In today’s ‘IT-centric’ world, it only becomes natural for those studying engineering to focus more on IT-related branches of study rather than the other engineering streams. However, do remember that Indian engineering also has scope beyond Information Technology Enabled Services (ITes). In fact, experienced engineers consider other branches as ‘evergreen’; and not dependent on western economies. One such engineering study stream is Instrumentation Engineering also called as Instrumentation Technology (INS).
We spoke to several career experts, and those who even hire, about various aspects related to Instrumentation Engineering in a bid to enable budding engineers and fresh engineering graduates to make informed decisions and to debunk myths surrounding INS. One popular myth that has been doing the rounds of late is “Instrumentation Engineering does not exist anymore in certain states; the branch has been merged with Mechanical Engineering.”
Instrumentation engineering offers more than a decent start
“If you land a job in a reputed multinational company (MNC), these offer salary packages in the range of Rs 4 lakh-Rs 6 lakh per annum for freshers,” states Dr Ali Khwaja an expert career counsellor and head of Bangalore-based Banjara Academy that does its bit in guiding graduates towards the right career path.
“An average annual salary offered to Instrumentation engineers in India comes around Rs.4,00,000.” states Aishwarya Sharma who works as the commercial manager at job search engine Neuvoo.
Apart from the above, experts also feel that jobs at small scale industries have also been seeing consistent demand. Salary package offered here lies in the Rs 2 lakh – Rs 3 lakh per annum range advises Dr Ali.
Students currently pursuing Instrumentation feel that the above numbers are good to start-off with. Most of the students we spoke to felt that they wanted a good career hold in the reputed Indian manufacturing firms, rather than get placed in a foreign MNC.
“A job at an Indian factory is better than a high-paying foreign MNC opening; focus is on Make In India and progression of our economy, rather than money-making.” was the general sentiment echoed by Instrumentation students spread out across engineering colleges in Karnataka.
Your opportunities are vast – Don’t be fooled by myths
With Instrumentation having acquired the tag of ‘classical’ engineering study streams, you have vast opportunities as far as career is concerned. Even experts second this.
Instrumentation engineers have an edge over IT engineers, as the former get to work in any manufacturing industry that focuses on technical products. “You have millions of companies to choose from in India. You could work in any of these, or specifically target the ones that have products focusing on hardware aspects such as calibration, measurement, and switches,” states a head of department of Instrumentation Engineering at BVB College of Engineering and Technology located in Karnataka, on the condition of anonymity.
In case you are a fresh Instrumentation graduate preferring to work abroad, you have something over there as well. “With a salary of 20-30 lac per year, many of the overseas placements tops the list.” adds Aishwarya.
“Our firm is on top of the minds of instrumentation engineers who even take up internship opportunities intending to later get absorbed.” stated a senior recruiter at one of the top instrumentation companies in Bengaluru.
This senior recruiter also advises budding engineers to specially take up instrumentation as the specialisation during study. Technical instrumentation is one area that offers creative work for engineers, sums-up the recruiter.
Exact focus areas for you
In case you are pondering over the exact focus areas to work on after studying Instrumentation, then you could check out verticals such as management and maintenance of existing systems, hardcore manufacturing technicalities, troubleshooting tasks, Research and Development (R&D), and consultancy.
A general outline of companies includes cement manufacturing, steel plants, thermal power plants, chemical companies, and even electronics components manufacturing.
AI, ML, and Robotics have also made Instrumentation smarter
Dr Ali advises fresh instrumentation engineers to explore careers even in nano-technology, apart from Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Robotics. This means that there are ample opportunities across these new/upcoming core technical sectors. So, you could also get to explore the technical side of you.
“AI is one sector where engineers from all major streams can collaborate and research,” states Bastin Robin- chief data scientist at Bangalore-based Hash Research Labs; an IoT startup company.
“Instrumentation engineers will be involved in micro-management design and management of products,” adds Bastin.