If many students in India join engineering courses out of passion for the subject, there is an equal number—maybe more—who take up engineering out of pressure from families or peers, or just to join the bandwagon. And yet only a few regret it later in life. Most don’t since an engineering degree also opens up other avenues where their mastery of numbers comes into play and their perspective tends to change as they grow during the four-year course. The passionate ones, of course, pursue higher studies, if circumstances allow, for going deeper into the subject; a few are lucky enough to get placement in their core areas.
Ideally, an engineer is expected to be at the shop floor. But ITI and polytechnic diploma holders overshadow them there as they have the skills required and more physical exposure, whereas undergraduate engineering students have more book-based experience. Also, industries prefer to hire those who are exposed to their real needs. Since lack of exposure becomes a negative factor in the job sector, many engineering graduates end up pursuing MBA, sales, marketing, civil service, journalism, UN jobs, policy advocacy and so on. Many, indeed, are excited by white-collared, supervisory roles that also help them carry a fat salary packet back home.