Why are we not “Engineering” the Engineers?

If you ask in any one of the Indian Households “ What do you want your child to become”. Blatantly the answer will be “Of course, an Engineer or a Doctor”. As these two professions hold the uppermost strata in the mind of every Indian Parent, they refuse to acknowledge the fact that, a lot of other professions may not be considered to be as sophisticated as these two but could also provide a solid income basis for their children.

Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

Now that's a topic that was and will be a podium for open debate!

But it's not what we are gonna look deep into today,

The Indian Subcontinent is booming with unemployed engineers roaming its streets looking for a job that would help them thrive and earn for supporting their families.

No, we are not going to discuss unemployment either! Please keep reading it will come

The growing number of engineers and unshaken minds of most Indian parents had unanimously led to the decline of engineering standards of our country to the bare cutoff. But these are not the only reasons, the main reason is we concentrate on ‘Educating an Engineer’, teach them all the basics about a particular stream not looking upon its usefulness and the inclination of the ideas upon the student, just keep on dumping upon them all sorts of theories and concepts, without giving them the practical onsight value of these.

Now that's just education, but in a field like Engineering, knowing the concepts is never enough. Application of those concepts and their future accessibility are the major values that society demands from an Engineer. For that, just as Engineers build machines with utmost accuracy, buildings: bridges with perfect precision, electrical systems with stable outputs, software with lesser number of bugs and errors, why can't we engineer students with the qualities they have and with skills that they can utilize for the betterment of society?

Being an Engineer myself, choosing this domain without any compulsion, by my own self-interest, I too was fed up with educating myself to become an engineer and not having any skills or achievements to call myself an engineer. The course curriculum of a majority of universities in India followed a similar pattern, sampling the IITs and remixing it with their own contents and syllabus making it seem authentic and curated to impart excellent engineering education, do note its again educating!

I engineered myself to bring my qualities to the bare minimum that an Engineer must have so that I do not become a laughing stock. These were the hardships that I had to endure along with my course curriculum, because, if I were to follow only my field scheduled syllabus and rammed with higher grades in my examinations and expect the world to call me a successful engineer, I would have been mocked by every company that I sought placement to. These extra hardships are endured by everyone seeking this professional degree just because our system prepares us for a fight that we never have to fight!

After enduring everything do we get to call ourselves engineers, NOOO!, we are just degree holders, which are held by millions of others. This compelled me to write on this topic and suggest my opinions on how we can with slight modifications can make every student who graduates confident enough to shout out, “yes, I have learned my trade”, irrespective of the branch or domain specification.

It's high time that we provided quality engineering to our budding aspirants, not just focusing on getting an admit to a premium engineering institution, but on becoming a premium engineering graduate the world looks upon.

So how can we ‘Engineer’ our Engineers?

  1. Stop providing just ‘Education’:- Rather than just imparting concepts, let the students be aware of applications of these concepts by detailing them with industrial simulations and experiences. Don't let the students run behind obtaining credits but make them become creditable students
  2. Apart from the core subjects, Let them choose the rest:- I know its sounds rather a vague idea, but in my personal experience, I have found some of the topics that are forced upon us during the course of our education to be not useful person by person or may not be understood equally by all. Confused? For Example, a student in the Electrical engineering domain is interested in subjects such as Power Systems, High Voltage Engineering, etc, but the course curricula provide unrelated topics such as signal processing, control engineering, etc, which they do not have the slightest interest, but still have to learn in order to achieve credits. Let them choose their topics of interest during the bachelor itself and set them on a path towards their self-chosen domain rather than imparting them with bits and pieces of every other topic in the field!
  3. Teach them about Engineering before enrolling in engineering:- No, it is not about providing them with entrance coaching to be able to enroll in premium institutes. It means counseling the students in their schooling years itself about the various fields, aspects, opportunities, needs in the field of engineering and let them be aware from the very beginning about what they are getting into.
  4. Raise the standards, not the difficulty:- The harder the course, the more effective it will be! NO, it doesn’t work like that. Being an engineer is being able to solve complex situations not difficult ones, there's a difference! Make the course curriculum achieve international standards, not by increasing or reducing the difficulties of the module topics, but making sure that these module topics when sought in the future become easier for the students to achieve the global standards.
  5. Engineering in India is not only IITs:- It's a topic of open debate as mentioned way up during the beginning of this writing. Highlighted and emphasized by various Entrance tutoring centers, engineering is not about studying in the NITs or IITs. It's about engineering your interests with almost sincerity and hard work. Researching, factual reading, networking all makes you a better engineer even if you are not from any premium institutes.
  6. Don't stress, Don't suppress:- Stop stressing upon the grade points of your classmates, comparing your project ideas with theirs, not knowing a particular skill. Engineering is all about learning what you didn’t know on a daily basis, stressing is already a part of this field so need to add few extra pounds on your behalf. Also, never suppress in expressing your dislike for the field. if you think that you do not belong here, speak up, because it is not a trade which you can spend years and one day start liking, it’s a trade which makes it harder for those too who sought them by themselves. Convince those who compel you, a minor call out would always help you avoid major setbacks

So if we inculcate a habit of engineering our aspirants by knowing their capabilities and societies need, we would surely have the largest amount of industrial ready engineers coming upfront to tackle the major issues that still lies ahead of ourselves.

“Let's engineer the perfect engineers”

An engineering graduate looking for various ways to show off his writing skills and on a serious note:- audience who could provide with a positive feedback