Results of the 12th Boards are out. Students (in Science Stream) usually have two choices, Engineering or Medical sciences. We know for a fact, that medical sciences are tougher. As a result, students usually opt for Engineering. But do you know what engineering really is?
So What is Engineering?
We are all made to believe that engineering is the final destination of any student studying science. But no one seems to know what exactly it is. Inclusion of newer engineering branches has made the definition of it more fluid than ever before.
The ability to create instruments, equipments or applications on the basis of the scientific concepts, existing theoretical knowledge, your own creativity, mathematical methods and empirical evidences is Engineering’s meaning at its very core. It is basically to convert science that exists on a sheet of paper, to a real life working model. This then is used in designing of structures or systems of engines or machines. The word Engineer, translates to the one who operates on engines.
However, if I say this to my fellow engineers, most of them would burst out in fits of laughter. This is because of method of engineering education in our country. The education is such that students can rarely relate what kind of theoretical concept applies to the system in front of them. Even if someone knows the concept, they sure have a difficult time to explain how the theory implements in the system and what makes it work. Some small practical questions always go unanswered.
So a more basic definition needs making. An engineer is simply a person that bridges the gap between technology and a common human being. He/She does this by means of his/her own creations. As a result, engineering now defines to be simply the study of making people’s lives easier by technology. And this definition has survived since the ancient ages. Engineering exists since the time of the invention of simple machines like pulleys, lever and wheels. These inventions were simple exploitation of mechanical concepts, that still revolutionized the lives of people in the ancient era.
How has Engineering Changed the World?
And How can You do the Same (Startups)
We all know that all of the modern technology was only possible because of engineers. I mean, just take a look at the very device you are reading this with. Be it laptop, PC or your mobile phone or any other form of media for that matter, you know that device is only possible because a group of engineers designed it. Every man-made thing around you, owes either directly or indirectly to engineering.
No one would have believed many millennia ago that you can harness the power of motion of water and wind, but inventing mills made us believe that. A couple of centuries ago, horses used to dominate the means of transportation. With the invention of internal combustion engine, today all we see are motor cars on the road. The second world war led to the creation of the digital computer. All these inventions are from very different times, but they have stayed with us ever since. Most of them have improved.
The fact that an engineer can contribute to the world is universally true. An engineer can not only make a new device/system, but also improve upon already existing systems. The latter takes more effort than one would think. An invention is perfect to many people’s eyes as it solves a lot of problems. Picking out a disadvantage in an already established system requires immense skill. This skill is in most of the engineers.
Reason Of Startups:
The above mentioned skills is the reason why most startups now are from engineers. I myself, have a couple of fellow engineer friends who have started their own organization or working towards it. The thing is, out of all educational courses, no matter how bad the course itself is, engineering remains the only course where a focus on design is the key. As a result even an average performing engineer can come up with a wondrous startup scheme/idea and can even turn it into a successful business.
Why Parents have an Obsession of Engineering?
As the very first few lines of the article says, after 12th boards, almost all students have two paths. Engineering or Medical. But why is it so? The annual amount of engineers that come out every year after graduating from their respective colleges is more than the population of many countries. All of this is because our parents believe that engineering is the only option for science students. Obviously, for those who do not choose the tougher (medical) path.
However, if you compare the two generations, times were very significantly different. The pace at which the technology is growing, is faster than ever before. The generation of our parents is the 1st one to witness this 1st hand. They have literally understood how fast the world is moving forward and know that all of this was possible because of engineers.
As a result, every parent now desires his/her child to be an engineer. They desire to see their child as one of the revolutionary inventor of the future, have his/her name decorated in the hall of fame. If they are not too ambitious, they also understand the fact that the engineer can adapt to perform any job given to him/her. No other course imparts such versatility in a person.
Only by becoming an engineer the child will stand on his/her own feet the quickest. Our parents’ brains have this hardwired. It is however, absolutely wrong to force your child to do engineering.
Choosing to do Engineering Or Not?
Now comes the time for the real question, whether or not to choose engineering as your career option. Knowing and understanding all that there is, do you really need to get in the engineering course? As an engineer I can only tell you what the course is like.
Engineering is one of the toughest courses in the country. Many universities manage the course poorly. You will have a really hard time, if you do not get good guidance. The fact does not change that even without guidance you can possibly do it.
Here are a few tips to decide:
PS: If you are a parent reading this, please take these things into consideration. And no matter what happens, please do not force you child to pursue engineering.
Do not Listen to any Tom, Dick and Harry:
Many people become part-time career counselors when it is the time for you to decide your career path. Elderly people, relatives and sometimes even distant acquaintances start giving you advice. Even if they are engineers, chances are that the course of their time, and yours are very different. Seek proper guidance. Talk to people whom you know and have better knowledge about the course. Google for the stats, but just do not let random people influence you.
Do not go Upon your Entrance Exam Score:
The way engineering study is approached and done is way different from how you study for the entrance of engineering. Please do not be in an illusion that a good entrance exam score also means you will just get by in engineering. That is not how it works. The Entrance exam score has no meaning once you get admission.
Know the Course you want:
Many students aspiring to become engineering do not know the actual reason why do they opt for the particular engineering stream that they choose. This choice can be because of personal bias or passion, scope of stream, College choice, etc. The main thing is you should know what you are getting into. Get a thorough view of what the syllabus would be, decide and judge upon it.
Talk to someone who has recently done it:
This is perhaps the best way to decide upon choosing engineering. It is better to talk to someone who has recently completed the course as he/she can explain all the things you need to know. It is even better if you talk to a person who belongs to the course you want to opt for.
Know the Requirements of an Engineer:
An engineering aspiring for a job should be:
- Critical Thinker
- Creative Problem Solver
- Should posses good knowledge of Skills taught
- Must know the process of applying skills
- Be able to rectify issues
- Should work SMART (not necessarily hard)
- Must Be able to make systems with minimum cost.
Do you have the Stomach for it:
I’ll say this right away. Engineering is not a cakewalk. It is one of the most tedious, intense and stressful course you can opt for. There is a constant toil. The number of exams every semester is huge. The workload, even more so. Do not go for the belief of common internet memes that all engineers are wanderers and loafers. If you do not get proper guidance from your college staff, you will need to learn it by yourselves. University exams are no joke. Engineering demands consistency, sincerity and efficiency to excel.
Is it your passion? Does technology fascinate you:
If you have watched the 3 idiots movie (who hasn’t), you will know exactly what I’m going to say. You will need to love your course if you want to remain unstressed. If machines, technology and how they work puzzle you, you have the curiosity to know about more stuff and are hungry for knowledge, then my dear friend, Engineering is for you.
In My Personal Experience:
I have recently graduated. It has been just a year (at the time of writing), and am currently pursuing post-graduate engineering course. I have studied Electronics Engineering. In my personal opinion, I really, really enjoyed the course. There were reasons why my experience was so good.
My father was one of the best engineers in the country at the time of his graduation. He was a role model for me, and guided me to become an ideal engineer myself. I got into a very good college, whose faculty was extremely wonderful, they always helped me over my difficulties. All the resources were at my disposal, every book that I desired to refer. I had a fantastic group of friends, who always made sure everyone got by, we helped each other a lot. Such things boosted me a lot. To be honest I was really lucky.
But most importantly it was because of two main reasons. I had the stomach for it and the technologies in the world fascinated me. I wanted to learn more and more, wanted to explore the wonderful world of electronic systems. And the way my education has been, I’m far beyond happy to understand how everything works.
However, my 12th and engineering entrance scores were so poor, that my father thought that engineering is not my cup of tea. I went against his wish to be an engineer. But the day I got the admission letter in my hand, he told me that, if I do the course the way it is supposed to be done, then I will grow as a human being. The very ability to think and imagine will grow. My decisions will be more logical and the way I will tackle problems will be very efficient and different. Be it a problem of any type.
And yes, 4 years later, all that he said, became true.