Thursday, April 25, 2024

Lighting Sector Makes Engineers Multi-Disciplinary In 2017

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With Indian engineers known for their easy adaptability into a variety of roles and domains via their intangible skillset, the lighting industry is one core area which experts consider to be a tad under-rated considering the onslaught of Information Technology enabled services (ITes). Now, with latest trends amongst engineering students and fresher engineers being that of servicing core areas, we explore the opportunities that the lighting sector in India offers.

Lighting sector is also entrepreneurial

Experts we spoke to foremost expressed the fact that the lighting industry as a whole opens up opportunities manifold for new ideas.

“Lighting as a whole is not restricted to installing CFLs, neon bulbs, and LED devices. It also involves developing solutions to brighten up any system,” states Akshay Aggarwal – a Bengaluru-based senior design engineer.

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“Delivery is also an important aspect here, along with operational maintenance.”

Akshay believes that it is relatively easy to come up with innovative lighting solutions. According to him, this potentially boosts entrepreneurship as opportunities are not restricted to one micro-sector.

With entrepreneurship being the focal point, it is only obvious that engineers can potentially look out for and grab opportunities that require utilisation of skillsets across various sub-sectors and sub-domains. One key skillset that is much in demand is the ability to multitask.

Emphasis on Design adds to the ‘brightness’ quotient

As per latest job postings on popular portals, requirements for design engineers is found to be high. Recruiters include Syska LED, Wipro Lighting, Arraystorm, Philips, Hella, Orient Lighting, and more. With Design engineering known to turn engineers into researchers, you would be involved in all stages of product development. This is true in case there are in-house projects that your firm undertakes.

Even while working on client requirements, multi-domain emphasis with respect to research is required to be achieved.

Key roles & responsibilities for design engineers include developing the actual design of diodes, boards in tandem with the set architecture.

“Design engineers would perfectly fit in to the lighting sector. They get an opportunity to analyse and build on their core competencies,” states Mumbai-based Kumar Bansal – a career counsellor who works closely in guiding engineering students. Kumar is also involved in closely analysing engineering domains.

“Design engineering is an off-beat stream in comparison to core information technology enabled services (ITes) considering the nature of work,” adds Kumar.

Mechanical and instrumentation engineers are given a tad higher preference across companies. Job roles for mechanical engineers range from, lighting systems design conceptualisation, to the mechanical + electrical output development (and evaluation).

“Design engineers also get the opportunity to build relationships by co-coordinating and closely working with the hardware suppliers. Components procured are tested based on developed designs; this involves application of industry knowledge,” states Parag Yadav – a Delhi-based recruitment associate.

Experts state that engineers associating themselves within the design teams at lighting firms can expect designations that range from design engineer, design technician, senior design engineer, to senior design associate; as always, designations vary based on the experience level and skillsets.

Software engineers are also welcome to light up lives

Firms such as Arraystorm hire software and electronics engineers to work on intelligent lighting systems solutions, with respect to programming and embedded systems development. With embedded systems being a hot trend, the career growth would naturally be on a potentially positive side. Today’s lighting systems viz Light Emitting Diode (LED) assemblies stand to derive maximum benefit out of embedded systems.

Field Application Engineers have a level playing field in lighting

Field Application Engineers have lots to cheer about as firms currently are seeking trained resources more than ever. Main responsibilities for FAEs in lighting will be to offer technical support for lighting solutions, along with acting as bridges between clients and service providers.

“As an FAE, the onus is on you to enable clients understand technically what your company offers. You are also responsible for delivering technical solutions through your skills. On completion of this, you will then intimate the post-sales team to enable them to close the business deal with the clients,” state active Field Application engineers working with leading service providers in India.

At this stage, it is also worth remembering that FAEs are not travelling salesmen.

“Field application engineering is not exactly a sales job, here you give correct explanations and solutions for the clients to understand the product, acting as an engineer,” adds Utsava Rathi – Manager & Analyst at job search engine Neuvoo.

As far as lighting specifically is concerned, FAEs will also be involved in liasioning between original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and also the end users. Feedback gathering is also a skillset which is critically evaluated by firms.

Then there is marketing and sales

A key requirement expressed by reputed lighting firms in India is with respect to sales and marketing; engineers also get hired for this role based on their technical skillset. Engineers having completed Masters in Business Administration (MBA) with Marketing specialisation are also sought.

“Engineers with a penchant for technical marketing could also seek opportunities in the technical sales verticals of firms,” states a Bengaluru-based Sales Engineer who did not wish to be named.

What does it take to light up lives?

As far as academic skillsets and qualifications are concerned, a bachelor of engineering (BE) degree is paramount. Specialisations asked for, sometimes, vary based on firms. Expertise in Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) design, embedded systems, Computer Aided Design (CAD).

Generalised skillsets and expertise include strong grip in Physics, Mathematics, to be used in tandem with effective communication. Lighting firms also seek additional skills based on the nature of the opportunity offered.

Reputed multi-national corporations (MNC) generally offer in-house training with respect to lighting elements, to engineers. However, again, this is not definitive.

Career progression and pay packages

According to Kumar Bansal, fresher engineers in the lighting domain can expect to make between ₹2-₹4 lakhs per annum. As always, experience and optimal skillsets play an important role in deciding pay structures for the future.

Career growth-wise, engineers can expect performance-based growth at a comparatively faster rate. In modern times, firms also are working at offering performance-based monetary (and non-monetary) incentives.

Light up now for a better future

Experts are of the view that time now is ripe for extensive research & development (R&D) in the field of lighting considering the penetration of technology like the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), deep learning, and more.

“The future looks good for engineers in the lighting sector,” signs-off Parag Yadav.

With home automation in India slowly picking up, engineers in the lighting domain will have a very significant role to play in smartly lighting up peoples’ lives across the country.

Written by Rahul R, Senior Technical Journalist at EFY


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