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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Opportunities in Automation

Automation offers endless opportunities'





What is automation and what kind opportunities does it offer?

Automation is a wide field. The automation industry addresses design, development, production, and application of devices and systems that sense, measure, and control industrial processes and manufacturing operations. This includes domains of basic continuous control; discrete, sequencing and manufacturing control; advanced control; reliability, safety and electrical controls; related software development; and integration, deployment and maintenance. 
   Going by the increasing size of the industry, the job opportunities for automation engineers in India as well as abroad is huge. Moreover, since not many technical institutes cover automation engineering, the industry offers lucrative opportunities to multiple engineering disciplines like chemical, mechanical, instrumentation, electrical, electronics and software engineering.

Is this sector also facing a manpower crisis?

The automation industry is growing annually at a rate of around 6-8% globally, whereas in countries like India and China the growth rates exceed 30%. The five-year forecast is also showing healthy trends and the industry would require more technical graduates — both from engineering colleges and polytechnics — to join the industry. 
   Since the ’90s, the industry has been losing its shine, as the skilled workforce started moving towards the IT sector. One of the causes, perhaps, is the working condition — in the automation industry an engineer has to be in the workshop. The second aspect is the compensation package, which remains a deterrent even today. However, in this industry you can experience the real-life implementation of what you learnt in engineering.

What are the available career opportunities?

The impact of automation and control systems is seen everywhere around us. Automation systems are found in automobiles, medical instrumentation, petrochemical plants, refineries, commercial and military jets, robotic manufacturing systems, precision missile systems, chemical plants and life saving drug plants, among others. At the core of every process plant are automation systems that work in the background. The career opportunities this sector offer for today's youngsters are diverse and numerous. Opportunities exist for engineers in instrumentation, process control, automation, modelling, analysis, design and implementation.

Any major challenges for this sector?

Automation and control systems engineering is a fascinating field that offers endless possibilities. The primary challenge is to attract bright students to join the industry. Here, I would advise young technocrats to look at long-term growth prospects. The current trend of looking at shortterm goals needs to change if one wants to succeed in this field.

What is AIA’s role in the academic circle?

AIA comprises over 50 major corporates in the automation sector. According to a McKenzie report last year, only 25% of our engineering graduates are ready for deployment. And the industry is equally responsible for this, as the industryacademia interaction has not been adequate. 
Besides, the syllabus in most engineering colleges is outdated and the industry needs to intervene. AIA is trying to bridge this gap through various campus connect activities. We would also like to see the establishment of quality diploma schools in the country that offer good technical training.


   Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


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