things to know before choosing engineering

We follow fads like there is nothing else and Engineering is one such “Fad”!

Parents cut down on TV, sports and send their children to multiple tuition centres and push the limits to make their child ace the 10th & 12th board exams. If you by any chance flunk in an exam, the society along with the child’s parents deem them ‘Academically Unfit’, not eligible for entrances and ultimately pay a huge amount in ‘Capital’ to put the child into a reputed institution.

Every year, round about 1.5 million students graduate as engineers in India. Over the years, there has been a rapid increase in the number of government and private colleges offering tonnes of courses. Engineering has become one of the most preferred careers amongst Indian families largely due to the money and respect involved. However, does this hold true today? Or do children follow the herd and pick up this career path? There is absolutely nothing wrong in choosing to engineer as a career, but the picture is not completely rosy.

Here are a few things that you should know before choosing to engineer out of all the other courses:

Your reason for becoming an engineer

If you are pursuing this field because you find it a lucrative career option, with easy money and a balanced lifestyle, you should reconsider your decision. To be remotely successful irrespective of the field, you must work hard. Engineering is no exception. Similarly, don’t choose this field only because your immediate family or relatives want you to. Go through the coursework and the elective subjects. Talk to engineers who have been working in the field for a few years now and find out what a day at work looks like for them. If these things appeal to you, your reasons are about right. If not, you may regret your choice.

 

Hard work is not limited to admission in a good college

Getting admission in a good college is not the end of the road, but only the beginning. You will have to work hard through about 8 semesters and pay attention in each and every lecture. If you don’t understand what is taught in class, you have plenty of other resources outside like refer to books, use the internet, and talk to the seniors. This is quite necessary if you want to be a good employable engineer, and not just get a degree.

The true story about jobs and placements

Not all engineers receive appealing packages soon after they graduate. It is limited only to the top IITians. In fact, even IITs don’t record 100% placements. The average salary of an electronics engineer comes to around 3.3 LPA, inclusive of all incentives. Before you apply to various engineering colleges, research about their placement policies and companies which have been visiting their campus regularly.

Engineering is not a stepping stone to a management degree

Over the last decade, the number of engineering graduates who are looking at Management as an obvious next step has been increasing rapidly. An MBA right after an engineering degree is not useful, let alone it being ideal. Which is why you shouldn’t look at engineering as a stepping stone to MBA. Work as an engineer for a few years, and then understand if your field even requires you to do an MBA. If you eventually want to do an MBA, a management course at the bachelor level is more relevant.

Mess food

Colleges promise food (Non-Veg & Veg left to the choice of the student) for breakfast and lunch, but the students who eat it know the true pain. Cockroaches, house flies and who knows what else is in there!

Boy & Girl, no talking

It’s a trend that has now become a college’s USP. Parents like the thought that their children wouldn’t stray away and will be sure to graduate with flying colours. Also, how do you expect a student to be adaptive around the opposite gender in an absolute work environment?

Campus interviews

This is what they all mostly get attracted to. They think the college will get them working for a company no matter what. But, what if the student has arrears or has no English skills to communicate well?

Social Status

If you are from any part of Tamil Nadu & if you say that you want to take up a course in arts or anything of your choice, then you’ll definitely be disowned! (Only a few parents think otherwise & let their child take up what they like). Parents basically don’t want to be the laughing stock amongst other parents. They want to boast that their child is going to be an Engineer!

State of the art facilities & faculty

They put down art facilities on their brochures and on their websites, but nothing is actually there (This includes the faculty as well).  Labs are never up to standards. Especially the freaking bathrooms. Now coming to the faculty, half of them are the college’s old graduates or people who are nowhere on Earth worthy enough to be called a professor or lecturer. We are sure there are more points as to why Engineering standards have gone low & around 80% of the graduates are “UNEMPLOYABLE”. Why go after something that you clearly know you will suck at?  Why not go after the things you love & work hard to make a living out of it?

To the parents now, let your child choose his/her destiny. You can’t impose a career on them & once they cross a certain age, it’s their call. Instead, support them, learn about their field of interest & find ways to help them be successful in it.

There is a large gap between what is taught and what is required

Engineering colleges don’t keep up with rapidly changing technology and fall behind. It is important to study the curriculum to get your basics right, but there is still a gap between what you know and what is required of you. Which is why you should not assume that you will know everything there is to know at the end of four years. Be open to rigorous training periods at your first job, and remember that you will always have to keep learning.

These factors are important to give you a realistic view of the course, and not to dissuade you in any form. Don’t expect a very easy road during or after you get your degree. But, if you have the passion and skill set to pursue engineering, follow your dream with all your heart.

 

To read: When to Quit and When to Stick?

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