5 Tips to Engineer Your Career

A guide for electronics engineering students who are just starting out their academic studies and also those who want to set themselves apart in a competitive career environment -- SUDESHNA DAS

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1. The lab exercises in these classes are often ‘canned’— there are ready-made kits with standard set of experiments that the students carry out in a routine fashion. Also, due to large team sizes, all students may not get the required exposure to equipment. However, with falling costs of electronics, students may be able to set up their own little lab in their hostel room. Availability of public-domain software and low-cost computing platforms has helped the students significantly.

2. There is no class where the learning from the courses in digital, analogue, processor and programming are brought together. This may happen in a project for some students.

According to Ahuja, “India produces a large number of electronics and computer science graduate engineers every year. So while there is no dearth of manpower, the challenge is finding ‘design-aware’ engineers who are trained specifically in VLSI design and can ramp up quickly.”

“With the surge in high-tech design projects coming to India in areas such as telecom, automotive, aerospace and industrial automation, the industry workforce has been exposed to very high levels of product design, development, testing and validation phases over the last decade or so. With more and more such projects becoming a norm in India, the industry requires talent with quality and specialised skill sets. The demand for electronics design engineers having product, domain and software tools expertise is high,” says Varma.

Kant suggests, “Actively look out for science, engineering and maths competitions that organisations/educational institutes conduct. Such initiatives are excellent opportunities to demonstrate creativity, secure mentoring opportunities from industry experts and participate in exciting, competitive and recognised events. Try engaging consistently with the institute/university faculty to understand sponsorship and scholarship opportunities offered by companies/ universities.”

He also feels that besides technical skills, students must possess excellent problem-solving and decision-making abilities, English communication skills, and organisation and management skills for an all-round perspective.

Mehra, in addition to these skills, emphasises on ethical behaviour as majority of the MNCs empower their staff and would like them to showcase good ethics while dealing internally or externally with vendors or customers.

Tip #3: exploit your internship

Even if it is not compulsory in your course curriculum to do an internship, do one anyway. In fact, try enrolling for more than one if possible. Taking up a project or internship to build something is essential, as there is plenty of learning for the student to imbibe, whether the project succeeds or not.

“Colleges have included industry visits, seminars and projects for this purpose. Unfortunately, many students treat these courses lightly. My advice would be to take the internship seriously, for the soft skills they impart will be invaluable,” advises Ravikumar.

According to Ahuja, industry academia-government partnership will provide students with valuable practical experience while in college, by applying their theoretical knowledge to actual customer problems. The ecosystem needs to work together to constantly update the curriculum of educational institutes for it to be in line with the latest industry developments and encouraging internship programmes. This will impart hands-on technical, business and soft skills to students in a professional environment and also give the company access to a potential workforce.

Keep in mind that “interning is about more than just showing up at an office and earning a recommendation letter,” says Sanjay Mittal, managing director, Yogasa Systems. Grab every opportunity to chat with everyone from senior members to fresh recruits. You’ll learn a lot about the industry, job and their expectations. It may help to join the same company after completing your course. In fact, interning is just like auditioning—you try the company to check whether it suits you.

Tip #4: Know the industry trend

“A fresh electronics engineer needs to be conversant with global trends and pioneering research done worldwide. To acquaint himself with the challenges that will face him in the future, the engineering student should re-examine and realign his goals with the current scenario that prevails. He should also keep himself abreast of recent trends in business and technology, if he is serious about making a transformational change,” says Kumar.

Shetty feels that there is no alternative to on-the-job research. Students need to have some insights by either working or doing some research on how the industry segment of their choice actually operates.

“The electronics industry is very large today. There are multiple sub-disciplines. Even some software disciplines require a sound knowledge of electronics along with a strong grip on programming, e.g., electronic design automation. I would advise the engineering aspirants to become strong in fundamentals and take elective courses that give them the exposure to recent advances,” says Ravi Kumar.

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