Have we reached the end of the engineering era?
On 15th September 2016, I was on my way back home travelling in a taxi. The driver took a quick glance on my drafter and enquired me about the syllabus and after few minutes of talking, I came to know that he too was an engineering graduate! He then spoke about the diminishing job opportunities in the field and the draining respect for engineers. At last, he asked me a question for which I didn’t have a proper answer- WHY ENGINEERING?
Engineering, which is an active synonym of applied science, used to be a wanted and noble profession. However, due to massive increase in engineering seats the days when engineering chose students have changed to days where students have earned the ability to choose engineering and some don’t choose them. The number of engineers India produce has increased from few thousands to lakhs (per year). Due to this, difficulty of getting into an engineering college has tremendously decreased. The job opportunities of engineers are diminishing due to the decrease in demand in IT sector and various other factors. However, does this mean that engineering era has come to an end? This question will be answered in this article.
So why does this occur?
This question lies in every engineer’s mind which must be answered. Well it is not the scenario which makes an engineering graduate incompetent. It is the education provided by some college which does so.
Goldberg, a former professor of entrepreneurial engineering, President and Founder of ThreeJoy Associates Inc., once said, “The future needs more capable engineers, but something happens to students on their way to becoming engineers”.
The main reason why engineering graduates are not up to the par is that Engineering education is upside-down and backward. Engineering education is a math-science death march in which mathematics and science are viewed as “the fundamentals” and design and technology are viewed as mere “applications”. Many colleges even pressurize their students by keeping them occupied even in their holidays, thereby not giving them space to do things they are passionate about. This results in shift of focus on the students’ results rather than their actual future.
The problem does not lie always with the college. The engineering dreams are fading because students tend to become engineers even without dreaming of becoming one. Though the number of engineering graduates has increased, the count of passionate engineers has considerably decreased.
Is this the end of the engineering era?
Well, the answer is always NO.
We must understand that, there is always a demand for engineers. In spite of closure of many engineering units, there are new openings in other sectors such as various space research organisations, National Defense Academy following the new amendment put forward by the government that all officers in NDA must be engineers (with regard to article on Times of India dt.14-07-17).
In developing nations like India, there is always a constant need for construction of new properties, exploration of new technologies and innovation. Engineers are the only breed of men who satisfy this need of our nation thereby keeping our flag flying high. The “Make in India” slogan can be a reality only with good and efficient engineers.
In spite of the decreasing respect for engineers in our country, engineers still have a very good global identity which no other profession has. A Person from a college in Coimbatore could very well be working in San Francisco on an H1B Visa. Engineers are required everywhere, such as working on fixing electric pump in a village to designing a propeller in ISRO.
“There is something for all of us……Be the best in whatever you are!”
These lines are taken from the poem ‘Be the Best’ written by Douglas Malloch. Every engineer must understand that he has an important part to play in this world in order to make it a better place to live in.
Millions of people saw the apple fall. But of all, only Newton asked why. Every student must ask himself ‘Why engineering?’ before choosing it. If I had done so, I would have had answered the driver.
SRIRAM RAVICHANDRAN (B.E Mechanical,2016-2020) is enthusiastic and has an inquisitive mind set. He is keen on understanding the world and keeps a constant update on engineering sector. He is an elocutionist and was a member of “THE BAIT” debate club.
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