All of us grew up building fantasy worlds where we stood out among the crowd, nurtured by our interests and desires. Playing with the toy kitchen set pretending to cook a feast or playing video games considering ourselves saviours is but a distant memory now. Our generation has witnessed the software tsunami. Growing up, all we heard were the achievements of our distant relatives or neighbours building kingdoms in IT industries. And naturally, we were groomed to turn our gaze towards that wave, drowning our dreams in a shallow stream only to gasp for breath in that apocalypse hit.

Though IT is the face of tomorrow, it necessarily need not be the only option to build your kingdom. It’s a fact that the top 10 IT companies hire only 6% of engineering graduates while the remaining 94% are still trying to fight the current earning pay packages barely enough for one’s survival. Back in the day, basic programming knowledge on platforms like java and dev would suffice for a good job. Today, new concepts like machine learning and artificial intelligence are emerging and companies need graduates who are well versed in them. Such graduates with honed skills are rare to find. If you wonder why, after graduating high school, most students with a mathematics, physics, chemistry background choose engineering as their first option, be it electronics, communications or software engineering. And after completion, most students tend to migrate towards the software industries for jobs with a diverse collection of certifications in Arduino, ARM processors, Cloud Computing, PHP, you name it. The problem lies in following someone else’s footsteps. We are continuously barraged with life choices others made which worked out well for them. The difference is every plant cannot flourish under the same greenhouse.

If Engineering is your cup of tea, choose your stream well, something you know you will shine in. It is a maze and it’s easy to get lost on the way. I have watched people I know pursue Masters in English Literature after a Bachelors in Electronics Engineering or toil in an industry completely irrelevant to their interests. Once you have marked the ground, it’s time to dig deeper. Make time for pursuing extra courses and certifications in your stream. Take up projects and build your resume. Develop a passion for your stream. Participate in forums and keep up with the pace of technology. Everyone will land a job after a degree. The secret is to build a “career”, and your career is what will be your kingdom, something that will make people remember your name. Building a career takes time, so start at the earliest and make wise decisions.