Back to college!

Recently, I learned that TI conducts a course at the nearby RV College of engineering on Analog IC design every year. One of my colleagues was handling the bi-weekly classes. So, I asked him whether I could go along because  I sorely missed being on a college campus… Besides, I also wanted to brush-up my device physics fundamentals.

RVC is one of the best engineering colleges in Karnataka and a lot of the companies here hire freshers from there.

It felt really good to be on the campus. It reminded me of my own care-free college days. Once, we got there, me and my colleague had a discussion with the prof there who was coordinating the course. He was an M.Tech from NIT-Calicut and was a 2009 pass-out. After that I sat with the rest of the students to attend the class. Now, I normally don’t like sitting in a class and listening to lectures. I tend to quickly fall asleep. But, this was an entirely different experience for me. The way someone who is working in the industry explains the subject is very different from how an academician explains it. For example, when we started on MOS devices, instead of straightaway diving into the device charas, we first tried to put down what all qualities we wanted in an ideal amplifier device. We drew imaginary charas to mathematically express the ideal device.

Then, we looked at the MOS device and how closely it resembled the device we wanted. After concluding that the MOS can be used as an amplifier we tried to see what all non-idealities were there and how to compensate for them.

I thought it was a brilliant way of introducing an important device to eager students. I always believe that one must introduce things in a manner that emphasizes it ‘s application first. The concepts must be derived from that starting point. The advantage of such an approach is this. People always forget some things. And they usually tend to be the more involved and rigorous parts of the subject. Now, the key to instilling a solid base for future studies is to ensure that the fundamentals don’t get tangled with the complicated parts. That way, even if they forget the equations and stuff they still have a feeling for the core idea. The rest can be obtained from almost any text book.

Another thing I noted was the number of students who had turned up for the class and their eagerness. There were around 20 students from the ECE branch. Considering that this is an optional course it’s a great number. They were also very sharp and kept my colleague on his toes throughout the class. It made me feel a little sad for them. There is this myth that somehow NITs and IITs produce better engineers than the rest of the colleges and a lot of companies refuse to even visit the other colleges.

It is so terribly unfair. I know what percentage of students in my batch were interested in technical stuff(very low). Engineering is a huge discipline requiring a wide variety of specializations.   More important than the ability to perform well in a stupid unfair entrance test is the ability to think on one’s feet and interest. Somehow, people have this idea that there is something that can measure people’s intelligence and that, that measure can be used to gauge the suitability of the person for everything from financial management to science to IT.

Maybe companies are just trying to reduce their effort by sticking to a few colleges. I don’t know. But, a lot of talent is being ignored… and we really can’t afford to do that.


2 thoughts on “Back to college!

  1. This is something I always felt. The faculty over here do not stress on the industrial applications or its commercial sides. We can not blame them. Its just because they are not familiar with that aspect. Its really sad that in India, industry and academics do not go hand in hand. Only if there were some sessions at least few of them every semester by experts working in industry share their experiences and ideas with students, they may get en-thrilled to do more creative stuff.

  2. Dont know much about the suggestion i am going to tell..i have heard somewhere..
    The problem in entrance exam is that u are analyzing the depth of a student within 3 hours time for which he/ she has prepared for 2 years or so. But anything can happen in that 3 hours, like an unprecedented head ache or some sort of dizziness which may in effect end up in lack of concentration and as a result may ruin the exam.
    So to sieve out the master brains, an idea proposed was to conduct a set of entrance exams and publish the results on the basis of some sort of average of all the exams. Statistically also, it will suppress the errors and there is more probability of finding a more talented person.
    Secondly, the problem is in the pattern of questions, but you can’t help it. You can’t give a realistic problem at plus two and to the humongous population writing entrance and sieve them.
    Finally, even at IITs if you want people from industry to give an exposure, some basic things are to be done. In institutions of higher learning, people go for sabbatical once in some 3 or 4 years to universities abroad to have interaction and to widen the horizon of learning and teaching. Like this, people from industry should go to the neighboring educational institutions and give lectures at least for a month in an academic year. It may not confine to a certain topic, but can give the importance on the main subjects that would be used in industry and give at least a bird’s eye-view on the same. For this case TI is a good epitome from what I understand from Sabu’s post.:)

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