The rise of the new engineer

Jun 16 2014, 03:50 IST
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SummaryThe country needs a new engineer, one who is a leader, an innovator and an entrepreneur

Engineering has been regarded as one of the most ancient scientific disciplines dating back to the 4th millennium BC. ‘Engineering’ has been derived from the word ‘engineer’, which means someone who operates an engine. Though the crux of engineering has remained the same, there have been a number of dimensions that have been added to this discipline over a period of time. Engineering has existed as a part of our daily lives ranging from the ancient invention of the wheel to the present day smartphone. The change from traditional engineering to modern-era engineering has been a significant turnaround. We live in times when changes happen rapidly and are governed by innovations, new technologies and a curious desire to control the demands of competitive environment.

Of course, some would emphasise on the importance of technology over engineering, but frankly there is no point separating the two. Technology practically cannot exist without engineering. New dimensions/disciplines or new forms of technology have led to an increase in demand for versatile and skilled engineers. While there are more than 1,100 private engineering colleges in India, there is still a need for the industry and academia to come together and formulate a contemporary strategy for engineering education in India. There needs to be a high-level think tank that reviews higher engineering and science education system in India and provides direction for future growth. India is witnessing a void of engineering talent that is industry-ready. Today’s engineer needs to adapt to change.

Modern day engineers who will incorporate the inevitable changes in their work and bring about much-needed innovations in technology are needed. Understanding the complexity of the engineering processes and adhering to the global standards and catering to customers worldwide is a perplexing task and, for this, we need to focus on training a set of highly motivated individuals who can be moulded into global leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs.

The industry needs to be able to fulfil three basic requirements in order to create a new age engineer. The first is attracting investment in research. A comparison of Indian engineering colleges with some of the leading institutions across the world on engineering degrees per faculty indicates a poor research and teaching output of Indian institutions vis-a-vis others. While most engineering institutions are improving their research output, the challenge of our engineering education system is to make the transition from primarily teaching institutions to teaching and research institutions. Corporates

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