Have you ever wondered “How do computer processors work?”, or “How are we able to send information wirelessly?” If you have a curiosity to find answers to such questions, then ECE (Electronics and Communications Engineering) might be of interest to you. ECE involves researching, designing, developing, and testing electronic equipment used in various systems. Electronics and Communications engineers also conceptualize and oversee the manufacturing of communications and broadcast systems.
This stream of engineering deals with analog transmission, basic electronics, microprocessors, solid-state devices, digital and analog communication, analog integrated circuits, microwave engineering, satellite communication, antennae, and wave progression. It also deals with the manufacturing of electronic devices, circuits, and communications equipment. Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech)/Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) in ECE is a four-year Undergraduate (UG) program offered by several institutes across India .
The opportunities for ECE students are quite vast. ECE students can pursue a career in the private sector, the government sector, or the armed forces; or pursue higher education/short-term courses. Let us make a quick survey of these avenues.
• Jobs in the Private Sector: Students can get jobs through campus placements or off-campus placements. In addition to the hardware-oriented jobs, ECE students can also opt for software-oriented jobs, because most institutions include coding courses in their curriculum. Students can get placement in service-based companies like TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant etc. as well as in product-based companies such as Amazon, Intel, Qualcomm, Robert Bosch, Samsung etc. ECE students can also be hired as Sales engineers.
• Jobs in the Government Sector: In the government sector, students can seek core jobs in PSUs, ISRO, IES, BARC, AAI, RRB-JE, and ECIL as well as non-core jobs through other government exams.
o PSUs: Several reputed Maharatna and Navratna PSUs and research organizations such as ONGC, NTPC, BHEL, BEL, PGCIL, CSIR, etc. recruit on the basis of GATE scores.
o ISRO: ISRO conducts an entrance exam for technical graduates for the position of Scientist/Engineer, which provides an opportunity to work in the Research & Development department of one of the world’s top space organizations .
o IES (Indian Engineering Services)/ESE: ESE (Engineering Services Examination) exam is conducted by the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission), through which it hires class-1 officers. These candidates, after the final selection, are posted in various Ministries and Departments of GoI such as Railways, Telecom, Border Roads, CPWD, CWC, CPES, NHAI, Naval Armaments, IDSE, MES, Ordnance Factories, etc. These recruitments are made for techno–managerial posts .
o BARC: Each year, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) holds an entrance exam for two major M.Tech. programs – OCES (Orientation Course for Engineering Graduates and Science Post Graduates – 1-year course) and DGFS (DAE Graduate Fellowship Scheme for Engineering Graduates and Physics Graduates – 2-year course). After completion of the course, candidates will be posted as Scientific Officers in one of BARC’s units. Few seats are also reserved for students who clear the GATE exam .
o AAI (Airports Authority of India): AAI conducts exams for Air Traffic Controller and few other posts .
o RRB-JE: The Railways Recruitment Board Junior Engineer (RRB-JE) exam is conducted to recruit candidates with science and engineering backgrounds as Junior Engineer (JE) and Depot Material Superintendent (DMS) in the Indian Railways .
o ECIL: Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) conducts exams to recruit candidates for contract positions as Junior Technical Officers (JTO).
• Armed forces: The Indian Armed Forces takes in candidates for Technical and Non-Technical posts.
o Indian Air Force (IAF): For Ground Duty (Technical) Branch and Flying Branch, the IAF shortlists candidates through the AFCAT exam, and successful candidates are admitted after interview by the Services Selection Board (SSB) .
o Indian Army: For Technical Graduate Course (TGC), the Indian Army shortlists students based on their CGPA in B.Tech/B.E. and selects candidates after interview by the SSB .
o Indian Navy: For various technical positions, the Indian Navy shortlists individuals based on their CGPA in B.Tech/B.E. and selects candidates after interview by the SSB .
• Opportunities abroad: A couple of these options are depend on the organization one works with:
o Teaching robotics: With an increase in the adoption of robotics, teachers are required who can impart the required knowledge to students in schools or institutions teaching robotics.
o Knowledge of software programming languages (C/C++, JAVA) and hardware (Raspberry Pi, robotics, and automation system) can help in landing a job abroad.
• Higher education: Students can opt for higher education to open up better opportunities:
o M.Tech/ MS (in India): GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering) is a national level exam that tests the candidates’ understanding of the core subjects in B.Tech/B.E. ECE. Students can apply for M.Tech (Master of Technology) or MS (Master of Science) in IITs, IISc, NITs, IIST, and other Centrally Funded Technical Institutes (CTFIs) based on their GATE scores. A few private colleges conduct their own exams for admission to M.Tech/MS .
o MS (abroad): Students can use their GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) score to apply for MS programs at foreign universities. Some foreign universities also accept GATE scores. Students may also have to pass language proficiency exams such as IELTS, TOEFL, DSH, TestDaF etc.
o Direct Ph.D.: Students from IITs, NITs, IIITs, and other CTFIs can go for Ph.D (Doctor of Philosophy) in IITs, IISc, and NITs directly after their B.Tech/B.E. in ECE, based on their CGPA. GATE scores are also accepted for the same. Students can choose this option if they are interested in taking up teaching as a profession, or if they are interested in research-oriented jobs in the industry.
• Short-term courses: C-DAC offers short-term courses which can help develop technical skills in specific domains of ECE . Students can also pursue Cisco® Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification training, which can help build a career in Networking .
Good for whom & Skills Required:
Students who have strong analytical skills, problem-solving skills, and are good in physics and mathematics, should opt for B.Tech/B.E. ECE. Once this choice is made, mastery of at least one of the following skills can help ECE students achieve a successful career:
• Knowledge of VLSI design, Verilog, embedded C, MATLAB, and Microprocessor/Microcontroller can help land a job in hardware companies.
• C/C++, JAVA, Python, Linux, SQL can help in landing a job in software companies.
• Knowledge of Arduino, robotics and automation technologies can help students land a job in a company that specializes in industrial automation.
• Thorough conceptual understanding of all the core ECE subjects and having a good knack for solving numerical problems can help a lot in GATE, BARC, ESE, and other Technical Government exams.
• Knowledge of Cloud Computing and AI/ML will be useful as it is an up-and-coming field. These courses are offered by various institutions either as an extension of B.Tech or separate course.
Related Streams & Future Prospects:
Some of the streams related to ECE are Electronics & Telecommunication Engineering, Electronics Engineering, Electronics, and Computer Engineering, Electronics and Computer Science, Electronics & Electrical Communication Engineering, Communication Engineering, Electronics Communication & Instrumentation Engineering, Advanced Electronics, and Communication Engineering.
Electronic components are the backbone of all the technologies we rely on in today’s digital world, from our smartphones to satellites in orbit, and Electronics and Communication Engineers play a key role in the development of these devices. As the world’s dependence on electronic components rises in the coming years, so will the demand for Electronics and Communication Engineers. One of the booming fields in this regard is the semiconductor industry. Pursuing a Master’s degree in VLSI or related fields from India or abroad can help students pursue a career in it; the demand for VLSI engineers is high in the semiconductor industry and is only expected to grow . Most importantly, to have a successful career, students must be quick to learn new skills and keep up with the latest industry advancements (new programming languages, methodologies, etc.).
The basic eligibility requirement to pursue an Electronics & Communication Engineering program at the UG level is that candidates must have qualified in their 10+2 examination from a recognized board, with Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry/Biology/Biotechnology/Technical Vocational Subject as their main subjects, apart from respective entrance exams.
Undergraduate programmes are available in various colleges:
ECE is offered in most of the IITs, NITs, IIITs, CTFIs, state government colleges, as well as private colleges. IITs and IIST accept students based on JEE Advanced rank . NITs, IITs, CTFIs, and a few private colleges accept students based on JEE Main rank . Private colleges such as BITS, VIT, and SRM conduct their own entrance exams.