“I am an Engineer.” What does that mean in today’s society? When I was little, it would evoke a sense of awe and I could see it in my parents and I could see how they longed to see me be an engineer. But when I finally became an engineer, the only thing I could observe on the faces of anyone whom I told about my profession was a slight nod and sometimes even a look of pity, that to my best of knowledge meant, “You too?”. With engineering colleges, sprouting up at every nook and corner of the country, you couldn’t expect more. The profession itself has lost its meaning. Millions of engineers are recruited by the so called mass recruiters who are on the lookout for cheap white collar labor. Engineers from every stream are absorbed into the black hole of Indian job market, IT. But what awaits them at these offices are repetitive and mostly mundane code writing. The poor standards of systems implemented by Indian Engineers are often overlooked, over a better cost-benefit ratio. I have many a friend working in large Indian IT giants, who feel that they made a wrong decision in choosing engineering as profession. Recently, at a startup meeting I attended, I can safely say that most of the people were disappointed engineers, who got tired of the mundane-nes of the Indian IT guy saga.
Now comes those few who realize this earlier own, mostly while in college, that Engineering is not what they thought it would be. It isn’t filled with fun and excitement and solving practical problems using science and mathematics as what the engineering coaching centers told us it was, but rather memorizing outdated textbooks, and listening to subjects that are of no use to anyone. The best of these lot are lazy, unmotivated and barely have a GPA above 5. And when they feel they have had enough of the engineering nonsense, they become entrepreneurs, trying their best to beat their system. But, this is immediately met with sarcasm and objection. Parents who would happily spend lakhs of rupees to get children into a third rate engineering institution suddenly has no money to spent on the so called “startup idea” that their child came up with. The children object to the parents citing stories of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. The parents would have counter arguments, even sometimes going to the extent of telling their kids that their family astrologer had predicted a government job for the kid.
Out of these, handful of wannabe entrepreneurs, most of them succumb to the pressures of countless deterrents and go back to being a miserable engineering student, their hopes and big dreams squashed, left with more self doubt than ever, ready to accept any career that is offered to them. The few who survive, become successful entrepreneurs. Because these few know, that there isn’t anything anything more challenging than not being an engineer in today’s world.