But the lesser-known fact, he says, is the changing dynamics of core, traditional engineering streams. A mechanical, civil, and electrical engineer today is solving way more complex issues with the advent of Industry 4.0 and now Industry 5.0, he says. “Electrical for instance is morphing into smart grids and renewables which are exciting roles to lead. Our manufacturing industry is gradually adopting digital to optimise processes and maximise efficiencies. These engineering solutions require core knowledge of how the industries work, a sound understanding of the processes, the technical know-how of solutions, and then of course the knowledge to digitise these processes. With these blurring lines, there is room for both – the core and the new-age digital,” he says. The company’s hiring trends also indicate that while there’s been an increased interest towards computer science and related roles, the passion to engineer solutions has not faded. “We still have a higher number of freshers opting for roles that utilise core engineering knowledge,” he says.
Manu Saale, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Research & Development India, makes the same point. The world, he says, is increasingly software driven. “Software content, including in cars, is going to be the main differentiator, it is what will bring joy to the customer,” he says. India’s demography (young population) also suits and supports that trend. So, the entire world, he says, is looking to India for digital talent.
However, he says, there may be too much of a hurry to increase talent volumes in areas like AI, data. “I’m urging my fraternity to ensure it’s good for the long run, ensure students’ basics are strong. We need to build products too. So we need mechanical engineers, production engineers. To build more infrastructure, we need civil engineers. All of these people will need a certain amount of digital knowledge, given that civil and mechanical engineers are doing simulations, for instance, like never before,” he says.
Narayan Subramaniam, co-founder & CEO of Ultraviolette, which has built India’s most powerful electric bike, says it is essential to integrate multiple streams of science and technology to develop solutions and solve fundamental problems. “At Ultraviolette, there is a lot of innovation that happens across the domains of mechanical engineering, creative design, electronics and computer science. It is not that the talent in one field outweighs the other, but how one can seamlessly integrate skill sets from across these domains together to build a technologically superior product/solution,” he says.
This will be extremely important as India seeks to become atma nirbhar.