18 Nov 2020 20:32 IST

‘My engineering degree equipped me with good life and survival skills’

Abhishek Baskar says his undergraduate degree taught him how to get the job done

Abhishek Baskar, an electrical engineering graduate from Sri Venkateshwara College of Engineering (SVCE), 2018 batch, helps build IT solutions for business problems at a data analytics firm. He talks about how engineering equips you with life skills that finds relevance in any job.

    What is the nature of your work?

    My exact designation would be Trainee Decision Scientist, but my job is largely a mix of an analyst's job and that of a developer. I help build IT solutions for business problems, with a fair amount of client interaction as well.

      Looking back on your engineering degree, how would you say that it is helping you in your work life and career now, if at all?

      Well, it did in some areas and it didn't in others. In an example of the latter, what I studied in electrical engineering has no relation to my work as a developer. On the other hand, any engineering degree equips you with some life skills and survival skills that find their relevance in any job. You learn to network and build contacts; basically how to deal with people in a way that you can never learn in school. You also do learn things of technical importance to your job, although that wasn't the case for me. But yes, on the whole I would say that it did help me with my work life, largely with my soft skills.

        What are the learnings that you are applying in your work ?

        My primary learning was on how to buckle down and get any given job done. It's essentially a race that you begin running, however the end goal may vary from person to person. So I learnt how it was important at any given stage to do what was necessary to at least keep up with the crowd if not lead it. I also learned the value of building my contacts; you can always try to get ahead with someone's help and there's no shame in that.

          Do you think there was something missing when you did your engineering that you feel should have been included/taught? And which would have helped you in your work life?

          Well, from the perspective of campus placements, I think greater emphasis could've been placed on doing the basic things right: communication skills with respect to the group discussion or interviews, and the importance of basic mathematics for the quantitative aptitude rounds. Emphasis on how to answer the simple questions: the 'tell me about yourself', or the 'what are your strengths and weaknesses', because it is these questions through which you can show your potential employers that you have the right attitude and this could even be your saving grace if your technical skills are not up to the mark or for some reason you didn't do them that well. There was some emphasis placed on communication skills, but not enough in my opinion. It is these little things that seem so simple, which end up making a difference.

            What would you like to say to students looking to pursue an engineering course? Your advice?

            For starters, good luck. I think I would say that one should try and decide as early as you can which race you want to run, be it a job or a master's degree or a complete pivot to a different field. It is important to figure this out instead of drifting into one thing or the other because once you do, the next and more important job is to come up with a plan to keep up or keep ahead of the pack. Upskill and stay relevant because that is the only way you won't get left behind.