India happens to be a single country in the whole world that produces the highest number of Engineers each year.
The most important reason for this is that “Engineering” as a degree has proved itself to be providing jobs even during the times of recession.
The Future of Engineering in India
So where is this course heading towards in the coming years? Where is it currently? Has it reached a saturation level, or is there room for more? Let us find out.
If we look at the H1B visas, India alone is the recipient of more than 50% of H1Bs issued by the US. The most prominent bidders are the software companies hubbed in India.
This is because of the high number of Engineers that are required to work in the US. This is also true for the requirements in the other developed countries such as France, UK, Germany. More than 90% of the talent India sends abroad, are engineers.
While there has been a cap on the US and UK visas and countries are becoming more and more aware of generating local employment instead of bringing in employees from India, the outflow continues.
And it is likely to continue as it is challenging to find the required skillsets within their own country at the same cost.
If we look at the most significant employers within India, we will find that Indian Railways, India Post, Indian Army, and SBI top the list.
While these organizations require considerable number of engineers as well, we find that the other names in the top ten employers in India are all software giants who hire only engineers (at least 92% engineers). These companies are – TCS, Wipro, Infosys, IBM.
Software outsourcing is the highest revenue generator for India and the Indian companies are out to seek all software related work for onshore clients. They need an increasing talent pool to fulfill all their requirements.
With the advancement of technology, India is also getting involved in newer technologies such as semiconductors, robotics, artificial intelligence.
There are more research options in these technologies, and large multinationals are ready to invest in India to get the talent base from here. This creates a lot of jobs for engineers from different fields.
One must also not forget the more traditional organizations in the manufacturing, oil and gas, petrochemicals, energy industry that require engineers from mechanical, chemical, civil and electrical fields.
Such organizations are: SAIL, NTPC, GAIL, ONGC are some of the PSUs. There are many private companies in these fields as well. Some of the big players are Larsen and Toubro, Reliance, Tata-s, Essar.
Engineering colleges and regulations
If this is true, then why wouldn’t there be a demand for engineering as a career option among students? As on date, there are more than 4600+ engineering colleges in India and the number is going up every day.
With the growing number of colleges and increasing seats, the government educational boards and regulatory committees are also becoming stricter in their norms and regulations to ensure a fair process and corruption-free education.
The college fees, for example, need to be mentioned on the prospectus or the website of the college. Every college needs to be transparent about its admission process, affiliation, course and faculty.
Such steps are required and welcome to ensure quality and standard education systems in the country. And engineering is the most popular course among the students after higher secondary.
Parental pressure and engineering
Parents indeed play a significant role in India in the process of decision making for their children’s careers. Since the 1990s, most parents dream of their children studying nothing but engineering.
While in those days, it was indeed challenging to get a job in any other field other than engineering, it is not so now.
Someone who pursues a career in finance or Hotel Management or law is equally likely to land into a high paying job. Therefore parents have begun to see alternate career options for their children, given the change in scenario.
On the other hand, the number of students “wanting” to pursue an Engineering degree has significantly gone up. Students are aware of the fact that “engineering” is a graduation degree and a decent paying job is a possibility immediately after graduation.
While other courses require a post-graduation as well. There are many banks and financial institutions that are ready to loan money for education to pay engineering college fees.
Therefore financing the course is not an issue anymore, nor is paying back the loaned amount after getting a job. Given this situation, more and more students are drawn towards an engineering degree.
While mechanical, civil, electrical, chemical engineering have become more old school and have taken a back seat in the popularity chart, fields such as computer science, electronics and communication, aeronautical and biochemical engineering have come to the forefront.
These are the disciplines where most jobs are generated now as more and more businesses invest in these fields.
Companies like Biocon, GSK, Zydus, etc hire a significant number of Biotech engineers. The ISRO (Indian Space Research Org), ADE ( Aeronautical Development Establishment), NAL (National Aeronautics Laboratories), HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd) hire aeronautical engineers.
The more advanced specializations which are upcoming and have begun to percolate in the engineering curriculum are Artificial intelligence, Robotics and Automation, Cybersecurity, Data Science, Internet of Things, Nano Science etc.
These fields are up-and-coming for the future generation of Indian engineers and some engineering colleges have introduced these subjects in their course.
Where is it headed?
Nobody has been able to predict the course of science and technology. It is unpredictable and marches on unprecedented territories.
For this to happen, the world needs the best minds to study and put the knowledge of such technologies to use. This is the expectation of the gen-next engineers of India. So, no, the saturation level has not reached and is undoubtedly not likely to achieve in the coming years.