JULY 2012: Telecommunications engineering is currently the hottest branch of engineering in India. At the risk of being immodest, one can say that the scope of this engineering will last forever in an economy like India.

Alok Sinha, an industry professional working as an assistant vice president-general business sales and IT solutions, Huawei, says, “There is no place to be born on this planet better than India for people who want to make a career in telecommunications engineering. The entire Middle East and Saudi Arabia has around 24 million subscribers. UAE has seven million subscribers. We add 12 million subscribers per month. So India adds as many subscribers in a month as the entire subscribers base in some of the countries of the world.”

“From the perspective of population penetration we have reached just 0.7-0.8 per cent, while for the rest of the world it is around 1.5 to 2 per cent. So we can very well assume that there is still enough to leverage from core telephony,” he adds.

A sustainable career option
Though India has 76 per cent teledensity, compared to its BRIC peers, the country’s infrastructure still requires a major improvement. Hence in a market that still requires growth impetus, the demand for telecommunications engineers will remain resilient.

Reema Malhotra, head of HR (India), Nokia Siemens Networks, informs, “With new access technologies and the huge growth in the number of subscribers, the next decade will see unprecedented growth in mobile telephony. In recent years, traffic levels have grown manifolds. This trend is expected to continue well into the future, again bringing opportunities and changing the face of communications as we know it. This growth is expected to provide a sky of career opportunities to telecommunication engineers.”

Demand of manpower is growing exponentially in telecommunication sector. However, there has been a paradigm shift of resource requirements to different verticals within the telecommunication industry. Demand of engineers, which was more in handset, network implementation and maintenance segments of the industry in early 2000s, is now migrating towards application development, data networking and value-added services (VAS).

Rajeev Kabra, director and chief executive officer, Cognitel, says, “With new areas like mobile money, mobile advertising and mobile healthcare opening up, we expect to see an increase in lateral hiring in telecommunication industry. This hiring will include a major chunk of telecommunication engineers.”

It’s not just about talent, but the right kind of talent!
For those wanting to get into telecom, there are a plethora of colleges waiting for you across India offering courses in telecommunications engineering.

Pramod Patil, registrar, Dr DY Patil Institute of Engineering and Technology, Pimpri, Pune, says, “The aspirants should make a choice meticulously. Any college which is at least three years ahead in terms of technology is an ideal place for a student as the industry expects the students to have a thorough knowledge of the present technology and clear vision about the futuristic technology.”

However, the educational institutions in India are focused on theoretical education. The industry needs manpower which has practical exposure to telecom systems. So the curriculum of educational institutions needs to be changed to include more industryoriented education and training.

Sinha says, “The educational institutes in India are trying to keep pace with the evolving technology, but there is a lot of scope for development, definitely. They need to understand the demand of the changing time and evolving technology and offer forward-looking courses to the students. Those institutes which provide cuttingedge environment are sustaining. The educational institutes have to see more from the perspective of what will be the scenario three years henceforth.”

“I would like to see more of business-and industry-oriented education being incorporated in the syllabus. If that integration does not happen, it is a problem. There is still no course available for architects, whereas in real world everybody needs that. There is a dearth of skilled talent in the telecom industry. There is a need of people in many areas. Apart from talent, the required skill set is also important and that’s the biggest challenge we face in the industry today,” he adds.

Kabra says, “Telecom organisations look for engineers who have some hands-on experience in managing the equipment. But these resources are virtually non-existent as the telecom infrastructure equipment are very expensive to own for any educational institution. So the industry has to settle with engineers having at least good grasp of theoretical engineering concepts and good communication skills.”

There are companies like Cognitel which help the colleges to provide hands-on training to the students in order to make them industry-ready.

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