Updated: Sep 16, 2019
Dr. Kaur is an Assistant Teaching Professor at Missouri University of Science & Technology. She talked about what the future in Electronics & Electrical looks like and answers questions of registered students.
Electronics & Communication Engineering is a branch of Electrical Engineering in US and Canada. So, when Dr. Kaur talks about Electrical Engineering, the same advice applies for Electronics Engineering students as well.
Student -- Best practices during the bachelor’s degree? Research, Projects, Internships?
Dr. Kaur -- This is true for any engineering branch, generally. Try to get as much handson experience as possible. Try to do projects outside of your coursework. Try to do your individual projects. These could be software/hardware projects. This would demonstrate your interest in something specific in your branch of study.
It goes without saying that you should focus on getting good grades in your bachelor’s degree. The other thing is to get as many industry trainings as possible. Beyond your required curricular trainings, try to get more experience through working with local companies/labs. First hand experience is valued a lot (anywhere in the world) beyond just academics so make the full use of the training/internship programs.
Another important aspect of application is to either do extracurricular activities or community service. If you can do both then it’s great! These experiences are really valued in the west - US, Canada etc. The universities are looking for soft skills apart from your academic performance.
Whether you are planning to go into a job or further education would dictate what research you’d have to do during your bachelor’s degree. If a student is sure that he/she is going to pursue Master’s or PhD, then getting research experience is very valuable during the bachelor’s degree. In general, research is very valuable in learning by doing/experimenting. It establishes your contact with what’s going in the industry. If you have opportunities on your campus then definitely take advantage of them. Firstly, if your own campus or if you know of a campus that has PhD programs then that campus would have research opportunities. You can talk to professors who are leading a research group and can try to be a part of their research. This adds a huge weight to your resume. Secondly, you can try to work with research organizations. Specifically in India, these would be DRDO (Defense Research & Development Organization). Most of the major cities have subsidiaries of DRDO -- CSIO labs. There are also ISRO minilabs that conduct research in different areas. You can also work in industry and find your own research topic by working with the companies. NOTE -- there is no value of research if you don’t publish it. So, try to publish your work in a reputable journal or a conference.
Simran -- What to do if someone wants to pursue the field of robotics during a master’s degree?
Dr. Kaur -- There are multiple fields that you can pursue. If you are more interested in programing, that would lead you into training or calibrating robots -- neural networks. If you are more interested in building mechanical models then that would lead you into hardware.
You’d have to learn a programing language (C, C++, Java etc.) to train and code the neural network of the robot. NOTE -- try to search online for mini robotic projects that you can do on your own. So, if you search for DIY (Do It Yourself) robotics kits then you’ll find a lot of resources. I would suggest start by making something small on your own (3 - 5 components to start with). Getting an internship in a company that works on robotics is the best way to understand the field. These companies have operations in India -- iRobot, Epson, Grey Orange, Systemantics.
The best way to learn to show your interest and skills is by building your own robots. Any level of hardware building and programming it yourself would be a good addition to your skill set. You can start by getting a robotic kit that only requires minimal programming and move your way up. Any online retailer like Amazon, Flipkart and similar sell multiple kits.
Further, there are conferences and competitions that you can attend. For example, IEEE’s robotics competition. You can form a team at your campus and participate in competitions nationally or internationally.
Aman Raj -- What softwares should an electrical engineer learn?
Dr. Kaur -- Having programing skills would help you if you decide either to pursue higher education internationally or go into an industry. So, for Electrical & Electronics Engineering students, I would suggest that you have proficiency in at one simulation tool. It could be MATLAB, ANSYS, MULTISIM, PSPICE, or other CAD tools from Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. Try to also learn one programing language. If you like statistical analysis, like making sense of a lot of numbers, then learn R, Python, SQL etc. This is true for any engineering student. Statistical data analysis would help you a lot with getting a job and even with your research. I would also suggest investing in Rasberry Pi or small Arduiino Kits to get hardware programming experience. So, learn one simulation tool and one programing language for sure.
Student -- What can be done after the bachelor’s degree in India? What companies to work for and what areas to work in?
Dr. Kaur -- You can work in the government sectors -- Navy, Army & Airforce. Further, there are communication companies like BSNL that hire communications engineers. Then there companies in the Power sector like BHEL that hire Electrical Engineers.
Depending on what you are interested in, there are a lot of companies in the private sector. Siemens, Nokia, Kelvin Electrical, Bajaj Electrical, Schneider Electric. These companies mostly hire Power/Electrical Engineering graduates.
For Electronics & Communication Engineering graduates there are HCL, Altair, Ansys, CISCO, HP, Texas Instruments, Tata, Reliance.
There are more contemporary companies in Renewable or Alternate Energy Groups -- Tata Power Solar systems Ltd., Moser Baer Solar Ltd., GE Wind Energy.
Paras -- What kind of candidates is a university looking for? How to best prepare for a master’s degree? Exams to take, research work, etc.?
Dr. Kaur -- The admissions process in the US and other countries differs from what it’s in India. Your application is looked at holistically (activities outside of education are also considered). What this means is that while your grades from your degree and your GRE/TOEFL/IELTS scores are important, they are not the only deciding factor in your acceptance or denial. Universities look for genuine candidates that institutions have a good fit with. They want to see that you have an genuine interest in pursuing a particular field and that you have done some work to prove your interest in that field. This work could be research, projects, internships etc. Universities are also interested in seeing leadership/extracurricular experiences on your profile. Between two students with similar scores, someone who has accomplishments outsider of classes would have better chances of being accepted.
Jaskeerat -- How hard is it for someone who is not from an IIT to go abroad for higher studies?
Dr. Kaur -- It’s not hard for someone who is not from the IITs to study abroad. Many students pursue a higher degree because they have the option to attend a better colleges/universities.
Chetna -- Is BE in EE accepted in the US?
Dr. Kaur -- Yes, any 4 year degree is accepted in the US. If you are pursuing a 3 year degree (like B.Sc. in India), you’d have to attend another year or two of formal college pursuing a master’s degree at an accredited university to be eligible to apply for a master’s degree in US or Canada.
Loveleen -- What fields are available for higher education for someone from a EE major?
Dr. Kaur -- In the US and generally in the west, Power and Energy, Controls and Automation, Electromagnetic Compatibility, Semiconductor devices, Optics, Communications, Neural Networks (robotics), Wireless Networks, Smart structures.
With that said, the great thing about a Master’s degree in the US that you can pick a different branch of engineering (like Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Biomedical Engineering) and take a few prerequisite courses to get a degree in the new field of your choice.
Paras -- What fields are picking up or are in high demand in EE?
Dr. Kaur --
Alternate energy resources
Student -- How should one proceed to do a PhD in the field of Electrical Engineering?
Dr. Kaur -- PhD requires a lot of commitment, so unless you are 100% sure that this is what you want to do I would suggest that you first try a master’s degree with a research option. A good starting point is to start with some research during your bachelor’s degree and then write conference or journal paper or two during your master’s degree to understand that field that you chose. Now, if you like the field of research and life as a researcher, you should talk to your advisor and apply to be a PhD Candidate. Consider 2 years for a masters degree and 4-5 years for PhD. Some universities also allow you to apply for a dual degree (Master’s + PhD). This option might save you a year.
Simran -- What is the difference between Power & Electrical Engineering?
Dr. Kaur -- There is no difference between Power & Electrical Engineering in India. In US & Canada; Power Engineering is a part of the Electrical Engineering field.
Power Engineering is specifically about power generation, distribution, and power management. For example, designing and installing a power grid (conventional or solar etc.) comes under Power Engineering.
Other fields under Electrical Engineering are - Neural Networks or Wireless Networks, Communication Systems, Semiconductor Devices, Image Processing, Smart Structures, Electromagnetic Compatibility.
Loveleen & Simran -- What options do I have after my bachelor’s degree?
Raj -- One of the best things about pursuing a master’s degree after your bachelor’s degree is that you can change your field of study. So, someone with a Mechanical Engineering background can go into Computer Science or Computer Engineering. Based on your experience and coursework from the bachelor’s degree, you might have to take a course or two in the new field of study but the switch can be made easily. You could also study fields such as Engineering Management, Systems Engineering, Biomedical Engineering that are open for students with any degree background.
Student -- What all to consider before making a decision to study abroad?
Raj -- It’s a personal choice but we recommend everyone to consider the option because it helps you to learn a lot and enrich your perspective. When considering higher education abroad you should think about the following (remember - this is not an exhaustive list. For more information download our app) --
Finances -- international education can be more expensive than domestic education depending on your country of residence and which country you want to study in. You can offset those constraints through assistantships and jobs on and off campus (based on laws of the country).
Dream Job -- if you feel you are far from your dream job or your dream country, earning an advanced degree in the country where the company is headquartered, can provide you an upper edge.
Extra Exams -- If you are considering to study in the US, you’d have to take the GRE/GMAT depending on what you want to study, followed by IELTS or TOEFL to prove your english efficiency. If you are considering Canada or Australia, you only have to take IELTS or TOEFL. Note -- most universities do require you to take the GMAT for an admission into an MBA program.
Jaskeerat -- What is the best way to find resources to study abroad?
Raj -- Connexio helps you find all the resources in one place. Download the Connexio app and get access to the best universities that match your profile, guidance section to walk you through all the steps to successfully apply to a university and then help on how to be successful once you are on campus. Plus, you get free access to our support team through the “Reach Out” section. The app is currently available on Google Play Store -- Connexio App.
Vedant & Kuljit -- What are the possible scholarships?
Raj -- There are not a whole lot of scholarships for international students. However, many universities offer funding opportunities such as research/teaching assistantships, which help you cut the tuition cost and then pay you a monthly stipend. These positions usually are very competitive and there are some best practices that you can follow to increase your chances to land an assistantship. You can find more details about these best practices in our App.
Aman Raj -- How not to spend too much money when studying abroad?
Raj -- There are a lot of ways to offset your tuition & living cost when you study abroad. Since, the cost of tuition is the biggest expense, let’s focus on that. If you are not interested in research/teaching then you should plan to spend 1.5 years instead of 2 years in the master’s program. Further, there are things that you can do during the first year to set yourself up for success. You can find the details in the guidance section in our App.
Vedant -- Can we interact with students at the universities that we want to study in?
Raj -- Yes! Connexio is working to connect you to the best resources at the universities that you match with. If you are interested in talking to current students at your matched universities, use the “Reach Out” section of our App to request connection and our team will help you with it.
Gautam & Deekshita -- What is better MS or MBA?
Raj -- This is again a personal decision. Let us tell you a little more about each option though to make the decision easier. As we mentioned before, during a Master’s degree you can chose to change your field of study and go into another branch of engineering or stay in the same branch and focus on a specific area. The master’s degree in engineering would give you an upper hand when applying for engineering jobs and if you were to opt for something like Engineering Management, then you’d have the ability to move towards the business side of the operations in companies that you apply for. Also, Engineering Management is a good bridge between Engineering and Management. Plus, the cost of a master’s degree is far less than an MBA.
If you are considering pursuing MBA, then you should know that most universities require you to have some experience (2 - 3 years) before you can apply for the program. Plus, the cost of the degree is more than the cost of a master’s degree. An MBA, would be a good option if you feel that the field of engineering is not something that you want the rest of your career to be in.
Chetna -- What all do we need to prepare to come to the US?
Raj -- As mentioned above, you would need to take GRE/GMAT depending on what kind of degree you want to pursue. Plus, you also have to take TOEFL or IELTS exam to prove your english efficiency. There are more things to consider to make sure that you are set up well when you reach the US. You can find all the details on the milestones in our Guidance section in our App.
Pranjal -- Is GRE necessary to do a Master’s/PhD in the US?
Raj -- Yes! Almost all US universities require you to take the GRE exam. A lot of universities are doing away with hard score requirements and some universities might waive the GRE on a case by case basis. But taking the GRE is a good practice especially considering to do a Master’s/PhD in the US. Connexio’s app shows you all the requirements from the matched universities and guides on the best practices on taking the GRE.
Gautam -- What difficulties would I face in the US as an international student?
Raj -- Deciding to leave your home country and moving to a new country to study takes a lot of courage. Fortunately, US universities have all the resources that you might need to settle into the new environment. Still, talking about some challenges that you might face and can prepare for --
Culture difference - You might find that the campus and classroom culture is different from what you have experienced in your own country. From our own experience we can tell that the culture is very open as in you can frankly ask questions and have discussions with the professors and other students in your classroom and on the campus. Being vocal about your thoughts is encouraged.
Weather difference - Depending on where you are coming from and where you are going for school. The temperatures might vary a lot. You should carefully study the yearly temperatures at your host university and prepare accordingly.
Doing things yourself - A huge part of being an international student involves being independent and knowing how to cook, wash dishes and clothes. Thankfully, there are resources that you can use to make these tasks easier but these are some basic necessities that you might or might not be prepared for when you leave home. Don’t worry though. You’ll be able to pick these things up like we all did.
Finally, Connexio would still be there to help you when you get here. We are committed to making you successful in the new country because we understand that the hardest part of this journey is not the application process but what happens once you get here. Use the “Reach Out” section and “Guidance” sections in our app to keep in touch and use our team and resources to assimilate into the new environment easier.
Student -- How to get a job in the foreign country?
Raj -- There are different ways to get a job abroad. Depending on what your preference is, you can either study in the country and then get a job or you could work for a company that might be able to send you to a new country. If you are particularly interested in a specific country then studying there is a good way to ultimately work there. If you don’t necessarily care about which country you want to work in then you could start working for an international company in your home country. Eventually, you would get the opportunity to move to a country where the company could use your expertise.
Student -- What is the requirement to get admitted into an MBA program?
Raj -- To get admitted into an MBA program outside of India, you need 2-3 years of work experience. You would also need to take the GMAT exam. Most universities around the world expect to see GMAT scores for an admission into the MBA program.
Nehal -- What are the best university for an MBA?
Raj -- This is something that you can easily find by googling your query. What you should actually be asking is what do you want to do after an MBA? Based on whether you want to go into Finance, Marketing, HR or consulting your choice of program would differ. As always, one answer fits all does not work when you are planning to attend business school. You should first think about how you want your career to change after the MBA before applying to schools.
Chetna -- What is required to become a US citizen?
Raj -- We should mention that this is not a legal advice and you should consult a US Immigration lawyer for more details. To become a US Citizen you need to have a work visa (which is an intent to immigrate visa) and your employer should agree to sponsor your permanent residence (Green Card) application. Once you receive your Green Card, you would have to wait for 5 years to then apply for US citizenship. You cannot apply for the green card as a student.
Priya -- How to get to Oxford?
Raj -- Please review this link for best information on admissions to University of Oxford -- https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/applying-to-oxford/application-guide?wssl=1
Student -- Is work experience mandatory to get admission in a Master’s degree in Engineering?
Raj -- No. Work experience is not required to get admitted into master’s program for engineering.
Student -- Is online master’s from a US degree worth the time and money?
Raj -- Yes! An online master’s degree can be beneficial if you can find a good program from a reputed university that suits your needs.
Sheikh Suhail -- What are the chances of getting post-doc position in the US? How to approach a professor for a post-doc position?
Dr. Kaur -- Post-doc oppotunities are available at any campus that has a research program in your area. You would need to have good publications in your research areas to get a good post-doc position in a university. The best way is to reach out to the professors in your field and send them an email. You can also find post-doc position listed on job sites. The national labs, university and companies that have research positions that usually list post-doc positions on job sites.