To Pursue Engineering or Not?

To Pursue Engineering or Not?

The job market is at its craziest as we speak! All parents are familiar with the frenzy around tech at the moment, and if their children are in the career-deciding years, PCM (Physics-Chemistry-Math) is a given as they decide their streams in grade XI. What is the rationale behind this madness? In the last financial year alone, 44 Unicorns were formed with a total valuation of USD 94.37 Billion. What is a unicorn? A startup with a valuation of one billion dollars or more. And that is not all - the Economic Survey 2021-22 report said that the number of new recognised startups have increased to over 14,000 in 2021-22, from only 733 in 2016-17.

With this kind of a business ecosystem mushrooming in the country, the maximum demand has been generated for developers and programmers, as more than 90%, if not all, startups will be tech-enabled or tech-based in nature. Even for non-tech companies and industries like FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) or BFSI (Banking, Financial Services and Insurance) or manufacturing, the need for digitisation is as real as it gets and on top of their priority lists. But, do we have enough tech talent to cater to this demand in the country?

As of 2021, India annually produces an average of one million engineering graduates. India's technical education infrastructure includes 3500 engineering colleges, 3400 polytechnics and 200 schools of planning and architecture. There are a lot of data points on the employability of this talent, but that’s not important in this context.

So I am guessing the answer to my question is yes, there is sufficient supply but the demand is not static – it is constantly on the rise and there lies an opportunity for a lot of young engineers to ready themselves for the time of their lives! Who knows you could be one soon.

The scope for young engineers aka freshers is exceptionally positive because the talent available for lateral (experienced) hiring is just way beyond budget. You will also eventually get there, but for now as a fresher, you are the person every big corporation would be after – to train and develop in the language they need and then deploy to a project.

Can everyone become an engineer? I think everyone can aspire to become a programmer even without engineering, if you have left that ship behind somewhere. And with all the knowledge repository available online, some basic logical thinking skills and a problem solving mindset, it is possible. And if you are learning programming online, the ideal language to start with would be Java, the most widespread backend language in use; so there will never be a dearth of demand.

Once you have become an engineer or learnt programming, most freshers want to start off with a backend language vis-à-vis frontend languages like React, Mobile or even Data Science and Machine Learning. Having been in the tech industry for a while, there is a higher demand for backend undoubtedly, but these other skills are no less critical. Hence, the golden advice which I probably share every single time – figure out what works for you and where your inclination lies, and go for it; if there was a time to be an engineer, it is today! Everything else in this article could be false, but trust me on the last one at least.

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Chinmaya Udghosh