Career in Engineer

Thoudam Opendro Singh
EGF School Batch: 1993
B.E. (Computer Science)
Principal Member Technical Staff,
Oracle India Pvt. Ltd.
Email: opendro@gmail.com

You might all agree that science and technology have changed our lives. Science builds the basic principles and engineering employs those basic principles to build technologies such as designing and building structures, machines, devices, systems, etc. that help in improving our lives. Making of better roads, building better structures, designing effective tools, improving radio and wired communications, etc. are all engineering. Engineering combined with other fields such as biological, medical, chemical, art and creativity, etc. bring about a more productive and reliable field altogether. Think of the machines in hospitals – X-ray, ultra sound, electricity, CT scan. Think of the machines in pharmaceuticals, think of the ways how music, picture and videos are synthesized in various instruments and stored in tapes, digital discs or records, how they are transmitted through TV signals, they are all engineering. There is hardly any area where science and engineering have not impacted.

Branches

Some of the most popular engineering fields are discussed below. It exploits both engineering and chemical principles in order to carry out large scale chemical processes.

  • Civil Engineering

It undertakes the design and construction of public and private works, such as infrastructure (Airports, roads, railways, water supply and treatment etc.), bridges, dams, and buildings.

  • Electrical engineering

It is a very broad area that may encompass the design and study of various electrical and electronic systems, such as electrical circuits, generators, motors, electromagnetic/electromechanical devices, electronic devices, electronic circuits, optical fibres, optoelectronic devices, computer systems, telecommunications and electronics. Today, electronics, communication and computer systems have become so important part of our lives that each of them has become an important course on its own. We cannot imagine any area without electronics, communications and system software.

  • Mechanical engineering

It includes the design of physical or mechanical systems, such as power and energy systems, aerospace/aircraft products, weapon systems, transportation products engines, compressors, power trains, kinematic chains, vacuum technology, and vibration isolation equipment. More modern specialized branches are aerospace, architectural, biomedical, industrial, materials science and nuclear engineering.

Engineers

An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical and practical problems. They are innovators, who continuously look for new ways. However it is not necessary that everyone who has studied engineering becomes an engineer. They can become engineering technicians. Engineering technicians are those who are trained in the skills and techniques related to a specific branch of engineering, with relatively practical understanding of the general engineering concepts. Engineering technicians solve technical problems. They build or set up equipment. They do experiments. They collect data and calculate results. They might also help to make a model of new equipment. Some technicians work in quality control. They check products, do tests, and collect data. In manufacturing, they help to design and develop products. They also find ways to produce things efficiently.

Levels of engineering courses

  • Diploma in Engineering

Most common diploma is the undergraduate diploma, which is a three years course. Students must have passed 10th exam or equivalent to join a diploma course. Diploma colleges are called polytechnic. They may or may not be affiliated to AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education). Polytechnics are typically set up by the government to impart basic industrial skills.

  • B.E. or B. Tech.

Bachelor of Engineering/Technologies is a four years course (five years for some courses). Minimum qualification to join B.E. or B. Tech is a 10+2 equivalent in science, i.e. Maths, Physics, and Chemistry. Some courses, like Biotechnology, need Biology too. B.E. is the most important engineering course from the industries‟ point of view. Most engineering colleges offer B.E. as the primary course. In India, all the colleges offering B.E. or B. Tech should be affiliated to AICTE.

There are various entrance exams (over 150) in this country for entry into various colleges. Most notable ones are IIT-JEE (Indian Institute of Technology – Joint Entrance Exam) and AIEEE (All India Engineering Entrance Exam), which are pan India exams. IIT-JEE is for admission to IITs, which are premier government institutes. It is one of the toughest exams involving essay type questions on problem solving. AIEEE on the other hand is primarily for admission to National Institute of Technology (formerly known as Regional Engineering College), which are also central government owned institutes. Most exams consist of multiple choice type questions. AICTE has some quota in every engineering college in the country and these seats get filled based on the merit list in AIEEE.

States have many other government and private engineering colleges with its own technical department governing their functioning. They employ different selection procedures. Some states even use the 10+2 marks rather than an exclusive entrance exam. Those states, which use AIEEE as the only entrance exam, will have their own state merit list based on the scores in AIEEE. States put certain criteria for students to be eligible for state merit list. State domicile is the most common criteria. Most engineering colleges have a few seats reserved for merit list of other states. Students can use all India rank or state rank, whichever suits them, to choose a seat they want.

There are current talks in the central HR ministry to have one single exam all over India for admissions to all colleges including IITs. Merit list will be based on this test and probably 10+2 marks. To consider 10+2 marks, various Boards marks would have to be normalized.

One single test (CET) for all medical admissions will start from next year (academic year 2012-2013). This will remove the burden of writing multiple exams for admissions to various colleges. This will also remove the possibility of one student blocking multiple seats in different colleges.

Manipur used to conduct its own entrance test for its state merit list. It now uses AIEEE as the only entrance test. One would have heard of corrupt practices in any selection procedure in Manipur but I had always believed that engineering entrance exams had been free from all corrupt practices in Manipur. This could be due to the lack of demands for engineering historically. Students in Manipur also lack in a structured method to crack the engineering entrance exams. We don’t have competent coaching centres and guides. Some students rely only on text books while some buy distant coaching materials and other renowned books.

  • M.E. or M. Tech.

Master in Engineering is a post graduate course. GATE (General Aptitude Test for Engineering) is the entrance exam for admissions to M. Tech. in Indian colleges, like Graduate Record Exam (GRE) in the US.

Engineering in Manipur

I see Manipuris being good in Mathematics and Sciences, especially in early stages of education. However, we fail to maintain the passion to pursue as a career. Manipur hardly has any industry and thus there is hardly any scope of employment for engineers. Even today, a government job is the only means people look at for a living. This made engineering the most unattractive career for Manipuris till late 80s. But all these changed in 90s as Indian economic liberalization happened. Multinational companies started operating in India. Manipuris were willing to work outside the state capitalizing on the boom. However, Manipur still remains as one of the least industrialized place in the world. Being a geographically disconnected place, the only suitable engineering fields would be electronics and information related as they don’t need heavy physical transportation. Even for that, there has to be proper infrastructure of electricity and communication. Additionally, the atmosphere must be conducive to attract outside investors as native Manipuris are not yet ready for bigger entrepreneurial roles. There is a sizeable chunk of Manipuri engineers in various branches working in various parts of the country and the world. With the right initiatives from administrators as well as Manipuri entrepreneurs, we could make an attractive place for industries to tap the potential in the state and its people. We will hope for the best in future.

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