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The tech connect

education Updated: May 15, 2012 16:57 IST
Hindustan Times
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The lowdown
Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne’s description of a computer engineer’s work is, they design, develop, and manage systems that process, store, and transmit information. These systems include personal computers, workstations, mainframe computers, computer networks, and all of their various components. Computer engineers are particularly involved in the design and development of embedded computers used in aircraft, automobiles, communication switching systems, biomedical instruments, industrial robots, and household appliances. Designing these systems raises both hardware and software issues; a computer engineer typically has the hardware background of an electrical engineer and the software background of a computer scientist. Computer engineers can choose to specialise in areas such as very large scale integrated (VLSI) systems design, embedded systems, electronic design automation and networks, and communications

Clockwork
A computer engineer often carries work home, but his/her typical day goes something like this:
10am: Reach office, ask team about the status of projects
11am: Weekly/biweekly project meeting with the team, work on project proposals, conference call with client from the US
2.30pm: Lunch
3pm: Back to work. Take part in internal lectures series on topics of professional interest
5pm: Have a team meeting
7pm: Get ready for video conferencing with team members in other countries
8pm: Return home

The payoff
The average salary of fresh computer engineers from good institutes ranges between Rs. 4.5 lakh and Rs. 6 lakh. Candidates start as trainees or development engineers, and then move on to designations like design engineers, project managers and eventually chief technical officers. As you move up, your pay can increase to Rs. 20 lakh to Rs. 30 lakh per annum

Skills/TRAITS
* Should have a keen interest in computers and an analytical bent of mind
* A scientific temperament
* Logical and reasoning skills
* Good mathematical skills
* Ability to work hard and sit at a computer for long hours
* Insatiable appetite for news on innovations in the IT world
* Knowledge of a foreign language like French or German can be an added advantage

Getting there
Take physics, chemistry and maths with computer science after Class 10. After Class 12, you may take any or all of the various engineering entrance tests. You need to clear a written test to get into a bachelor’s programme in the department of computer science and engineering (CSE) at the IITs or institutes like the National Institutes of Technology. If you can’t get into an undergraduate programme in CSE in an IIT, then you could try for the IITs’ MTech programme where entry is not as competitive

Institutes and URLs
* IITs, multiple locations
www.jee.iitd.ac.in
* Banaras Hindu University
www.itbhu.ac.in
* Indian School of Mines University, Dhanbad
www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
* Indian Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad
www.iiit.ac.in
* BITS Pilani
www.bits-pilani.ac.in
* National Institutes of Technology (Warangal, Surathkal, Calicut and Tiruchirapalli)
www.nitw.ac.in, www.nitk.ac.in, www.nitc.ac.in www.nitt.edu
* Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology, Allahabad
www.mnnit.ac.in

Pros and cons
* High pay packages as compared to other conventional streams
* If you are good at your job, then the growth prospects are quite good. You can reach the ranks of the higher management in a short span of time
* Office hours are flexible and your office timings may rotate as per requirements
* Staying back after office hours and carrying work back home is a part of life for many professionals

With many reputable multinational companies such as Microsoft, Google, IBM, Oracle, Cisco and Adobe having their offices in India, the job opportunities are bound to grow Khalid Moin, dean, faculty of engineering and technology, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

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