Creativity and communication skills are other key factors that companies focus on while hiring engineers. "A technically brilliant engineer with little imagination is unlikely to add any value to the organisation and will have a difficult time with different projects. An engineer who can channel their creative vision through careful planning and inventive use of existing resources is a valuable asset to any organisation," says Sudhanshu Arora, co-founder, director and country manager, Careesma.in. "An efficient engineer should be able to translate complex technical problems into plain English which clients and other stakeholders can easily understand. An engineer having good communication skills is also able to build a meaningful relationship with colleagues and clients alike," he adds.
As engineers move up the ladder, their role becomes more managerial in nature. So employers look for engineers who understand economic and financial issues and are comfortable working within a business-oriented environment.
Geetha Kannan, Managing Director, Anita Borg Institute, says the job scope for engineers would sky rocket if the focus is less on learning the subject matter and more on application of concepts surrounding it. "The reason for academics not focusing on some areas what the corporate wants may be due to the gap between the corporate and the academicians. This should be bridged by having regular workshops, talks, demos from industry at the colleges. This will also inculcate innovation among students," she says.
In 2008 the Workplace Commission came out with the differentiation of knowledge and know-how. Knowledge enables one to understand what one learns in relation to what one already knows. It can be organised into intellectually tight compartments that can be conveniently taught as courses in a conventional curriculum.
Know-how is the ability to put knowledge to work. It requires the purposeful organisation of knowledge from many different areas of learning. Know-how is taught through design courses, project work, industrial training and other opportunities for individual initiative and creativity.
Aakash Chaudhry, director, AESL, says engineering has always been a good career option and would remain evergreen. "There is a dire need of technical brains that can support and maintain the fast-paced development that is taking place. Various companies are in the need of skilled intelligent and knowledgeable employees who can make their companies grow and expand," he says.
With the advent of new technologies, even small-scale industry has become diversified. Business domains are expanding, creating a need for technical persons in all the corners of the world. India still has a huge potential to be explored and the Indian market is on a growth path. Engineers not only work for other companies, but after an engineering course, they enter into a world of opportunities where they can also become entrepreneurs. "There are many examples of students who started their own small business after graduating from an engineering college and today they are running a million-dollar business," Chaudhry adds.
Engineering for women
While many believe that engineering is a "male dominated career," the new generation thinks otherwise. In fact, being a woman has not negatively impacted one's job prospects, in many cases, it has actually helped. Many people believe that engineering has to do with repairing engines, that being an engineer requires physical strength. Due to the myth, many potential female students are discouraged by the idea that engineering is "too difficult." If women are exposed to science and technology, they will know the simple fact that engineering is really viable as a career.
The popular options for women are Information Technology, Architecture, Electronics and Communication and Electrical Engineering. These streams offer a good package and also a healthy environment coupled with growth.
Unlike common perception, women in India are getting good engineering jobs provided they are competent candidates. Their average annual salary package ranges between Rs 5 to Rs15 lakh depending on their experience and caliber. Key sectors like software, banking, construction and design companies recruit female candidates.