A ticket to achieve something better

Engineering Dilemma

For some reason, the whole attitude towards engineering is rather a strange one. While students bend over backwards to snag seats in what they believe are the best institutions, this rarely translates into an actual passion for the subject.

Dedicated: There are still some students who prefer to take core-engineering jobs. (Picture for illustration purpose only)

In fact, most students treat engineering degrees as tickets to better-paying professions — management or finance, for instance. Very few of them actually use the skills they learnt in their four years at college at a core engineering job.

Largely, this has to do with the discrepancy in pay packages — while core engineering jobs aren’t exactly low-paying, working as an investment banker and the like does earn rather staggering salaries.

Because of this, most students either apply directly to such companies after getting their degree or enrol themselves in an MBA programme. Metrolife speaks to a few people from the select group which chooses not to, to find out what kind of scope they expect from retaining the ‘engineer’ tag.

Aditya, a software engineer, believes that the financial angle is the main contributor to this trend.

“I studied computer science at Dayananda Sagar Institutions and since I like programming, I decided to stick with it. But many of my friends have gone into other fields. Partly, this is because there are two streams to any technology-related job — you can either be in the one that creates technology which generates money, or in the sort of stream which doesn’t; for instance, if someone worked in the IT department of a bank, they aren’t creating profit for the company — the company has to put money into their section instead,” he explains, adding, “such engineers work one level below the money-making stream, which makes their salaries lower. And the people who get closer to the money-making stream are generally those with a management background.”

Gautam, from HKBK College of Engineering, has already decided on what he wants to pursue, and is determined to use his four years worth of engineering tuition in the real world.

“I’m studying electrical and electronic engineering in college and am looking to get placed in a core company — such as a power corporation. Most of these jobs involve designing equipment like towers and transformers,” explains Gautam.

However, he’s quick to add that a fair share of his peers are opting out of the industry. Apart from the compensation angle, he points out that some of them actually don’t have a choice.

“There are several core companies that come to our college for recruitment. But for  the students who don’t get a job during the placement season, the only option is to look for something externally — and often, that means a job in a different industry,” he says.

He’s also reassured that sticking to a core job has a lot of scope. “The pay package is around Rs three or four lakh per annum. Besides, we study for four years to get an engineering degree — it makes sense to use what we know to improve in this field,” he reasons.

Surprisingly, Kundan — a student of REVA Institute of Technology — says that several of his classmates actually share this opinion. “Of course, a lot of it depends on the placement process. But I’d say around 60 per cent of us plan to stick with engineering,” he states. However, he isn’t sure whether this is a permanent decision, since several freshers also opt for an MBA after a few years.

“When we are placed out of college, we generally join as trainee engineers. But the higher posts are those of regional managers and the like — it doesn’t mean that one won’t need their engineering skills to handle these positions, but having a management degree does give an edge. That’s why so many people go for it,” he explains.

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