Students keen on alternative courses

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WHAT NEXT: At The Hindu - EducationPlus Counselling 2009 session in Puducherry.
WHAT NEXT: At The Hindu - EducationPlus Counselling 2009 session in Puducherry.


In the wake of IT slowdown, alternative courses had many takers at the The Hindu - EducationPlus Counselling 2009 fair held on May 17 in Puducherry.

Concerns about cut-off marks for admission to professional courses, position in merit list, career opportunities for courses, future of Information Technology (IT) and making the right decision in higher education seemed high among students and parents who took part in The Hindu - EducationPlus Counselling 2009, which was held on May 17 in Puducherry.

The search for alternative courses in the wake of IT slowdown was evident among the participants as students put forward queries on the scope of courses such as environment sciences, geo-informatics, pharmacy and biotechnology.

With preferences high for mechanical engineering and electrical and electronics engineering this year, Career Consultant and Analyst Jayaprakash A. Gandhi advised students not to opt for mechanical engineering or electrical and electronics engineering (EEE) because of the IT slowdown, as it was a “wrong step.” “If you have genuine interest in computer science, then take it. The requirements of mechanical companies are less and only a minimum number of jobs are available,” he said.

Last year, mechanical engineering was available in 199 colleges accounting for 20,000 seats. This year, it had doubled to 350 colleges offering the course with a total of 40,000 seats, Mr. Gandhi noted. “Understand what you want to learn. Never enter a field when it is in the top but when it is in the bottom,” he insisted.

Listing out his preferences of courses in the engineering stream, the expert said it was Computer Science, IT, EEE, Civil, Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE) and mechanical in that order. “Plan a career keeping in mind the requirements in 2015. Visualisation and imagination is required,” he added.

About ECE, he said the manpower required in the communication sector was less. “Ninety per cent of ECE graduates are in IT companies and only 10 per cent go to core electronics. In future, if students are looking to take up core engineering subjects other than IT, plan for a specialisation course,” he noted.

However, Mr. Gandhi pointed out that irrigation engineering, petroleum, geoinformatics, pharmacy, electro chemical and plastic technology courses were the emerging fields. Apart from the engineering stream, he said economics had good scope, while pharmacy doctorate, a new course, was available in six colleges in Tamil Nadu.

At the same time, courses in geology provided a promising career, while architecture was mainly for self-employment, he noted.

On the scope of life sciences, Sankaranarayanan Balasubramanian, Practice Director of Life Sciences, Cognizant, said it was important for students to know which field would do well tomorrow. “There are more opportunities for students today than a few years ago. Biotechnology is very much the future. Nearly one per cent of fresh biotechnology graduates are employed in biotechnology industries, while 80 per cent come into IT industry,” he pointed out.

Terming biotechnology as having a “dual career path,” he said that research opportunities in India were becoming higher. There were huge opportunities for life science graduates.

“Life sciences have connection with pharmaceutical, medical devices, and clinical research organisations. There are many different opportunities in the life sciences area,” he added.



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