What is the job market likely to be for 21 st century engineers?
The job market in India has never been better than it is today, given that the Indian economy is fast expanding. However, these opportunities are likely to be limited to knowledge-based and service-based industries. Opportunities in manufacturing and process industry are also picking up, but these are likely to be in areas that require a background in areas such as automation, or in design. Essentially, those who have a solid foundation in engineering will have no difficulty, while those who are illprepared would find it challenging.
Will the competition get tougher?
For students seeking admission into an engineering college in India, it will be challenging to get into any top-tier college. But one need not be disheartened, given that several new institutes in engineering have recently been established. Further, students are strongly advised not to rule out programmes in physical sciences or even in social sciences, given that graduates in these disciplines are being sought-after for top positions in a wide range of industries. Follow your passion when it comes to choosing a discipline.
What will be the emerging areas in the field of engineering?
It is difficult to speculate, but what seems to be clear is that the emphasis is going to be on people and the quality of life they lead. That translates into increasing focus and investments in health, education, food and infrastructure sectors. Surely, science or engineering disciplines that contribute to these sectors, including advance energy, transportation or communication, will continue to dominate. But engineers will be called upon to know more than just the science or the design of systems that drive growth in these sectors. Necessarily, they must also have a reasonably good background in social sciences. Engineers of tomorrow will be called upon to contribute towards framing of related policies that strike the right trade-off between costs and benefits, both tangible and intangible, of such projects.