WHAT WILL BE THE FUTURE DEMAND FOR ECE ENGINEERS?
Electronics and Communications Engineering (ECE) involves researching, designing, developing, and testing of electronic equipment used in various systems. Electronics and Communications engineers also conceptualize and oversee the manufacturing of communications and broadcast systems.
This stream of engineering deals with analog transmission, basic electronics, microprocessors, solid-state devices, digital and analog communication, analog integrated circuits, microwave engineering, satellite communication, antennae, and wave progression. It also deals with the manufacturing of electronic devices, circuits, and communications equipment.
The future of technology advancements is likely to depend on the developments in the electronics and communication field. Electronics and communication are the two primary pillars of our society these days. In the coming years, the trend will continue, and ECE will eventually emerge as one of the most prominent fields of engineering studies with substantial demand for ECE engineers all over the world.
Over the years, communication and electronics have crept in our lives like never before. This change in the technological field has ensured a bright path ahead for ECE pursuers. With smartphones in hand and widespread opportunities to communicate, electronics and communication engineering is the next best thing to rule the global market.
Let’s have a brief look into the future potential of the electronics and communication field of engineering.
ELECTRONICS AS A PART OF DAY-T0-DAY LIFE
Apart from the smooth modes of communication, smart electronic devices have also become indispensable for all of us. Starting from FM radios to high-end satellites, there is hardly any sphere left these days which does not include electronic devices within its periphery. The impact is expected to grow in the future as well, and the same would imply a sustained and increasing demand for ECE in the times to come.
The major growth for Electronics and Communication engineers lies in the following industries:
- Sciences and R&D
- Consumer durables
Let us look at each of the industries, how the market looks, and the future prospects.
The telecommunication sector is made up of companies that make communication possible on a global scale, whether it is through the phone or the internet, through airwaves or cables, through wires or wirelessly. These companies created the infrastructure that allows data in words, voice, audio, or video to be sent anywhere in the world. The largest companies in the sector are telephone (both wired and wireless) operators, satellite companies, cable companies, and internet service providers.
Recently, the telecommunications sector comprised a club of prominent national and regional operators. Since the early 2000s, the industry has been swept up in rapid deregulation and innovation. In many countries around the world, government monopolies are now privatized, and they face a plethora of new competitors. Traditional markets have been turned upside down, as the growth in mobile services outpaces the fixed-line, and the internet starts to replace voice as the staple business.
India is currently the world’s second-largest telecommunications market with a subscriber base of 1.20 billion and has registered strong growth in the past decade and a half. The Indian mobile economy is overgrowing and will contribute substantially to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to a report prepared by GSM Association (GSMA) in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). As of January 2019, India has witnessed a 165 percent growth in app downloads in the past two years. Around 4.8 billion downloads of mobile applications were registered in India in the first three months of 2019.
Market Size of Telecommunication Industry
The telecommunications sector comprises three primary sub-sectors: telecom equipment (the largest), telecom services (next largest), and wireless communication.
The major segments within these sub-sectors include the following:
- Wireless communications
- Communications equipment
- Processing systems and products
- Long-distance carriers
- Domestic telecom services
- Foreign telecom services
- Diversified communication services
India ranks as the world’s second-largest market in terms of total internet users. The number of internet subscribers in the country increased at a CAGR of 45.74 percent during FY06-FY19 to reach 636.73 million in 2018-19. Overall wireless data usage in India grew 119.00 percent year-on-year to 17,940,576 terabytes between April-June 2019. The internet subscribers reached 665.31 million till June 2019. Further, India is also the world’s second-largest telecommunications market, the total telephone subscriber base, and teledensity reached 1,195.24 million and 90.52 percent, respectively, at the end of September 2019. Gross revenues of the telecom sector stood at Rs 61,535 crore (US$ 8.93 billion) during April-June 2019. Over the next five years, the rise in mobile-phone penetration and decline in data costs will add 500 million new internet users in India, creating opportunities for new businesses.
Investment/Major development in the Telecommunication Industry
With a daily increasing subscriber base, there have been a lot of investments and developments in the sector. FDI inflows into the telecom sector from April 2000 – June 2019 totalled to US$37.05 billion, according to the data released by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).
Some of the developments in the recent past are:
- As per the report by Ericsson, India has the world’s highest data usage per smartphone at an average of 9.8GB per month.
- As of August 2019, Jio’s IoT platform is ready to be commercially available from January 2020.
- In August 2019, commercially launched Jio GigaFiber as wired broadband service.
- During the first quarter of 2018, India became the world’s fastest-growing market for mobile applications. The country remained as the world’s fastest-growing market for Google Play downloads in the second and third quarter of 2018.
- Bharti Airtel is planning to launch 6,000 new sites and 2,000 km of optical fiber in Gujarat in 2018-19.
- Vodafone India and Idea Cellular have merged into ‘Vodafone Idea’ to become India’s largest telecom company, as of September 2018.
Government Initiatives to boost the growth of Telecommunication
The government has fast-tracked reforms in the telecom sector and continues to provide room for growth for telecom companies. Some of the other major initiatives taken by the government are as follows:
- The Government of India will soon come out with a new National Telecom Policy 2018 instead of rapid technological advancement in the sector over the past few years. The policy has envisaged attracting investments worth US$ 100 billion in the sector by 2022.
- The Department of Information Technology intends to set up over 1 million internet-enabled common service centres across India, as per the National e-Governance Plan.
- FDI cap in the telecom sector has been increased to 100 percent from 74 percent; out of 100 percent, 49 percent will be done through the automatic route, and the rest will be done through the FIPB approval route.
- FDI of up to 100 percent is permitted for infrastructure providers offering dark fiber, electronic mail, and voicemail.
- The Government of India has introduced a Digital India programme under which all the sectors such as healthcare, retail, etc. will be connected through the internet.
Future Prospects for students and investors in Telecommunication
Revenues from the telecom equipment sector are expected to grow to US$ 26.38 billion by 2020. The number of internet subscribers in the country is expected to double by 2021 to 829 million, and overall IP traffic is expected to grow 4 fold at a CAGR of 30 percent by 2021. The Indian Government is planning to develop 100 smart city projects, where IoT would play a vital role in the development of those cities. The National Digital Communications Policy 2018 has envisaged attracting investments worth US$ 100 billion in the telecommunications sector by 2022. The Indian Mobile Value-Added Services (MVAS) industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18.3 percent during the forecast period 2015–2020 and reach US$ 23.8 billion by 2020. App downloads in India are expected to increase to 18.11 billion in 2018F and 37.21 billion in 2022F.
SCIENCE AND R&D INDUSTRY
India ranks third among the most attractive investment destinations for technology transactions in the world. Modern India has had a strong focus on science and technology, realizing that it is a key element of economic growth. India is among the topmost countries in the world in the field of scientific research, positioned as one of the top five nations in space exploration. The country has regularly undertaken space missions, including missions to the moon and the famed Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
India is likely to take a leading role in launching satellites for the SAARC nations, generating revenue by offering its space facilities for use to other countries.
India ranks 6th position for scientific publications and ranks at 10th for patents, which included only resident applications. The total number of patent applications filed by scientists and inventors in India increased to 61,788 in FY19 (up to Dec 18) from 47,857 in FY18. India ranks 13th position at the Nature Index in 2017, based on counts of high-quality research outputs in natural sciences.India improved its rank on the Global Innovation Index for the second year consecutively. From being ranked at the 81st position in 2015, India improved its ranking to 66th in 2016 and further to 60th in 2017.The Government of India is extensively promoting research parks technology business incubators (TBIs) and (RPs), which would promote innovative ideas until they become commercial ventures. India is the world’s third-largest technology startup hub, incorporating 1,000 new companies in 2017.The engineering R&D and product development and market in India is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 20.55 percent to reach US$ 45 billion by 2020 from US$ 28 billion in FY18.
With support from the government, considerable investment and development have been incurred in different sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, space research, and nuclear power through scientific research. For instance, India is gradually becoming self-reliant in nuclear technology.
- As per the Government records, the number of Indian scientists coming back to India to pursue research opportunities has increased from 243 in 2007-2012 to 649 between 2012 and 2017. In the span of 5 years, 649 Indian scientists have returned to pursue research opportunities.
- India’s space business to witness tremendous growth in the next five years, on the back of technology advancement, global space business opportunity, and a sharp rise in Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) satellite launch capability
- GridRaster Inc, working in the virtual and augmented reality space, has raised US$ 2 million as seed funding, which will be used for marketing and product development.
- India’s R&D investments forecasted to increase to US$ 94.06 billion in 2019 from an estimated US$ 86.24 billion in 2018
- In February 2018, the Union Cabinet approved the implementation of the ‘Prime Minister Research Fellows (PMRF)’ scheme, which will promote the mission of development through innovation, at a total cost of Rs 1,650 crore (US$ 245.94 million) for a period of seven years beginning 2018-19.
- In February 2018, Union Government of India announced a grant of Rs 1,000 crore (US$ 155.55 million) for the second phase of Impacting Research Innovation and Technology (IMPRINT), a fund created by the Department of Science and Technology and Ministry of Human Resource and Development.
- The Government of India granted Atal Innovation Mission with US$ 24.84 million would boost the academicians, entrepreneurs, and researchers to work towards innovation.
- In July 2018, Atal Innovation Mission, along with MyGov, launched the “Innovate India Platform” to provide a common point for all the innovation happening across India.
India is aggressively working towards establishing itself as a leader in industrialization and technological development. Significant developments in the nuclear energy sector are likely as India looks to expand its nuclear capacity. Nanotechnology is expected to transform the Indian pharmaceutical industry. The agriculture sector is also likely to undergo a major revamp, with the government investing heavily for the technology-driven Green Revolution. The Government of India, through the Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Policy-2013 aspires to position India among the world’s top five scientific powers. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch its first Indian human mission by 2022.
CONSUMER DURABLES INDUSTRY
Indian consumer durables market is broadly segregated into urban and rural markets and is attracting marketers from across the world. The sector comprises a large middle class, relatively large affluent class, and a small economically disadvantaged class. Global corporations view India as one of the key markets from where future growth is likely to emerge. The growth in India’s consumer market would be primarily driven by a favorable population composition and increasing disposable incomes.
Per capita GDP of India is expected to reach US$ 3,273.85 in 2023 from US$ 1,983 in 2012. The maximum consumer spending is likely to occur in food, housing, consumer durables, and transport and communication sectors.
- The growing purchasing power and the rising influence of social media have enabled Indian consumers to splurge on good things. The import of electronic goods reached US$ 53 billion in FY18.
- Indian appliance and consumer electronics (ACE) market reached Rs 2.05 trillion (US$ 31.48 billion) in 2017. India is one of the largest growing electronics markets in the world. The Indian electronics market is expected to grow at 41 percent CAGR between 2017-20 to reach US$ 400 billion.
- The television industry in India is estimated to have reached Rs 740 billion (US$ 10.59 billion) in CY2018 and projected to reach Rs 955 billion (US$ 13.66 billion) in CY2021.
- As of FY18, the washing machine, refrigerator and air conditioner market in India was estimated around Rs 7,000 crore (US$ 1.09 billion), Rs 19,500 crore (US$ 3.03 billion) and Rs 20,000 crore (US$ 3.1 billion), respectively.
- India’s smartphone market grew by 14.5 percent year-on-year with a shipment of 142.3 million units in 2018. India is expected to have 829 million smartphone users by 2022. In 2019, India was expected to manufacture around 302 million handsets.
According to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, during April 2000 – June 2019, FDI inflows into the electronics sector stood at US$ 2.45 billion.
The following are some recent investments and developments in the Indian consumer market sector.
- In November 2019, Nokia entered in partnership with Flipkart to enter the consumer durables market in India and plan to launch smart TVs.
- In October 2019, Apple Inc. entered into an agreement with Maker Maxity mall, co-owned by Reliance Industries, to open its first company-owned iconic outlet in India.
- In August 2019, Voltas Beko launched India’s first five-star washing machine.
- In July 2019, Voltas Limited entered into a partnership with Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) to manufacture and sell 5-star rated Inverter Air Conditioners.
- In April 2019, TCL Electronic announced its entry into the home appliances market in India.
- Xiaomi became India’s largest brand network in the offline market, having a presence in over 790 cities in the country.
- Bosch Home Appliances to invest US$ 111.96 million to expand in India.
- The number of TV households and viewers in India reached 197 million, 835 million, respectively, in 2018.
- According to the retail chains and brands, there is a 9-12 percent increase in the sales of consumer electronics in the Diwali season in October 2019.
- The smartphone shipment witnessed a year-on-year growth of 9.3 percent in July-September 2019, with 46.6 million units shipped.
- Consumer durables loans in India increased by 68.8 percent to Rs 5,445 crore (US$ 780 million) in September 2019.
- Intex Technologies will invest around Rs 60 crore (US$ 9.27 million) in 2018 in technology software and Internet of Things (IoT) startups in India in order to create an ecosystem for its consumer appliances and mobile devices.
- Micromax plans to invest US$ 89.25 million by 2020 for transforming itself into a consumer electronics company.
- Haier announced an investment of Rs 3,000 crore (US$ 415.80 million) as it aims a two-fold increase in its revenue by 2020
- National Policy on Electronics Policy was passed by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology in February 2019.
- The Union Cabinet has approved a new Consumer Protection Bill, Government of India, that will make the existing laws more productive with a broader scope.
- The mobile phone industry in India expects that the Government of India’s boost to the production of battery chargers will result in setting up of 365 factories, thereby generating 800,000 jobs by 2025.
- The Union Cabinet has approved incentives up to Rs 10,000 crore (US$ 1.47 billion) for investors by amending the M-SIPS scheme to further incentivise investments in the electronics sector, create employment opportunities and reduce dependence on imports by 2020.
- The Government of India has allowed 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) under the automatic route in Electronics Systems Design & Manufacturing sector. FDI into single-brand retail has been increased from 51 percent to 100 percent; the government is planning to hike the FDI limit in multi-brand retail to 51 percent.
Indian appliance and consumer electronics (ACE) market is expected to increase at a 9 percent CAGR to reach Rs 3.15 trillion (US$ 48.37 billion) in 2022. Demand growth is likely to accelerate with rising disposable incomes and easy access to credit. Increasing the electrification of rural areas and the wide usability of online sales would also aid growth in demand.
GLEAMING FUTURE PROSPECTS OF ECE
The question of why to choose Electronics and Communication Engineering courses and what makes it an ideal option often pops among the minds of young students. Well, to answer this, it is important to take a look at the figure provided by the Bureau of Labor of Statistics (BLS).
It is predicted that the jobs for engineers will grow by 7% from 2016 to 2026. Furthermore, it has also been found that employment in the ECE sector has amplified significantly in the last few years.
The reason behind this positive change of wind is the growing nexus between the electronics industry and digital technology. The application of ECE in fields, such as satellite and mobile communication, digital telecommunication, power electronics, etc. has created fantastic career options for Electronics and Communication engineers. Apart from this, manufacturing companies, Multinational Corporations (MNCs), research-based or industrial corporations, government authorities, aerospace manufacturing companies, consumer electronics manufacturing, healthcare tools manufacturing, Armed forces (Army/ Air Force/Navy), many others look for candidates with ECE background.
ECE engineers expertise in managing large-scale research, conceptualizing, designing, developing and testing of the electronic equipment used in latest communication devices and other handy technological equipment, such as smartphones, tablets, processors, smart wristwatches, smart LED TV’s, etc. has only led to the surge in their demand.
In a nutshell, one can say that the skills of ECE engineers in planning, executing the testing process, framing of the system layouts, and delivering the end product is an excellent way to enhance their market value. This means that as an aspiring student of ECE, candidates need to ensure they select the right course in Electronics & Communication Engineering, in which they have an interest and which offers better career options in the future
The Career Choices for Electronics & Communication Engineer Graduates
One cannot ignore the fact that a few years back, there was a sudden dip reported in the jobs for ECE engineers. Nevertheless, now the situation has altered to a great extent. In fact, according to a collective survey by ASSOCHAM and NEC Corp, the electronics market of India is predicted to reach $400 billion by the year 2020 at a 41% CAGR rate.
As far as remuneration in the field of Electronics & Communication Engineering is concerned, it is essential to note that there is no uniformity in this. It profusely depends on the designation of the individual and their skills.
Despite saying this, there is no qualm that Electronics and Communication Engineering is a promising growth-driven stream, and adequate knowledge in the field, when amalgamated with specific skill sets, qualifies the individual for a wide range of entry-level openings. Some of the important positions that ECE pass-outs can serve are listed below:
- Electronics Engineer
- Electronics Design & Development Engineer
- Service Engineer
- Software Analyst
- Technical Director
- Field Test Engineer
- Senior Sales Manager
- Network Planning Engineer
- Customer Support Engineer
- Electronics and Communications Consultant
- Research & Development Software Engineer
- Electronics Research Engineer.
- Electronics Test Engineer.
- Control Systems Engineer.
- Design and Development Engineer, Electronic Systems.
- Microelectronics Engineer.
- Desktop Support Engineer
Why Study Electronics and Communication Engineering at SVCE?
- The NBA has accredited the department since April 2002.
- Recognized by Anna University, Chennai, as an approved research center for Ph.D. / MS (by Research) with effect from May 2009.
- The major thrust areas of research are RF and Microwave Engineering Wireless Networks, Network Security, VLSI, Cognitive Radio, Image & Signal Processing, Neural Networks & Soft Computing, Embedded Systems & IoT, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence.
- The department is doing a good number of consultancy work in the field of PCB Prototyping and RF measurements using Network Analyzer.
- On average, over 75 companies visit for campus placements.
- External Research grant of Rs 48.26 Lakhs received from ISRO and Cognizant technology solutions in the last three years for various projects.
- Students actively participate in research projects related to wireless communications, networking, embedded systems, virtual surveillance, Robotics, drone, etc.
- The department has signed over 10 MOUs with reputed companies in various aspects to ensure industry involvement for framing the syllabus under the autonomous regulation, towards motivating students to do industry projects, to enable students to undergo industrial visit, internship & in-plant training in their companies as applicable, to conduct various events (workshop, Value added courses, Industrial training to faculty, staff and students), for formulating/revising different educational objectives such as course outcomes(COs), PSOs, PEOs, etc., to satisfy the requirements of both institution and industry.