Engineering jobs are no more about improving shopfloor production but also about product design, innovation, cost reduction and improved organisational and employee productivity. Career growth opportunities for professionally qualified engineers have multiplied considerably. With myriad new age career options now available to the nations youth, engineering, whose popularity as the first choice of most bright young plus two students had faded, is re-emerging as a favoured choice after undergoing radical transformation. With the onward march of technology, engineering jobs are no more about improving shopfloor production but also about product design, innovation, cost reduction and improved organisational and employee productivity. In short, career growth and development opportunities for professionally qualified engineers have multiplied considerably.
Of the over 30 different branches of engineering, the mechanical stream has remained the front-runner. Certainly, its the biggest branch of engineering requiring professionally certified skills of design, product manufacturing, installing, maintaining and operating machinery to produce maunfactures. Mechanical engineers find ready employment in the aerospace, agriculture, automotive, bioengineering, materials, manufacturing industries and numerous other areas of technology. Essentially engineers are technology problem-solvers with love of mathematics and science and possess the knack of resolving complex mechanical or logistical problems.
Entry into most four-year BE/B.Tech study programmes is either through an all-India level entrance exam such as IIT-JEE, AIEEE (All India Engineering Entrance Exam) or competitive state level CETs (common entrance tests). A Plus Two school-leaving certificate in science with physics, chemistry and maths is mandatory to write these entrance exams.
The aggregate number of engineering colleges offering undergraduate and postgrad education across India is estimated at 3,500. Among them the most prominent are the 15 Indian Institutes of Technology sited in Kanpur, Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Bangalore, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Bhuba-neswar, Gandhinagar, Patna, Rupnagar; the National Institutes of Technology (Nagpur, Trichy, Warangal, Suratkal, Kurukshetra, Rourkela, Jamshedpur); BITS Pilani; University of Roorkee; VJTI, Mumbai and the Delhi College of Engineering.
Another option available to students interested in engineering disciplines is to enrol for shorter-duration diploma programmes. Three-year diploma cour-ses in engineering are offered after class X in Industrial Training Institutes/polytechnics (private and government sponsored) supervised by the State Boards of Technical Education.
With infrastructure investment booming in India and rapid growth of the manufacturing sector which is experiencing a paradigm shift with innovation, cost reduction and productivity leaps having taken centre stage in Indian industry, theres great demand for professionally qualified mechanical engineers. As a result, most technology and manufacturing companies are offering excellent salaries and career paths on a par with the IT industry, says Sharad Jambukar (31), a brilliant mechanical engineer whos a manager (IT) in the industrial major Larsen & Toubro Ltd (revenue: Rs.43,854 crore in the year ended March, 2010).
An alumnus of Mumbais highly respected Veermata Jijabai Technical Institute (VJTI), affiliated with Mumbai University, Jambukars is an inspiring story of a vernacular school student from a poor illiterate family liberated and empowered by education. Equipped with a first class BE degree, he was handpicked by Tata Power, where he worked on the design and development of various electromechanical equipment (2001-2004). During this period he also acquired a Masters in finance from the A.D. Mody Institute of Financial Management, Mumbai.
Subsequently, in 2004 Jambukar re-started his career as an assistant systems engineer in Tata Consultancy Services (2004-06) before he was head-hunted by Tata AIG, the general insur-ance transnational as a business analyst (2006-08). In 2008 he moved to ICCI Bank as manager of the technology manage-ment group (2008-10) prior to hopping aboard Larsen & Tourbo as manager of the IT department in May 2010.
A degree in mechanical engineering opens doors to a wide variety of employment opportunities in manuf-acturing and technology firms and beyond. In all vocations and profess-ions, engineering graduates bring technical skills, aptitude for research and development and problem-solving abilities, even in finance and HR. Thats why they are in great demand and well remunerated, says Jambukar.
Also committed to the causes of entrepreneurship, energy and education, Jambukar is an active member of Navnirmiti, an NGO involved in improving the quality of education in government schools, which also conducts community development programmes in municipal schools in association with several corporates. Were conducting maths learning programmes in municipal schools to inculcate love of maths in children from poor households so they too have a chance to become engineers and contribute to the national development effort, says Jambukar.
Indra Gidwani (Mumbai)