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 – http://superblog.crazyengineers.com/2008/02/19/embarassing-grammar-mistakes-in-posts/