Shivangi Gupta after graduating from NSIT in 2011 went to National University of Singapore (NUS) for her Masters in Electrical Engineering. Currently, she is working in Baker Hughes as a Process Engineer.
Q1. What are the areas one can pursue graduate studies in, after graduating with a major in Instrumentation, Automation and Control from NSIT? Which foreign universities offer such courses?
Ans. There are many courses and fields available for graduate studies abroad after obtaining a B.E degree in Instrumentation & Control, some of them being Automation & Control, Power Systems, Power Electronics, Communication Systems, Robotics, Mechatronics, etc. All these courses remain available regardless of one’s B.E major. Normally, a student would prefer a graduate program offering specialization in a field related to his/her B.E major, but one can also opt for a different field of study altogether. Usually, all universities offer 2-3 courses related to ICE, the curriculum and research varying from university to university. I chose to do my Master’s in Electrical Engineering with Control and Automation as my specialization in NUS.
Q2. Tell us about the various fields that you have explored as part of your undergraduate research. Please throw some light on upcoming research areas that undergraduate students can explore, and try to work on as research projects under the guidance of professors in NSIT.
Ans. While studying in ICE, we covered a wide spectrum of subjects from basic engineering concepts of Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Electrical Circuits in early years to Instrumentation Systems, Digital Integrated Circuits, Linear Integrated Circuits, Analog Electronics, Power Electronics, Telemetry & Communication Systems, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, etc in subsequent years. Each subject has plenty of research potential and can be further explored depending on one’s interest. I was particularly interested in Artificial Neural Networks taught in Artificial Intelligence in last semester and chose to do my BTP on the same under Dr. Prerna Gaur.
It served as a stepping stone for my inclination towards research. Having developed greater interest in this particular field, I chose to take up an entire module on Neural Networks in my Master’s. Not only this, I also chose a Master’s research project exploring the field of Neural Networks even further. I presented my research paper on Forecasting Solar and Wind Data using Dynamic Neural Network Architectures for a Micro-Grid Ensemble in IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence (SSCI) Conference ’13 in Singapore, and it was published in IEEE Xplore as well.
Q3. What are the various opportunities available in the industry as well as academia after completing MS in the fields of your interest? Also tell us about the future prospects (growth, life style, remuneration) in those fields ?
Ans. The options available after completing Master’s are basically the same everywhere. Depending on one’s interest, one can either pursue a PhD, work as a Graduate Student Researcher under a professor or in a research institution, or take up a job. PhD courses usually offer monthly stipends which vary from university to university and also depend on the individual’s progress in his/her course. The remuneration for a job is subject to the industry, job position, and previous work experience of the individual.
Q4. What are the industry opportunities available outside India and what should be the career path, a graduate student from NSIT should adopt so as to shift to these foreign roles (without doing MS) ?
Ans. There are a lot of opportunities available in Instrumentation, Power and Energy Sector, Oil and Gas Industry for an ICE graduate. The best way to look for them is by going through the company’s website and applying through their portal. One can also sign up for job search engines like jobstreet.com,monster.com, stjobs.com, etc and apply through those. One needs to note that being a foreign applicant, there are certain companies and job positions which are reserved for nationals. For example, in Singapore, although there are immense opportunities for Instrumentation & Control in Defense sector, foreign applicants are not eligible for those positions. Similarly, Government organizations in Singapore give preference to Singapore nationals over foreign applicants.
Q5. What would you describe to be an ideal career path for an NSIT undergrad, if they wish to take up graduate studies?
Ans. Taking up further graduate studies highly depends on the individual’s interest. Whether one decides to go for PhD or take up a job, is a matter of personal choice and inclination.
Q6. Please share your experience of being a graduate student at National University of Singapore, and how the academic environment differed from that of NSIT.
Ans. National University of Singapore is ranked among world’s top 30 universities and Asia’s top 2 universities. The experience of being a graduate student at NUS was, in one simple word, awesome. One has to live it to believe it. Everything from the administrative procedure, educational structure to the accommodation was extremely well organized, flexible and hassle-free. An individual can choose to study full-time or part-time and complete the M.S course in minimum 1 year or maximum 2 years.
The method of teaching followed in NUS was very different from NSIT – the lectures consisted of presentation slides with notes provided before hand; the professors are highly qualified professionals with crystal clear concepts and unique teaching style; the examinations consisted of both close-book and open-book types; there is less emphasis on rote-learning and more on the understanding of underlying concepts; the homework assignments and projects were intellectually challenging, making one think harder and did justice to the professors’ expectation of your understanding of the topic. Apart from the world-class academics and facilities provided, the cultural diversity I was exposed to made the entire experience truly memorable.
Q7. Please share with us your experience in Baker Hughes as Process Engineer.
Ans. I have been working with Baker Hughes as a Process Engineer for over 10 months now. Baker Hughes is a leading Oilfied Services provider company. My role entails assessing and analyzing the performance of each process, driving continuous improvement projects, and coordinating LEAN and Kaizen activities across Asia Pacific region.
Q8. Keeping in mind the growing inclination of NSITians towards placements and MBA college admits, what do you think is the relative advantage of pursuing research at the undergraduate as well as graduate level?
Ans. I am aware of the growing preference among students for MBA and placements. It was the same when I graduated in 2011. I believe that pursuing research at under-graduate and graduate level has to be fueled by the individual’s interest and dedication. While one may still be able to complete the academic requirements of B.E without an active inclination in research in India, it will be an absolute nightmare for a student to extrapolate and apply that assumption in graduate programs offered abroad.
Q9. Do you believe that the investment in terms of time and money is justified in pursuing a Masters or/and a PhD as compared to starting your own venture or perhaps, taking up a job in a MNC?
Ans. I believe that the investment in terms of time and money for pursuing higher studies is totally justified. I am a firm believer of the fact that in today’s competitive world, a degree in Engineering is not enough. It is necessary to pursue a post-graduate degree, whether MBA or MS, to give you a competitive edge over others. Of course, everyone would have a different view on this but speaking for myself, I found the experience extremely worthwhile.