The most common query among all engineering aspirants is about the “best engineering branch”. According to us, all engineering branches are equally good. What matters is your interest and aptitude for that branch.
Close to 11 lakh students appeared for AIEEE 2012 across 1,735 centres in the country and more than 5 lakh students appeared for IIT JEE 2011 making them one of the largest entrance exams in the world. These numbers indicate that engineering courses have been and will be one of the most popular undergraduate courses in India in the years to come.
The most common query among all engineering aspirants is about the “best engineering branch/ course/ specialisation/ discipline”. According to us, all engineering disciplines are equally good. What matters is your interest and aptitude for that engineering branch. So don’t pick a branch you have no interest in, just because it promises fat pay packages! But selecting an engineering branch can be very difficult. You often get confused whether to give importance to the branch of your choice or a reputed institute. So, to make things easier, we have listed out various engineering branches based on previous trends and the past preferences of other engineering aspirants like you:
1.Computer Science & Engineering/IT: Software engineers are the most sought after in India. So it is no surprise that this branch is leading! This branch offers higher pay packages than any other branch as well as ample overseas job opportunities. If you have an interest in database management and application development, you should seek out this engineering discipline.
Your starting salaries as a fresh computer engineer from a good institute can range between Rs 4.5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh. You will start as trainees or development engineers and then move on to designations like design engineer, project manager and eventually CTO. As you move up the management ranks, your pay can go up from Rs 20 lakh to Rs30 lakh per annum.
Some of the companies that hire CSE engineers include Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Amazon, IBM, Facebook, Oracle, Cisco, Infosys, TCS, and Wipro.
Best institutes (apart for the IITs and NITs) include IT-BHU, Indian School of Mines University-Dhanbad, Indian Institute of Information Technology- Hyderabad, BITS Pilani.
2.Electronics & Communication Engineering: You study this branch and you will become a gadget guru! You will learn all about digital electronics and logic design, fundamentals of communication engineering, electronic circuits, signals and systems, power electronics, applied electromagnetic theory, integrated circuits, VLSI etc. Go for this engineering specialisation if you have a strong base (and interest) in calculus & physics (semi-conductors etc). The telecommunications industry & mobile development industru have been progressing by leaps & bounds in the last few years and would offer excellent opportunities to graduates.
If you have a B.Tech or a similar degree from a good institution, you can expect to earn anything between Rs 4 lakh to Rs 6 lakh a year. As you work your way up in the organisation and learn implementation, architectural and design-level skills, you could make about Rs 10 lakh a year.
Some of the main recruiters of Electronic Engineers will be Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Intel, Samsung Electronics, Sony, Toshiba, Philips Semiconductors, Texas Instruments, LG Electronics, Nokia, CISCO etc.
Best institutes (apart for the IITs and NITs) include Delhi Technological University (DTU), PEC University of Technology, Chandigarh.
3.Electrical & Electronics Engineering: There will always be opportunities for electrical engineers as this is an evergreen field. You will learn about transmission and generation of electrical power, electrical circuit design, electronics, instrumentation, control systems etc. There are a lot of openings for this profile in the government sector. You might get to work in steel factories, the railways, at construction sites or handle automated systems in which electricity supply and distribution plays a crucial role.
An entry-level engineer earns about Rs 20,000-30,000 per month. Salaries vary from industry to industry. At a middle-level technical position, e.g. a project head or team leader, one gets Rs 70,000-80,000 per month. At the managerial level, a senior manager earns Rs 1.5 lakh per month.
Some companies you should look out for during placements: Bajaj International Private Ltd., Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), Centre for Electronics Design and Technology, Crompton Greaves Limited (CGL), Siemens Ltd., Reliance power Ltd.
Best institutes (apart for the IITs and NITs) include Delhi Technological University (DTU).
4.Mechanical Engineering: Another evergreen field, there will always be opportunities here, despite varying market trends. It is one of the oldest branches of engineering and therefore one of the broadest. As a mechanical engineer you will get to design, analysis, manufacture and maintain anything that moves!
Entry-level salaries range from about Rs 1.3 lakh to Rs 3.15 lakh per annum. Pay hikes depend on your performance and any additional skills you acquire.
Recruiters include ISRO, DRDO, Indian Railway, ABB, TATA Motors, General Motors, Fiat, Reliance Industries, Reliance Power Ltd, Ashoka Leyland, Mahindra & Mahindra etc.
Best institutes (apart for the IITs and NITs) include ISM (Indian School of Mines) University, Dhanbad, Delhi Technological University (DTU), BITS Pilani.
5.Civil Engineering/ Environment Engineering: As a student you will study Fluid Mechanics, Soil Mechanics, Design of Structures, and Structural Mechanics and water recourse engineering. And then as a civil engineer you will be building roads, buildings bridges, dams, canals, sea ports, power plants and airports! This sector is looking up these days mainly due to the numerous infrastructure projects that are in the pipeline for India. It is a challenging profile but immensely satisfying as well. Also, with the reen way of living gaining popluarity across the world, the role of a civil engineer often overlaps with that of an environment enginner as he needs to plan his projects in an environment-friendly manner.
In general, a fresh civil engineer can make Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 a month. Someone with 15-20 years’ experience can earn Rs 75,000 to Rs 1 lakh a month. In the government sector, for example, the CPWD director general earns Rs 80,000 a month.
You would get to work in companies like Larsen & Toubro Ltd., Indian Railways, Engineers India Ltd., DRDO, ISRO, SERC, PWD, DLF etc.
Best institutes (apart for the IITs and NITs) include IT-BHU, DTU, BITS-Pilani, Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra. For B.Tech in Environmental Engineering, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering of Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad is a very good option.
6.Chemical Engineering : It was not considered to be an exciting field but things have changed now. Global warming and its consequential environment issues have made chemical engineers hot property now. In your 4 years of study you will cover chemicals, polymers, petroleum, pharmaceuticals along with computer and information technology for the development of chemical engineering processes. Petroleum i.e. Black Gold has made this field very prosperous. Go for this field if you have an inclination towards organic & inorganic chemistry.
You can get placed with ONGC, Reliance Industries Ltd., Essar Oil Limited, Gujarat Gas Company Limited, Indo Gulf Fertilizers Ltd, Coromandel Fertilizers Limited. Apart from regular jobs, there are numerous research & development opportunities for chemical engineering students and remuneration may range from 1000-1500 dollars for PhD students. Opportunities are plenty in the renewable energy sector, nuclear power sector, industrial metallurgy sector.
7. Biotechnology: Think of biotechnology in India & you think of Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw's and her biotechnology company, Biocon. Today India is considered one of the best destinations for biotechnology industry because of the availability of state-of-art resources and facilities to carry on newer practices.
A B.Tech in Biotechnology would throw up opportunities in production, research, and marketing in the fields like environment, energy and conservation, agriculture and horticulture, medicine and healthcare, animal husbandry and dairy farming. Research oriented aspirants have a good scope in research laboratories and as professors and research assistants. There are opportunities with government and corporate run research and development organisations. You could hold designations like lecturer, marketing manager, quality control officer or manager, bioinformists, environmental specialist etc.
There are many more equally popular and relevant branches like Instrumentation & Control Engineering, Industrial and Production Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Bioengineering etc. They are offered at a few of the IITs and most of NITs and have excellent prospects. Take your pick after understanding where your caliber and interest lies.
Nishatha Abraham Bijeesh