download (41)What is urban design?

Since early man first settled, urban design has existed in some or the other form, though the term was finally coined in the 20th century. It’s a mix of landscape design, city planning and architecture. It is about designing and planning almost every aspect about a city. An urban designer needs to incorporate streets, buildings, landscape, public parks, transportation system, drainage, roads and every other aspect related to a city that you can think of. The task is Herculean!

These professionals have to balance both aesthetics and functionality. For example, while the city or the town that they’re working on, needs to have public parks and beautiful landscape, like artificial lakes etc; the city also needs to be functional and easy to navigate for people.

Similarly, while street furniture like benches, water coolers, dumpsters, street signs and lights are important from the furnishing point of view, they are also important from the point of view of providing people with civic amenities.

What does an urban designer do?

Most modern professionals in this career help in planning and upgrading the existing cities and towns. They are usually called upon by the officials when the population of a city increases beyond what can sustain on the current amenities and resources.

Problems like traffic congestion, pedestrian congestion, road side encroachments and housing shortage or dilapidation of generation – old houses are usually what calls for the immediate attentions of city planning officials and eventually the services of these experts. Some other such problems could be sewage and waste disposal systems, school shortage, natural resource distribution which needs pipelines, like water and gas supplies.

The first step for an urban designer is to meet city officials and discuss all the necessary changes. This will also include discussing the budgets as well as the concerns of the current residents into consideration.

After this they usually look at the plans and designs for the existing plan of the city. This enables them to figure out what changes can be brought about. One of the key things for them to keep in mind is that they want minimal intervention in order to not disturb the current daily life of residents. They also meet landscape designers and architects in this phase to work out a plan for the new city design. After all this, they will usually make initial sketches and then they will use designing software to prepare final plans which are very detailed and include drawings for every aspect.

Where does an urban designer work?

Typically they work with large architectural firms or with real estate developers. In developed countries, a lot of city governments also retain individual professionals as consultants.

What are the educational requirements for a career in Urban Design?

The most common expectations in terms of degree for a career in this field is at least a Bachelor’s degree in urban design or city planning. It’s a four-year course and is typically good enough for an entry-level position. However, many experts usually pursue a Master’s degree and also gradually grow their education through cross-skill development like degrees in energy-efficient design, or eco-friendly, environment-centric design etc. It is expected that aspiring urban designers will have to take several courses in design, computer software and math. They will also need to take some courses in real estate law, ecology, architecture and landscape architecture.

 

download (40)Some people have a craze for government jobs, while others crave to get a job in the private sector. Those in favor of government jobs consider benefits like job security, while individuals preferring private jobs are with a hunch that they will have a swanky workplace and fascinating salary if they manage to get into the corporate world. What’s the true picture? And what are the key attributes that differentiate these two sectors?

Here are some key factors that differentiate government jobs and private jobs:

Work Load

It is believed that government jobs have less work load than private jobs, and it’s true. In additions, government employees have no target and they’re not forced to work for extra hours. A government employee is never asked to work during a holiday. Isn’t it amazing? But as it is well known that hard work never goes unrewarded, an employer of a private company gives an opportunity to his employee to earn more by assigning him extra duties. Adding to that, a private company’s employee gets an opportunity to nurture his skills under pressure.

Pay and Extra Income

Government employees are always offered attractive packages. Even at entry-level, government departments pay handsome salaries to their employees. When it is about benefits like medical insurance and others, the government sector scores far better than the private sector. It may seem attractive, but there’s downside too. Experts say government organizations are appealing just at entry-level. On the other side, an employee of private company can move to a higher rank by using his skills. In additions, a private sector employee can earn extra money by working for few more hours after his work schedule.

Job Security

Poor economy can lead to job-cutoffs in the private sector, but government organizations are safe from such a crisis. There are very few, or almost negligible, chances that a government employee will lose his job, but his private counterpart always works amid fear of losing his job. But the government has now started thinking to have a close look at its employees, which means government jobs are not cushy now.

Lifestyle

Private sector employees have a better lifestyle than government employees. Their offices are attractive and everyone works with enthusiasm there. On the contrary side, some government officers perform their duties dully, but still, they have high respect, no matter what they are earning.

Entrepreneurship

You cannot be an entrepreneur if you’re a government employee. One may have an idea to start a new business, a plan to take it to a new height, but a government job doesn’t allow him to pursue his dream. There are some disadvantages of government jobs, but there are many people who can perform a task again and again every day.

 

download (39)When searching for hotel jobs near you, there is the possibility that you may stumble upon management positions in the hospitality industry. So what does a hotel manager do? What challenges do they face on a daily basis? What is the role of financial management? We will explore the various roles that make this one of the more rewarding jobs in the world.

Budget Analysis/Execution

For the purposes of this article, let’s start with the budget process for the hotel manager and work our way from there. Every year, a budget will be prepared in meticulous fashion by highlighting every general ledger account, which includes revenue and expenses. Your revenues are from sales of any kind, while the expenses are anything that costs the business money to provide a quality service to the guests. A budget will project everything for the upcoming year, with each revenue and expense tracked through general ledger accounts. For a hospitality manager to be effective, well, they will prepare an accurate budget! How is this done? The use of historical figures is important and an easy start. However, a manager will understand how upcoming events will impact the operations. For example, if the hotel sits on an oceanfront, a manager will be aware of the increase in room revenue during the summer months when families are more likely to vacation and stay in a hotel.

How does a hospitality manager know if they are executing their budget effectively? This is achieved through a process known as variance analysis. The idea is to have as little variance as possible, meaning that a strong budget is being followed very closely with little deviation. Obviously, this is not always possible as market trends can affect occupancy in many ways. However, the general rule of thumb is that when revenue increases, expenses will most likely increase. The inverse should also be true; when occupancy is lower than expected, expenses need to trend in the same direction. This leads us into our next section: revenue management.

Revenue Management

In the hospitality industry, there are various revenue streams that generate an income for a property. This includes the sales from rooms, conference spaces, food and beverage, and much more. As a hotel manager, it is extremely important to understand the impact of each operation and the overall effect they have on the total revenue. Simply stated, without occupancy, there is no money flowing into the property. The manager has a job of being very involved in the sales process by generating and following up on leads with the Director of Sales, ensuring the Revenue Manager is setting the best rates for the property, championing the quality of the food and beverage department, and keeping the calendar full in the conference room.

Managing the Expenses

So what expenses will you typically see in a hotel operation? Here’s the short answer: a bunch! Generally, one of the biggest expenses in the hospitality industry is salaries and wages. This is the cost of all the jobs in the hotel. Every hour worked is an expense that is incurred. This is why it is common practice for managers to decrease hours of the staff during the slower periods – remember what we said previously: when revenue decreases, so should your expenses. If a hotel pays its employees vacation time or sick time, it is normally in the salaries and wages as well.

Another significant expense in the hospitality industry is supplies. These are the amenities that fill the hotel. If you’ve stayed in a hotel room, you can see the many supplies at work – toilet paper, linen, bathroom amenities, light bulbs, coffee amenities, water, snacks, and much more. How about the supplies used by a housekeeper – the cart, cleaning chemicals, uniforms, cleaning tools, etc. Hotels usually have contractual services that provide added amenities for guests. These include high definition premium cable, Wi-Fi, gardening/groundskeeping, newspaper subscriptions, in-room phones, etc. Let’s keep moving… what about the other expenses? Marketing/advertising for the property or jobs, maintenance material (for fixtures, furniture, and equipment), depreciation on major purchases/renovations, credit card sales expense (yes, merchants get a nice percentage every time a Front Desk Associate swipes a credit card) and the greatest expense of them all – taxes! OK, so this is quite a list. The point is this – by generating revenue, these expenses are much easier to handle! Also, an effective hotelier will find every way possible to lower all of these expenses. This is most definitely one of the fun parts of the job.

Accounting Processes

Does the job sound challenging yet? Well the accountability of these funds is equally important as generating income and managing expenses. If you don’t like accounting, that’s OK! I can promise that you will learn it as each day passes at your job. Financial management includes the proper accounting of all transactions in the hotel. Each hotel has an internal or external accountant who will ensure that these transactions are recorded into the proper general ledger accounts. Usually, the most common method is through accrual basis accounting, where transactions are recorded in the month they are executed (as opposed to cash basis, where they are recorded once expensed). This allows for better tracking of the overall budget. As a hospitality manager, your job is to review and ensure the proper accounting of all funds in and out of the hotel. Wasn’t that easy enough?

Fiscal Oversight

Another important process in regards to financial management is ensuring the proper oversight of all monies in the hotel. For example, each hotel has a cash drawer that Front Desk Associates will use for cash paying guests as well as reimbursements for any kind. If you were the manager, you will definitely want to ensure there is proper oversight of these drawers so they can be in-balance at the end of the day. The PMS (Property Management System) will record all cash transactions and can be accessed at anytime.

It is not uncommon for hotel managers to take on the job of randomly conducting surprise cash counts for the purpose of “showing” the staff that you are doing your job with the fiscal oversight process (and of course, handling any issues if the cash count is out of balance). Typically, theft isn’t a big issue in the hospitality industry, but it is always susceptible.

How about the oversight of your purchasing processes? Put yourself in a hotel manager’s shoes for a second. There is the job of an employee in your hotel that buys all of the supplies previously mentioned at your property. Here’s how the process works: supplies are purchased, products or services are received and inspected, payment is processed (sometimes this occurs first), and the transaction is posted onto the books. Would you be happy with just one person handling this entire process? Meaning, they will buy stuff, go downstairs to receive it from the shipping company, and authorize the payment? The short answer is no. At a smaller hotel, this may be the only feasible option, which isn’t necessarily the worst thing. However, it is always preferred to have a separation of duties in the purchasing process. The person purchasing typically is not the one you want receiving the items, which is because there is the possibility for theft and it would be very difficult to track this as a manager. Some hotels will appoint Front Desk Associates or other members of the team to do the receiving agents for items ordered for housekeeping. This is a good example of strong fiscal oversight.

In summation, financial management is an important part of a hospitality manager’s job. The beautiful thing about this subject is that it encompasses every position and all parts of the hotel operation. By learning financial management, you are in essence learning about everything that goes on at the property. That is a beautiful thing!

download (38)What is Accessory Design?

It, refers to visualizing, planning and creating accessories that add to the costume and complete an ensemble. Accessories such as shows, jewelry, belts, hats, scarves handbags, cuff links, wallets, tie pins etc. are designed by these professionals to add a dash of personality, color and style to the consumer. Some experts tend to experiment with new, wild trends while others tend to stick with evergreen styles and materials such as black or tan leather etc.

The Work

Just like a fashion designer, an accessory designing expert plans the functionality and aesthetic appeal of every decorative item that you wear or carry on you. They have to be experts in current and past trends of fashion and be able to predict and lead the upcoming trends at the beginning of fashion seasons.

Once an expert has an idea, they usually try to bring it to life. Many of them draw it with pencil and paper. However, computer software is slowly becoming popular now. After the drawing, a prototype is built and then depending on the designer, the particular brand, and a lot of other factors, it may be mass produced or maybe sold as one-of-its type.

Some designers specialize in only one type of accessory, while others may create various types. Sometimes even fashion and garment experts may design accessories themselves to go with their garments.

Educational Requirements

The first requirement is a good aesthetic sense and an understanding of materials like beads, wiring, leather etc. While there are no stringent requirements that are required in terms of a degree, many aspiring professionals go for a degree in fashion design.

There are also specialized schools that have specific courses tailored to train individuals with an interest in accessory careers. Most students need to learn drawing, CAD, fashion history and about different materials and textiles that are needed to create such pieces of art that people can wear and feel complimented by.

Career Options and Salaries:

After some degree in the stream, you could either work in a freelance capacity, creating your own accessories. This would mean starting out small and selling a fewer number of pieces. However, if your work is good, you may actually become a brand in yourself or be able to create a production house.

There are also fashion brands, individual designers and established design firms and accessory manufacturers who hire professions to create fine ornaments.

Salaries vary greatly depending on the mode of employment and whether it’s a full-time profession or a part-time hobby. Tier 1 cities pay more than tier 2 or tier 3; so the area of residence also affects the payouts. For freelancers; the more appealing and creative their products are, the more earning they make.