Thoughts

Is Studying for an Engineering Degree the Most Wasteful thing in Life?

School + Engineering Degree has almost become default near my place. I guess it’s the same across many places in India.

I am not talking about the job one may/may not get after studying B.E./B.Tech. I am talking about the 4 years of time spent while studying for the ‘Professional’ Degree. And of course, the HUGE Expenditure that is usually borne by fathers or banks.

Don’t you think 4 YEARS of YOUR TIME and LAKHS of YOUR MONEY is precious? Why waste it by enrolling in an engineering college?

A fraction of the students who enroll for engineering courses get good (read: moderately well paying) jobs and that might justify their investment – even then not the time. What about all those students who never got a job or never got a job in the field of their study?

Why are Indian parents encouraging this nonsense?

I wonder how many students… Forget that. I wonder how many professors understand what they teach!! If, in the name of engineering, you encourage students to blindly mug-up/memorize and pass with ‘flying colors’, all you achieve is increase their memory power. With cheap high capacity electronic storage devices available nowadays, even that is a waste.

Ever noticed the enormous number of gigantic engineering colleges that have sprung up across the country? Some are as big as towns! Do we really need so many engineers? Don’t you think it’s a colossal waste of infrastructure, money, and brains?

Maybe I am missing something. Maybe there is another side to this.

Perhaps the engineering colleges are employing people and providing jobs? Perhaps they are enabling construction, educational material, books, paper, xerox and other industries to prosper? Perhaps the engineering colleges impart the much required ‘discipline’ into students that can later be taken advantage of by the IT companies? Perhaps the engineering colleges help in ‘rotating money’ which might have otherwise been held back as black money or in Swiss accounts?

If these are the reasons for the existence of engineering colleges, by a similar logic, we can also justify the existence of liquor shops.

The same people who cry their hearts out after losing money to finance scams, emu scams, solar scams, etc. are proud of losing money to the engineering degree scam. I wonder by what logic anyone (except a small minority) can justify their investment in engineering colleges?

Destination Infinity

PS: Written by an ‘Engineer’ who never did anything related to his ‘Engineering’ Degree.

PS2: I challenge all engineers (well, almost all of you reading this post) to declare that the four years spent in an engineering college was very productive and useful for your future career. Let’s see how many can do that.

15 Comments

  • SG

    I agree with the theme of this post. I have to differ with you in point. Taken advantage by an IT Company? Yeah. I want to be taken advantage by an IT Company. Who else will pay a fresh out of college with no experience Rs.30,000 a month?

    • Rajesh K

      The ‘taken advantage by an IT company’ refers more to the process oriented jobs they provide, rather than skill-oriented jobs. Secondly, I feel, salary is just one yardstick. There are many other parameters like imparting matching skills, job satisfaction, career growth and learning, job security, etc. in which IT companies don’t fare all that well. Besides, it is getting that higher salary at an early age that pushes many towards unhealthy addictions.

      Destination Infinity

  • Nandhini Chandrasekaran

    Yesterday I met an electrical and electronics engineer who was confused which one was the socket and which the plug. Such is an engineering degree! But the advantage this generation of engineers have is the IT profession. Though it’s nothing to do with what they’ve studied, they get to settle early in lives, monetarily. While money may not be everything, for those hailing from middle class and below middle class families, it has made many dreams come true which we cannot overlook.

  • Pranju Chakrapani

    No. It is not productive to spend four years in a course which does not meet the cost to benefit ratio. However if you are saying that the four years of study regardless of cost to benefit ratio is worthless, then I would have to disagree with you. Four years is a hell of a lot time to become a man from a kid. To get the exposure, education, interactions, failures, memories and experiences. In a later stage of life, I doubt one would get time to learn from one’s mistake.

    • Rajesh K

      I think, it’s only later on in life, when one goes to a job that one actually learns something by making actual mistakes. The mistakes and learnings in engineering colleges, that too after paying so much money, is minuscule to the exposure one gets during a job when one actually earns money.

      If you consider an engineering degree to be an investment, then consider this alternative: Join B.Sc computer science, join IT company in entry level position, and work your way to the top. You’ll learn much more this way. Besides, all the money that would’ve been spent in an engineering college could be put in an FD and will even earn interest! BTW, the % of people who get IT or ANY good jobs after finishing engineering today is minimal.

      Destination Infinity

  • Manogna

    Well, speaking as a civil engineer, I have worked with almost all the subjects I have used in college only exceptions being probability and statistics. As far as my job as a design engineer was concerned I didn’t need that. I miss my job sorely now , even though I have taken up pottery for now. Older generations would take up a 3-yr degree for graduation; now 4yr engineering degree is the new graduation!

    • Rajesh K

      There are very few who get a job related to their field of study. In such cases the 4-years of study (and investment) is worth it. But the majority don’t even get a proper job, forget getting a job in their field – nowadays. The situation in city colleges is better – you should see some colleges in the interior. No one has a clue of what they are doing, there.

      Destination Infinity

  • Kirtivasan

    You will not believe me. But cross my heart. It is the truth.
    Studying for Engineering is the best thing in my life. I had a great interest in learning engineering subjects. I remember most of the concepts. And also their relevance . I am Electrical and Electronics Engineer from Kumaraguru College of Technology. I was called “padikamale pass aagividuvaan”. I scored 78% and all subjects cleared first attempt. And third in the university. The first and second were from my college only. And ours was the only Electrical and Electronics Engineering college. First was Sarangarajan and second was Saravanan.
    Those days are cherished by me. The Coimbatore life.
    ( I will defend the guy who got confused with the socket and plug. Possibly double meaning !!)

    • Rajesh K

      Yours is a great achievement indeed. I really admire people who take their studies seriously and excel at it. But there are very few people who study to learn or learn because they are passionate about their subject. Most students now read to pass the exam and get a job. There is a big difference. Unfortunately, the latter tribe is the majority today and that’s what I am lamenting about.

      Destination Infinity

  • Kirtivasan

    I did not read your blog post fully.
    To me, engineering is one subject which can be computerized. What I mean is you cannot write a software program for physics. Or maths. But you can make a software program for power electronics. For engineering mathematics.
    Is this what you were missing. Kindly and please acknowledge. . .

    • Rajesh K

      I was not talking about computerizing a subject. But I was talking about people studying one stream of engineering (for example EEE) and then taking up a job in a totally unrelated stream like IT. That’s what is happening in majority of cases today.

      Destination Infinity

  • Avada Kedavra

    I agree with you. Even I fail to understand what those thousands of engineers who graduate from so many colleges do to get a job? How can so many of them get employed? Most of them don’t even know what they studied in the college as they just do it for the heck of it. I think I did not learn anything properly in those 4 years as the lecturers themselves did not know what they were teaching.

    • Rajesh K

      I think, in the same way people don’t question why some of us need to study all those overly-complex stuff in +1 & +2, they are also not questioning why we should do engineering!

      Destination Infinity

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