What Is Engineering In India?

There are three letters that are basically jazz to every Indian parent’s ears.

These letters can be IIT, IIM, NIT (coz das also gooood) or for some really daring parents, IAS.

Since I was told repeatedly to follow only one of those things back in my teenage years, today I am going to talk about IITs, or engineering to be more precise.

For IIM or IAS, you’ll have to wait for the day when my parents can’t hold it in any more and I get my orders for post grad or a government job. To be honest, one parent has already started giving the orders.

Now in India, if you are born with a peepers, the first thing your parents do is come up with a suitable name and then they start thinking of the nearest IIT you will enroll in.

That’s when their dream of you becoming an engineer begins.

In modern families, if you are a girl and happen to do well in your class 1 math test, well… Your parents start thinking of the nearest IIT you will enroll in.

As you grow, if you keep doing well in mathematics or science, their dream of you becoming an IITian gets even bigger.

If your grades start to fall a little, that dream shifts from IITs to NITs. And if your scores don’t seem to go in the right direction, well… Your parents finally accept that maybe you’ll just become an engineer.

Getting back to the question – what is engineering in India?

To define it like most books we engineers studied – Engineering in India is learning all the aspects of technology that were relevant in the industry 30 years ago.

Now I usually avoid writing on subjects I have no knowledge about. Example- I haven’t written anything about relationships, parenting, politics in India or flirting tips because I have no experience there.

But engineering is one thing I know because I did it despite having no interest in it. So I am going to stray away from the question and rant about my own experience. If you did yours from some IIT and are currently writing ‘by an IITian’ in your startup’s mission statement, you may not have experienced any of this.

All the sheep were doing it, so I was also politely asked to put my dreams on hold for four years.

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Even though I appeared and slept through the famous confusion called IIT-JEE, I couldn’t clear it and become an IITian. I also appeared for AIEEE where I got jealous of other kids answering more questions than me and ticked all the boxes. It was that year when I understood the weight of negative marking.

I got my colonoscopy done from Pune University (which changed its name during my tenure). I am not going to name my college because I still have to collect some documents from there and don’t want any trouble because of this blog. But my college also changed its name during my tenure.

All I can tell you is, that my college was 15 kilometres outside Pune, it has a long ass road when you enter so you’ll think it’s a huge campus, and just 1 acre after that long road.

The main attractions near my college were a cow shed, some eateries that were sponsored by Pudin Hara and Digene, and a famous temple.

We also had a village and some farm land next to our esteemed institution, and an amazing hostel that offered views of villagers doing their morning business on one side and our college on the other.

I don’t really know what happens in other engineering colleges or universities, but I can tell you what engineering was for people in my institute.

First year was a combined thing, so we basically studied subjects from all the branches. Our syllabus mostly composed of topics from JEE preparatory books.
Second year is when you enter your department and learn that you know nothing about your branch.

I opted for computer engineering because I wasn’t fond of chemistry and physics.

Spoilers: You have stuff from physics and math in computer engineering btw. Yeah! spoiled everything for me too.

Back when I was in college, computer engineering was all about C. And you have to know that all professors are going to assume that you know everything about C. If you freaking don’t know C, how will you know the rest of the omputer? Bad joke.

Jokes apart, if you choose computer engineering, you can bet your ass that you will be stalking these –  ; :  } ), more than you will be stalking people on Facebook.

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I can safely say that you will never learn the code that was used to develop Facebook or Google. Your professors will never teach you how a game is developed. However, in your final year project you may be asked to do all of that without any prior knowledge of anything.

Fun Fact: Most of your professors have no experience in the industry. Most of them haven’t even worked in a private firm. Most of them will pronounce Zuckerberg wrong.

Mechanical engineering, Electronics and Telecommunications or Electronics Engineering were mainly one thick book per semester. There is this notion among many engineering students that there are no girls in Mechanical department. I am not entirely sure how true that is because I didn’t even know the girls in my department. All I know is that in my college, Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering were in the same building.

The only thing I can tell you about Mechanical Engineering is that you don’t get to design cars like Lamborghinis or Hummers in your classes. Instead you will be designing the nuts and bolts that go in cars. (Not those cars; you will learn about the latest cars in the market after 30 years).

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In this department, you will have a practical called Manufacturing Lab (or some other name depending on your college). You will regret taking up Mechanical every time you have this practical. You will also have something called Engineering Drawing or Engineering Graphics, in which you will be drawing the GTA 1 version of GTA V. (If you are not a gamer, ED is kinda showing the different views of something from all three angles. Because, why not?)

The practical for Engineering Graphics can be fun if you remember to bring all the drawing equipment. The theory lectures for ED or EG on the other hand are more effective than sleeping pills.

Chemical engineering is mostly titrations and some subjects inspired by mechanical engineering. If you didn’t understand Chemistry in 11th and 12th, taking Chemical Engineering will be ordering mooli ke paranthe on your third date.

Branches like Electronics and Telecommunication or Electronics or Electrical Engineering are either chosen by those who are passionate about the subjects or those clueless souls who listened to that idiot who always says bohot scope hai.

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We also had IT engineering in my college. It was basically computer engineering without one or two tough subjects. I believe IT was introduced in our system so our universities could increase the donation cost of computer science.

To conclude this sham of a post, after 4, 5, 6… or 8 years of engineering, you will apply for several IT jobs. Because IT companies have this mass placement thing to please the politicians who own our colleges and they go on hiring sprees. They also have firing sprees after two years 🙂 #balance.

Now in these interviews for jobs, the first step will be an aptitude test, which the college won’t talk about in your 4 years of studies. Second step will be judging what you learnt in your college, which can be crammed in a week. The final thing they’ll do is judge your English – which your college professors will ruin in four years with their defined pronunciations.

If you are planning to apply for a government job after your college, well… you need to be a topper or somewhat near a topper to even be eligible for a government job. Our government hires some of the best engineers in the world. That’s exactly why we have such secure and fast websites, our bridges and roads are so durable and India has the best technology in the world.  (Sarcasm aside, I feel our mechanical, chemical and aeronautical engineers in the government are actually doing an amazing job with whatever they get)

I don’t want to demotivate anyone from taking up Engineering in India. I had some of my best memories in my hostel (not my college, my hostel). I learnt a lot about life and I found my true passion while I was in college.

But, whatever we learnt in my college’s syllabus, is never going to help me or any other student in life. Don’t pick a career path that is chosen for you by your parents or by your friends. Your parents will never accept that they forced you into something and even if you complete your studies and become an engineer only to pick another career path later, you will always be that kid who had to do something else because he/she couldn’t land a tech job. And your parents? They will be the most supportive parents in the eyes of the world, while they are after you to drop what you are doing and apply for CAT or GMAT or GRE or UPSC.

Do what you want to do. Take it from me, you say ‘YES’ nine times, you won’t be able to say ‘NO’ the tenth time.

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