Engineering has today become a spring-board for green pastures – from where the number of career alternatives available is limitless. Not only have new, unique alternatives come up in novel industries and streams, many new opportunities have also come up in existing sector.
One remembers his childhood days – when invariably his parents used to tell him “you are not doctor material, so it is engineering or nothing for you”. One remembers pondering his options once he successfully got into an engineering college – unfortunately back then there were far fewer alternatives on offer – one could choose between the mainstream options of civil, electrical and mechanical, or go in for more exotic, specialized choices like mines & metallurgy or instrumentation if one had the taste for it – thereby limiting future career options. One usually played safe and opted for the traditional options.
New Engineering Study Options
It was only later that options like Electronics & Communication, Computer Science, Information Technology etc became available, and became “hot picks” in a very short span of time with success stories like Hotmail of Sabeer Bhatia and countless more successfully spurring on the popular imagination.
Now suddenly the old, tried and tested options were suddenly no more as lucrative as before. Also, it was only later that the older options developed greater versatility – like mechanical engineering increasing the focus on Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacture (CAM), automation becoming all pervasive.
Also, nowadays, the higher level of international exposure has meant that students seriously look for future avenues where they would only have scoffed derisively before. So an airport designer, a landscape architect, a naval architect, a leather technologist, a green architect, an energy conservation specialist, a golf course designer, a nuclear engineer, a naval architect, a petroleum engineer, an air traffic control officer (ATCO), a mobile app developer, a website designer, an electronic design automation expert, a middleware specialist or a ceramic engineer and countless others are no longer idle flights of fancy, or stuff that science fiction is made out of – all these are viable possible career avenues for canny engineers today, thanks to the rapid advancements in science and technology. The fact that all these have become viable career alternatives is surely good news for engineers these days.
More Options in Existing Sectors
Today, many sectors – new and old (engineering services, infrastructure services, oil and gas, business information modeling, healthcare, analytics, mobility, life sciences, production / manufacturing, transport, automobile, business accounting, Banking and other Financial Services etc) – offer unlimited opportunities to aspiring IT professionals – mainly engineers, as these have all integrated information technology to an unimaginably large extent – so much so that IT illiterate people no longer have any role there – in fact they stick out like outdated dinosaurs who are completely out of place, or rather out of time.
However, to be quite honest, an increasingly large number of engineers across India are seeking a future in management, with an MBA effectively cutting off any links they might have had with their engineering background. This is indeed a massive waste of the huge amount of money the government spends in subsidizing engineering courses in government institutes across the country, hoping for at least some small percentage of the engineers to get involved in nation-building activities, i.e., contribute positively to society by means of the engineering skills they have acquired.
The candidates might offer the justification that this is just a short cut to career growth – in the long run, they would most probably have ended up in management anyways – but this justification does not hold merit – growth to management positions by dint of seniority / experience ensures that you pay back the amount the government has invested in subsidizing your engineering education many times over, and that you still continue to remain connected to your engineering roots – both of which do not happen if one goes in for management education after engineering.
On the other hand, an M Tech is unfortunately being seen less and less of a lucrative option with each passing day – even thought it makes much more sense than a mere MBA for an engineer, from the government’s perspective.
The new focus on technology driven courses like Computer Science or Information Technology is also increased manifold because the traditional fields of engineering, like Civil, Mechanical and Electrical have all now undergone a transformatory revamping – with increasing levels of automation and more and more reliance on computing.
The low investment entrepreneurial opportunities the internet provides – as illustrated by countless successful start-ups in this field (Flipkart, Jabong, Zomato, Naukri, Snap deal, Food panda – to name a few), is also added incentive to join this field for those interested in setting up their own, independent ventures.
Big data (probably the key to any organization’s data analytics effort, maybe the key in decision making on all matters within the organization), Hadoop (the future of the cloud) and Enterprise Mobile Application Development (to provide an organization a platform to reach customers via the all pervasive mobiles) are probably going to be three of the biggest new-age career opportunities for engineers in the near future.
All in all, it is widely felt safe to conclude that the whole face of engineering career avenues has undergone a sea change in the last couple of decades, and the transformation, which is towards more variety, and hence one can say towards betterment, will undoubtedly continue as long as we keep seeing evolutionary changes in the field of technology, specifically Information Technology (IT).