Slump in IT sector leads students to consider medicine; those who want to do engineering opt for mechanical, rather than computer science

At least 12 of the top 20 rankers in the State, who had applied for engineering admissions, have now decided to pursue medicine. The others, barring a few, are keen on mechanical engineering.

This is a dramatic shift from last year, when most top-scorers opted for computer science engineering or the popular ECE, aiming for jobs in the IT sector. This year, students say these courses have lost their sheen. With the economic slowdown affecting job prospects, many students have reconsidered their earlier decisions.

S. Abhinesh from Dindigul, who has centums in all four subjects, including biology said he spent a long time considering his options before choosing to pursue medicine at Madras Medical College. “He was very confused. At one point, he wanted to go for aeronautics and then computer science, because his older brother did that. But with the IT sector not doing very well, he thought over it and decided medicine was a safer choice,” said his father P. Sekar, a banker.

For Deepak Prakash Narayan of Madurai, also with a 200/200 cut-off, deciding to pursue medicine was not easy. “The competition is tougher in medicine. While he is ranked sixth in the engineering rank list, he is ranked 159th in medicine. He has centums in physics, mathematics and chemistry, but not in biology, but he still wants to do medicine,” said his uncle Vikram Narayanan.

T. Sudhahar from Tiruchi who scored 199.75, said medicine was always his first choice but he chose to fill up engineering forms too, because they were sold much before the results were declared.

“I took computer science and biology to make sure I was eligible for both streams,” said another topper Monika, who also said she wanted to pursue medicine. “Only if she doesn’t get into a good medical college will we consider engineering,” her father said.

Secretary of Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions, V. Rhymend Uthariaraj, said every year at least 40 of the 100 toppers choose medicine. “We can never say which stream is more sought after as trends change every year,” he said.

This year, only 11 students have scored 200/ 200 while last year, there were 32 such students. The cut-off, officials said, could go down by 0.25 marks this year.

According to education consultant, Jayaprakash Gandhi, mechanical engineering, civil and electrical engineering will emerge as top favourites this year.

A parent, Giridharan, said he had convinced his son Sriram, who has a 200/200 score to choose mechanical engineering over ECE, even though Sriram was interested in the latter. “Students don’t really have any idea about the various branches. They want to do what their friends tell them to. If he pursues mechanical engineering, he can be employed in core companies which are doing well,” Mr.Giridharan said.

Ashwin Kumar from Madurai, also with a centum score, said he had decided to take up mechanical engineering after consulting his teachers and seniors.

“IT placements are decreasing, and if the situation is bad now, it could be worse four years later. Mechanical engineering is evergreen and I can always get into an IT company if I want,” said R. Gauthaman, another topper.