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Selection of engineering branch

Published On: 08 May 2013 | Last Updated On: 10 May 2013

Engineering is a popular course in India taken by a majority of Class 12 graduates. With lucrative career opportunities and a vast, growing requirement for skilled engineers, more students every year opt for an education in engineering. A host of institutes across the country have been set up to meet this demand. Each of these colleges in turn offers a variety of specialized fields of engineering. An aspiring engineering graduate must choose a field of engineering carefully, in alignment with his/her abilities and interests. Choosing a branch will also affect future career opportunities and can differentiate a student from the crowd.Apart from the popular branches of engineering like Mechanical, Electrical, civil, and computer science there are many other branches like Aeronautical, Instrumental, Industrial, Marine etc. where students can pursue exciting careers.

Tips on how to choose the correct branch of engineering:

1) Decide as per interest:

The tendency of students to choose a course in engineering based on the career prospects that course holds is flawed. Time has shown that opportunities in different fields of engineering vary depending on other unpredictable factors such as the economy, market and climate. The only stable predictor of success in a particular field of engineering, or for that matter any field of study is a student’s interest in that particular field.

On the contrary, an engineer, who finds that his chosen field of specialization is not something he/she is interested in, will find it hard to muster the motivation required to succeed.

2) Deciding on a branch and college:

Once a student has decided to pursue engineering he/she has to decide on the choice of college and course. Research at this stage become extremely important, and can be a deciding factor in your future success. Decisions should not be made randomly as there is ample information on college websites and the internet to make your decision. Going through college course material, analyzing electives offered by colleges as well as looking at research, funding and placement information should make this process a lot easier. Specialization at this point is another factor which requires attention. Finding out more about specialized fields of engineering and aligning this with one’s interests will help students find clarity with regards to specialization.

3) Choosing Specialization:

Specialization is a part of engineering. It is not easy to choose one from the various options in engineering disciplines. To take the right decision it is required to dig deep and know more about every branch of engineering. Clear approach is important for choosing a subject which will provide best Results in the coming future.

For example: If one has interest in cars, may choose automobile engineering over mechanical, but it is important to be sure about what the field of interest.  

4) Professional life:

Understanding what work you will most likely be undertaking once you have completed your course is critical to choosing a branch.  For example, Civil engineers are required to undertake lots of field work. Hence, civil engineers should be prepared to do plenty of outdoor work in the sun.   

Aptitude and love for your work is another aspect which is a strong predictor of success. Choose a branch where you will be most satisfied once you start working.

5) Opportunities for post graduation:

The availability of post-graduate opportunities is another aspect which is important while choosing a branch of engineering. Research what opportunities will be available to you if you pick a branch of engineering. See if this aligns with your aspirations as an engineer. Certain branches might limit your opportunities later on. For example choosing Mechanical engineering will allow you to take up a number of different specialties later, but choosing Biomedical engineering will limit your future choices to that field in India.   

Apart from the general points given above certain points have to be kept in mind while choosing specific courses. The following is a branch-specific list of requirements students would benefit from - 

For Computer Science Engineering:

  • A thorough understanding of logic
  • A capability to understand high-end algorithms and pattern recognition
  • An inclination and excitement for Machine-code level writing
  • An inclination toward puzzle solving
  • A hobby involving designing games and small software, would be an added advantage

For Electronics and Electrical engineering:

  • An inclination and excitement for repairing electrical appliances
  • Interest in the working of capacitors, IC’s and transistors
  • Interest in the working and assembly of a PC
  • Interest in the transmission and distribution of electricity
  • A curiosity and interest in robotics

For Mechanical and Production engineering

  • A natural ability for repairing objects like bicycles and toys
  • An inclination toward operations research
  • An ability to withstand strenuous physical work
  • Interest in automobiles and other machines
  • A liking of basic science
  • An ability to draw machines
  • An ability to design and mould materials

For civil engineering:

  • Interest of construction
  • Fascination towards building environments
  • A sense of proportion and aesthetics
  • Ability to visualize structuring over different landscapes
  • Capability to handle sociological and psychological issues

Deciding to become an engineer is just a small step on a very long journey. Engineering is a vast field with numerous opportunities and fields. Choosing a branch of engineering is an extremely important task as it will affect future prospects. Taking into account your interests while selecting a branch of engineering is extremely important as this will directly impact your future success. Also be aware of the post-graduate choices available to you after completion of a particular course. Certain courses may limit future opportunities of study and must be chosen carefully. An understanding of what work you will be doing as a professional is also important. Certain courses will require the adoption of specific lifestyles, and a student should be ready to adopt such a lifestyle if he/she chooses such a course.

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