Engineering fields

I decided to make a list of the prominent fields in engineering today and give a brief description of what each field encompasses. Not that I am an expert, but just thought of putting down what I know. 🙂 I’ve included only a few that I know about. There are many more fields, such as Chemical, Mining, Aeronautical, Biotechnology and so on but the following are the fields that are the most popular in Karnataka. So here’s the list:

  1. Electronics and Communication Engineering
  2. Electrical and Electronics Engineering
  3. Computer Science Engineering
  4. Mechanical Engineering

Electronics and Communication:

This one had to come first, since it’s what I’ve done my BE in. Electronics and Communication in all colleges that come under VTU has almost the same curriculum as Telecommunication Engineering, so there’s almost no difference between the two here. ECE comes with a lot of math. So if you’re interested in mathematics, it’s a very good option. ECE is generally the most preferred branch to pursue engineering in Karnataka. The following are the main areas that are included in electronics:

  • Circuit design and embedded systems: These deal with the ‘integrated circuits’ or ICs or ‘chips’ that we find in almost every electronic appliance today. This is perhaps the specialization with the least amount of math in ECE (At least here!). You learn about diodes, transistors, capacitors, resistors and so on and designing systems using these components. This is perhaps the most well paid field in ECE. Jobs include testing and designing ICs, programming these chips and so on.
  • Signal processing: This includes speech processing, image processing and control systems. Speech processing includes speech compression, voice recognition, and so on. The different codecs that are used in music i.e mp3, etc are results of speech compression. Similarly, image processing includes face detection, image compression, image enhancement, restoration and so on. If you’ve noticed, jpg, bmp, png formats of the same picture have different file sizes. These are different formats for image compression. Control systems, as the name says deals with control of various systems. Control systems are used in aircrafts, satellites, robots, even a printing press! anywhere precise control of machinery is required. But note that Signal processing involves a lot of math. Jobs include designing various codecs like the mp3, mp4, avi or mkv, biometrics, etc.
  • Communication and Networking: Another field that involves a lot of math. This includes mobile/cellular communication, internet (Wi-fi and your wired LANs), satellite communication and so on. It’s a very exciting field to work on.We hear of 3G, 4G and so on, all these are standards for wireless communication, for better, faster communication. Also included is the field of antenna analysis and design, which has few people in it but there is a lot of demand for experts in the field. Jobs in this field include design and maintenance of communication networks (LANs, routers, etc), wireless systems, protocols for communication and so on.

There is a general misconception spread around that ‘if you take ECE, you can get into hardware or software, but if you take CS, you can only go into software’. If you want a software job, take up CS. Don’t choose ECE.

Electrical and Electronics Engineering

The fields mentioned above, except for communications are still considered as part of EE by most people. EE is not as lucrative as ECE here at Karnataka. It includes circuit design, to some extent but mainly involves study and design of transformers, motors, electrical machines, power systems and so on. Generally includes high voltage applications, very important in industries.

Computer Science Engineering

This also includes the branch, Information Science Engineering (ISE). Both have the same curriculum. If you are interested in getting a job with a good pay package, this would be  your best bet. Not that you can not get good salary in any other field, but in general, CS students get better packages and most top recruiters in India look for students from a software background. Students who love playing computer games think CS is a good option for them, but be warned, this field is nothing like a game! Many people take up CS just because of the lucrative job opportunities but then get frustrated soon after they get into a job. This field includes hard-core programming, design and analysis of algorithms, operating systems and so on. This is a good field if you can sit at one place and program a lot. You have to be good at programming and must be strong in your fundamentals to be successful. Jobs in this field include design of operating systems, mobile applications and basically every software you see in your computer or mobile.

Mechanical Engineering

Another popular field in engineering. Involves a lot of physics. Design and study of engines, mechanical structures, stress, strain and the dynamics of mechanical structures in general are studied. Requires a lot of hands on experience in practical work. A lot of time has to be spent in the workshop in BE to learn cutting, drilling and welding, but you also learn about the functioning of internal combustion engines! Requires firm basics in physics, particularly in mechanics. Jobs in this field could range from design of aircrafts, space vehicles, satellites, cars (this is what gets most people excited 🙂 ) to robotics and so on.

This was just a brief outline of my views on some branches of engineering. But ultimately, when it comes to choosing a field, it depends on what you’re passionate about. If you’re really, deeply interested in a particular field and are ready to strive in that area, it does not matter what branch you choose. Every field has opportunities, all that matters is your motivation towards it.