In today’s world, technology is at the forefront of every field. Expanding the horizon of career prospects, technology-induced courses have made it easier for students to choose unconventional vocation options. Apart from information technology, non-IT sectors such as mechanical and mechatronics are all the rage now. The rise in automation, that matches human intellect, and inclination towards all things mechanical, is shaping the future of mechatronics in India. It is also closely associated with the Internet of Things (IoT), that are driving the learning curve in a way mechatronic systems are being designed, perceived, and manufactured, for a smarter, better tomorrow.
Students aiming choose a major in engineering may find themselves confused about the distinction between the two overlapping fields of mechanical and mechatronics. Mechanical engineering is grandly claimed to be the oldest branch of engineering. It deals with the laws of motion, force, and energy, and provides new invention and technology that showcase alternatives for human beings to increase their productivity and work efficiently. Briefly put, a mechanical engineer applies the fundamental principles of physics to design and build machines that meet human needs.
The advanced world is run with the help of a ton of moving parts that required, at some point in its creation, the input of a mechanical engineer.
Mechatronics, as the name suggests, is the combination of two words mechanical and electronics. It is an emerging field, although it has been around in different forms for a long time, disguised as part of Automation, Control System, Data Logging, Instrumentation, Software, etc.
The new mechatronics field is a multidisciplinary field that includes a combination of mechanical engineering, robotics, electronics, computer engineering, telecommunications engineering, systems engineering, and control engineering to develop sophisticated new technologies or upgrading current machines with built-in 'artificial intelligence'.
Best job prospects are always for those who stay ahead of the most recent technology. Career-wise, mechanical and mechatronics are sound options, but mechanical engineers will soon find themselves with the need to upgrade their skills and expertise to keep up with the pace of innovation; mechatronics engineers, courtesy their multidisciplinary learning, may enjoy an edge over their mechanical peers.
It is rare to find a product in today’s world which is completely electronic, electrical, or mechanical in nature. This means that today’s products are an amalgamation of different engineering subjects. Mechatronics is a blend of different engineering disciplines and hence the demand for mechatronics engineers is exponentially increasing day by day. As a mechatronics engineer one will develop
multiple skill sets: mechanics, electronics, computer science, and control. Each of these are highly valued today’s market. Research also shows that people with multiple interests, diverse skillsets and cross-disciplinary expertise are more likely to succeed professionally. Most companies prefer to hire techies with cross-disciplinary skills. Hence mechatronics engineering which is a combination of different engineering subjects is a new generation course and features a huge potential to grow by leaps and bounds not only in India but also abroad.
Mechatronics is already at the center of the modern global economy and students pursuing this field can expect to work with robots, smart machines, automated systems, and artificial intelligence, they are needed in any area where the paths of physical, electronic, and digital domain meet. That means having the ability to draw on knowledge from across the domains.
In India, the course is now being offered by a select few institutes in India including: Vellore Institute of Technology, Chandigarh University, University of Delhi, Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras Institute of Technology, Sinhgad College of Engineering, SRM Institute of Science & Technology, Indian Institute of Engineering Science & Technology, Lovely Professional University, to name a few.
Graduates of mechatronics engineering can find employment opportunities in just about any industry today; in automation and robotics, nanotechnology, computer integrated manufacturing systems, oceanography, AI and expert systems, sensing and control systems, oil and gas, aircraft engineering, biomedical systems, and transportation and vehicular systems.
With its reinforcing prospects, the drift towards the mechatronics in India is visible. Decisions need to be made considering if one is more inclined towards learning and dealing with the logical tasks of mechanical engineering that make things work better, or if one would stride to transcend the principles of mechanics and make devices smarter.