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Ankita Sharma
March 15, 2018

GATE score got you down? 7 options for civil engineers

Civil engineering is one of the oldest engineering streams. Specialising and pursuing a career in this field is a dream for many. But merely having a passion isn’t enough for civil engineers to achieve career success. Popular opinion holds that a bachelor degree in civil engineering doesn’t take you anywhere unless you appear for GATE and secure a high rank. The cut-throat competition, on the other hand, results in thousands of engineers remaining unemployed and can shatter all aspirations at one go.

In 2017, even though more than 1 lakh civil engineers appeared for GATE, only 18000 candidates (about 15 per cent) made the cut-off. Similar figures were observed for other specialisations. In addition, only candidates with ranks above 2000 make it through top IITs or get a job in government PSUs, which is the dream for many. So what happens to engineers who secure a rank below 2000 in GATE? Does it make sense to spend one more year to prepare all over again? If your interest is very keen, then maybe you should.

GATE civil engineers.jpgOn the other hand, it is also an accepted notion that engineering is a flexible career option and there’s a lot that you can pursue after graduation. Nonetheless, it’s important for you to make the right choice and streamline your career in a way which will benefit you the most. So, what if you didn’t get your desired GATE result? You still have many options:

Get into IITs and NITs

Yes, you heard that right. You can still make it through these institutes by:

1.Undertaking interdisciplinary courses after your bachelors: Most of these courses allow students from any branch of engineering to apply. Some examples are M.Tech in Energy Sciences, Aerospace Engineering, and Geo Informatics and Natural Resources.

While this will take you away from core civil engineering, interdisciplinary careers are highly relevant these days, with increasing demand for professionals who can think outside the box and combine knowledge from different streams. The GATE score cut-offs of these courses are comparatively lower, ranging from 400-750.

2. Trying for an M.Tech in newer IITs and NITs: According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Development, students who take up an M.Tech in IITs based on GATE score get a stipend of Rs 12,400 per month. Although job opportunities are not as many, you will get a degree from a respected institute.

3.Taking up an M.S. in IITs and NITs: A Masters in Science is a three year research-based programme, unlike an M.Tech degree. You should go for it only if you have a deep interest in undertaking thorough research in a particular stream. It involves less amount of competition, as admissions take place twice a year. As a part of this program, you are also entitled to receive a stipend of Rs. 12,400. As these are research programs, placements are usually low. 

Do specialised MBA in real estate, construction and infrastructure

4. Specialized MBA with global outlook: If you are passionate about excelling in the Indian built environment sector and looking for an option that will help you build your skills within the sector, add value to your profile and allow you to work with some of the largest global and Indian companies, consider specialised MBA programs in real estate management, infrastructure, construction project management or quantity surveying. These programs build on your existing technical knowledge and give you additional skills that are in demand by industry, preparing you for future oriented techno-managerial job roles that can accelerate your career.

Because these programs give you management skills in addition to technical knowledge, you will have more client-facing responsibilities (instead of only working behind the scenes) and will be a viable candidate for senior management positions in corporate offices.

SBE_Infographic_MTech vs MBA

Do a PhD or research fellowship

5. PhD programs: PhD programs are offered in new IITs, a few NITs and other engineering colleges. A PhD can either be undertaken independently by research scholars or as a part of a dual degree program with an M.Tech. As a PhD candidate, you will receive a stipend. This is a viable option if you cannot get an ideal score in GATE, but have the interest and stamina to pursue a research career. These institutes don’t guarantee a placement. However, a PhD can help you expand your knowledge base.

Alternatively, you can also take up an integrated PhD in the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). These are well-structured programs that include a stipend.

PhD programs have limited seats and only consider the academic merit of the candidate. They are also entirely research focused and, in order for you to excel, will require excellent knowledge about your field and a lot of patience and a keen interest in a life of research.

6. Becoming a junior research fellow (JRF) in IITs, NITs or CSIR: Be it fieldwork or research, you are bound to get a good amount of exposure while being a part of these fellowship programs. However they are very particular in nature. Their entry criteria comprises of certain individual requirements of these institutes. And even though they offer a stipend ranging from Rs. 10,000-25,000, you should be aware that these are undertaken on a contractual basis of one to two years and will not give you a degree in hand. 

Do an M.S. in foreign universities based on GATE score

7. M.S. outside India: If you have the financial backing and a rank above 5000, you can also choose to do a master’s degree abroad. For example, these universities in Europe and Asia consider GATE scores for admissions: National University of Singapore; Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Technical University of Munich, Germany and RWTH Aachen University, Germany.

Read more: What are your options after GATE results?