Is Engineering Education a waste of time?

Why do many people in India say that engineering is just a waste of time?
Putting in simple words, it’s all about Demand Vs Supply.

In the early 2000s, the software industry had a bloom and the technological innovations was rapidly on the rise. The technology industry required so many engineers, and interestingly, they were offered with a lot of salary just because they were very less in numbers.

The demand was so high and the supply was less. In that scenario, a lot more people wanted to pursue Engineering as careers, to find a job and get an enahnced lifestyle.

But, slowly things changed.

In the year 2020 we are right now in – there are more than 4200+ colleges in India. Source: Engineering education in India – Wikipedia

The number of Engineers that we produce are far more than the demand. The equation has become like, the supply is so high but the demand is low. That’s the reason for so much of unemployment among Engineers and lack of lucrative jobs.

But, in case if you’re purusing Engineering as a passion, not just because you want to get a job and settle in life, not just you need a good employment but to genuinely, learn, know and solve problems – I’d recommend go ahead and do it, without giving a second thought. Because, in my humble opinion we need more of passionate Engineers who can solve the problems, not only in the technology industry, but across domains, especially in a growing country like India!

These two surprise skills can make you a great engineer!

First of everything – let’s try to uncover the most required competencies of every Engineer.

#1 Technical skills – While you know a little about many of the technologies, it’s important to develop one key specialized technical skill relevant to a particular domain. Every engineer gets to learn this at their college or in the early days of their professional work in a startup/tech organization.

#2 Managerial skills – Given that Engineering has mostly become a ‘knowledge job’ right now, with a lot of work for the brain and comparatively less the physical work – it is important to develop skills around people management, time management, team work, etc.

#3 Giving what the clients/customers need – Engineers at the end of the are required to solve the problems for some human beings – whether it is your customer abroad in an IT company, local shop vendor who offered you work in a freelancing, students in an institution, etc. Hence, understanding requirements, processing it, providing a solution and effectively communicating it are key for every Engineer tp be successful.

#4 Research skills – The ability to understand the innovations that happened so far, and do research work towards moving one step further of whatever accomplished so far. This involves a blend of both the technical skills and the managerial skills.

While the list can go on, I’m limiting it here for brevity.

Now, let’s think of one scenario for each of the skills listed on top and what’s required to tackle the situation.

#1 Technical skills -> Create a product or service – Let us assume that you have produced a new product or service with the help of your technical skills. The first thing required would be, is to develop a technical documentation – that could be easily understood by the customers/clients – in simple words, writing!

#2 Managerial skills -> Manage a team – Now, let’s say you are managing a team in a tech organization, one of the key things on your job description would be to train and engage with the freshly joined members – you have to groom them by offering suggestions and insights, in other words, teaching!

#3 Giving what the clients/customers need -> Sending them a proposal – If you are in the client facing side of work, you will for sure have to interact with your clients and send communication around the list of the things required by them as a proposal, the fundamental step in every project. The proposals are always in writing, and there you go!

#4 Research skills -> Produce technical papers – I don’t think this needs an explanation, because for sure the engineers will be writing the technical papers!

Conclusion – Writing and teaching are two important skills required for every professional including an engineer, and its key to develop an interest for them during our student life or in the early stage of our career!

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