Monday, 21 May 2012

How to choose an Engineering college & branch after 12th

If you’ve just finished your 12th standard, and are interested in getting an Engineering degree, which college, and which branch of Engineering to choose can seem like the most difficult, and at the same time, the most important decision of your life. People have been asking me this question for almost 20 years now, and based on my varied experience, here is the advice that I give to prospective engineers.
I can distill my advice down to this sentence:
Get into the best college (in a good city) that you can – whatever the branch.
I’ll explain in a little more detail.

Branch is not all that important

That’s right. Most students and parents seem to be very focused on getting in to the “best” branch (Computer Science, Electronics & Telecommunications, Mechanical, Chemical, Civil, etc.) Everybody wants to get into the “top” branch. Everybody wants to know which branch has the best “scope” in the future.
This is misguided. There are a number of reasons why the branch doesn’t matter all that much:
  • If you study in a good college, all branches have “scope”. There are successful businesses and well-paying jobs in all disciplines, including civil engineering, and chemical engineering. And the vast majority of computer science graduates in the country do not have decent jobs (because there are so many of them!) If you study in a bad college, a good branch is not going to help you. Also, so called “good” branches with lots of “scope” tend to be over-crowded, because everyone is entering that field. And finally, nobody really knows which branch will have the most “scope” 10 years from now. (When I did my Engineering, my friends took Computer Science in VJTI because they couldn’t get into more sought after branches like E&TC and Mechanical!)
  • Changing of field is very common amongst engineers. Just looking at my batchmates, I know metallurgical engineers who are in advertising agencies, mechanical engineers who are into banking and finance, chemical engineers working on Bollywood movies, and computer scientists in the insurance industry doing non-computer stuff. What branch you get your degree in is forgotten within 5 years of graduating.
  • What branch the student is interested in, is irrelevant. This is a big one. 12th standard students tell me, “I am more interested in Computers. I don’t like Mechanical.” Frankly, in 12th standard, you have no clue what any particular field involves. If for a field, hundreds of colleges in the country are giving engineering degrees in that field, then almost by definition, that field has interesting and cool work going on all over the world. If you find that field boring, then, the most likely explanation is that you’ve been taught that subject by a bad teacher. My guess would be this: any subject that you find very interesting was probably taught to you by a good teacher, and for every boring subject, there’s probably a bad teacher of that subject sometime in your past. A good professor in any branch can make the branch come alive for you.
I am not asking you to ignore the branch entirely. All I’m saying is that give it a little less importance than you are currently giving it.
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Madras (Chennai)
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Location of the 15 IITs in India. Source wikipedia.

College does matter

The original IITs, and BITs Pilani, are clearly better than other engineering colleges. Most NITs are better than most state engineering colleges (except the top state colleges). Top state colleges (e.g. COEP, VJTI, PICT) are clearly better than the second-tier engineering colleges. And so on. (Unfortunately, I don’t really know how good or bad the new IITs are. You’ll need to make that judgement on your own.)
It’s fashionable to say the college doesn’t matter. And it is very common to trot out examples of students from terrible colleges who have succeeded in life. But that’s flawed logic. Students who succeed inspite of being in a bad college, are probably succeeding in spite of the college, not because of the college. And probably would have done even better if they had been in a better college.
Better colleges have better systems of education, better professors, and better “resume value” (which, whether you like it or not, is a factor for a long, long time.) Also, in better colleges, you have better classmates. This matters in the short term (because better classmates means more influence of friends who are interested in the right things), and the long term (better “network”).
So, here’s my (controversial) advice: if you are getting a not-so-good branch in a very good college,vs. a good branch in a not-so-good college, you should definitely choose the not-so-good branch in the very good college. I would definitely pick Metallurgical Engineering in IIT-Bombay, over Computer Science in MIT. If the colleges are sort-of-comparable, then go for the “better” branch (for whatever definition of “better”). For example, if you have Mechanical Engineering in COEP, and Computer Science in VIT, then go for VIT – because althought COEP is better than VIT, it is not all that much better.
Note: I am not saying that you’re screwed if you get into a bad college. There are enough examples to prove that good, motivated students can shine from anywhere. All I’m saying is that if you have a choice, then choose better college over better branch. If you get into a bad college, then work hard, ignore your professors, and try to get guides/mentors/projects from industry (right away, not just in the last year).

City also matters

To a large extent, success in life is not simply about academic knowledge. It is also about a whole bunch of other factors – what we call “exposure”. This involves all kinds of things – like interactions with industry, various (non-academic) activities that you indulge in in a city, seeing the various interesting and different things that people are doing in the city, opportunities of getting involved in various initiatives, and generally “smartness” (as in “The Bombay exposure has really made him smart.”)
So, doing a degree in Pune or Bombay, is, in my opinion, clearly better than doing it in a college in Amravati.
Also, please get out of your parents’ house. Stay in a hostel, or a rented flat with a bunch of your classmates, or something. That will propel you into the real world, give you some maturity, and the ability to deal with all kinds of issues that you need to deal with, when you are no longer staying under a protective cover provided by your parents. This is an important part of your education at this stage.

Engineering vs other fields of study

Frankly, I am not qualified to give advice on whether you should do Engineering or something else. If you find that you’re interested in some “alternate” career (e.g. photography, movies, music, art, design, whatever), here are some thoughts that you might find helpful:
  • Try to find out which are the top institutes in the country where you can get a degree or certificate or whatever it is that helps with learn the field that you’re interested in. Then find out what it takes to get admission to that institute and how much it costs. And then make a detailed plan as to how you could actually do it. This will significantly improve the chances that you’ll be allowed to do it, and also that you’ll succeed in your chosen career. I would love to see more and more students in India follow this path.
  • If you can’t get into one of the top institutes, maybe you should listen to your parents? It’s difficult to justify a risky career move on the basis of a mediocre education in that field.
  • I find that most students who claim to be interested in such alternate careers are too lazy to actually do the work needed to create the plan mentioned in the first bullet-point. If you’re one of those lazy bums, then you don’t really deserve to follow your so-called chosen career. Give up, and do whatever stupid engineering degree that your parents want you to do. Alternative career paths are for people who are really passionate and are willing to put in the hard work it takes to succeed.
  • If you are not really sure of what alternate career you want to pursue, but just have a vague notion that you want to do something other than Engineering, then you’re probably not ready for an alternative career yet. No point in going for a off-the-beaten-path, risky path unless you’re really passionate about something and clear about what you want. You’ll be better off with a conventional degree, until you figure out your passion.
  • Medical vs. Engineering: Again, I’m not really qualified to give advice about whether you should go for engineering or Medicine. However, note: there are many students who avoid the medical side because they hate 10th or 12th std. biology. In this case, remember that doing a medical degree is not at all like 12th std. biology. So, this alone is not a good enough reason for rejecting medicine. Try to talk to, and find out more, from some real doctors what it is like to study medicine. You should consider medicine as a career, especially if you like people more than you like machines or software programs. If you’re not good at maths or logic, engineering is not for you.


If you disagree with me, please leave a comment below, with supporting arguments, and we can discuss.
If you know a 12th std student who could benefit from this article (or the discussion in the comments), please mail them this link.
Some of this advice is also applicable to engineering graduates who are planning on going abroad for a Masters degree. I’m planning on writing a detailed article specifically covering that case – issues to consider when applying for a Masters in the US. I’ll write that article one of these days – so make sureyou’re subscribed to PuneTech, so you don’t miss it.


(After this post was published, readers posted a number of interesting, insightful and detailed comments. You should really read all the comments on this post, but I’ve summarized some of the important points here for the lazy folks.)
  • A number of people disagree with me about whether branch matters or not. See the comments of Neeran, Dhananjay, Vikram Karve, and Rajan Chandi for more details; and also my responses to those comments. I would summarize it as: if you’re on of those well-informed students who really know what branch they find interesting, then for you, branch does matter a lot.
  • There appears to be a lot of support for the “get out of your parents house; stay in a hostel/flat” directive. Parents and students, both, please heed this advice.
  • Amit has posted a list of non-IIT, Indian colleges that he considers “good”, based on his experience of hiring people from various colleges, and seeing how they performed. (Note however, the purpose of this article is not really to produce a ranking of colleges – that is too controversial and subjective. Form your own impressions of the quality of various colleges (from whatever sources you can), and then use the advice in this article to decide how to choose between those colleges.)
  • Ajay Garg points out that if you really need all kinds of details about engineering admissions (like lists of colleges, branches, cut-off marks, etc.) then is a great site
Update 2: The contents of this article are now available as a Marathi language podcast, over
Update 3: If you’ve cleared the IIT-JEE and are wondering which IIT to join, and which branch to choose, this article by Prof. Dheeraj Sanghi of IIT-Kanpur might help. He updates it every year.
Update 4: All commentors who’re asking me about whether to choose college A or college B – Sorry, I have not really bothered to keep track of rankings and quality of colleges. So, the judgement about whether a college is significantly better than another college needs to be done by you using other sources of information. Most importantly, all those asking me which has better scope/prospects ECE, or CS, or IT, or whatever else, you missed the whole point of the article, didn’t you? The branch does not matter. If you can’t decide, just pick whichever branch has a higher cutoff. Some experienced commentors have suggested that interests are important, and students who have a strong interest in a particular branch, should choose that branch. Well, if you did have a strong interest in one branch, then you wouldn’t be here asking a question about which branch to take. If which branch to take is not veryclear to you, then you don’t have an interest in any branch, and just take the branch with the highest cutoff in the best college that you can get into.

This is an article by Naveen Kabra originally posted at PuneTech. (Source: The comments below the original article are recommended to read by author. So please have a look for better perspective.
About author: Naveen is founder and CTO of and also creator of He has done his PhD with David DeWitt in Computer Sciences from the University of Wisconsin in 1999, and a B.Tech. in Computer Sciences from IIT-Bombay before that. He is interested in a number of areas of computer science, including: highly scalable systems; distributed and fault-tolerant software systems; text search, information retrieval, and analysis of unstructured information.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Got CET Result? Now WhatNeXT?

Got your CET exam result?
First of all congrats :) You have really worked hard for this :)
If you think your score is less, don't be disappointed, you can still get into good colleges.
Now make your decisions smartly. Don't be in a Hurry.
You can improvise your chances with WhatNeXT.
We are here to help you.

Now what you can do is :
  1. Checkout college suggestions on
  2. Register on our site for further updates or just mail your details on
  3. Do read our previous blog posts related to branches in engineering and documents required during admission.

All izz well :)

All the best !!

Team WhatNeXT

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Mission Admission : What should I do before CET Result?

Most of the Engineering aspirants and their parents are in tension. Because 12th results are out and CET result is there around 15th June. So everybody is worrying about their CET score and of course about the college and branch they may get into.

So here are tips for all such student. 1st thing is don't be tensed at all, because you won't be able to change your CET score doing that. And there are multiple options of possible Engineering colleges you may get into so there is nothing to worry.

Few Do's and Dont's before MHT-CET Result


  1. Be ready with following documents
    1. 12th Mark Sheet
    2. 10th Mark Sheet
    3. Domicile Certificate
    4. Nationality Certificate
    5. Leaving Certificate
    6. Income Certificate
    7. Caste Certificate
    8. Caste Validity Certificate
    9. Non-creamy layer certificate
    10. Address proof like Ration Card etc.
      (7,8,9 are not required for OPEN category students)
  2. Also have some xerox of above mentioned documents and it'll be good if they are attested by some authority. More number of xerox won't harm.
  3. Above documents may be required during admission procedure or might be useful while applying for some scholarship.
  4. Decide your field of interest and do some search on google regarding that branch/field. It'll be good if you can directly talk to some senior/ friend already studying in/related to that branch.
  5. Visit and check which college you may get into. Also check for some details like fees, hostel intake. Details like fees will help you in arranging the money for admission.
  6. Discuss your area of interest with your parents, elder brother/ sister. Also check out for the future scope, placement scenario related to that field.
  7. Keep on checking  and for admission related updates and brochures.

  1. Don't be tensed and depressed at all.
  2. Don't take advice from any random people who are not related to engineering field.
  3. Don't be in a hurry while deciding the branch. Take your own time, discuss with seniors.

Team WhatNeXT

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Branches in Engineering

Civil Engineering

Civil engineering is the term for the work of designing and building infrastructure. It usually means large structures, like bridges, dams, buildings, and tunnels. It also covers complicated networks such as water, irrigation and sewerage networks. Civil engineers can be involved in all stages in the life of infrastructure, from planning and construction to maintenance and demolition.
Civil engineering is made up of many different areas or disciplines. Some important areas are geotechnical, structures, environmental, construction management, hydrology, transportation, and materials. It is important for civil engineers to have an understanding of all these disciplines as projects often involve many of them at the same time.
Civil engineers are responsible for lots of the things that are required for a society to function properly. Safe water supplies, sewage treatment, roads, railways and buildings are all part of civil engineering.
Civil engineering is traditionally broken into several sub-disciplines including environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering, municipal or urban engineering, water resources engineering,materials engineering, coastal engineering, surveying, and construction engineering. Civil engineering takes place on all levels: in the public sector from municipal through to national governments, and in the private sector from individual homeowners through to international companies.
To work in civil engineering requires training. Construction workers will train at a center and 'on the job' (training while doing the job). To be a professional in civil engineering requires study at a university or college. Civil engineers often study subjects like structures, materials, physics and calculus.

Computer Engineering

Computer engineering is the science of making computers and their parts. Computer engineers are always trying to make new parts smaller and better. Computer engineers usually have training in electronic engineering, software design, and hardware-software integration instead of only software engineering or electronic engineering. Computer engineers are involved in many hardware and software aspects of computing, from the design of individual microprocessors, personal computers, and supercomputers, to circuit design. This field of engineering not only focuses on how computer systems themselves work, but also how they integrate into the larger picture. Computer engineering is related to Electrical engineering and Computer science. 
Usual tasks involving computer engineers include writing software and firmware for embedded microcontrollers, designing VLSI chips, designing analog sensors, designing mixed signal circuit boards, and designing operating systems. Computer engineers are also suited for robotics research, which relies heavily on using digital systems to control and monitor electrical systems like motors, communications, and sensors.
Computer engineering students learn about computers and computer related system design and development. The computer related systems are software systems, hardware systems and systems of software and hardware in combination. Students also need to learn fundamental science subjects and mathematics.
Computer engineering is often compared to Computer science. Computer engineering is about computer hardware and some software. Computer science is about computer software only.  Software engineering companies, telecommunications firms, designers of digital hardware, and many other companies hire Computer engineering majors right out of college and pay them well.

Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. It covers a range of subtopics including power, electronics, control systems, signal processing and telecommunications.
Electrical engineers develop (think and make) different things that use electricity in a helpful way. They fix or design new and better ways of using devices that use electricity.
Electrical engineering may include electronic engineering. However, usually electrical engineering is considered to deal with the problems associated with large-scale electrical systems such as power transmission and motor control, whereas electronic engineering deals with the study of small-scale electronic systems including computers and integrated circuits. Alternatively, electrical engineers are usually concerned with using electricity to transmit energy, while electronic engineers are concerned with using electricity to process information. More recently, the distinction has become blurred by the growth of power electronics.

Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering

Electronics and Communication Engineering branch deals with analog and digital transmission & reception of data, voice and video, basic electronics, solid state devices, microprocessors, digital and analog communication, analog integrated circuits, satellite communication, microwave engineering, antennae and wave progression. It also deals with the manufacturing of electronic devices, circuits, and communications equipment like transmitter, receiver, integrated circuits, microwaves, and fiber among others. It aims to deepen the knowledge and skills of the students on the basic concepts and theories that will equip them in their professional work involving analysis, systems implementation, operation, production, and maintenance of the various applications in the field of Electronics and Communications Engineering.
Employment opportunities for Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers are growing rapidly. The list of employers includes manufacturers of radio, television, audio/visual, broadcasting and receiving equipments, hardware and associated software including computer systems, interfaces, security devices, data concentration, data transmission, signaling, satellite and radio communications and telephone equipment. Graduate also work in service organizations that provide broadcasting, consulting, data communications, entertainment, custom manufacturing, research and development, and system support.

Instrumentation & Control Engineering

Instrumentation engineering is specialized branch of electrical and electronic engineering, which focuses on the principle, and operation of measuring instruments, which are used in design and configuration of automated systems. These engineers work for industries with automated processes, such as chemical or manufacturing plants, with the goal of improving system productivity, reliability, safety, optimization and stability. Instrumentation Engineers help in the designing, construction and maintenance of instruments and entire instrumentation systems of an industrial undertaking. An instrumentation engineer decides the type of instruments needed for ensuring better quality and efficiency of the end product.
Instrumentation engineers can get jobs in R&D units of public and private sector companies. They are also required by the Heavy industries such as Thermal Power Stations, Steel Plants, Refineries, and Cement and Fertilizer Plants.
A control and instrumentation engineer is essentially responsible for designing, developing, installing, managing and/or maintaining equipment which is used to monitor and control engineering systems, machinery and processes.

Information Technology

The Information Technology Engineer is capable of performing the most highly diversified tasks because of the broad nature of the degree programme itself, designed to guarantee a solid scientific, economic and technical foundation, yet with sufficient depth to allow the student to approach other subjects that could prove relevant to his/her future career.
The IT course provides students with a general, wide-ranging knowledge that allows them to develop professional skills and specialize in a specific field (the graduate possesses the method and the toolkit to autonomously deepen any subject of electronics, information, automation and communication engineering).
The IT engineer has the know-how to master design, development and management of company information systems, multimedia and hypermedia systems, control and automation systems for automatic machines and production plants, electronic and optical devices, systems and services for communications.
Being able to find in people the right competences of detail, coordination, the IT engineer is a good team player and his/her wide-ranging knowledge allows him/her to interact with experts from different and various field.

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the design, production, and operation of machines and tools. It is one of the oldest and broadest engineering disciplines.
The engineering field requires an understanding of core concepts including mechanics, kinematics, thermodynamics, materials science, and structural analysis. Mechanical engineers use these core principles along with tools like computer-aided engineering and product lifecycle management to design and analyze manufacturing plants, industrial equipment and machinery, heating and cooling systems, transport systems, aircraft, watercraft, robotics, medical devices and more.
The field has continually evolved to incorporate advancements in technology, and mechanical engineers today are pursuing developments in such fields as composites, mechatronics, and nanotechnology. Mechanical engineering overlaps with aerospace engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, petroleum engineering, and chemical engineering to varying amounts.

Metallurgy and Material Science Engineering

Metallurgical Engineering is a broad field that deals with all sorts of metal-related areas. The three main branches of this major are physical metallurgy, extractive metallurgy, and mineral processing. Physical metallurgy deals with problem solving: you’ll develop the sorts of metallic alloys needed for different types of manufacturing and construction. Extractive metallurgy involves extracting metal from ore. Mineral processing involves gathering mineral products from the earth’s crust.
As a Metallurgical Engineering major, you’ll learn the fundamentals of all three fields, as well as the basics of engineering in general. We need metals to make our society function—metals make up important parts of cars, bikes, planes, buildings, even toothpaste tubes. Your knowledge of the production, design, and manufacturing of these metals and mineral products can be rewarding and exciting.
Most Metallurgical Engineering programs will offer the opportunity to participate in a cooperative education program, an arrangement in which students spend a semester or more doing engineering work with a metallurgical company. Many of these co-op jobs can become actual jobs after graduation, and the experience will make you a more valuable prospective employee.

Production Engineering

Production engineering is a combination of manufacturing technology with management science. A production engineer typically has a wide knowledge of engineering practices and is aware of the management challenges related to production. The goal is to accomplish the production in the smoothest, most-judicious and most-economical way.
Production engineering encompasses castings, joining processes, metal cutting & tool design, metrology, machine tools, machining systems, automation, jigs and fixtures, and die and mould design. Production engineering overlaps substantially with manufacturing engineering and industrial engineering.
In industry, once the design is realized, production engineering concepts regarding work-study, ergonomics, operation research, manufacturing management, materials management, production planning, etc., play important roles in efficient production processes. These deal with integrated design and efficient planning of the entire manufacturing system, which is becoming increasingly complex with the emergence of sophisticated production methods and control systems.
Work opportunities are available in public and private sector manufacturing organizations engaged in implementation, development and management of new production processes, information and control systems, and computer controlled inspection, assembly and handling.

Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace engineering is a field of engineering that specializes in vehicles that move in fluids. This usually means working with airplanes, cars, boats, trains, or spacecrafts. 
To work in Aerospace engineering you must learn a lot. This is done depending on what you want to do. Aerospace engineers (those who design and oversee repair of vehicles) study at a university or college and must earn a degree. Technicians (those who repair and construct vehicles) will do a shorter course and 'on the job' training. Aerospace jobs include astronauts, pilots, and other professionals.

Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineering is the study of medical equipment used in an environment of care or training and how this equipment interfaces with the human body.
Biomedical engineers design, test, modify, recommend modification of, and evaluate all medical equipment used to interface or interact with the human body. In addition to these functions, clinical engineers usually supervise the biomedical equipment maintenance function within an environment of care. 
The medical devices include man-made hands, arms, and legs to replace lost ones and, also, Dialysis machines which clean the blood of a person with damaged kidneys.

Team WhatNeXT