Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Engineering Admission Guide

Ever since I graduated, every year I receive queries regarding engineering admissions. This blog is a sincere effort to highlight some of the key points to be considered during admissions. The suggestions are based on my personal experiences and observations.

Institute name matters, Always

No matter what course you actually get engaged with, it’s the name of your alma mater that matters. It is this institute which will be a part of your resume for the rest of your life. It’s not that very good institutes have altogether different syllabus or teaching methodologies. But there are other things which make them special:

  • There will be few professors who are exceptionally good in their field of work. Their guidance can do wonders.
  • Being a top institute, it will attract the best talent with whom you’ll be interact on regular basis. You’ll get a lot of learning from your batch mates, seniors and juniors.
  • You’ll be able exposed to better companies for your internships and campus interviews.
Do not be too hesitant to hostel-life and leave a better institute only to be able to be with your family. Normally better institutes also cost less than some of the newly started self-finance colleges, only their entrance criteria are tough to achieve. So if you can afford, always aim for the best.

Information Technology(IT) vs. Computer Science(CSE)

I have seen how preference for IT and CSE has fluctuated over the last 15-16 years. Initially IT was on top, then gradually started declining. Then CSE came ahead! So what exactly is the difference?

Based on my knowledge and exposure during lecturer days, this is how it goes. Computer science was introduced under Electronics Engineering department in early 1990s. At that time, its demand was less. Over the time, its syllabus was also changed. After the rise of Infosys and other companies, demand started increasing dramatically. It was not possible to meet the demand with 60 student batch of Computer science. It would be hard to get AICTE permission to increase number of seats quickly. Therefore a new course was introduced around 1995-1996, which was Information Technology, to enroll more students. Now to make it slightly different from CSE, some courses were added and some were dropped. Over the time, IT and CSE got separated from Electronics department in most institutes.

Now from hiring perspective, company hardly pay any attention about IT or CSE (or even MCA). It is the skills that you acquired matters. There are a lot of mechanical, production, electrical, electronics, civil engineers who have made successful careers in IT.

So the bottom line is, if you want to pursue your career in software field and are getting the best institute that you preferred, don’t worry too much about IT or CSE. Both are equally good. (As mentioned below, I have done my grads in IT and post-grads in CSE!)

Electronics vs. IT/CSE

Since last 6-7 years, Electronics Engineering (EC) tops the list during Engineering admissions. Parents and students prefer it over IT/CSE. There are certain things which went against IT/CSE in these years:

  •  Recession and lay-offs
  •  Lack of development of new IT hubs in India
  • Emergence of non-engineering courses like MCA, Bsc IT, PGDCA etc
  • Media
Though EC is a great field of work and research, all the reasons mentioned above also apply to it esp. in India (apart from media). I have seen many EC engineers ultimately opting for software jobs. So go for EC, if you really want to pursue your career in that direction. It has a very good future and scope. But go for IT/CSE, if you are finally going to join software bandwagon.

It’s a fast-paced world

Have a look at following links:

These are some of the dream jobs in engineering fields. Most of these jobs have evolved over the time or didn’t exist few years back. Four years of engineering is a long time and by the time you’ll come out, job market will be entirely different. Keep this market volatility in mind when you select a particular course, and keep yourself updated. Remember There are more than 800 engineering colleges in India and every year thousands of students enroll. So it’s not enough to get admission only. Real challenge begins after that.

If you have just cleared your 12th, get information about various courses and institutes. Learn about different entrance exams some institutes might be having. Do some research and then decide, rather than blindly following your friends or leaving everything to your parents. With all the information in mind, sit back and think how would you like yourself to be seen after say 10 or 15 years.

And if you are a parent, assist your child in gathering information about various institutes and their courses. Provide your inputs to your child, and leave the selection decision to your child only. After all, it’ll be he/she who will be doing actual studies.

Let me provide you some background about myself in this regard.

I have done my graduation in IT(Information Technology) from G.H. Patel College of Engineering, Gujarat which was a part of Sardar Patel University(SPU) during 1999-2003. Then I have worked as a lecturer for 2 years in the same university, albeit different college. I did get chance to involve in the admission process during my lecturer days and did came to know about various rule/regulations of AICTE. After that I did post-graduation in CSE (Computer Science & Engineering) from IIT Roorkee during 2005-2007. Since then I have been working with different software companies in Pune for last 10+ years.

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