CAREER GUIDE – (I)
What according to you is engineering? While some believe it’s their way of earning money, for others it’s their passion. There are also people who take up engineering as a commitment to their parents, while some pursue it out of peer pressure and frustration.
There is not one but many reasons for anyone who tend to choose engineering as their career option. But remember, choosing this stream is quite an easy task but working hard to make a successful career out of engineering is not everyone’s cup of tea.
A lot of engineering aspirants explore the actual meaning of engineering only when they start pursuing the stream. However, there are a bunch of students, who already know exactly about what and how life would be at their chosen engineering college even before they start their journey.
Below are some of the common Q & A
Q. 1- I heard that life at a plant is tough. Are there any benefits?
While life at a plant or factory site may not be as exciting as when you live in a city or at home, according to Micheal Baymiller, Director – HR at International Paper India, a global leader in packaging and paper, there are certain benefits of working at a plant. Modern plants, these days are equipped with latest state-of -the-art equipment that make work all the more exciting says, Sanjay Kumar who worked as General Manager at the Tata Steel Plant in Jamshedpur . Working in a factory would give you paid vacations, housing at the mills, regular job rotations, and an opportunity to understand the overall operations, manufacturing and product understanding. Ramesh Shankar, Executive VP and Cluster HR Head, South Asia, Siemens, which has over 21 manufacturing plants in India stresses that those who enter the manufacturing domain must be passionate about engineering and technology, and have an insatiable thirst to develop world class manufacturing processes and capabilities. Though, the initial years might be taxing in terms of the number of hours one puts in, the rapid promotions that it might offer in the long run makes it worthwhile.
Q. 2- What is the demand in the job market, today?
Recruitment portal Shine.com gives us a snapshot of the current market scenario. Sales Engineers top the list in terms of demand. Design/CAD Engineers also very much in demand, coming at a very close second. This is followed by Mechanical Engineers, Electrical Engineers and then Maintenance Engineers. Others in decreasing order are Technical Support Engineer, Service Engineers, Testing Engineers, Site Engineers, Project Engineers, Production Engineers, Network Engineers and Quality Engineers. Two very unique profiles include Aerospace Stress Engineer in area of Occupational Health/Safety and Analog Design Engineer – in Research & Development and Product Design. Typically, an Aerospace Stress Engineer is responsible for working within the aerospace team, providing high quality technical input to aerospace projects, spanning both aero structures and aero engines. More over Robotics and lean manufacturing specialists are also in demand.
Q. 3- I’m told an engineering degree is not enough, we need soft skills, too. Why is this?
In 2011, the World Bank did an extensive survey to find out what skills employers seek in fresh engineering graduates. The survey found that employers perceive soft skills to be very important, and in particular communication seemed to be one of the most demanded skills by the employers. Thus it is not surprising that during campus placements, in many cases, English language proficiency is tested first, followed by group discussions, and then technical competency. As a result many students, especially from rural regions, lose out to a smooth communicator despite possessing sound technical knowledge. Why are English language skills so important so many years after independence from the Brits? ”We are a Global In-House Centre (GICs),” explains Vipul Singh, VP & Head of HR at ADP Private Limited. “So we have strong interactions with the business units in the US,” he explains.
Similarly, Paypal India’s GIC has 2,300 technologists, one of PayPal’s largest technology sites in the world. “We must be able to share our ideas and thought processes with people through multiple formats,” advises Anupam Pahuja, CEO of PayPal India. Both stress the need for soft skills as follows. Vipul qualifies basic English speaking as a soft skill. “It doesn’t come naturally to many whose mother tongue isn’t English. This is level 1. Level 2 is ability to comprehend what is expected by listening and Level 3 is to present the point of view, which is good, bad and ugly, to the business,” he shares.
Q. 4- Can I get a job after my degree?
While institutes try to attract recruiters to your campus, the ultimate responsibility for ensuring you get a job is yours, advises Shantanu Paul, MD and CEO of Talentsprint. “While you are in college you should start reading up about companies, and talk to friends and family who may be able to help you understand what companies look for in new hires,” says Shantanu. It is especially important for those who don’t get into the best college to differentiate yourself from your peers, so your résumé stands out in on and off campus interviews. Shantanu suggests some ways – writing a blog, taking on a project, working as an intern at a company or taking courses where you can improve your technology skills and possibly get a certification that is recognised by the industry.
Q. 5- How to go about searching for a job?
During your off-campus search, try to identify these companies and send your résumé to them. Target small and medium-sized companies that may not come on campus but are still looking to hire freshers. Most of these positions will be advertised online in various job sites or on their websites or newspapers. “During your engineering programme, improve your skills by joining a technology and soft skills course,” advises Shantanu. When looking for a technology programme, make sure it provides you with practical hands-on experience on the computer. Technology where they only teach you theory and don’t provide any computer time is useless. Generally taking a certification will also help. Above all be positive. If you are hard working, an opportunity must always come now or later.