One of the desired qualities of a good engineer is to stay updated with the latest advancements in the technology sector. The competence of a good engineer is not built only by academic excellence or general engineering aptitude but also by continuous adaptation to the new trends. The branch of Electronics and Computer Engineering is in line with the latest demand in the engineering and technology sector. It provides the best of both of the established branches of engineering, Electronics and Communication Engineering and Computer Science Engineering.
The demand of Electronics Engineers grew with the growth in the demand of consumer electronics like televisions, music systems, musical instruments like keyboards, video game consoles, digital cameras, desktops, laptops, mobile phones and others. There has been always a constant upgradation in performance of gaming consoles, desktops and laptops with higher processing capabilities. The demand of Electronics Engineers grew manifolds after the introduction of smartphones. Everyday a new model of smartphone with faster processor and more memory is launched in the market.
At the heart of all these devices is an Integrated Circuit (IC) chip based microelectronic circuit. Over the years these electronic devices have become more and more compact than ever due to miniaturization of the electronic circuit components. All these are possible due to the advancements in the Semiconductor Industry. Design and fabrication of general-purpose semiconductor devices, IC chips, processors, embedded systems etc. falls under the Semiconductor and VLSI Industry. Apple, Intel, IBM, AMD, Samsung, Nvidia, NXP, Braodcom, Qualcomm, Toshiba, MediaTek are few of the major semiconductor companies.
We know that the electronic systems in a car like power windows, rain-sensing wipers, automatic transmission, electronic dashboards, air bag system, ABS etc. has made our rides more comfortable than ever. The smooth operation of heavy-duty industrial systems like elevators, escalators etc., transportation systems like metros, airplanes etc., production facilities like bottling plants, packaging plants, mechanical parts production plants etc. require precise control and coordination of various high-power machines and robotic systems. This requires design of application specific IC chips, embedded systems and use of various DSP and other controllers. Companies involved in such operations falls under the Industrial Electronics industry. STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, Infineon, Allegro, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, Rockwell Automation Inc, ABB, Fanuc, Schneider, Cadence, Synopsys are few of the major design and manufacturing companies in this sector.
The revolutionary developments in the health care industry have been made possible by Electronics Engineers with advancements in high precision instrumentation and signal processing capabilities. From the general medical devices like thermometers, glucometers, blood pressure monitor, oximeter etc. to the sophisticated ones like ECG machines, EEG machines, MRI machines, robotic surgery devices etc. are all in existence due to Electronics Engineering. Philips, GE, Siemens, Johnson & Johnson etc. are few of the major medical device companies.
Another big aspect of Electronics Engineering is Communication. Be it radar and satellite communication, radio communication, AM or FM transmission, television broadcasting, OTT, internet communication, GPS, remote sensing or others, all require design of hardware to support the communication infrastructure and design for communication protocols. Advancements in this field like optical fibers, 5G technology etc. have made the mobile communication and internet communication speed go higher than ever. Apart from Design Engineers for the hardware, Network Engineers are in huge demand to keep the communication infrastructure up and running. Huawei, Cisco Systems, ZTE, Nokia, Siemens, Ericsson, Alcatel Lucent, Motorola, Juniper Networks, Qualcomm, Oracle etc. are the few networking hardware companies.
Many engineering problems, be it in any field of life, sometimes pose a huge challenge with a great deal of complexity. Solution of such problems cannot be obtained manually or by ordinary calculators. Thus, machines with huge computing capabilities are required. These machines can solve complex engineering problems easily with the help of pieces of codes or algorithms. The Computer Science Engineers are responsible for developing such powerful algorithms.
When a Computer Science Engineer writes these pieces of codes or algorithms for specific applications such as operating system for a computer like Windows, macOS, Ubuntu etc., operating system for a smartphone like Android, iOS etc., antivirus like Norton, McAfee etc., web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox etc., application software like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe Photoshop, VLC Media Player etc., banking software, project management software, ERP, database management software and others then the engineer is called a Software Engineer.
With the advent of internet and mobile technology and the advancements thereof the demand for 24×7 connectivity has grown manifolds. Information is now at the tips of our hands all the times. To make all these possible and cater to such growing demands the requirement of Computer Science Engineers for job roles like Web Developer, Database Administrator, IT Manager, Cloud Architect, Cyber Security Specialist etc. has also grown significantly.
And now is the era of Industry 4.0 where every electrical appliance, electronic device, industrial machinery, traditional manufacturing and industrial practice etc. are now being automated and interconnected. Today is the era of fast mobile communication technologies like 5G, drone technologies for delivery, surveying etc., electric and hybrid vehicles, autonomous or self-driving vehicles, virtual and augmented reality, wearable devices like smartwatches, smart glasses etc., data analysis and artificial intelligence. Therefore, development in the area of Cyber Physical Systems, Cognitive Computing, Human Machine Interface, Machine Learning, Data Science, Internet of Things (IoT) is growing exponentially.
All these recent developments require an engineer to be acquainted with both the electronics part of it i.e., hardware and the associated coding part of i.e., software. Electronics and Computers Engineering involves study of both hardware and software and it provides the best of both of the worlds. It gives varied career options to choose from. There are plenty of job opportunities for an Electronics and Computers Engineer in the private sector all over the world and also in the public sector in India. An Electronics and Computers Engineer can choose from a variety of industries to work in or may opt for higher education like Master of Technology or Master of Science from reputed institutions in India or abroad as they are eligible for competitive examinations like GATE, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, GMAT etc.
In conclusion, it can be stated that there is a humongous scope for an Electronics and Computer Engineer in the near and distant future both.
Written by Prof. Probeer Sahw, Faculty Member, ECE Department