Master of Computer Applications or MCA is a professional Master’s level degree program. Designed to meet the rising demand for qualified IT professionals, MCA courses focus a lot on application development. These courses lay emphasis on learning latest programming languages and tools in order to develop faster and better applications. The primary intention is to offer an industry-oriented education, which is modern yet applicable to computer science.
Let’s learn about MCA courses in a little more detail!
Pass outs of MCA courses are in a good demand by consultancy firms and IT companies. Some of the government organisations that hire MCA pass outs include NTPS, BHEL and GAIL, among other. Also, MCA degree holders are absorbed by private IT companies, including Infosys, Accenture, Wipro, IBM, Cognizant, TCS, HCL, American Express, HP, etc.
After pursuing MCA courses, one can serve in the following roles:
1. Programmer/Software Developer/Engineer: A software developer’s responsibility is to design, install, test, and maintain software systems. They are required to analyse the needs of clients, and design a system to satisfy those requirements.
2. Systems Analyst: The responsibility of a systems analyst is to increase efficiency and drive business and they do this by designing innovative IT solutions. Their primary role involves studying the present business situation and model, and then accordingly designing better IT solutions. They bridge the gap between clients and software developers.
3. Trouble-shooter: Like the lifeline of any organisation, the main role of trouble-shooters is to ensure that the technology, both software and hardware, is handily available to the ones who require it. By chance, if any issue crops up then the trouble-shooter takes control of the situation and resolves it to make sure that the project is completed and delivered on time.
4. Software Consultant: The responsibility of a software consultant is to evaluate a business and its processes, and accordingly be responsible for software solutions and feedback in order to drive the efficiency of this business. The chief objective is to offer solutions that are not only cost-effective but also boost sales and accelerate growth of the business. This role can be taken up at a consultancy firm or you can even be self-employed to carry this out.
5. Software Application Architect: Making decisions in architecture and design of IT services and products is the main role of a software application architect who is required to develop technical guidelines and protocols like software coding, platforms and tools.
6. Technical Writer: Along with creative writing skills, a technical writer needs to have the knowledge of technology. As a technical writer, you will be expected to write technical documents, product descriptions, design specifications, user guides, manual, white papers, etc.
7. Hardware Engineer: As a hardware engineer, you need to work with hard disks, circuit boards with wires, computer chips, routers keyboards, printers and others. Hardware engineers are required to install and test systems and ensure that everything is working smoothly. Sometimes, they even engage in production and test hardware equipment.
8. Web Designer and Developer: The job profile involves designing and developing websites. Not only do candidates need to be creative and have a sense of style, colour and font but also they need to be familiar with the tools of developing and maintaining a website like Dreamweaver, HTML, Illustrator, CSS, Flash, Photoshop, etc.
9. Systems Developer/Engineer: Writing codes and designing programs for operating systems and other software are the primary tasks that a systems developer/engineer is required to perform. They work towards enhancing efficiency.
10. Self-employment: After MCA courses, one can start their own venture. This is advisable after you gain few years of experience in the industry. You can start an IT solutions company or a computer education firm or a start-up related to hardware.
Those who plan to pursue MCA courses must either have the following attributes before enrolling into or be ready to acquire the same while pursuing postgraduate programs:
· Computer skills: As MCA courses are out-and-out dedicated to hardware and software, and computer applications, one needs to have love for technology to pursue it.
· Human skills: You need to have good communication skills and be a people’s person. Few roles require you to be the bridge between employees and the client. Hence, you need to know how to listen, speak, understand, pay attention to detail and above all be a patient person.
· Management skills: You need to be quick at decision-making, and act as a team leader, team player and problem solver.
Though the eligibility criteria to enrol into MCA courses differ from college to college, most of the institutions demand you to have a Bachelor’s degree in Information Science or Computer Science, including B Tech or BCA from a reputable institute. Also, some colleges consider the candidates who secured a minimum of 50 percent aggregate in the 10+2 examinations with Mathematics as a compulsory and primary subject. Further, few colleges allow pass outs of Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Applications (PGDCA) to apply for MCA courses with them.
While some colleges offering MCA courses enrol students on the basis of general merit, many consider entrance exams scores. Once results of the entrance tests are announced, students who qualify are called in for counselling. The test includes questions based on reasoning ability, English language, general awareness and Mathematics.
At the national level, All India MCA Common Entrance Test (AIMCET) is organized by Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). Further, NIMCET or NIT MCA Common Entrance Test is organised at the national level by the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) to enrol students to MCA courses.
Apart from AIMCET and NIMCET, some state/ university/ college level entrance exams include:
· IPUCET: Held by the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha (GGSIP) University.
· TANCET: Held by the Anna University, the TANCET score is also considered by some colleges in Tamil Nadu.
· BIT MCA Entrance Test: Held by BIT Mesra.
· UPSEE: Held by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam University, formerly UPTU.
· WBJEE: Held by the West Bengal Join Entrance Exam Board to get into all technical institutes of the state.
· MU-OET: Held by Manipal University.
In addition, some colleges call students with a good score in the entrance tests for group discussion and personal interview rounds. At the group discussion stage, students are observed for their flexibility, behaviour, awareness, creativity, confidence, and communication and leadership skills, among others. During the interview, focus is laid on discovering an individual’s personal goals, self-awareness, etc.
Following are the reputable colleges in India that offer MCA courses:
Usually, MCA courses are offered as full-time programs that last for three years, including six semesters.
Fee Structure (per year)
Masters of Computer Application (MCA)
INR 50,000-3 Lacs
In the final semester of MCA, students get to specialise in any one of the areas, including Systems Management, Systems Engineering, Systems Development, Internet, Application Software, Management Information System (MIS), Troubleshooting, Hardware Technology, Software Development, Networking and Web Designing.
System Engineering: It gives opportunities to learn and expand one’s knowledge about complex systems in order to manage and create different options for consumers. System engineers are majorly hired by airline or Internet companies.
Networking: MCA graduates can opt to specialise in the field of networking. Here, students learn to establish the networking environment by designing system configuration, directing system installation, and defining, documenting and enforcing system standards.
Software Development: One can choose software development as their area of specialisation as well. Here, students learn to design, install, test and maintain software systems.
Trouble-shooter: An individual can specialise to become a trouble-shooter, who plays a pivotal role in the smooth functioning of an organisation. They ensure that the technology, both hardware and software, is in good health.