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Are core engineering subjects still in demand? Experts tell us

Core engineering streams form the foundation of the discipline; so one can't really ignore them

Sreyashi Mazumdar @Sreyashi27 4 June 2018, 2:59 PM
It's your skills and aptitude which determine the stream of engineering you are suitable for

It's your skills and aptitude which determine the stream of engineering you are suitable for Image: Thinkstock

Engineers often wear their degrees as a badge of honour, especially when they have specialised in traditional streams such as Mechanical, Electrical, Civil, Chemical etc. But with the influx of streams such as Information Technology (IT), Telecommunication, Food Technology, Computer Science Engineering (CSE), students now have more choices. Not everyone can manage to qualify for the core subjects, and in such cases, the newer streams come to the rescue.

So, the question is, do the traditional streams continue to hold the charm they once used to? T2 Online spoke to people with an engineering background, and here's what they have to say about the status quo.

Skills and aptitude matter

"First, know your capabilities, see whether you will be able to cope with the subjects or not. Find out whether you have the required skill set and the requisite aptitude for the subjects concerned. Having said that, the core streams continue to be important because a student gets to learn the basics of engineering only after studying the core subjects. So, even if you have taken up telecommunication or IT, you will have to study the core subjects at least for a year. And talking about job opportunities, both the traditional and the contemporary streams have a lot of job opportunities to offer today. It's a misnomer that core streams do not have lucrative jobs to offer," says Jaya G Nair, a Computer Science engineer and former employee with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The core streams continue to be important because a student gets to learn the basics of engineering only after studying the core subjects. So, even if you have taken up telecommunication or IT, you will have to study the core subjects at least for a year. Jaya G Nair

Non-core groups are more glamorous

"Of course, IT, software, computer-based jobs are more glamorous. Earlier, there was a lot of demand for streams like Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Metallurgy, Mining etc. Though students enter those streams thinking they are getting into a core domain, eventually, they get into courses like App Development, Hacking, Coding, Computer Software Development etc. And the companies that hire students specialising in the core streams, mostly get jobs that involve data analytics or software development. To cut it short, IT sectors offer more glamorous and lucrative job opportunities," says Anirudh Murthy, head of subject matter expert communities at Mentoria, a BE Construction Engineering graduate, Jadavpur University.

Core streams do not offer lucrative job opportunities

"The core streams such as Electrical or the royal Mechanical as they say still hold importance but placements are not good and opportunities are less. IT is no doubt the current rage. Industries that used to hire lots of core engineers have drastically decreased their intake, the main reason being everything is machine-oriented these days. Hence it's naturally profitable for the companies to minimise their workforce. Moreover, due to the current education system, most of the core engineers are unskilled with low practical knowledge," says Pankaj Singh, a Chemical Engineering graduate from NIT Durgapur, ex-teacher at Akash Institute, Kolkata. 

In my opinion, core engineering subjects are the evergreen ones and the heart of engineering... even though the packages they offer are less at the beginning of one's career. Saaniya Syed

Core groups form the foundation of a society

"It would be wrong to say that core engineering streams have lost their charm. They haven't. They will continue to hold the same importance as they used to decades ago. Be it looking into the dynamics of a basic drainage system in your home or the most intriguing smart/green building in your city, civil engineers cannot be done away with. Talking about mechanical and chemical engineers, your basic necessities would have remained unfulfilled had they not existed. So, even though a person calls the core groups redundant, society can't overlook their importance. The basic foundation of a society is based on the concepts provided by these subjects," feels Tulika Mazumdar, an ex-IT professional at Accenture, who has studied Telecommunication from MS Ramaiah, Bangalore. 

Core engineering subjects are easy to deal with 

"In my opinion, core engineering subjects are the evergreen ones and the heart of engineering. The shifts which these subjects go through are minimal as compared to contemporary subjects such as IT, CSE etc. What happens in the case of Computer Science and Telecommunication Engineering is that after a period of time there is a major technological upgrade and it becomes difficult to keep yourself constantly updated. So, in my opinion, the core subjects continue to rule even though the packages they offer are less at the beginning of one's career," says Saaniya Syed, an MTech student at NIT, Warangal. 

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