Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d be familiar with how the allure of engineering and the promise of a first-rate career which translates to a better life, drives more and more students every year to opt for a career in engineering. With the number of engineers graduating every year at an all-time high, the questions that form in everyone’s minds are, “Why engineering?” which brings us to the next one that is, “Are all engineers employable?”. The insecurities of middle-class parents coupled with dreams for a better future is more often than not the reason why several thousands of candidates throng the doors of these educational institutions. One common misconception that has been prevalent is that pursuing a master’s in any odd field after completing engineering will fetch you a lucrative pay package. Adding to the aforementioned certitude, more and more educational institutions are being commercialised, luring mediocre candidates into their fold, trying to maximise the influx of students to further their own remunerative schemes. Such decisions made only in return for inducements have crippled engineering education in India. In this article I will try to clear up the air on some facts pertaining to engineering in India and the myths that surround it.
To pursue engineering as a course has become synonymous with being hailed as an intellectual, with cognitive capacity and ability for retaining information apparently superior to those who don’t take it up. For example, when a person says that they are working on a project; people usually conclude that said person knows everything about the project. In reality, no engineer can know the entire details about the project. It takes people from various disciplines such as civil, mechanical, electrical, electronics, information technology, and others to bring one plan to fruition. The arrogance that some acquire because of false assumptions leads them into thinking that graduating with a B.E/B.Tech degree automatically gives them the right to proclaim themselves as intellectually superior to those around them.
A CAT 2022 aspirant must hold a bachelor’s degree with at least 50% marks or equivalent CGPA (45% in case of the candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC) / Scheduled Tribe (ST) or Persons with Disability (PWD) category) from any recognized University of India. If the aspirant is in the final year of Bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification and have completed degree requirement and are awaiting results, he/she can also apply.
For some programmes offered by IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore and some other premier management institutes, the eligibility criteria is different. Complete information on CAT 2022 eligibility criteria is available here.
The preconceived notions that people have, leads them into developing conjectures, about how obtaining these degrees alone, is sufficient to claim yourself as an engineer. While a B.E/B.Tech graduate does possess the pertinent knowledge, it isn’t until they work for a few years to understand, and build engineering products that they can formally add the “Er.” tag to their name.
Post-graduation should be seen as a means to better equip yourself for the job you want or as the next step in the ladder to gain deeper knowledge about any particular specialization. It shouldn’t be treated as a tool for fatter pockets. Contrary to popular belief, it is your experience and practical knowledge that counts when the time comes, as opposed to how many degrees you have.
This is one myth that needs debunking more than any other on the list. An M.B.A degree followed by an engineering degree is a combination that people hanker after. It is an utterly baseless claim that these two pursuits go hand in hand with each other. A higher pay package is what urges engineers to take up management in business studies, and administration after engineering.
The most widespread myth, and the primary reason why engineering is a coveted profession in India, is the unsubstantiated claim that the moneys start rolling in once you can call yourself an engineer. This leads parents and their wards to follow an inexpedient policy while selecting the branch of study, which often constitutes of the most sought after branch, the branch promising the best average salary according to current market trends, and peer pressure. This practice culminates in a dismal, heart-rending experience when the realization dawns that the candidate’s aptitude doesn’t match well with the chosen branch of study. Practices such as these are the main reason behind unskilled workforce, and dissatisfaction in existing jobs, since people are left with no other options.
So there you have it. The most popular and prevalent myths about engineering education in India debunked. The motive of this article wasn’t to unnerve or intimidate anyone who wants to take up engineering. I don’t have a personal vendetta against anyone who takes it up as a career choice. However, being an engineer myself I’ve had firsthand experience of the causality. The objective was to give all readers an insider’s point of view, from one who like many others found himself questioning when and where things went wrong. Don’t let it happen to you.
Avik Mallick is a content writer and curator, who has an affinity for reading. In a former life, he was a trainee at a manufacturing industry. A writer by day and a reader by night, he is a lover of literary works of any kind. When not within the confines of a four-wall enclosure, head buried in a book, he likes to devote all of his energies to playing football, cooking, listening, and criticising music.