As an Electronics and Communication engineering student, I was always concerned about my future in this domain because I had no idea of the job prospects. While exploring the career opportunities and the areas where I can grow myself, I came across a wide variety of information. A chaotic mind cannot focus on the course to a successful career! So, here are some insights into the prospects of the electronics industry to aid, clear your vision and my journey of how I built a career in this domain.
What is the story on the ground for an Electronics engineer?
I decided to examine the ground reality of this domain and found out that despite so many roads to a successful career, electronics engineers struggle through getting their dream jobs. Some of the reasons are:
- Mismatch of skills: This is the most common problem experienced by an engineering graduate today. Engineers pass out of college and hope to start working but soon realize that the employers are looking for skills they never built. For example, a candidate seeking a job in circuit designing does not have a basic understanding of a PCB layout. Core companies typically look for candidates who have knowledge of analog and digital electronics and can actively apply concepts from these areas, however, the disconnect lies in the fact that most of the candidates halt their exploration at theoretical concepts and do not build practical skills required for the roles.
- Lack of application: Most of the engineering students study their textbooks for giving exams and achieving a good academic score. The limited knowledge acquired through textbooks has concentrated the students to theoretical knowledge. Students must be motivated to think and innovate for themselves. They should be more focused on real-world applications and problem-solving rather than advanced theoretical learning. For example, digital signal processing has wide use in biometric-based applications. Fingerprint extraction used in mobile phones and other electronic devices uses image processing algorithms. Students can acquire some useful skills through tools such as PSpice, LabVIEW, OrCAD or get a certification in Robotics, or VLSI, and other such programs in order to validate their practical skills and build credibility.
- Skill deficit engineers: Many students lack knowledge of basic concepts. The absence of basic technical information, domain knowledge, in-depth understanding is a major roadblock which leads to a significant population being unfit for electronics centered roles. Curriculum shift, from conventional electronics to end-user-oriented design, is crucial. Students should actively increase their participation in practical labs such as Microprocessor and Microcontroller, Antenna & Microwave, Electronics Simulation, Communication, etc., which can help them harness their hands-on knowledge. For example, sampling, modulation/demodulation techniques learned in the Communication lab can prove to be useful if someone aspires to be a telecom engineer.
What are the career options available for an Electronics and Communication engineer these days?
At the end of the 6th semester, there rolls in a wave of placement season. When it comes to placements, I found various options to go for PSUs, or join an MNC or go for higher studies in India or abroad. Here are some options that I found relevant:
Globally renowned private companies also desire eligible candidates from Electronics domain. Apart from good cognitive skills, they require domain knowledge, i.e., theoretical as well as practical knowledge of subjects like Digital Electronics, Microcontrollers & Microprocessors, Electronic Devices & Circuits, and basic programming languages like C, C++, Java, etc. depending on the fitment requirements for the specific job roles. You can appear for various online assessments such as CoCubesTM to understand your job fitment in the Indian markets and can get access to a variety of opportunities aligned with your profile and interest areas.
1.1 Core companies: If you are planning to get a job in core companies, you should be thorough with your core concepts and should keep yourself posted with the latest technologies/developments in this area. You can gear up your preparation from the pre-final year and doing some internships in your areas of interest will be helpful during interviews as this will help you gain practical exposure and experience.
i) Electronics sector: Some of the prominent core companies in Electronics segment include Synopsis, Siemens, Qualcomm, Cadence, Cisco Systems, Texas Instruments, Philips, etc. which recruit for roles such as Electronics Design & Development engineer, Network Planning engineers, System Control engineer, etc. These companies also offer internship opportunities which can act as a good preview to such roles. For instance, Samsung, LG Electronics, Videocon and Philips Electronics offer internships in Analog & Digital Electronics, Communication; Dell, Cisco Networking, and Wipro in Networking, etc.
ii) Communication/Telecommunication sector: A telecom engineer is responsible for planning, constructing and monitoring the maintenance of telecommunication networks in an organization. Other common profiles include Broadcast Technician, Communication Equipment operator, Data Architect, Signals Intelligence analyst, etc. Telecom companies like BSNL, Reliance Jio, Vodafone, Bharti Airtel, etc. also actively hire in this domain and provide internship opportunities.
1.2 IT Companies: If you are good at Computer Fundamentals and coding logic, you can step into software companies like TCS, Wipro, IBM, Accenture, Cap Gemini, Tech Mahindra, etc. that actively recruit for the profiles like software engineers, developers, testers, etc. You do not need to be a born coder for cracking the interviews of software companies. A good hold on some of the key coding concepts and programming logic might prove to be helpful. Concepts such as if, if-else, operators, looping constructs, string operations, and basics of data structures, pseudocode, algorithms are some of the key areas covered during the recruitment processes for such roles.
Public Sector Units:
There are some highly reputed public sector units which provide career opportunities to the Electronics graduates. They are DRDO, BSNL, BHEL, CEL, ECIL, HPCL, NTPC, BEL, DMRC, BARC and many more. These accept candidates through GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering) score. Some PSUs like ISRO, Indian Railways, conduct their own exams for recruitment. An ECE graduate can also join the Indian defence services (Indian Army, India Air Force, Indian Navy & Indian Coast Guard). Indian Engineering Services (IES) is one of the most prestigious exams conducted by UPSC to recruit in government sectors for executive hiring (grade-A & grade-B). These exams can be qualified by focusing more on subjects like Engineering Mathematics, Network Theory, Electronics Devices, Analog Circuits, Digital Circuits, Control Systems, Communication System and Electromagnetics.
B.Tech graduates in Electronics can pursue desired M.E/M.Tech course(s) in India after qualifying entrance tests such as GATE and some other college specific entrance exams. There are a variety of specialization areas that are available such as network management, digital media technology, microelectronic engineering, computer networks engineering, information electronics, communication electronics, automotive electronics, power electronics, robotics, radar & satellite communication, embedded systems, optics & optoelectronics, semiconductor materials and devices, VLSI Systems, etc. PG Diploma courses are also offered by CDAC for ECE engineers.
The students who want to study abroad can seek direct admission to various Post Graduate Diploma courses. For admission to most of these universities, they need to appear for Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)/ International English Language Testing System (IELTS). After this, candidates can choose their career paths; they can become research interns/associates at government or private organizations, professors, chief engineers, chief technical officers, etc.
Research organizations such as DRDO, HAL, ISRO, NASA, etc. also provide job opportunities to M.Tech graduates/ PhD holders in various research segments.
Alternative career paths:
Sales, Marketing, Business Development, Content development, Creative writing, research roles are also some prospective areas in which Electronics & Communication engineers can look forward to steering their career ships.
Sharing my journey on an alternative & less travelled career path:
I was inclined towards writing and found an excellent opportunity to utilize my domain knowledge and my passion to the best of my interests. I became a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in Electronics domain at Aon Consulting and since then have been curating assessments for circuit branches and related areas. When I joined this organization, I was a complete novice in this job role. But gradually, I learnt the processes and scientific ways of creating assessments. My role is to create high-quality assessments and systematic execution of delivery processes to meet client requirements in the talent segment. Quality analysis, proofreading, deployment and testing of assessments, designing and creating marketable documentation of the new and existing assessment products, are some of the key responsibility areas of my job profile. I am now following my passion of writing and learning something new every day. It feels overwhelming that my work impacts careers of so many students and it is creating equal opportunity for various placement seekers.
Tools and certifications that will help build your career in Electronics and Communication industry
In addition to the domain knowledge, some tools and certifications that can help you in getting industry ready are:
Tools used by Control System engineers:
MATLAB – It allows matrix manipulations, plotting of functions and data, creation of user interfaces, implementation of algorithms, and interfacing with programs in various languages such as C, C++, C#, Java, and Python.
LabVIEW – It is a graphics-based tool, i.e., it consists of various building blocks that we can drag around and connect in a data flow architecture. It is a highly versatile programming language that reflects changes in real-time and is suitable for real-world applications.
PLC/SCADA – Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) is a hardware-based system used to control electromechanical processes. Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) is a type of industrial control system that is used to monitor and control facilities and infrastructure in industries.
Tools used by VLSI / Design engineers:
Multisim – VLSI Multisim™ is an industry-standard SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis) simulation and circuit design software which is used for analog, digital, and power electronics in education and research.
Xilinx ISE (Integrated Synthesis Environment) – Xilinx offers a software tool by for the synthesis and analysis of HDL (Hardware Description Language) designs. It enables the developers to synthesize their designs, perform timing analysis, examine RTL diagrams, and configure the target programmer’s device.
Electronic Design Automation (EDA) – It is a category of software tools that chip designers use to design and analyze entire semiconductor chips. It is also used for designing electronic systems such as Integrated Circuits (ICs) and Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs).
Tools used by Embedded / Circuit Design engineers:
Eagle PCB – Autodesk EAGLE is an EDA software. It enables PCB designers to smoothly connect schematic diagrams, component placement, PCB routing, and all-inclusive library content.
PSpice – PSpice technology provides the high-performance circuit simulation to analyze and refine circuits, components, and parameters before transferring them to layout and fabrication.
Digital and Analog VLSI Design – This certification gives you a comprehensive insight on the design of integrated chips and VLSI/ASIC design
Networking Fundamentals & Concepts – Certifications such as Cisco (CCNA/CCNP/CCIE) are extremely popular, and employers get to know your proficiency in networking fundamentals and concepts. These are widely used as a selection/rejection criterion for various roles globally.
Embedded Systems – This course gives you a comprehensive knowledge of hardware and software design. Embedded system solutions within IoT (Internet of Things) will be a cornerstone for the next generation embedded system.
Robotics – There is a constant increase in the interest of people in the field of robotics since that opens dozens of opportunities having plenty of room for innovation and automation. Human robots or humanoids have gained quite some popularity in India and around the world in recent times. Artificial intelligence combined with robotics is paving a new way for the technology to develop.
Action plan – Gearing up for your first job
Being an Electronics & Communication engineer, I can say that engineering is not a cakewalk. To make yourself industry-ready you must get out of your comfort zone and put some extra efforts to make yourself technologically sound. Thus, some key areas that can be built upon are:
- Focus on academics – in the classroom as well as practical labs.
- Focus on your internships – they are very important as they give you first-hand experience of working in the real world.
- Self-assessment is very crucial. Take a few assessments and reflect on your areas of strengths and weaknesses.
- Explore and research for your career options – ponder over your key focus areas, available job opportunities and align them with your interests to find the right job for yourself.
- Make sure all your accomplishments, interests, projects, certifications & extra-curricular activities are highlighted in your resume.
- Brush up your aptitude & communication skills, read newspapers to keep yourself a notch above in the Group Discussions (GDs) and Personal Interviews (PIs).
- Enjoy the ride! – Because you cannot give your best unless you enjoy it. Before your interview, revisit your achievements and success, be optimistic, confident and go for it.
Electronics and communication can thus be a lucrative domain when it comes to engineering. Hence, you must keep pace with the latest technologies and advancements globally in order to build a strong foothold. There is still a crucial milestone to be crossed in terms of quality for sustainable existence and India’s zealous engineers will rise to the challenges of the day and dedicate themselves to the building of strong India and shaping our country’s future.
Contributed By – Shagufta Khan
Assessment Team, Aon CoCubes
About the Author:
She has done B.Tech (Hons.) in Electronics and Communication Engineering from ABES Engineering College, Ghaziabad. Her key specialization areas include Signals and Systems, Digital Electronics, Analog Circuits and Communication systems. She is passionate about reading novels and loves to do volunteer work.