Friday, July 29, 2005

Engineering counseling

So it begins today. An article in The Hindu talks about what "the experts" think students must choose. I remember these "experts" when I was in the same position. Who are these experts? Are they teachers and professors in some college? What do they know about career decisions? In 2002 when my article on engineering counseling appeared near the start date of engineering counseling, I had sort of attacked a lot of departments and bad practices, which was carefully edited out. Unfortunately I lost the original draft.

To put my thoughts on this engineering counseling briefly, just in case some body is doing a last minute google search on what group to choose (Far better than asking the next person in counseling or the computer operator itself)

1) If "experts" are professors. They know nothing.

Group Vs Brand Name:

2)"Group" is far more important than "college brand name". Don't be deceived by brand name. What may be popular in your 18 taluks may not be popular in Chennai, Bangalore or San Jose. I chose a top private college in Madras. Rejected an REC other state and a Govt Aided College (Dote 1 in those days) to be in Madras. Was worth it. Nobody who mattered would have been able to recognize all three colleges.

3) From personal experience, I can say people who took funny groups like "production engineering", "civil engineering", "Bio-technology", "instrumentation", "leather technology", "naval architecture" and "printing technology" in super brand name colleges (College of Engineering, Guindy, REC, Trichy) are now one big flop. Self-confessed that too. They confess it themselves and point the bad decision to the engineering counseling.

4) In my days people who didn't get COE, Guindy, REC, Trichy, PSG, Coimbatore rejected all the other Govt Colleges and started choosing Venkateswara, Crescent, SRM etc. I think the only change I see nowadays is that Venkateswara has moved above PSG, Coimbatore. The bottom line is Govt-aided college has no meaning now. Group choice and location choice takes precedence.

5) Under some circumstances -- It makes sense pick a college near your place. So if you are living in Madurai or Coimbatore picking the Govt college close to your house makes sense. Anybody who gets in that orbit -- should pick REC, Trichy or COE Guindy above everything else (unless you are an IIT admit).

6) Being in a City helps. Always! being in Madras, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Bombay helps a lot (it helps you develop a cosmopolitan outlook towards life which is zero in other places). When I was in a place in TN South of Madras, I used to think place does not make a difference. I used to get into arguments saying "no xyz is better". After I moved from Thanjavur (sorry Anti! but Thanjavur is a very sucky place, but then again that only makes you look better) to Madras, I realized that it was not true. The kind of people you move with usually changes radically. I am not saying everybody else in any other place are bumpkins but the chances are more that you will meet aggressive people who constantly talk about higher studies. I think in entire Thanjavur jilla, I was the only person to have subscribed to that stupid Brilliant Tutorials correspondence JEE coaching.

7) The govt is partially right about coaching centers in the City areas. If you want to do higher studies, Madras is certainly a better place to be in TN. Madras is one of the biggest exporters of students to foreign countries, IIMs, IISc and IITs. The statistics (read The Hindu's report on Muffasal Vs City statistics every year) is not even comparable. Cities far outweight Muffasal places. The IMS, Datamatics, USEFI and the general awareness among students about higher studies makes Madras a far better place to study. People from southern parts of Andhra also prefer Chennai to their own native place.

8)The state-firsts and other medalists may appear to contradict points (6) & (7) but scratching the surface might give a different picture. (Source "The Hindu" again) On an average I think City students have better infrastructure that maximizes their probability to succeed.

9) Did I say Govt Aided colleges like Govt. College of Thirunelveli, Salem have no meaning? If you live in Madras there is no point relocating there for a non-existent brand value. Compromising on a group to be there is harakiri.

10)I took, what in my days was a new-fangled thing called ECE. I didn't have much respect for ECE also. But off-late I have stopped saying that because it has become a "popular" group. ECE syllabus is a funny syllabus in that it doesn't prepare you for any sort of industry. It is increasingly becoming more funny (I looked at the syllabus again some 3 months before). And now legends have been developed by ECE fanatics that ECE will prepare you to be even an astronaut, walk on water etc. Maybe I am misinformed, I think all ECE students end up doing software jobs just like EEE (and mechanical, naval architecture, production engineering, civil engineering , B.Com, B.A History ) students. Just because you get to say things like "interrupts", buses, PSW registers, and microprocessor once every 3 months does not make your job a non-computer science job("machaan I work directly on assembly language machaan" doesn't make it any better). I think people who are in embedded systems are more deluded about this than anybody else. So any ECE folks out there who are doing stuff other than signal processing domain, please send me a mail/drop comment telling me such ECE job exists. Let everybody's world knowledge develop.

I have unfortunately lost faith in 12th std students who claim they have a field of "interest". It is because on deeper probing the "interest" is wafer thin superficial. Seriously.... at 12th std only very few of Mandolin Srinivas and Bhakta Prahaladan ilk have real have something that they picked up after a 2 minute conversation with a cousin or a friend's friend.

If you don't have any "interests" think of yourself as a cinema distributor who wants to invest in a movie. Invest in the Rajini movie (computer science) even if you don't like him. It will run for 100 years. While a small few may end up in super jobs in other career paths, for most other groups, career paths are much much more difficult, less rewarding and more frustrating....that is until they land in a software job.

Or think of this other favorite analogy of mine. Chosing a group is like "arranged marrying" your daughter. If you marry her off to a person who may look like a a Bollywood hero (super brand name college) but is not well-qualified (group has poor commercial value).He will struggle to make both ends meet (no career prospects). Then by marrying your daughter to him, his problems become your problems. You have to unnecesarily learn about and worry about career prospects for his qualification. Why? Why this unnecessary trouble. *In this situation* looks dont matter (that much). Go with what works.

Yeah! right! I have watched too many K.B films


Anonymous said...

Madras USED TO BE the biggest exporter of students to foreign countries, IIT, IIM etc.
The ranks of states sending largest number of students to US for the past 2 years are this way:
1. Andhra Pradesh
2. Tamil Nadu
3. Maharashtra

The state sending the maximum number of students to IITs for the past 7 years is Andhra Pradesh, majority of the students from Ramaiah Inst. in Hyderabad.

More than 50% of the M.Tech students in IIT Kanpur are from AP.
After Bengali, Telugu is the second largest spoken language at IIT Kharagpur.

30% of the medical students in AFMC, Pune are from AP.

Agreed that the Madras US Visa Office issues the largest number of visas, and that is because there is no visa office in Hyderabad. Visit the consulate one day, you will find more Telugu being spoken than any other language.

Hawkeye said...

i think i have crossed the age for andhra vs tamil nadu fight. it doesn't make a lot of sense nowadays. i have too many andhra friends and also happen to like certain traits in andhra. it maybe unfair to trash a state/ethnic-culture/langauge just because 2 people disagree on an unrelated topic.

but.. i guess you didnt differentiate between individual cities and states.

Me said...

i agree on all ur points and wanted to add one more ....

11. no matter what u study or where u study make sure u maintain good relationship with ur abc relative (or friend) working in xyz comp...nothing really matters than this....

Anonymous said...


It would be great if you could come up with a similar write-up on MBA admissions, what it takes... what are involved and the works...

Many people would appreciate such an effort.. and on reading this article, I am sure you would do justice to it...

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous from AP,

Are you really from AP. Wow...I'm surprised that ppl from there can even type in English. Dont even get me started on the vocabulary of the ppl from that place...I hope u understand what "vocabulary" means.

As you said "there is no visa office in Hyderabad". The fact that you dont have a U.S. Consulate should be self-explanatory of the "state of your state". Forget about U.S. Consulate, Hyd is not even one of the four big metro cities of India.

Let me tell u something. TamilNadu is the intellectual capitol of India and will always be. I dont know if people in AP have heard of something called Nobel Prize. I read somewhere that Sir C.V.Raman and Subrahmanyam Chandrasekhar are the only pair to win a Nobel Prizes from the same family. Dont even get me started on legends like Ramanujam and others like him.

Not just talent in people, TN has innate strenghts in many industries like Automotive, Textiles...just to name a few. Not just that..a vey high % of ppl working in S/W jobs in Bangalore are from TN. No wonder why many more companies are starting their operations in TN these days. Tamilians have always made a mark in jobs/industries that involves creativity like Maniratnam, AR Rehman just to name a few.

Anonymous, Let me tell u one last thing...

We may not have a Naidu...but we have a lot other things that matter whereas the opposite is true for you. You might have a Naidu but there's only so much he can do...your ppl could've been smart enough atleast to retain him in power...Oh well...what else can one expect from ........huh...:-)

As usual ur blog was awesome. I've a lot of Andhra friends too but someone needs to set the record straight. I know my comment was on a side-track.I just couldn't hold myself from responding...Ithu maana prachanaai matchi...of all ppl...that too someone from AP...No Way...

anantha said...

Bharath: Ennaku Thanjavur district la therinja ore edam (apart from the Big Temple!), enga hostel mattum dhaan. So andha one eyed man among the blind does not really hold true in our case. Shanmugha hostel la irukaradhum onnu dhaan, jail la irukkaradhum onnu dhaan.
Adhu dhaan, once in 3 odd months when I used to come down to Chennai for study hols (or some festival like Deepavali), I never used to study! Padikaradhu ellam hostel la, in between exams kadaikara leave la.... So I don't mind if you said Thanjavur is/was sucky!
But enga hostel-ukku Thanjavur evalavo mel! ;)

Suresh Ramani said...

I would like to contest a few points.

3) .. Go ahead and take the "funny" groups like "production engineering" and such groups only if you have a strong interest - as Bharath says the oppurtunities are going to be a lot less compared to the mainstream courses and only a few people genuinely interested will survive - if you think you are one of them you should go for it.

Even though most people in the 12th std level may not be clear about their "interests", they may have an idea about what they are strong in, what they are not strong in, what they like to work on and what they don't like to work on. From what Bharath says about the authenticity of a 12th std student, at least pin-points a weakness in the decision making for a 12th std student, which needs be worked-on in my opinion rather than being worked-around.

I do wish that someone had a blog of this kind when I was making my decision. Good job Bharath!

On a side note on the anonymous comments: Its a shame that people still feel so strongly about one state over another and fight about it. Its a perfect example of patriotism (towards a state) blinding the sense of decency.


Crazy Dan said...

I have a
electrical engineering degree site/blog. It pretty much covers Engineering counseling related stuff.
Come and check it out if you get time :-)

Anonymous said...

biotechnology is not a funny group or not any of the groups mentioned are funny.PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOUR WORDS .people are in love with these subjects and its not fair that you can write anything on the net. i think u must be funny instead.APOLOGISE...

Hawkeye said...


best of luck trying to get a job - for yourself and the other 30 people in your class.

on the other hand, if you want a s/w job, which you'd probably need, NIIT is just 15000 Rs away

Umamaheswaran said...

Dude, I had my eye on ECE so went to CIT though I had venkateswara seat.. PSG was gone:( .. I dont regret a bit in fact I feel my decision was a sooper dooper one( considering I had Anna univ IT, REC Mech, IT) and PSG(Mech, IT) coz 1) the level of placements in CIT and PSG is loooot better than self financing colleges of chennai where only the ordinary recruiters come( like infy, tcs, cts )..second Hostel life in a good college would make you know what a real life is..turns a boy into a man..These are the pros dude..
The cons are defnly exposure to higher education is good in chennai and this is partly becuse in cbe, ppl get such good offers from giants like TI, motorola etc that the thought of higher education is taken off..
So to conclude, I think I will give choosing a govt college in coimabtore( psg, cit and gct) is defnly better then going for a good self financing one in Chn).. and yeah I forgot the cose factor too ;)

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