Tips to select the right branch of engineering – Times of India

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“If you want to feed a person for a day give him a fish, if you wish to feed him for a lifetime, teach him how to fish.” Dr. Ajit Varwandkar is a social entrepreneur by p … MORE
The two most prominent questions bewildering parents & engineering aspirant children these days are:
                         1. Which college?
                         2. Which branch?
Welcome to the admission season; in addition to summers, winter & rains, we in India have to acclimatize with this additional season. In this climate one get’s to savour enticing advertisements from various colleges imparting professional education. Since long, engineering has been the most preferred & “rest assured” choice for a professional career. It has been time and again proved that engineers are highly versatile when it comes to identifying employment. We have seen engineers getting into multifarious career ventures like creating a milk revolution, telecom revolution or may be becoming a politician, an author, a cricketer or even a magician.
Getting an engineering degree was once like a dream achieved, today it is no more a lucrative profession to pursue. The story beyond engineering college is not very encouraging these days because jobs do not come automatically to the fresh pass out engineers. A very important question to be answered is the reason why are these many unemployable engineers churned out year on year?
Opportunities definitely follow those students who select the right academic slot. Choices are the hinges of destiny, said Pythagorus. Especially when one is on cross roads of career and the decision taken today decides the course of future life.  A parent visited me last week and wanted career counseling for their child. Father is a reputed builder and desperately wanted his son to join his business. “Sir please guide my son to become a Civil Engineer”. It was a close ended request. Father had not given any alternates to his son. On the first place I had doubts if the young lad even had an aptitude for engineering, leave aside civil engineering.  The kid confessed, he wanted to get into computer science engineering but his pop was pushing the professional need down his throat. In spite of all my counseling efforts, I am afraid; the boy might have to digest the course of civil engineering education.  
Mechanical, Mechatronics, EEE, Electrical, Computer Science, IT or something else?; there are hundred plus varieties of engineering branches and sub branches available in the prospectus to select from. Deciding upon the right engineering branch is too tricky for both students and their parents. “It is just like medicines; every composition has some value and is helpful to cure some or the other illness but this happens only when the doctor reads the symptoms rightly and prescribe the right medicine. Likewise all engineering branches lead to success – what is required is to have the right match.”  The need is to choose the branch as per the interest, aptitude and ability of the student. Selecting a branch of engineering also depends on the students career planning. It is must that students should be able to evaluate their inherent personality traits and match it against those which may be the mandatory determinants for success in any particular branch of engineering.
Here are a few tips to wisely select the right branch of engineering :
1. The big dilemma: Branch or College?
My take: both are important, branch as well as the college and you have to be really fortunate to be the one to get both. Nevertheless in a situation where one has to make a choice, I suggest the students to first weigh the options available with them and research the credentials of the institute thoroughly. Study the college websites and ensure the basics of accreditation etc to be in place. You have all the rights to ask for these details. Review the past performance of the institute in terms of placements, teaching faculty and infrastructure. Even if the institute which comes your way might not be as rated as the top notch institutions, I would still suggest giving more numbers to the branch of your choice. Faculties keep moving from one college to another and down the list institutes keep moving up in order if the management’s vision is right.
2. Stick to your interest
Many children get compelled either by parents or by peers to select some particular branch of engineering. All such students should take into cognizance the fact that future scope would be worthwhile only when you have the desired aptitude to work in the particular field. The fact remains that every branch brings about decent set of opportunities. However if you end up selecting a branch only on the basis of presumed job prospects, irrespective of your interest,  it might not lead you anywhere.
3. Look beyond four years
Engineering degree is not the end of journey for most of the students. A lot many students prepare for post graduation either in engineering or administration or management. It would be wise to plan for future and weigh the options of higher education, coaching etc available in the city where the institute is located. Students should try to understand the life after graduation thoroughly. Every branch of engineering terminates into a specific job role. Before selecting a branch of engineering students should try and meet as many engineering professionals as possible and understand their lifestyle and career prospects. This will give them better clarity about the profession and enable them to take the right decision.
All branches of engineering have the potential to deliver a great future to the student. More than selection of the institute it is the selection of the right branch which is critical. Before finalizing on any institute a student should necessarily be satisfied with the institution’s accreditation status. Understand & analyse your aptitude, interest & skills and apply these details to select the right branch of engineering. Where ever required, do not hesitate to take professional help to select the right branch and the right institute.
Happy Engineering to you.
Connect with me on Twitter : Ajit Varwandkar
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Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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