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Updated: April 16, 2012 15:17 IST

Instrumentation engineering in demand

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PROMISING FIELD:Instrumentation engineering is a multi-disciplinary stream and covers varied subjects. Photo:K.R. Deepak
The Hindu
PROMISING FIELD:Instrumentation engineering is a multi-disciplinary stream and covers varied subjects. Photo:K.R. Deepak

Nature of work of an instrumentation engineer ranges from designing, developing, installing, managing equipments that are used to monitor and control machinery, finds Sumit Bhattacharjee

Just imagine a world without instruments. It would be like traversing into a time that probably goes even beyond the Stone Age. Man has always been fascinated towards instruments and the quest to invent and innovate on new instruments has pushed mankind beyond barriers to an age where instruments have become a part and parcel of the life. Today, we find instruments at home and at workplace, and this was possible only because of the science instrumentation.

In scientific terms, instrumentation is defined as the art and science of measurement and control of process variables within a production, or manufacturing area. The science has further opened up the realm of instrumentation engineering.

The discipline of instrumentation engineering branched out of the streams of electrical and electronic engineering some time in the early part of 1970s. “It is a multi-disciplinary stream and covers subjects from various branches such as chemical, mechanical, electrical, electronics and computers,” says Prof. A. Bhujanga Rao, from the department of Instrumentation Engineering, Andhra University.

The professor adds that instrumentation engineering is a specialised branch of electrical and electronic engineering and it deals with measurement, control and automation of processes.


Almost all process and manufacturing industry such as steel, oil, petrochemical, power and defence production will have a separate instrumentation department, which is manned and managed by instrumentation engineers. “Automation is the buzz word in process industry, and automation is the core job of instrumentation engineers. Hence, the demand for instrumentation will always be there,” says the professor.

The growth in the avionics, aeronautical and space science sectors has also increased the scope for instrumentation engineers. Instrumentation engineers can also fit in both software and hardware sectors.

Apart from covering core subjects such as system dynamics, industrial instrumentation and process control, analytical and bio-medical instrumentation and robotics, the students deal with software and hardware topics such as microprocessor and micro controller based instrumentation, VLSI and embedded system designs, computer architecture and organisation and computer control of processes. Computer languages such as ‘C' and Fortran are also part of the curriculum. This makes an instrumentation engineer fit for both the hardware and the software industry. Moreover, since instrumentation engineers are presumed to be good in physics, the logical ability is expected to be on the higher side, which is a basic quality needed to excel in the software industry.

The demand is so high that every student finds at least two jobs waiting in the wings, by the time he or she completes her course, says Dr. Bhujanga Rao.

Nature of work of an instrumentation engineer ranges from designing, developing, installing, managing equipments that are used to monitor and control machinery and processes.

“Though there is a demand for instrumentation engineers from the software sector, we prefer the core area, as that is where we can showcase our creativity and knowledge,” says Srinivas a third-year student.

The shift towards core sector is not only due to the opportunity to showcase ones creative talent and knowledge, but also because of the long term stability and quick growth. Bio-medical is another area that is fast catching up and there is huge requirement for instrumentation professionals.

Instrumentation engineering that made its way as an exclusive engineering discipline in the early part of 1970s was earlier known as M.Sc. Tech Instrumentation in many of the colleges. It was then a three-year PG course. Even today, it is referred to by different names by various colleges. While some call it as B. Tech- electronics and instrumentation, a few name it as B. Tech – control and instrumentation. Whatever, be the name, the curriculum is the same.

please let me know the list of PSUs for an instrumentation engineers with no of seats.

from:  amit
Posted on: Jun 13, 2012 at 15:46 IST

Its one of the best job provider branches in engineering..Vacancies are
there in Petroleum,automation sectors ,BMS sectors...If you are not
getting a job after studying instrumentation,that means either you have
back papers or you are not compatible.

from:  abhishek
Posted on: Jun 9, 2012 at 08:04 IST

i have choosen instrumentaion engg ... did i have any scoope in this after i finish my 4 years .... did my knowledge really get a step forward if i concentrate in this ? many people really confused me by asking 'why you choosen this group ?' i was so scared it is valuable and worthy ?
really waiting for a answer .........

from:  bobbie
Posted on: Jun 6, 2012 at 09:05 IST

no matter what you study,no matter which trade you select.As far as you
complete your schooling/graduation in a highly reputed firm,else
otherwise everything is a waste.

from:  ADARSH
Posted on: May 26, 2012 at 21:15 IST

Always Skill level defines someone in his/her career path, Whether its
instrumentation/Computer/Electronics/Robotics/Biomedical Engineering.

If a student choose certain specialized branch since from the
inception of studies.It will always proved him/her to concentrate on
particular domain & eventually gaining the maturity of that area
interms of skills,environment,industrial & market outlook.

Similarly, their is always a passion,interest & desire of an
individual towards some subjects which will also prove to be a worthy.

Landing into a common platform means, again you require certain
direction ahead. Always a specialized Engineer holds a master degree
of engineering in that particular area.

Posted on: May 18, 2012 at 05:26 IST

I'm going to complete instrumentation engineering this year and i also studied automation but i still didn't get job,where i want to search for a core company jobs as a fresher.

from:  shankar
Posted on: Apr 29, 2012 at 16:14 IST

I have studied instrumentation engineering in 2010. and i also studied
automation. but i still didn't get job. only students studied in
government college will get job in instrumentation stream.

from:  Avinash
Posted on: Apr 23, 2012 at 13:49 IST

the above mentioned jobs by the professor are for graduates from a highly reputed college like andhra university.People from local colleges would find it hard to get a normal job itself,so expecting 2 jobs in a hand while graduating is like chewing off more than you can swallow. overall the article is an interesting and intuitive one . For people talking of NIIT students being unemployed,let me say that NIIT is no IIT or IISC.So please stop expecting more from a local college education. If you want to verify the authenticty of details provided then go talk to people from Andhra University where there is a surplus of jobs for instrumentation students. And I would like to ASk how could a father put his daughter in a field only by reading something from a newspaper article.JUst because a newspaper articulated that tennis is a good profession,that doesn't mean I put my child into it. Understand the intricacies of engineering and realize the value of good college education.

from:  aditya iith
Posted on: Apr 22, 2012 at 20:47 IST

It is not correct,in my knowledge even NIIT students is unemployed past
two years.Some wrong information put many body life miserable.By reading
as advised by Hindu news papers,I advised my daughter in Bio-Tech in
engineering,After completing past three years she is unemployed.

from:  selvaraj
Posted on: Apr 19, 2012 at 19:05 IST

sir, can you please tell me some of the internship opportunities for the
instrumentation engineers and can you please suggest what we can carry
on with, after completing our graduation degree, job or go with higher

from:  vignesh
Posted on: Apr 19, 2012 at 16:31 IST

Getting a job with instrumentation engineering degree was a hard task a decade ago and the situation has not changed now also. The risk in instrumentation is that you study many things and the openings in the core sector is very less and openings in other sector is first offered to specialist in those sectors such as electrical, electronics etc. Although the discipline and subject is very good, it will be hard for one to find a place in the core area.

from:  senthil
Posted on: Apr 18, 2012 at 16:37 IST

To say that they have atleast 2 jobs waiting for them as they graduate is overkill ! I am an instrumentation engineer and it took me 2 years of doing odd related jobs before I settled down for a proper job in the automation sector.
Besides, instrumentation and automation are not the same. The former is the elder brother, and it involves the selection, installation and commissioing of the instruments for any plant. Automation involves wiring these instruments up and put them up to a sequence that makes sense to the process at hand, so that the entire plant of instruments and related utilities can work like it were a single organism. I will not deem the above as a well informed article. Rather it is an advertisement, if anything.

from:  Najeebullah Saidalavi
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 10:29 IST
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