.

5. Once in the exam hall, relax, be confident, formulate a strategy according to your strenghts and allocate time slots to each section. Don’t linger on a problem that’s taking too much time. Don’t concentrate on your score, concentrate on the problems. Take calculated risks and not wild guesses.

Our JBC Vikhyat, who is currently doing his MCA from IIPS, Indore says “If your fundamentals of maths and logic are strong, then the institute doesn’t matter too much. All you require is enthusiasm and a strong will to learn. This may affect your initial placement and package but 5-10 years down the line, you will be at par with students from better institutions.

For those people who dont have the time to pursue a fulltime MCA, there is hope. You can always try distance education courses. Riyaz Naikwadi of the Institute of Management Studies says: “Look for an institute that has a good enough infrastructure and tie ups. This will ensure that practicals and assigments are being handled well”.

Some of institutes that offer distance MCA courses are Punjab Technical University (www.ptuonline.com) and Manipal University.

Inputs from Vikhyat and Riyaz Naikwadi.

– Jaison Lewis

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