“Opt for Computer Science, Information Technology or Electrical and Electronics Engineering (EEE),” was education consultant Jayaprakash Gandhi's advice to engineering aspirants on Friday. He was conducting a pre-counselling guidance session for engineering at The Hindu Education Plus Career Fair 2010 at Jayaram Thirumana Nilayam.

Pointing out that most engineering graduates have been placed in the IT sector, Mr. Gandhi broke the myth that the IT industry was not doing well. There is tremendous scope for the IT and energy sectors in future, while saturation has been reached in the communication field, he said, appealing to students to not opt for Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE) without considering other options.

Mr. Gandhi went on to list civil engineering, mechanical and ECE behind computer science, IT and EEE in the priority list, while revealing that biotechnology and aeronautical engineering were not good options from an employment perspective.

“The branch alone is not important, but it is the specialisation within the branch that makes a difference,” said Mr. Gandhi, suggesting that students opt for data storage, data compression and network security as specialisation in IT and energy engineering in EEE. Geotech engineering was suggested as a specialisation under civil engineering, while welding and piping engineering were highly recommended under mechanical engineering.

Academic performance alone is not important, but the training provided by a college and placement records must be considered before choosing a college, he said. Students must also pay a visit to the college and talk to its students, before making a decision to join, he emphasised.

After Mr. Gandhi made comparative analyses of Class XII results and projected cut-off marks for the year, the floor was thrown open for questions. Anxious parents and students lined up to ask questions on different courses and institutions.

Professor of Paediatrics at the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) S. Mahadevan conducted the pre-counselling guidance session for medicine, where he highlighted the different career options beyond the MBBS. He encouraged the students to explore Indian medicine and Homeopathy, Siddha medicine, Unani medicine, and paramedical courses such as physiotherapy, orthotics and optometry. There are even separate specific courses on dialysis technology, medical radiation technology and operation theatre technology, he said.

Senior Associate Editor of The Hindu V. Jayanth urged the students to look beyond conventional career paths such as engineering and medicine. Journalism, for instance, is an option worth exploring, he said.

For students and parents who had come from far and wide, Day 1 of the fair proved useful.

“The sessions were very useful, especially the part about paramedical courses, that has now thrown open many options for us,” said Aparna, a biology group student now going in to Class XII at Puducherry.