The global Covid-19 pandemic had led to the casualty of more than 1.79 million lives globally with a shutdown of academia for about eight months and has confronted every domain of engineering with unusual hurdles. Academics and corporates all over the are examining how these difficulties will influence the traditional jobs in the new age of digital transactions, the Internet of things, augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and cloud data storage.
In this pandemic, e-commerce companies such as Amazon, MakeMyTrip, Flipkart, Uber, Swiggy, and so on have accelerated their services by directly connecting producers and service providers with end-users. These new-age enterprises are continuously working on reducing the time gap between order and delivery, along with delivering the right product to the right customer at the right time. For engineers, plenty of new challenges and opportunities have emerged from these new business models.
Recently, a Hyderabad-based startup named Skyroot Aerospace won the 2020 Startup Award, for sketching launch vehicles with entirely 3D printed upper stage liquid engines, which cut the manufacturing cost by 40 percent. However these discoveries in digital technologies are occurring in developed OECD countries, but in the next 10-20 years, India is also expected to lead such changes especially in infrastructure development.
Even in the medical sector, engineers are expected to outnumber doctors because of advancements in technology which have led to the development of wearable devices, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, and AR & VR technologies. Furthermore, self-driven cars, 5G/6G technology, OTT platforms are estimated to generate huge demand for electronics, animation, media, and data science engineers.
Even in the agriculture sector machines are replacing humans for soil interpretation, cold storage, optimizing water and fertilizer usage and weather predictions, crop monitoring, market forecast, and uniting farmers directly with consumers through technological interventions. Young graduates with specialization in biotechnology, biomedical, electronics, instrumentation, data science, and chemical engineering are expected to find new opportunities in agriculture and associated projects.
Career opportunities for engineering graduates are increasing in the defense sector also. The use of drones is dominant in areas such as battlefields, human and goods transport, emergency drugs supply, food supply, etc. The Union government through its Udan program is developing several new airports that will require qualified engineers to manage them. India is progressing in the field of space and technology as well and regularly launching micro and nanosatellites, missions to the moon, Mars, and other planets, the demand for engineers in this sector is also expected to surge.
Tremendous opportunities are also starting up in the e-commerce and online shopping sector, from medicine to electronics goods for engineers. As customers in this pandemic are switching to online shopping, job opportunities in printing, eco-friendly packaging, packaging, drones, data science, robots, conductive ink, and connected electronics technology to inform customers about expiry dates and speedy home delivery, are doubling. For skilled engineers with firm foundations in theory and practice, the best days are yet to come.
By Usha Saha