How relevant is engineering stream today ?

A few days back I saw this Hindu article Most engg graduates are not readily employable and wanted to think what is relevance of engineering and MBA today. Let me first state that I am not an engineer not MBA graduate.

Why this blog? I saw people who have spend their parents’s money on education and did not get a job in campus. Not getting a job, they join some firms that lures them with a promise of a job and they need to pay money upfront. their parents once again sell their land and get pay the money. Some of these firms cheat them and they feel miserable, not knowing what to do and how will they communicate to their parents of their miserable state?

Why am I not an engineer? In my final year at school, there were only 38 engineering colleges(govt and private) in Tamil Nadu( highest in state in 1993).What was criteria of a good college those times? (no internet those days). The criteria was Colleges termed by senior students as good quality to study and where companies offered them jobs( placement is a later term) and better if they are closer to home. With my admission chances very low in colleges terms good to study engineering, I decided to skip engineering.

Let me come back to today. In Tamil Nadu, there are 525 engineering colleges in the State, including nine government colleges and three aided colleges. I see that the criteria to select college remains the same, offering quality education and have placements and closer to home. I would urge parents and students to ask themselves these questions, before deciding to join engineering. Even if you have already in engineering, ask yourself these questions and get prepared .

  • Does the college have placements? That would bring the college to group where the industry consider college students readily employable. That is good start. Do students study engineering for 4 years and then learn that you are not employable by industry?
  • Does the college offers quality education? That still is not easy thing to find today. the answer comes more from what you want to gain from the college and contribute back.
  • The cost of education has increased. I spend close to 40,000 to study and was able to earn the money in 4 months. What is the cost of education today and how much time is needed to earn the money spend?
  • I know that regular courses in IIT and IIM gives access to alumni network and provide people a better networking support. Does your college have great alumni that you to bank upon? Benefit of alumni comes from those who are in active hiring or decision making positions and not just working as manager in companies.
  • Student studying in non-IT stream find IT jobs as means to get want high salaries. if the student get admission to non-engineering colleges with placements,should they still study engineering?
  • There are good available online for free. Can students get a laptop or computer and use online resources to study from home? I am sure that internet cost cannot exceed engineering college fees, add the free laptops and PC given by state governments.
  • I hear from friends that their families face difficulty to marry younger male siblings who are in non-IT streams as there are more engineering studied girls and they want to marry only engineers. Seem to be a good reason to study engineering?

I would encourage to look at these alternate thoughts

  • I know that a good number of science and commerce stream students who climbe corporate walls with the help of IT wave. This is the same wave utilized by non-IT engineering stream students. Look for the needs of the wave you want to climb and equip yourself. It need not be always engineering.
  • Software jobs requires good programming skills and communication skills. If you have money spend on communication skills. I see freshers still not able to communicate in English.
  • You have organizations like FSMK, Bangalore which offers free courses in computer science discipline and want to ask people to utilize that
  • There are companies like PurpleLeap working to make college student employable and helping engineering students to get quality education, missed in college.

Let me end with a positive experience. A female cousin of mine spend 4 years on engineering and works as engineer as IT industry. Another cousin younger to the It cousin attended 3 years commerce stream and also completed her ICWA and was placed before the end of the college course and works as manager in finance stream. Please calculate the return on investment for the money spend on education in above cases.