23 Apr 2021 19:00 IST

What are some futuristic engineering courses?

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Opt for an area that is most relevant and has the best prospects in the future

Which courses are most relevant and futuristic in engineering and which courses have the best prospects in the future? - Maanya C Bharat

It is hard to predict. Because there have been instances in the past where you think a branch is going to be futuristic, but then some development takes place and it suddenly feels like an old branch of study over time. Similarly, there are cases where suddenly from an old branch of study a whole new area of study comes up. For example, today nanotechnology is a big area of study. Some 20 years ago, metallurgy and material sciences were considered old subjects. But nanotechnology stems from metallurgy and material sciences. Suddenly from these old branches a whole new area of study has opened. Another example is mechanical engineering which was considered an old branch, but a whole new area of study in terms of robotics has stemmed from that old branch of study.

The most relevant courses will be the ones which are like hybrids: Areas of study that take different branches, and then combine them. Usually in undergraduate studies you do not see that happening. But when you are doing your post-graduation courses and so on, you will be doing these hybrid courses. Computational biology for instance is a combination of computer science and biology. It is a very futuristic course, and a lot of work is happening in that area.

Therefore, always in the crossroads of two courses lie new prospects. These courses will certainly be futuristic. However, if your question is about which courses have better prospects, the answer will have to be approached with an economic perspective. For instance, the point of using solar power versus traditional fuel. Solar power continues to be a research area. As soon as the economic and revenue benefits of Solar power is realised a whole lot of work happens in this space. Then it is no longer just a research area and the talk is about the commercial viability. The prospects in the field change dramatically.

Similarly, Nano Technology is presently in the research stage and when a question arises if this area will also witness a dramatic change, it is difficult to predict what is in store. Today, it is at the research stage. But tomorrow if they start using the technology for performing surgical operations or using the technology to administer medicines, then the possibilities again change dramatically. And the prospects for the area of studies change too.

Therefore, futuristic areas of study are always the hybrid area. That is clear. But there is a tipping point when this will begin to realise huge economical gains. But it is difficult to say how long it will take. There are some areas that are at the research levels for long periods of time because they have not yet reached the commercial stage. These areas may not generate revenue opportunity or show commercial viability, but may continue to hold good prospects in terms of research.

(The writer is the founder of the coaching institute Ahaguru.)