Sankhaya Chandel, 2nd year, COE makes a bold attempt at capturing the elusive answer to the question - "Why do engineers branch out to other disciplines?"
Illustration Credits: Akshansh Aggarwal
In times not so distant, if one were to be so audacious as to express his desire to become, say, a stand-up comedian, it is safe to assume that he would instantly be relegated to an object of ridicule and derision. And if one were to have the misfortune of pulling off such an antic upon the successful completion of an Engineering degree, very much a holy grail till the turn of the previous decade, chances are high that he would weigh heavily the possibility of becoming a recluse on account of intense lambasting and condemnation that he would be subjected to. In societal terms, one were to be considered successful broadly only if he pursued a degree in the sciences or engineering and procured a highly remunerative job. The only permissible destination where the individual could take his business to thence was a Business school. Times have changed since. While this has been the norm for a very long time, things seem to have taken a turn for the better.
Ever since cultural events at engineering colleges have come to be a rage and cultural societies have gained significant traction, a mad scramble has set in to identify potential candidates with a strong inclination towards the areas of dances, music and their likes. To this end, there appears to have been a paradigm shift compared to the yesteryears where the centre of attention had not gravitated substantially towards enhancing one’s prowess in non-academic avenues, especially those artistic, in stark contrast to the present circumstances.
For long, there has also been a tangible dearth of sportsmen hailing from engineering backgrounds. With the turn of the century, however, inter-collegiate sporting events have not only invigorated the sporting landscape but have also provided a massive impetus to numerous sports-persons to enroll themselves into said institutions furnishing them with a professional degree as an added advantage.
A little guidance and prodding from one's peers and superiors cements his belief in his flair in the arts or his physical acumen and allows him to transcend the imaginary boundaries situated between the world of arts, sports and engineering and carve a career thereupon. This phenomenon leads to spectacles which were rather unforeseen hitherto allowing the conception of genius in the corresponding areas of expertise. It would be foolish to neglect, thus, the fact that the current generation is purportedly adept at casting aside their fears stemming from antipathetic societal perception of disciplines considered ‘non-academic’ primarily due to the successes of such engineers in their respective fields.
While the world is replete with engineers who found their calling in arts and sports and shone in such areas, it would be blasphemous to downplay the exploits of other engineers in literary and scientific avenues. With the advent of modern technology, not only has the bar been lifted for engineers to pursue higher-paying jobs, a rather unintentional outcome of the aforementioned proceeding has been the exposure to freedoms in pursuing interests in unconventional areas which, while falling within the gamut of sciences and engineering, were limited due to either lack of resources or opportunities in the home country. Consequently, there has been a tremendous boom in engineers taking cognizance of possible careers in alternative science and engineering lines of research proving their mettle thereupon.
Hence, with the dissipation of the myth that a degree in Engineering sets you up for life, there has been an enormous efflux of engineers into other professions, thus allowing one to choose a job that he wants and not the one that is picked for him by the likes of certain well-wishers. With the population ballooning, it becomes almost unavoidable that the chunk of those who take up engineering would also swell. Yet, what remains indisputable is the fact that engineers will continue to venture into uncharted territories, setting whopping benchmarks along the way, and further enriching the connotation associated with the label of ‘engineer’.