How to get into e-business
I think I have the ideas and the dedication to be a successful internet entrepreneur, but my degree was not related to business or computing, so I have little technical know-how. Is there a postgraduate course that I could take?
The government-funded scheme Business Link (www.businesslink.gov.uk) helps budding entrepreneurs. The site has useful advice and information on finance and grants, links to other websites, and a section dedicated to IT and e-commerce. You could also try one of the workshops on how to set up your business.
From a technical point of view, much will depend on your ideas and what you need your website to do. If you know absolutely nothing about computers, the most basic qualification is the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL), which will introduce you to most software used in business. Most colleges run an ECDL course: to find your nearest provider, visit www.ecdl.co.uk. Other similar courses focus on the software packages used to create simple websites, or offer training in more complicated programming skills. It all depends on how much - or little - you already know.
In terms of postgraduate courses, again, you're spoilt for choice. Coventry, London South Bank, Westminster and Plymouth universities have Masters degrees in e-commerce; institutions such as Birkbeck, Hertfordshire, Newcastle and Liverpool offer similar qualifications under the guise of e-business. Entry requirements vary though, so contact the course leaders before applying. A database of such courses can be found at www.prospects.ac.uk/links/ pgdbase.
Right time for property?
I'd like to become an estate agent with a view to becoming a property developer later in life. Should I do a course before I apply for a trainee position, or just hope for some on-the-job training?
Property development has always been a high-risk career, but currently it's riskier than ever, with talk of a long-term slide in house prices nationwide. You'll need a thorough knowledge of the housing market, as well as a sound understanding of economics if you're going to succeed.
Experience at an estate agency would be invaluable, giving you the chance to learn the basics about which properties sell and why, as well as what today's typical house-hunter is looking for. There are no …