During the four “grueling” academic years in the BE course quite a few things become clear in the minds of the students. While the value addition during the period is evident, thought of the future poses questions. One such question is whether Graduate degree alone could fetch an assured job. Employability with the acquired skill and knowledge at that level has been grey area for the educationist themselves. In fact the educational Institute’s themselves are engaged in introducing subjects and disciplines which could strengthen employability of the student. The question that engages the mind is whether a Post Graduate qualification in specialized areas with interaction with Industries could make the students more employable.
During the initial interaction, the final year engineering and MCA students have not evinced any particular preference or desire for Post graduate education; if any such preference at best is few in number. Some even tell that enough is enough and that they never want to study further. It is welcome to note that at least some are clear in their minds, whether this is right or not is debatable. The urge for going for PG has to be grounded on something more positive and tangible not merely for a romantic reason of study for the sake of acquiring knowledge. Acquiring a PG qualification could place a student in a better position to obtain well paid job. After passing out, waiting for a job or not getting a lucrative job for lack of a P.G. degree could be incisively a painful experience.
Opting for further studies
Once, decision on further studies is taken and frozen, the question of ‘what to and when to do what’ pops up and remains unresolved until the aspiring student gets proper guidance and counseling. Doing PG is a certain way to add substance to the overall technical acumen and become more valuable to the organization which may eventually employee him/her. The opportunity to acquire a M.Tech. from a renown Institution weighs on the mind much more.
Drawing a parallel, the preference accorded to a MBA from IIM and that of any other Institute is just an illustration. So much depends on the Institutions renown. Therefore before investing time, money and efforts, one should ensure that he is on a right path to avoid repenting later particularly in this once in a life time decision in making choice. Recognizing this importance, here is an option to obtain some guidance which would help the student to finalize his choice in making a decision about the PG and the choice of Institution where to obtain further studies. In the engineering stream the latest and most preferred choice is the GATE Exam.
Earlier focus was on GRE, which was essentially for getting admitted to universities in the USA, and some individual entrance tests conducted by the premier institutes. Fortunately for the serious students the issue of evaluating competency is somewhat resolved by the collective intelligence of the 7 IITs and the Institute of Science, Benguluru. That they are conducting the exams with continuous up-gradation is a further augmentation. The test is comprehensive and conducted in a serious and systematic manner grants immense value to the GATE scores which are acceptable in almost all premier Institutes barring a few which still persist with their own tests. Some institutes accept GATE scores with some specific weightages and the further selection is based on the GDPI conducted by the Panels of the Institutes.
GATE as a Ticket to get jobs in PSU and Multinationals:
One more handsome benefit to ponder is that the GATE scores are valid and accepted as a means of entry in the Public Sector undertakings in Power Sector, Defense and Defense Research, Natural Fuels, Atomic Energy, Railways, BHEL and many others. The 14 PSUs, some belonging the Navratna, started taking students through the GATE sometime around 2012, before which they had their own selection. Very broadly put, the weightages to GATE score is about 70% and the balance 30% is decided on other testing techniques such as GDPI. The multinational organizations also accept the GATE scores for their selections and it is reported that the students with an acceptable GATE score is preferred over the ones without GATE qualification.
More opportunities on offer:
The good news now for the aspiring students is that the number of IITs is increasing from 5 to 15, as well as the number of Government and multinational companies accepting GATE score is on the rise, which in simple language means that the students who would not have been accepted in the earlier years now stand a much better chance of getting into IITs and other organizations. If one is not admitted to one of the IITs he can look forward to getting a PG qualification from other premier Institutes including 16 NITS, 2IIITs, BITS Pilani, VJTI Mumbai, VIT Vellore and about 15 others.
Attempting GATE with clarity, preparation and practice
So far so good! The GATE is good and one might get a decent qualification leading to eventual employment on a fat salary facilitating a better life quality if one gets a good GATE score. But the sad part is that very few actually understand what it takes to clear the GATE Exam. The lack of specific training and the required practice required to crack the coveted exam means a very few students actually qualify and the percentage to the total makes dismal reading. The reasons are many and any internet site can give the details with tables and analysis. The students need a formal classroom type training which has been forgotten by them due to the typical manner in which the education is imparted in the professional colleges. Actual lessons and subsequent continuous testing based on the pattern of the GATE exams would make the students confident and better equipped for the Ultimate test. The student has to get out of the ATKT, Internal Marks mind-set and instead be receptive to imparted lessons and respond to the intensive tests could bolster up his mind which could in turn assist in clearing the exam with high scores. The slow and steady built up to peak up mental acuity is preferred on a voluntary basis. The Institute will be the best facilitators with backdrop of expertise acquired over a period of time. The distance to traverse between the actual acumen of the students and the required level to pass the GATE is immense and can only be accomplished by conscientious and concerted effort both on the part of the aspiring student and the Institute that provides training.
The students need to be wary of the unsubstantiated claims made by the mushrooming GATE institutes and academies. The better copy and fine print of the advertisements does not necessarily vouch performance of these academies. It however sadly reflects on the dismal performance of the student. The ultimate loser is the student who loses not only money, morale and but also precious and irreplaceable time. The institute in such cases often takes shelter in statistical gimmicks but the loss is permanent for the student. Thus the decision of appearing for the GATE particularly the choice of the Institution has to be made keeping in view the life changing consequences.
The author is a Director at GATE Forum, Career Campus Nagpur