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The sorry state of Indian engineers

By on Feb 15, 2008 | 15 comments

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 Who am I to comment?

I’m an Indian with a first class degree in Electrical Engineering & I love my country. Engineers are the nation builders, they say. But when I see 90/100 engineering students (who visit Engineers Forum ) don’t even know how to construct a simple sentence in English, I feel bad. When I see them asking for “ready made code/idea/topic for my engineering projects”, I feel bad. I feel terribly bad. The common people depend on us for a better nation, a better tomorrow. What are we going to do in life if we can’t use our head and mix our technical knowledge with our ideas?

Or, is it that we don’t “think” anymore?

Yesterday, I was discussing a similar topic with my good friend CEan – Kidakaka. He popped a simple question: “How many of us really get into engineering because we want to build something great?” and I admit, lots of chemicals rushed inside my brain. I started thinking & the result of heavy thinking is this post.

An article points out that while United States produced 70,000 engineers, India produced about 3,50,000 engineers! That’s whooping five times. I agree that we’re a much bigger population, but there’s a big difference between engineers produced in US & India. And that difference is ‘quality’. Read what Microsoft CTO Craig Mundie had said about Indian Engineers. There’s a reason behind it. In India, majority (say 90%) of the students choose engineering as a career because at the end of four (now three) years, you are 99% sure of getting a job with a nice ‘package’ with a big company in Pune, Bangalore or Hyderabad. Only a few take up engineering because they want to ‘build’ something great, do something with their ideas, improve the existing things etc. For the rest, its just a means of entering the ‘MNC’ market. For them, its the matter of pride to talk about which ‘platform’ you work on to the elderly people who don’t even bother if its railway platform or some other platform as long as they know that you sit in a swanky A/C office and you get a FAT salary at the end of every month. Who’s going to care about improving things, innovating, building products for the common man?

I even wonder what value have IITs added to this country. You take brilliant people and add B.Tech label to them. Consider training an average guy and making him a brilliant engineer that you’re known to produce? No doubt you are India’s Brand #2 (after the Taj Mahal) to the world. I have tremendous respect for the IITans who stayed back in the country and build great companies, services etc. But they are only a few. Others are serving up the giants or minding their own startups in USA. Who’s going to improve the things here? Politicians?

I really feel for the dumbass education system we have here. While the world is building 16-core processors, our engineers still study vacuum tube diodes! Ask a fresh electrical engineer from India to repair the broken tube-light or a broken mixer in the kitchen, and he’ll be clueless. I bet 95% of the electronics engineers in India won’t be able to make sense out of the circuit board (mother board) of their mobile phone. I can say that confidently because I’ve been interacting with engineers from around the world for more than 2 years now. In US/UK, I believe, people choose engineering for the love of it. That makes the whole difference.

“If what you say is true, why are big companies opening their development centers in India?”, I get asked lots of times. First of all, let’s understand the basics. Indian Rupee is cheap. Every dollar that comes to India converts into approx. 40 rupees here. That’s a lot of money. Big companies open their centers in India because its direct >60% cost cutting for them! They get a huge pool of developers who are willing to do the coding job (not a ‘brainy’ job, mind well) for a paycheck of less than $1,000. Huge – huge savings for the outsourcing companies!

Few biggies agree with what I said through above paragraphs: This article mentions Kiran Karnik (Chief of NASSCOM) saying “Out of the huge number of engineering and science graduates that India produces, only 25 to 30 percent can be regarded as suitable”.

Before I conclude, I clarify that I do not intend to blame anyone (although, I haven’t used politically ‘correct’ language above). I do not intend to hurt anyone’s feeling. India is a great country and it has lot of the super engineers in past. We need more “Girish Waghs”, who can bring in the change.

I only want engineers to realize their true potential and come out of their shell (read cubicle 🙂 ). We have the ability to change the world and make it a better place to live. So before you ask for your ‘project idea’ or ‘seminar topic’ , think what you can improve in the world that surrounds you. You’ll find 100k project ideas and seminar topics.

The Big K


p.s: Sorry for the typos and grammar mistakes 🙁 . Read this for more information –


  1. Y W

    September 28, 2008

    Post a Reply

    The report is only one side of coin. First and foremost, one can’t compare an Indian with an American or European for several reasons.

    Probably, not Engineers alone, many Indians have a casual attitude towards anything in life. Why there is Red Alert after every bomb blast in Delhi? Why not catch them before? In a busy city, they hung bombs with tree branches while there was system in place to check that. Look at Indian sports-persons! Look at Cricket team. Casual approach and callous attitude by one and all – not only Engineers.

    Why blame Engineers alone? In fact these are the guys who did well in their school and got a chance to study Engineering. Engineers also have casual approach because it is the attitude all around and so they also learn that, early in their life.

    Look at those of our age group who can stop being casual and train their children to behave. An average Indian is right when he worries to get good paying job because he has to feed his old parents and others in family. A thought of building something great would ever come to a man with such responsibility? He cannot not expect support from his country or government in the hour of need – compare this with an adult of US / Europe or OPEC countries. Indian senior citizens have to manage with old age pension of just few hundred rupees.

    It is unending and long story. All of us know this. We can blame anyone! Better, if one can suggest some ways of improving this situation.

  2. durga

    October 6, 2008

    Post a Reply

    i have a ant grasshopper story to share…

    once upon a time.. ants worked very hard and stored food for the tough time…

    grasshopper laughed upon the ant and happily hopped off..

    when it was time for winter.. ants now relied upon their winter storages .grasshopper starved.

    he called this hardwork of ants and a priviledge to them…he potarited himself as deprived…

    political parties asked ants to sahre their food and create a balances for ‘richess’.

    ********* reserves ant;s half food for grasshoppers as they as well belong to same country.. their right for food needs to be up held…

    neither ants have changed nor grasshoppers nor the supporters of both.It’s only that now ants have build their own mutli billion companys in so called silicon valley..

    🙂 the blog is the outcome of some action…
    and action still needs to be known…

  3. deepak patle

    October 12, 2009

    Post a Reply

    i am engeneering first year student.its a very nice article.i feel one possible reason behind this is large % of reservation in renowed colleges here .many students who r not elligible for seat r easily getting good colledge.&many of brilient student r left with no better options.

    i think this state of engeneers would remain as it is till our govt. start taking eligible student in right place.

    sorry for poor english

    • Nayan

      January 11, 2014

      Post a Reply

      First off, to understand engineering, scoring high is not the prerequisite, i did engineering because i had good marks and ended up working in a BPO initially, because i could not care less about great things. now i have started my own aerospace design consultancy not because i need money but because after my post graduation i developed a taste for aerospace engineering, and reservation or no reservation, students must face up to their parents, if you don’t like engineering, you don’t like it, period. Ask your parents to get you into something else. The pay is as good or even better in arts or pure science if you care to work properly.
      And if you want to get a job, any job, improve your English , that sir is the gateway to understand what you study.

  4. monika

    April 16, 2011

    Post a Reply

    it was nice coming across your blog…
    this post inspires and triggers self-improvement..:) thanks !!
    you can mark me a regular reader.. an increment in the world literate count 😉

  5. monika

    April 16, 2011

    Post a Reply

    it was nice coming across your blog…
    this post inspires and triggers self-improvement..:) thanks !!
    you can mark me a regular reader.. an increment in the world literate count 😉

  6. ROHIT

    April 26, 2011

    Post a Reply

    HI I M electrical engg. too. u r all right . i agree to statement ” world is making 16 core pro , indiengineers still studying vaccum tube diode” . i feel engg education boring . less practs , more theory . no project untill u get into last year . this is really ridiculous .. edu. system have to be improved .

  7. James

    July 19, 2011

    Post a Reply

    Indians are not very good employees, and not promotable.  Why.  Well, seldom to they measure up to their promise.  They look for soft jobs, pushing pencils, sitting at their desk, ideally with an impressive business card.  They dont take risks, they seldom will commit, on time or on budget does not figure into their vocabulary.  Instead, when a project is close to being due, they depart for another job.  If criticised, they will either claim racism, blame someone else or suddenly lose all understanding of the English language.  I have worked with many Indians, and they are all work shy and will duck responsibility.  They are certainly not risk takers and will always look for an easy shortcut solution.  I suspect that their advanced degrees are gained by listening and attending classes then repeating back on exams what they have heard.  Not by finding creative solutions to problems.  Soon the world will wise up.  The USA and Canada certainly doesnt need any more of these useless people.

    • Nayan

      January 11, 2014

      Post a Reply

      Right on spot you are, most Indians become engineers because they vomited out what they were fed in class, no minimum standards for any language are in place, and the ones with really good skills and commitment get passed up for placements because they make the teachers feel insecure. But not all of them are bad, the ones who migrate to US/Canada/UK are the ones who want cushy jobs, in India you have to work really hard to stand out. That is something missing in the our conditioning in college. This from an Indian Engineer.

  8. Kuldeep7parmar

    September 9, 2011

    Post a Reply

    Stop blaming your education system and do something about it .

    Deep Parmar

  9. chetan

    September 24, 2011

    Post a Reply

    K, I think Mumbai or Delhi slums is the brand #1 of India to the world. Then the brand #2 would be 60% malnourished children. This what we are famous for in the world.


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