AN ODE TO SUC­CESS

The best en­gi­neer­ing cour­ses that one may pur­sue and what are the key ob­jec­tives for one to keep in mind while mak­ing that choice

India Today - - GUEST COLUMN - AB­HI­JEET MI­TRA, REASERCH FEL­LOW, IIT- DELHI

As an­other ex­cit­ing aca­demic year filled with hard work, anx­i­ety, pres­sure and de­ter­mi­na­tion comes to an end, it is now time to reap the ben­e­fits that as­pir­ing engineers have put into their cause. Although, many would con­sider clear­ing com­pet­i­tive ex­ams with fly­ing colours to be the sole aim, there is some­thing more cru­cial that needs more thought. It is said that in or­der to nur­ture one­self, one does not only have to grow a fruit but savour its nu­tri­ents and should also have the ca­pa­bil­ity to di­gest it. In an anal­o­gous way, the en­gi­neer­ing en­trance ex­ams ac­knowl­edge the suit­abil­ity of a can­di­date for a par­tic­u­lar stream, how­ever it lies upon the good sense of the can­di­date to make the decision of tak­ing it up or not. This choice of stream is ex­tremely crit­i­cal as this clas­si­fies and pans out to a large ex­tent, the role of the as­pi­rant in his/ her ca­reer.

It is a hard decision to make, par­tic­u­larly when you get into the best en­gi­neer­ing col­lege and do not get a stream of your choice. Fur­ther, there are mul­ti­ple as­pects that need to be scru­ti­nised and eval­u­ated to come down to a suit­able con­clu­sion. In or­der to cut through the clut­ter, we need to seek an­swers to some cru­cial ques­tions like “What is my long term goal?”, “How will this course pro­pel me to­wards it?”, “Job prospects of the course?” and “Do I have the ba­sic skill, in­ter­est and pas­sion re­quired to fol­low this stream?” An­swers to these ques­tions would al­low the can­di­dates to make a ju­di­cious choice.

Some of the pop­u­lar en­gi­neer­ing cour­ses are com­puter sci­ence, elec­tron­ics and com­mu­ni­ca­tion en­gi­neer­ing, civil or en­vi­ron­ment en­gi­neer­ing, chem­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing and biotech­nol­ogy.

Com­puter sci­ence is one of the most sought af­ter course in In­dia. As mod­ern In­dia wit­nesses a large in­flux of for­eign in­vest­ment in this sec­tor, the stream of­fers tremen­dous prospects for fresh grad­u­ates. The ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties are in­cred­i­ble for such young engineers with an­a­lyt­i­cal abil­ity and ca­pa­bil­ity. As­pir­ing can­di­dates should have a strong base in ba­sic pro­gram­ming lan­guages like java, math­e­mat­ics and ba­sic semi­con­duc­tor physics. Can­di­dates who are pas­sion­ate about data­base man­age­ment and ap­pli­ca­tion de­vel­op­ment should seek this as their top pri­or­ity.

Elec­tron­ics and com­mu­ni­ca­tion en­gi­neer­ing is an­other pop­u­lar choice. Stu­dents with a strong base in cal­cu­lus, prob­a­bil­ity the­ory and physics ( op­tics, elec­tro­mag­net­ics and semi­con­duc­tor) can per­form well in this area. Like com­puter sci­ence engineers, can­di­dates who are good at in­de­pen­dent think­ing and have a strong an­a­lyt­i­cal abil­ity could per­form well in this field. This course opens the gate­way to a wide ar­ray of in­dus­tries like mo­bile de­vel­op­ment

“Some of the pop­u­lar en­gi­neer­ing cour­ses are com­puter sci­ence, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, elec­tron­ics, chem­i­cal and biotech­nol­ogy”

in­dus­try, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion in­dus­try, hard­ware ap­pli­ances and em­bed­ded sys­tems. The elec­tron­ics in­dus­try is al­ready worth bil­lions and of­fers lu­cra­tive op­por­tu­ni­ties for grad­u­ates.

Stu­dents who have a keen in­ter­est in struc­tural en­gi­neer­ing may choose civil or en­vi­ron­men­tal en­gi­neer­ing. A can­di­date should have as­tute skills in math­e­mat­ics ( ge­om­e­try) and physics ( me­chan­ics), chem­istry and ma­te­rial sci­ences. En­gi­neer­ing as­pi­rants good at ge­o­graphic tech­nol­ogy can also do well in this

field. The field has wide scope with op­por­tu­nites such as con­struc­tion, main­te­nance and in­fras­truc­tural fa­cil­i­ties. A civil en­gi­neer may play the role of a con­struc­tion en­gi­neer, hy­draulic en­gi­neer or even a coastal en­gi­neer. With the green way of liv­ing gain­ing mo­men­tum around the world, the role of civil engineers plays a cru­cial role in plan­ning fa­cil­i­ties in an en­vi­ron­ment friendly man­ner.

Chem­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing is for those stu­dents who have an in­ter­est in de­vel­op­ing bio­fu­els, mod­el­ling new ores or even some in­cli­na­tion to­wards de­vices. Stu­dents should have a strong base in or­ganic/ in­or­ganic chem­istry. Apart from this, ba­sics of math­e­mat­ics and physics would be help­ful. Chem­i­cal engineers are chiefly in­volved in the re­new­able en­ergy sec­tor, nu­clear power sec­tor, and in­dus­trial met­al­lurgy sec­tor. En­sur­ing safety and con­trol for all the man­u­fac­tur­ing plants is an­other im­por­tant re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Biotech­nol­ogy is a com­par­a­tively new en­gi­neer­ing stream and is like a sis­ter course to Chem­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing, but is more spe­cific in its realm. As one has to work with mass trans­fer and fluid me­chan­ics in this area, chem­istry, bi­ol­ogy and physics are fun­da­men­tal to this stream. Biotech in­ven­tions are widely dis­sem­i­nated in agri­cul­ture and al­lied sec­tors, health and san­i­ta­tion, en­vi­ron­ment and bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion, dairy and fish­eries, in­te­grated farm­ing and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try. This field would of­fer a lot to stu­dents who wish to em­bark on a ca­reer based on re­search in this field. In the process, as stu­dents will work on sim­u­la­tions and an­a­lyt­i­cal tools and as a con­se­quence de­velop skills in com­puter pro­gram­ming, they can flex­i­bly switch to the soft­ware field as well. This proves ben­e­fi­cial as many of the civil, chem­i­cal and biotech firms out­source their soft­ware de­vel­op­ment work to the var­i­ous IT com­pa­nies.

No mat­ter how in­fi­nite the choices may be, the mantra to suc­cess is to think wisely, be ju­di­cious and make the right start. Suc­cumb­ing to peer or so­ci­ety pres­sure may only land you into an abyss of re­gret and dis­ap­point­ment for mak­ing the wrong choice.

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