India is academics-oriented, and one of the most popular courses continues to be engineering. It is common to sight full-page ads in different magazines and news articles where every coaching agency claims the toppers of engineering exams as their own. Often Indian students dream of pursuing B.Tech engineering right from their childhood and start preparing as early as from Class VI. Subjects like Physics, Mathematics, and Chemistry then become the point of relentless focus to advance them towards a brilliant career in engineering. It reflects just how obsessed India is with the profession of engineering and the issue begs to be detailed why.

Increase In Job Opportunities For Engineers, Post-liberalisation

The circumstances changed radically after economic liberalization and when private companies presented unprecedented opportunities in various fields. Banking, media, telecom, and IT gave unparalleled opportunities to engineers.

The jobs required a thorough understanding of the B.Tech syllabus or training in engineering. When they hire engineers, they usually test the candidate for skills in logical reasoning, aptitude, and articulation. And in the other jobs, liberalization made way for the graduates from different fields like social sciences, liberal arts, commerce and so on.

Most Indian Graduates Lack The Skills To Take On Real-life Engineering Jobs

However, the generation that saw the boom in job opportunities for engineers, especially as businesses and the economy shifted to digitalization. The demand gave rise to several engineering colleges, but, the sad reality was that most of them were not able to keep pace with the fast-pace advancements of the digital world. Add to that the skill gap troubling Indian engineers – only 25% of the total number of students graduating each year are employable (as per a McKinsey study). It is because most engineering colleges fail to provide the students with the necessary skill and training required for the present market situation.

The reason for such developments is the unplanned manner in which colleges and universities set up the classes. Only a few B.Tech engineering colleges make an effort to create labs in partnership with brands and leading innovation companies.

Indian Engineers Do Not Upgrade Their Skills

India faces another crisis as its engineers are quickly driven to obsolescence because of their inability to keep up with the rapid changes in automation technology. They have failed to integrate experiential learning in resonance with the technological advancements made in the field. It is a challenging prospect for most Indian engineers in the absence of advanced training from the existing institutes.

Getting The Right Degree Matters

As a professional degree, engineering is based on empirical ability and analytical skills and is therefore perceived to have higher economic returns than arts and humanities. It is the perception Indians are acting on. However, according to economist Michael Spence, in a situation where every other person becomes an engineer, the signaling function of B.Tech degree as a sign of productivity falls. Employers have a reliable way of distinguishing between technically proficient professionals and the ones with just the degree.

The Final Word On The Future Of Engineering

The solution exists in an evident appreciation of the deep-rooted problem. The main problem is in the absence of a deep experiential learning component without which any professional program is incomplete. Therefore, the solution lies in the inclusion of this otherwise excluded aspect.

A doctor learning under the mentorship of an experienced senior is called Residency. Similarly, there is Apprenticeship in Law and Articleship in Chartered Accountancy. For engineers to get back the high-end jobs and respect in the market, the development of high-end institutes offering the best infrastructure and learning opportunities is a must.

© The Eastern Herald

About author:

Working in one of India’s news network(ETV Bharat) as a content marketing manager. A contributor to The Eastern Herald.