Engineeringand Engineers

Essay add: 29-09-2015, 20:25   /   Views: 135

“Engineers Make the World” -Proclaims a sticker at the rear of an automobile – Well that’s true almost. Most of the conveniences that we take for granted today are the gifts from the application of various branches of Engineering. A Bachelors degree in Engineering is considered to be one of the most flexible career options for a science student after 12th STD. Flexible – did we say – Yes!! . Flexible because it offers a great fall back option even if one were to decide to change stream after the formal study. Flexible because it forms a perfect launch pad from which one could cap the degree study with master’s qualifications in technology, management, entrepreneurship etc….
There are more than 30 different majors or branches of study possible at the graduate level in India. At a very broad level, these can be classified as Conventional, Specialized and New Generation Branches. The Branches like Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Electrical Engineering etc are known as conventional branches. These branches have been in existence for a long time and were the pillars of many inventions and facilities that the modern world enjoys. Automobile Engineering, Energy Engineering, Polymer Engineering are examples of Specialized branches. A close look these branches will give the clue –these have emerged from more traditional branches because of the specific needs of the industry. Automobile Engineering has grown out of Mechanical Engineering. Polymer Engineering has grown out of a special need of the textiles and allied industries. Energy Engineering has developed into a focus area because of the industry’s increasing concern over how we use up the limited resource we have. New Generation Branches courses that were established relatively recently – in the last fifteen years or so. Examples would be Biomedical Engineering, Biotechnology, and Robotics etc.
So what are the fundamental differences between these three broad categories? How does one decide which course of study to pursue? Well – here’s one practical explanation. A mechanical Engineer, when recruited by Maruti Udyog Ltd, is told very clearly what is to be done. And why not? Maruti has been making cars for the last twenty five years and a lot of systems and procedures are in place. To top it these are time-tested techniques from a much disciplined work-culture from Japan. As against it, a Biotechnology Engineer, when recruited by Biocon – the torchbearer of that industry in India would be given less specific guidelines to work. Why? Because where exactly is the industry proceeding? Forward. Sure but are there clear roadmaps and very established paths to follow, Not exactly. Simply put, the careers associated with the new generation branches would be more research-oriented. Research to find new applications, Research to find out newer possibilities of the existing processes etc. So the thumb rule is – go for these only if you are research-oriented. But how do you know whether you are research oriented? Unfortunately there is no machine that can read your palm or brain and place you to the left or right of the research longitude. But here’s a more practical guideline.
Assume that it is the last period prior to lunch at your school. The class teacher comes in and announces that all the classes after lunch have been cancelled and all the students are expected to move into the chemistry laboratory for extended sessions of chemistry practical. How do you respond to this situation? Do you put your palm on your forehead and say “Oh my God” or Do you punch your fists in the air and exclaim “Great! I am going to have a wonderful afternoon”? If you belong to the first category, then you should really think twice before signing up for any of these courses. Lets face it – it is not to everybody’s liking that you watch patiently in front of glass tubes of varying sizes and shapes, without bating an eyelid, as you watch liquids falling drop by drop into another liquid, take the reading precisely at the time the liquid changes color, take the reading to the teacher only to be told that you need to redo the experiment. But if you really are at home with the situations in a laboratory, well these new generation branches could be right choice for you. The central issue is the twin combination of passion and patience.
In the subsequent pages that detail the different branches of Engineering, we will take a preliminary look at what these branches have to offer. Also we will take a detailed tour of the some of the premier institutes of study – the IIT’S and the NIITs.
Kartikay kaul


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