He continues, “The demand remained strong in 2012, with the growth rate of nearly 6 per cent. The trend indicates a promising future for the industry—a positive sign for those aspiring to make a career in the same. Freshers would be taking up roles in the fieldfor optical ducting, splicing, etc in the beginning years, gradually taking up complex and better paying roles according to their skill and level of understanding in the field.”

The pay package varies according to the role of an employee, roughly ranging from Rs 250,000 to Rs 400,000 for a fresher in optical communication.

Skills required
Optical communication industry thrives on skills and experience of the employees.

Mittal says, “While most insiders claim that most of the skills are acquired in the field,a bare minimum of skills and knowledge of the job is a must for aspirants. Quite often, the requisite amount of skill comes during initial training while pursuing a degree/diploma course. Basic knowledge of optical communication is desirable but not always compulsory.”

Talking about skills, Grover says, “Knowledge of communication engineering and semiconductor technology fundamentals, protocols/standards for optical networks, and higher-level languages (C++ and Java) is important.”

Short-term courses
Mittal says, “There are no visible parameters of skills that one requires to make a career in the optical communication industry. However, there are short-term courses in optical ducting and splicing, which are an added advantage, of course, but again not compulsory. Otherwise, one can learn these during the initial training.”

Grover adds, “A short-term course in planning, designing and testing of optical communication links and networks would be great.”

In the future
“The optical industry is huge, largely dominated by display devices like LEDs and LCDs. But as the manufacturing base for these devices is very limited in India, there is limited scope for engineers in optical display manufacturing,” says Mittal.

He adds, “A near-stagnant market has converted into one of the fastest growing industries, thanks to greater attention to quality and strong advertising campaigns.”

Nevertheless, in global terms, the industry in India remains underdeveloped even today. “The high duty tariff on products is acting as a serious deterrent for major business players, encouraging unorganised sector (grey market) growth,” says Mittal.

To promote optoelectronics sector as a career option, “Conducting awareness programmes on the importance of optoelectronics sector at university/industry level and collaboration of optical society of India and industry/university/R&D centres are some of the desirable initiatives,” says Grover.

The author is a tech correspondent at EFY Bengaluru


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