Computer Science remains the most popular engineering branch for girls – Times of India


Most girls enrolling in engineering opt for Computer Science (CS). Educators claim the trend is because most students are driven by herd mentality and not because of their interests. However, with the evolving pattern in education and research in other core disciplines, girls will perform great in these streams.

Recruitment prospects

K Sankaranarayanasamy, director, NIT Puducherry, says, “With majority of recruiters from the IT industry, this sector provides campus placements, high salary packages and societal approval, which most female students prefer. On the contrary, initial recruitment prospects and salary structure in other core streams are low.” At NIT Puducherry, CS remains the most in-demand specialisation among girls, followed by Electronics & Communications.

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Anupama B Pandit, administrative officer and admission in-charge, GSSSIETW, Mysore says in engineering colleges, 90% of candidates choose CS as their first option. “The remaining 10% opt for the other streams,” she says.

Change in mindset

The thought process of students is governed by perceptions, formed through cinema, marketing, and general trends, says V Ramgopal Rao, professor and former director, IIT Delhi. “It is assumed that CS offers girls the most convenient desk job options, which is not true. All core branches today have various sub-sections offering a plethora of options for both male and female students. For example, a female student can excel in Sustainability in Civil engineering or explore Fluid Mechanics under Mechanical engineering,” he says.

Girls would perform better in core streams such as Mechanical, Electronics and Electrical, says Pandit. “While the IT sector is the biggest recruiter across streams now, a push towards enabling the manufacturing and electronics sectors is bound to change this. The real situation is different in the IT sector, it has a demanding work culture, which affects the long-term employment prospects due to societal demands. Thus, opting for a core branch might be a better way for girls,” she says.

Revealing statistics

With a majority of students opting for a UG degree in CS, entry at top institutes is quite competitive. This may be the reason that only a few girls get into IITs and NITs.

A spokesperson from IIT Bombay, says, “In 2021, 2020 and 2019, the most popular streams in terms of number of girls have been Mechanical (57, 41 and 30 respectively), Electrical (37, 38 and 27 respectively) and Civil (36, 33 and 24 respectively).”

IIT Gandhinagar (IITGN) has a more balanced ratio of girl students across disciplines at the UG level. Dilip Srinivas Sundaram, associate dean, Undergraduate Studies, IITGN, says, “The most popular streams in terms of number of girls in 2021 are Mechanical (10) and Chemical (9). In 2020, the most popular streams were Chemical (9) and Mechanical (9).”

KV Krishna, associate dean of academic affairs, IIT Guwahati, says, “The top three most popular streams at the UG level in terms of the number of girls over the last three years are Electronics & Electrical/Electronics & Communications, Biosciences & Bioengineering and Civil.”

Student speak

The launch of Google when I was in class VI piqued my interest in computers. The 5 Ws (what, when, why, where and who) and 1 H (how) of the operations of this search engine made me explore the option of becoming a CS engineer. No Engineering stream is difficult for girls, it is just about having a passion to excel in your chosen area.

– Sneha Pareek, only girl among 14 JEE Main toppers, 2022





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