Engineering: The Most Controversial yet Most Desired Career
The popular jape on engineering that goes around in India is that one becomes an engineer first and then decides what to do in life. Social media sites are heavily peppered with sarcastic jokes about engineering. There are dedicated pages and blogs to punch the engineering studies and mock them in every possible way. Even movies have not spared the subject and those pursuing it - whether passionately or not is a different matter altogether.
At the same time, the competition which is witnessed in getting a seat in the top ranking colleges in India is the most ruthless competition ever, with slight variations in percentage decimals deciding the eligibility of an applicant. What is more baffling is the fact that engineering still remains the most desired stream in India.
Engineering is a highly challenging and adventurous career to pursue. The basic definition of an engineer is a professional who can solve any problem with the help of science. Engineering is synonymous with innovation, invention, creativity and imagination. An engineer improvises the situation and turns disadvantages into advantages.
Every year, India produces 1.5 million engineers while another million or two enter the stream as freshmen. A report by the Economic Times states that the number of engineers produced by India is higher than the number of engineers produced by the US and China combined. The question is, what makes engineering such a controversial career which is also the most desired one? The reasons for this maybe many but the major one is that the mentality that an engineering degree is the surest and cheapest way to get a high-paying job. In India, students are given only two choices after they finish school - either study medicine or pursue engineering. There is also the fact the major IT companies have set up campuses in India and are hiring engineers, luring them with attractive packages.
Some facts which surround the engineering courses are so baffling that it will make you wonder how it remains the most desired career path in the country. Take these as examples:
- India produces 1.5 million engineers annually out of which only 17% are found employable generally, as per the National Employability Report.
- 97% engineers apply for jobs in the IT industry and core engineering out of which only 18.4% and 7.5% are found employable in the IT industry and core engineering respectively.
- According to the above cited report, 54% of the engineers are rejected as they are not trainable in soft-skills.
- Experts have long since complained that the majority of engineers have no practical knowledge through which they can contribute to the organization where they want to work.
- A huge number of engineers, after graduating, pursue careers in completely different and unrelated streams.
- A huge number of engineers selected it as their career because they were forced to do so by their parents.
How to Stand Out in the Crowd of 1.5 Million
If you have a natural inclination and love for mathematics, the ability to think logically and analytically, and a liking to solve problems ranging from small mind puzzles to complicated issues and obstacles then you are suited for engineering. However, also remember that along with these traits, you must also have the required aptitude for science and other required subjects.
The mammoth number of 1.5 million may scare you, but the truth is, standing out in the 1.5 million is not only possible but also interesting. The first thing you need to understand is that your competition is not with the 1.5 million. It’s rather with the 17% who are found employable, the rest is just a crowd. And here is how you can avoid becoming part of the crowd.
1. Become and engineer ‘by choice’ and not ‘by chance’.
Unlike the olden days, there are varied and numerous career options requiring different set of skills. Choose engineering only if you are interested in studying it.
2. Study at a college, not a degree-production factory.
With a positive and confident mind, select a college which will help in learning. Don’t study at a place which is nothing but a manufacturing plant for degree-holders. Don’t jump at advertisements promising 100% placements.
3. Don’t worry about placements or job yet.
Now is the time to concentrate on your learning, not jobs and placements. Study to learn and prepare yourself as much as you can. The more you learn, the higher are possibilities of getting job.
4. Don’t become a robot, learn soft skills.
Do not become a robot which has information uploaded in its memory. Learn social and soft skills. Pay serious attention towards learning verbal and written communication. This will give you massive advantage in future. Soft skills have become an important factor based on which employers identify good engineers. Communication has become as important a skill as the subject knowledge of the engineering stream. All this is possible if one gets expert counseling and advice.
Career guidance is very important before you select any stream. Career guidance should be taken from professional experts or those who are experienced in the field of education. Your career is a very serious thing and to make it dependent on mere whims of a high-paying job or unrealistic dreams of other people is not a good idea. The selection of engineering after careful planning is what separates the crowd of 1.5 million from the real engineers.
About Kelly Brooke
My name is Kelly Brooke and I am 26. I finished my master’s degree in Mass Communication this academic year, post which I accepted a job at Univariety. I studied at St. Francis College for Women.