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Gadget gurus

From healthcare to space research, TV sets to iPods, electronics engineers can handle anything, reports Pranab Ghosh.

education Updated: May 23, 2012 11:36 IST
Pranab Ghosh

Electronics appliances fascinated him when he was a schoolboy. He wanted to take them apart and put them together again... Which must have been the reason why, after school, he went on to do his BE in electronics and instrumentation from the Rajiv Gandhi Proudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya, Bhopal. Meet Ansul Kothari, Executive, Application and Service Support, working in German multinational Bosch Rexroth India -Ltd’s drive and control department. At 26, he’s also very happy that his salary has appreciated seven times since he joined his first job as an engineer in a system integrator company in November 2005.

The scope of work in the field of electronics engineering is “quite vast, ranging from developing basic circuits to advanced chipset design to design of gadgets that include mobile phones, portable MP3/video players, GPS receivers, wireless surveillance systems”, says Rajiv Kumar whose Widcomm, the company he sold to Broadcom, USA, in 2005, was one of the pioneers in developing the Bluetooth technology.

Electronics engineers can handle just about everything “from designing of diagnostic equipment for healthcare to space instrumentation, which is used in the analysis of data in space research”, says Kumar. A lot of defence and military-related equipment is based on electronics engineering too, he adds. Kumar feels there are numerous career opportunities for people like him in India, “as there are a number of design houses that develop their own products or design for customers from abroad”.There’s a big demand for good electronics engineers in India, says WB Prasad, Deputy Director (Engineering), Doordarshan. “That’s because of the increasing computerisation in the country. As instrumentation needs go up, the process industries also require engineers. Media expansion all over the sub-continent has boosted the DTH, satellite and cable industry — calling for electronics engineers. The crop from engineering colleges does not meet the demand as many leave for assignments abroad,” Prasad says.“The challenge for the future, however, lies in the ability to produce miniature circuits with low costs of production,” he concludes.

What's it about?
Electronics engineering is the study of the manufacturing, processing and applications of electronic components and circuitries. It covers a wide range of applications and gadgets ranging from TV sets, radios, computers and mobile phones to MP3 players to instrumentation for healthcare and space research. Electronics engineers help find solutions to practical problems by inventing or working on gadgets that make life simpler, or more entertaining.

Electronics engineering is a constantly changing branch of engineering with ever-widening scope... Don’t cell phones, TV sets or other gadgets keep getting smarter day by day? It is the electronics engineers who smarten things up. They are the ones who turned that solid, fat mobile phone we used 10 years ago into a slim iPhone, with its high-intensity displays, sensitive touch screens, net access, etc

Clock work
10 am: Check the day’s
11 am: Distribute work/ discuss it with subordinate staff/
Noon: Meetings and

1.30 pm: Lunch
2 to 3 pm: Visit manufacturing plant, check product and see test results
4 to 8 pm: Check rivals’ products, sit with colleagues and discuss ways to add more value to the product
9 pm: Leave for home

The payoff
On gaining a BTech or similar degree today from a good institution, you can expect to earn anything between Rs 4 lakh and Rs 6 lakh per annum. As you work your way up in the organisation and learn implementation, architectural and design-level skills, you could make about Rs 10 lakh a year. At the managerial level, you can earn anything between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 20 lakh per annum. People at the top rung (the VP or the CTO of a large organisation) can rake in upwards of Rs 60 lakh a year

Good analytical and reasoning skills
A creative and inventive mind
Good at mathematics
Ability to understand circuitry/drawings, etc
Ability to grasp the fundamentals of electronics engineering
Ability to learn on the job since it is an evolving field
Ability to continue educating oneself right through one’s career

How do i get there?
You should study physics, chemistry and maths at the 10+2 level and then clear the joint entrance test/entrance test to bag a seat in any engineering institution. Completion of the programme will get you a BTech or BE degree. Those wanting to study further can go for an MTech or ME degree and then apply for a PhD programme

Institutes & urls
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur

IIT, Guwahati

IIT, Roorkee

IIT, Delhi

National Institute of Technology (NIT), Jamshedpur

NIT, Karnataka

NIT, Kurukshetra

NIT, Srinagar

Delhi Technological University (DTU) formerly Delhi College of Engineering(DCE),DU

PEC University of Technology, Chandigarh
Apart from the IITs and NITs, there are several institutes like BITS, Regional Engineering Colleges etc that impart top quality education and training in electronics engineering

Pros & cons
Can be accommodated in any industry
The intellectual stimulation is rewarding
The quest for perfection stresses one out. Since most designs are for products that touch a consumer or for space research or the military, an electronics engineer needs to work out optimal solutions — and this requires lots of patience and effort
Product deadlines take a lot out of you. Meeting timelines is, of course, the key to success but it does limit the ability to innovate