Engineering: Is it Worth It?

Posted on June 5, 2012 in Education and Careers

By Abhishyant Kidangoor:

The day of a typical 11th standard student in India starts off with coaching classes for entrance examinations. This grueling goes on for two years, causing havoc not only in the life of the students but their parents too. All this to get into a top-notch college for Engineering! Not even for a second does the student stop to think if this is what he/she wants. Is being an Engineer the only way of attaining success and happiness? Would any of the other fields suit me? All these questions arise once you are already in an Engineering college, halfway through the course.  This is the situation with a lot of students who are stuck in engineering colleges, regretting the decision that they had made in haste.

Is engineering really worth it? The basic trend is to take up an MBA after completing Engineering. Most students tend to deviate from technical education on completion of their Engineering degree. Then, why this attraction to Engineering? Why is it that most of the 10th grade students opt for the Science stream and that majority of them take up Engineering? So, to all those who are set to enter the mysterious world of Engineering, here is what I have to say- It is no cakewalk, if you are not genuinely interested in it.

Things go pretty smoothly till the end of the first year. Second year sets in and bang! There you go. Engineering Thermodynamics and Turbo Machines make no sense to you. Greek and Latin would have been a better choice! CGPA is a word that haunts you till the end of your course. Nine pointers and college professors are your enemies. Forty is a score that you are desperate to get. Lack of sleep on the night before the exam becomes a habit. Leaving the exam hall in half an hour is nothing to be ashamed of. Even the guy who in 12th standard got a whopping 98% finds it difficult to clear a particular subject. Failing is a concept that you have to get used to. Sleeping till noon, watching movies and TV soaps, not to mention proxies, are a way of life. And finally, all you wish for in the whole world is for your course to get over. If you look at the bright side of it, you get stronger and accept failure as a part of your life. The adage “Failure is the stepping stone to success” is what keeps you going in life. And also, being in the same boat, you get closer to your friends. This is engineering!

It is only after the end of second year that one realizes that he is a complete misfit here and that its time to look out for another career options. And that is where MBA comes into play. So in the end, half of India’s youth has an Engineering degree with a post graduation in MBA. Is it all seriously worth it, when one actually has potential in some other field? The sad fact is that we, as students, are forced to make a major life decision at the age of 15. It is the age when maturity just sets in and is not the right time for one to decide what to do with his/her life. Sad fact yet true! However it is heartening to see students deviating into other fields these days and taking up courses of their interest and choice. Such should be the mentality!

For many students, Engineering is way of doing the same things as their friends would do. And for many it is less than enjoyable and far from what was expected. So isn’t it time to bring about a complete change the way Indian educational system works. Engineering and Medicine are the fields which are projected as being a safe bet for the future. Engineering sure guarantees decent placement with good salary. But is that what life is all about? Here is a thought!

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Nikhil Borker

I don’t understand why people blame taking up engineering as the sole reason for their miseries.Engineering is just an application of concepts of science you had learnt at the +2 level.It means that either you were a fool to take up science in 11th std when you didn’t like it or you are too lazy or too much involved in other activities that you weren’t able to concentrate on your studies.India really needs good engineers and spreading such a message will not do any good.However,it definitely doesn’t mean that everyone should go in for engineering or medicine.At the school level one should decide only on the basis of what subjects S/he likes to study.Later on in life there is always scope for change. 

sonakshi madan

Students should opt that field that they are actually interested in.Its not about engineering or medicine specifically.If they are really interested in engineering they should go for it with putting their 100% dedication.

Rajiv Mohan

Taking up engineering in India is mostly about using it as a stepping stone to get an MBA degree to increase one’s valuation in the job market. There are very few who actually take up engg for their love of science, and who would want to stick to it as a career option. Its almost di rigeur for final engg students to take up the CAT or equivalent exam , or take it up after 2 years of work ex.

The market is not as mature, as say in Europe, where students can opt for vocational training by the time they are 16 – in carpentry, electrical repair etc. since these professions are not ‘looked down’ upon, and more importantly they are fairly well paying professions abroad.

So i guess, if the market dynamics in India tomorrow changed where the MBA degree reduces in value (not in a long time!), and pure engineering (as in car design, industrial design, OR ) becomes a viable career option (as in bringing as much moolah as with an MBA degree!) , this would mean the market willing to pay a premium for engg creativity. Now , this can come about only if original thinking is encouraged at the school level, learning by rote is discouraged… We are still a long way off from this utopia!

Till then, lage raho Abhishyant Bhai!

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