Electrical Engineering

Electrical Engineering is an evergreen subject. It’s legacy is remained intact even today. If you’re looking for a good education, it’s a great place to be. There are some very good professors in their respective fields. Although, it comes with a warning. The department is very academically oriented, and the workload is quite heavy, especially in the third year.  Also, scoring grades can be difficult at times. Placement wise, if you have been moderately attentive in your four years, you should be able to land a decent job.

In IIT,when the student enters college,he has high expectations with college life.He is not receptive to an intelligent understanding,for after a four year dose in the high school of the same vicious method of memorizing a large mass of half and even less understood matters, the student finds it far easier to memorize the contents of his textbooks than to use his intelligence to understand the subject matter.

Fortunately, the IIT’s realize that the first requirement of an electrical engineer is a thorough general education, and begin to realize that for this purpose it is not sufficient; to require general subjects for college entrance and relegate their study to the high school: for even if the average high school were what it should be and not what it actually is, much of the general knowledge required by an educated man cannot be taught in the high school, since during the high-school years the intelligence of the boy is not sufficiently ripened for its grasp, and a review in the college is necessary.

The glaring fault of the college curriculum is that quantity and not quality seems to be the object sought: the amount of instruction crowded into a four years course is far beyond that which even the better kind of student can possibly digest.CRAM CRAM CRAM !!! Last night preps,copying assignments,deadline submissions etc are normal.People are running after grades rather than gaining knowledge which should not be the case in reputed colleges like IIT.

“Walk 10,000 miles. Read 10,000 books.”, Gu Yanwu, Ming dynasty scholar.

Gu Yanwu’s quote was about wisdom, but I think it can be readily applied to engineering expertise – it is gained through a combination of theoretical and experiential knowledge. Book learning by itself isn’t enough and practical experience is vital to understand how theory translates into practice.

I argued that the incentives in engineering school and industry are intrinsically incompatible. That is, no matter how hard engineering schools try, they will never train engineers to the expectations of industry simply because their values are inherently misaligned. Now I think that this misalignment doesn’t matter and that the purpose of engineering school (as it pertains to industry) is to provide a solid base of theoretical engineering knowledge. I believe that the problem lies in the shared perceptions of what an engineering degree means.

The popular perception seems to be that a newly-minted graduate is a junior engineer, exactly like a qualified engineer but with less experience. However I submit that graduates are not actually engineers yet. They are “half-formed” engineers that are yet to learn the skills and values that industry expects from “fully-formed” qualified engineers. The popular perception goes a long way to explaining why there are numerous complaints from companies that graduates are not yet “industry-ready”.

Of course they’re not “industry-ready”, and it’s insane to expect them to be. After all, most other professions such as law, accounting and medicine recognize that graduates come out of university only half-formed, and that a period of professional apprenticeship is necessary. At times, this concept seems to be lost on engineering companies.

So instead of making futile attempts to change engineering courses in order to satisfy the demands of industry, it would be more realistic to change the popular perception of what an engineering degree means.

Firstly, employers need to understand that they are getting at most half-formed engineers and that they are making an investment for the future. They should accept the responsibility of training the next generation of engineers, if not for the benefit of society as a whole, then at least for their own direct benefit by having a skilled labor pool in the future.

Secondly, engineering schools need to recognize that their values do not coincide with industry values, and that their attempts to align them are ultimately futile or would require massive structural changes to engineering courses.

Lastly, engineering students themselves must realize that earning a degree is only the first step to becoming a qualified engineer.We must be diversified as well as sophisticated in our branch and should have ample amount of knowledge about our core subjects.

-Harshit Gupta

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