Special Mention : Sitara Kumbale, Batch of 2020 for assisting Pulse in curating this article.

Imagine your life without electricity and consumer durables like television, refrigerator, microwave, etc. – seems mundane and hard to survive. Isn’t it? Electrical and Electronics Engineering is one of the oldest and core branches of engineering. It is also among one the first departments in NITK since its inception, along with Mechanical and Civil Engineering in 1960. In simple terms, Electrical Engineering is a branch of Engineering that deals with concepts related to electricity and electric machinery such as- generation, transmission and use of electricity, electromagnetism, equipment like generators, motors, transformers, AC Current, DC Current, circuit networks, control systems etc. Looking into the peaks of rising power requirements and modulation, there is and will always be a need for Electrical Engineers on every aspect.

What peaks curiosity is though, why does Electrical and Electronics come together? The mechanism of almost all modern appliances is designed with the combination of electrical and electronic circuitry. Hence, studying both the forms of engineering altogether has become mandatory for aspiring students to learn the circuit programming of the appliances wholly. The electric circuits in an appliance help it operate while the electronic circuits interpret the signals or instructions transmitted by the users and let the machine perform accordingly. If you have been met with a wry smile when you beam proudly about your EEE branch in NITK, fret not, it has its reasons.

One of the interesting aspects of the branch is that it offers a plethora of choices in various cross cutting courses. Circuit theory and Power systems form the base for electrical engineering while subjects like Power Electronics, Analog and Digital Electronics, Digital Signal Processing are essential for electronics. One could also delve into the field of control theory, enabling the branch to be vibrant. The focus should be on understanding the concepts at the base level. As one goes into advanced courses, the foundation becomes more necessary. This is something that is largely underestimated by a lot of students.

Taking an interest in different online courses and readings, webinars, workshops and related occasions led by the different specialized clubs/groups inside and outside the college encourages you to acquire bits of knowledge and help in the exploration in different regions of the subject and its vocation.

There is a popular perception that research within the branch is saturating. However this isn’t entirely true. New and cross cutting fields like Robotics, Internet of Things, Algorithms for electrical optimisation, Renewable Energy has a lot of scope. Research in Digital Electronics and Microcontrollers is relevant in the digital age we live in. Along with that, Conventional Topics such as Power electronics, Signal Theory and Power Systems research are common. The key is to understand the utility value of each topic, and knowing where you would be able to contribute your best. If you are keen, there are opportunities within the department that you could look for. Electrical and EIectronics Engineering provides you with the flexibility to dive into different fields as per your interest. It provides a basic foundation, which allows one to navigate between software, electrical and electronics subjects.

This is a very important aspect when it comes to college life. One mustn’t hesitate to approach the professors in seeking new opportunities. They have vast experience in the field, and therefore it is imperative that the students make the most of it. Fun fact, Professor Debashisha Jena from the department made it to the top 2% scientists list curated by Stanford. It may seem daunting to approach professors but they’re always willing to guide you. Almost all professors have PhD and M.Tech students under them and when you work with a professor these students can be of greater help too.

Higher Studies
Students who have a vivid interest in the subjects can take up higher studies as an option. They may choose to take up an M.Tech within the country or give GRE and go for MS in other countries. It is important to understand one’s interest, discuss with people who are proficient. and work accordingly for it. Working with professors right from the start of second year can help one explore decide what field they would like to get a masters in. Once you figure that out, read up more about the shortlist program and connect with seniors in universities. Talk to them about their experiences. Check TOEFL requirements, as some colleges have a mandatory requirement. When you are clear about what you want to pursue, make a detailed CV. It is your first line of communication, hence make sure it’s precise and clear. Get your recommendation letters in order. Approaching professors you’ve worked with or whose classes you’ve performed very well in for recommendations. Give them enough time to write these letters.

It is important to know that one can look beyond the technical side, and move into other subjects depending on their interest. It is imperative to spend your time in college in figuring out what works best for you. The scope is limitless.

Interview Preparation and Employment
The placement and internship period are definitely an exciting phase in college. If you are specific about the kind of job/internship you want to sit for, start preparing early in the summer. Study specifically along those lines that you want to work in. Preparing for each profile will be different, hence cater your resume to the profile you are applying for. Read Gyan on IRIS and approach seniors in those companies you would like to sit for, to know preparation tips and about their work. Most importantly, be thorough with your resume. Placement and internship can be a period of lot’s of stress, so keep a cool head and approach it with the right frame of mind.

It is expected that the scope of electrical and electronics engineers will multiply largely in the core industries. The companies are expected to rely upon the expertise of skilled engineers only to handle the tasks like manufacturing of electrical and electronics devices and components. It depicts that the engineers are going to be in demand for a very long time. Beyond the scope of core industries, students can also look for opportunities within the software and electronics industry. This multidisciplinary aspect of circuit branches opens up a plethora of opportunities.

General Advice
College can be a strange and interesting period in your life, where you figure out more about yourself. Don’t be apprehensive to reach out to anyone, be it seniors or professors. Build a network in college. This can go a long way in learning your interests. There is a general apprehension about grades. Grades do matter – be it for placement or higher studies, but they aren’t everything. At the end of the day, make sure you are at the right place exploring what you love.