Large number of students, completed higher secondary are looking for their higher studies in engineering. The option in front of them is very wide. Though they have to choose the institutions based on reputation, location and fee, the branch of study is an important factor to be decided at this stage. The options can be classified like (1) Circuit branches – Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE), Electrical and Electronics Engineering (EEE), Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), Information Technology (IT), Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering (E&I) etc. Though these branches have their own specialization the career opening is mostly in the software field. (2) Core branches – Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering. These branches have a very long reputation and their career openings are very wide.
Though there is modest attraction towards core branches of engineering now-a-days, if you ask a girl candidate or their parent the reply will be like, “I don't want mechanical engineering for my child she cannot carry the machine”, “Why mechanical engineering for girls?”
However, the branch of mechanical engineering is not simply limited to rough labour. The branch has got major subdivision like (1) Manufacturing Engineering (2) Thermal Engineering (3) Engineering Design (4) Industrial Engineering.
Need for manufacturing engineering exists in all fields. This includes manufacturing of cars, buses, trains, railway infrastructure, ships, aeroplanes, heavy machinery, rockets, satellite, electrical equipments and accessories, transformers, generators etc. Career opportunities in this field is very wide. Also, all the machines are now operated by Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) method. Girls can work in this field for designing, programming and administering manufacturing process.
Thermal Engineering is the pulse of human life. This field includes the study and design of engines used in automobiles, aeroplanes, ships and rockets, the boilers used in power plants, cooling systems like AC, fridge and heating systems. All these technologies are being taught in this division. Girls can very well learn this and excel in their career.
In Engineering Design, design of engines, machines, equipments, machine structures are taught. Also, design and programming for Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS) using CNC machines and robots are being taught. For designing components, machines etc. is software like AutoCAD, CATIA, UniGraphics and Solid works are used. To work in this software, deep knowledge in mechanical engineering and training is required. Girls can work in this field and excel than boys. The career opportunities and perks are more attractive than software industry. In the past decade all bright students were attracted towards software industry. So there is a shortage of intellectual capabilities in this field. It would be wise to choose mechanical engineering now.
Industrial Engineering teaches the method of administering small, medium and large industries efficiently and effectively. This division teaches optimization techniques, work study and method study, manufacturing planning, quality engineering etc. This division is most suitable for girls. They can excel in factory administration.
To conclude, girls need not omit the option of joining mechanical engineering branch as the career opportunities are wide, attractive and stable. All the above fields of specialization are taught at UG level and further specialization can be taken at PG level.
Dr. SM. Kannan Principal ULTRA College of Engineering & Technology for Women, Madurai.