Move over computer science, these new-age courses for science students are here to stay

Students can have a head-start and become experts before these areas become mainstream. Here are some alternative yet exciting courses for science students:

— Written by VE Annamalai

Most of the top-scoring students in engineering exams often go for computer science engineering — making it the most sought-after course for more than half of a decade now. Now, when the times and technologies are changing at a rapid speed, students are fortunate to have a wider compass of options and opportunities open to them.

Excellent careers can be culled from matching individual tastes and talents with courses that best take those factors into account. These courses are not just a unique option to pursue as a subject but also hold great promises in terms of jobs and career prospects as the economy is driving its growth of off-beat courses that were scarce or non-existent earlier.

The takers for such courses are growing as young students are more attracted to new opportunities today than they were earlier. These off-beat options can offer varied employment, entrepreneurial, and research opportunities to students in the long run. Students can have a head-start and become experts before these areas become mainstream. Here are some alternative yet exciting courses for science students:

BTech in ceramics: Ceramics and glass are very popular from age-old days. But the skill of making and preserving the same is dwindling. A limited number of colleges offer this course. There are several industries that manufacture ceramics. White-ware industries that produce beautiful kitchen sets and dinnerware, industries that produce insulators and accessories needed for electrical transmissions, refractory industries that produce refractories needed for manufacturing metals at high temperatures, and finally, the glass industry that produces safety glasses for auto windshields and for use in buildings. All these industries need ceramic specialists.

BTech in design engineering or BTech engineering design: Design thinking is a popular concept that spans multiple industries and there are courses, independent of any branch purely focussing on designing products. This is also often referred to as an engineering design course or design engineering course. The idea is to teach how to not just bring in design to develop great products that are aesthetically perfect and ergonomically usable and consumer-focused but also to introduce design as a tool for innovative thinking. The curriculum develops design thinking concepts in a manner basis which students can conceptualise and develop products that are innovative while also boasting of high aesthetic value. These graduates are sought after by all manufacturing industries.

BTech in Biomedical Engineering: Biomedical devices are becoming essential in the healthcare and MedTech industry – a sector that is growing exponentially with a focus on making advanced diagnostic and related products for the medical ecosystem. A lot of this is being led not just by established pharma majors but also by smaller start-ups. The curriculum is a blend of electronics, patent laws, medical device development protocols, design thinking, and more. There are significant employment prospects that exist within this sector — either as professionals within a company or as an entrepreneur. For some, this is also a course that leads to further specialisation through education.

BTech in electrochemical engineering: The Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (CECRI) under CSIR offers a BTech program in chemical and electrochemical engineering, in conjunction with Anna University. In addition to the knowledge of electrochemical engineering that the course imparts, the added advantage is exposure to many government projects that happen on campus. The curriculum and the exposure to R&D projects normally lead students to opt for higher studies and research-led careers.

BTech in leather technology: The Central Leather Research Institute offers a BTech in leather technology, in conjunction with Anna University. The presence of real-world projects linked to the global leather goods sector offers a great opportunity to learn the nuances of the trade that enables gainful employment in the sector or the opportunity to start up one’s own leather processing business, catering to the global opportunities the sector offers.

BTech in Fashion Technology: A BTech degree in fashion technology is a sought-after course by students with a high entrepreneurial mindset and with an affinity to the textiles and fashion industries. The course gives them the fundamentals of textile and fabric design and development.

— The author is Principal, Sri Sivasubramaniya Nadar College of Engineering, Chennai

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