(This write-up is taken from an Article "All about Applied Electronics and Instrumentation" published at the Campusbuzz suppliment of Assam Tribune)
The modern India belongs to modern electronics, sensors, high speed communication, high data transfer, fast computation etc. To cater the needs of the citizens of modern India, Electronics, Instrumentation and Computer Science engineers have to use cutting edge technology to deliver goods and services whenever required. Aspiring Students are often confused which branch to choose to study between ‘Electronics’ and ‘Instrumentation’ Engineering. Electronics is referred to as Electronics and Communication engineering or Electronics and Telecommunication engineering while Instrumentation is referred as solely Instrumentation engineering, Electronics and Instrumentation engineering, Instrumentation and Control Engineering etc.
Industries require Electronics and (Tele) Communication Engineers as well as Instrumentation Engineers. Both these engineers have different job profiles in industries. While Electronics and (Tele) Communication Engineers are required for handling the electronic equipments, microcontroller based devices and communication systems, Instrumentation engineers are concerned with the supervision and maintenance of sensors, measuring instruments, data collection from various instruments for process control and automation in Industries.
Combining the technical knowledge and skills of both Electronics and (Tele) Communication Engineering and Instrumentation Engineering is a hybrid engineering programme called as Applied Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering. It is a combination of Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering for applied engineering. It is primarily an engineering course, combining the electronics part for sensing with instrumentation engineering (http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Applied_Electronics_and_Instrumentation_Engineering)
What do Applied Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering students learn in their engineering curriculum? In addition to learning about electronics measuring instruments, students also learn how to program microcontrollers and to design and implement communication networks composed of sensors, actuators, and programmable logic controllers (PLC). As Applied Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering is a multi disciplinary stream, so it covers courses from various engineering branches such as chemical, mechanical, electrical, electronics and computer science besides basic science courses. Important courses include Measurements, Control system, signals, Industrial Instrumentation, Process control, Power Electronics, Machines, Biomedical Instrumentation, Robotics, Communication and Telemetry. The students of this programme deal with software and hardware topics such as microprocessor and microcontroller - based instrumentation, Virtual Instrumentation system, VLSI and Embedded System Design, Computer Control of Processes etc. Computer languages such as C, C++, object oriented programming etc. are also part of the curriculum. Apart from all these, mathematics is also an important part of the curriculum and includes higher engineering mathematics, computer-aided mathematics and fuzzy mathematics. This makes electronics and instrumentation engineers fit for both hardware and software industries.
Career options for graduates of Applied Electronics and Instrumentation
Electronics and Instrumentation engineers have a bright future ahead of them as they are needed by almost all industries in various cadres in Design, Development, Fabrication, Inspection, Quality control, Maintenance and Service and so on.
With the advent of new developments in India in terms of digitalization, information technology, space technology, defense technology, industrial technology, medical technology, smart cities and rural villages etc, the scope of Applied Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering is growing by leaps and bounds with opportunities in fields like high-speed computing, data acquisition and feedback systems, high-speed telemetry, advanced remote control systems, Healthcare field of sophisticated medical electronics equipment like Blood sugar monitoring, Blood Pressure and Temperature monitoring, Imaging devices like X-Ray, CT scan, MRI, Optical fibre, Telecommunication, Robotics, Computer Control in Process applications, VLSI etc.
As the curriculum of this discipline covers a courses related to industrial operations, graduates of this discipline find employments in different types of automated production process industries like steel, cement, power, FMCG, automobiles, rubber, food products, medicine, aerospace and packaging.
Besides production industries, graduate of this discipline also finds opportunities in a variety of centrally and state owned Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) like APDCL, BCPL, NRL, Railway Recruitment Board, DRDO, IES, ONGC, BSNL, BEL, BHEL, HPCL, NTPC, IOCL, NLC, GAIL, NFL, Vizag Steel, CEL, ECIL, JPTO and Telecommunication Department etc. recruits graduates of this engineering branch through Graduate Aptitude Test for Engineers (GATE) organized by IITs and IISc. The GATE examinations are held every year and engineering graduates gets a good opportunity to crack the examination and make a career in PSUs.
Graduates of this engineering discipline can also apply for jobs at Multinational Companies (MNCs) like HART, Siemens, ABB, Honeywell, Rockwell automation, Larsen and Tubro, National Instruments, Robert Bosch Invensys, GE, Suzlon, Whirlybird, Essar, IT industries (e.g. CTS, TCS, Wipro, L&T Infotech, Accenture, IBM, etc.).
There are also huge scopes for a graduate of this branch of engineering in Research and Academics. Research organizations (DRDO, BARC, CSIR labs, CSIO, CEERI etc), IIT’s, NIT’s, central universities, centrally funded institutions carrying out research in development of new sensors, control mechanisms, automation, telemetry and remote control, medical instruments, Virtual instrumentation systems, VLSI and embedded systems etc recruit graduates of this discipline in positions like JRF, SRF, Project Engineer or Scientist. Through GATE exam conducted every year, a graduate of this branch can opt for Higher education (M.Tech/ ME) in IITs, NITs and other central or state Institutions and Universities and subsequently later on to Ph.D degree in institutions of higher repute. Graduates of this discipline are also eligible to pursue relevant Master’s Degree in Science or M.S. programs in institutions abroad. The key is to select a relevant and rewarding field of specialization. After completing the B.E.or B.Tech. degree in India, students can pursue M.S. Degree abroad. However, they may have to crack some tests like SAT, GMAT, IELTS and TOEFL to pursue their MS abroad.
For those graduates who are interested in higher education in Management, MBA and PGDM course will come handy. The graduates can opt for management entrance test like CAT, MAT, XAT, SNAP, NMAT, IIFT, CET, CMAT and get admissions in a premier management institute that will definitely boost their career prospects.
Apart from engineering, management and research domain, a graduate of this branch of engineering can shift his/her career in other fields like Management and sales service, IT product related service, Banking service, Civil services (through UPSC and state level public service examinations) etc.
For those who seeks adventure, graduates of this discipline can get into the armed force through CDS (Combined Defence Services) exam, AFCAT or other relevant examination to be inducted into the Indian defense force Army/Navy/ Air Force, whichever is the choice. They can also enter into the technical division of the armed forces.