Has engineering as a career lost credibility?
There is a lot going on about the topic of “Engineering” in India. We can attribute this to the increase in the number of engineering colleges and a decline in the quality of the education that is provided.
How did this happen? Up until a few years ago engineering was a revered course with a promising future. When the Information Technology sector grew, they needed manpower. So they started hiring in bulk from reputed engineering colleges, offering a relatively high salary package and a good lifestyle to freshers.
This caught the attention of other aspiring and budding engineers. Soon people realised that to have a better lifestyle they must work in the IT sector. In order to be recruited by the IT sector they thought engineering was the best chance. So in no time everyone in India wanted to be an engineer.
New colleges, more seats
This was only the beginning. Soon the students outnumbered the number of college seats available and this only created more frenzy. In order to accommodate the demand, a large number of engineering colleges were started. In 2013, Tamil Nadu alone had an intake of 2.05 lakh, a major jump from the previous year’s intake of 1.82 lakh.
All these students after four years graduate as engineers. But the problem was that the ratio of employees required to the students present was low. So, many of them found themselves without a job.
Also, the quality of education deteriorated. A computer science engineering student is unable to write a program, which is the basic requirement. The colleges produce engineers who are unemployable. Statistics say around 80% of the new engineers are unemployable.
This started to affect the country’s economy. Soon students realised there were fewer engineering jobs, and in the very next year, 2014, there was a drop in the intake by about 10%. Many Tier-3 colleges were shut. In the following year engineering colleges were hit hard: in Tamil Nadu alone around one lakh seats lay vacant.
This showed people had lost hope in engineering and gone for better options. But the existing students faced a problem finding jobs. Apparently, the IT sector limited the number of fresher-student recruitments, due to lack of quality in education, knowledge and skill.
This has forced many engineers to take up jobs irrelevant to engineering. Many of them have even opted for taxi-driving jobs. There are still many who are out there without a job. Also, the intake in engineering colleges has shown a decline following the mass unemployment. This year it is expected to fall even more due to limited number of employment in the IT sector. All these factors have made engineering lose its credibility. It has become a brand more than a course.
The question remains whether there will be a turnaround in the fortunes of this discipline anytime soon.