Engineering software services

IT services (including IT-enabled services) is the fastest growing opportunity in India today. It accounts for nearly 2.5 million jobs (many...

IT services (including IT-enabled services) is the fastest growing opportunity in India today. It accounts for nearly 2.5 million jobs (many of them high-paying), contributes to 5-6 per cent of the GDP and $ 50 billion in real value.It is expected that IT will generate another 400,000 jobs in the year 2007-08 alone. IT services in India have steadily transformed, adapted and grown over the years. In the initial years it was more of ‘body shopping’; later, it became offshore development (pioneered by companies like Infosys, TCS and Wipro); related services like testing (pioneered by companies like RelQ) also got developed.The next stage was one of product engineering services (pioneered by corporations like Aztec Software and Symphony Services). There were software products too (Marshal from Ramco, Flexcube from iFlex, Tally from Tally Solutions, Pramati Server from Pramati, for example).Recently there have been IP creation and technology transfer (pioneered by companies like Sasken, ImpulseSoft and Ittiam). A country with billion people (that too with 40 per cent in the sub 30 age group), needs many such opportunities for employment creation. Luckily, IT is sufficiently generic and consists of many enabling technologies, that many related jobs are also created through IT. One such emerging area is that of engineering software services the focus of this column. There is significant work relating to software development and software deployment across the major industry segments, viz., Manufacturing Automotive Telecom Consumer Electronics Computing and Communications Capital equipment Automation and control equipment Healthcare Energy, and Utilities The activities for engineering software services range from product design, testing, prototyping, manufacturing simulation, warranty design, support and maintenance. In today’s world of computers and communications almost every one of these activities involves extensive use of software, often in the form of domain-specific tools M-CAD, E-CAD, PLM and Simulation. Areas like electronics design have extensive tools for VLSI design for example the tools created and nurtured by Cadence, Mentor Graphics and Synopsys (each a billion dollar company) in the form EDA (Electronics Design Automation) tools. These create tens of thousands of jobs.
Similarly in the M-CAD area tools like CATIA have been legendary, with thousands of jobs created by the eco-system that supports a major tool like CATIA alone.
In addition, end users in electronics design area who use E-CAD tools create several-fold larger number of jobs; with the networked world creating more appetite for gadgets (mobile phones, MP3 players, mobile Internet devices, PDAs and digital cameras) the embedded electronics market is growing steadily, leading to more demand for design engineers.The same is true of M-CAD engineers in user organisations, for example, automotive industries. With BRIC (Brazil, India, China and Russia) starting to consume automobiles in large numbers, there is a demand for more quantity and variety (to serve the local needs) in the car market; leading to increased design and manufacture; in turn, it creates more jobs for engineering design.
One can extend the same argument to other areas as well healthcare, automation and telecom.
What is involved in engineering software?
There are two distinct types of jobs in the engineering software. One involves working for key software vendors who create the core software tools. For example
Cadence, Magma, Mentor Graphics and Synopsys in E-CAD area UGS, Dassault Systems and PTC in M-CAD area, AutoDesk and SolidWorks in architecture, GIS software like ArcInfo.
Many of them maintain and support huge libraries to support multiple devices, contexts and applications; leading to a large number of small companies who create ‘libraries’ for the major software vendors.
With all the major design software vendors present in India, there is definitely a large opportunity for design engineers to create the next generation of the software tools.
Major industrial houses are stepping up their design activity in India. For example:
In the automobile industry, Indian car manufacturers like Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra, two-wheeler manufacturers like Bajaj and TVS, truck manufacturers like Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland have successfully launched their own inhouse designed products.International giants GM, Ford Motors,Toyota, Suzuki and Hyundai are starting to design products from India.
In telecom, global manufacturers including Alcatel-Lucent, Siemens-Nokia, Motorola, Huawei and Cisco are starting to design telecom switches in India.
In healthcare, global giants GE, Philips, Siemens and Agilent are setting up design groups in India to design products to address the ‘emerging markets.’
In the automation area too, global leaders ABB, Honeywell, Schneider, Siemens and Yokogawa, as well as Indian majors L & T, Crompton, BHEL are stepping up their design activity.
Naturally, all these user industries would need engineers well-versed in the relevant software tools to design better products for tomorrow’s world. Accordingly the employment opportunities are abundant.
Why engineering software jobs?
One distinct advantage of engineering software jobs Vs routine software engineering jobs is the use of ‘domain expertise’. Chances are, you are a mechanical, civil, electrical or electronics or a computer engineer.Except the small minority who pursued a pure computer science degree, most of you have mastered an engineering discipline. Often in a pure software job, you do not get to utilise your ‘expertise’. Engineering software gives you an opportunity to ‘leverage’ your expertise; you become a ‘specialist’, commanding more respect, higher salary and reduced competition; in turn, you can be more focused, relaxed and enjoy a better quality of life. Also, years of experience add up to a formidable competitive advantage. Of course, you are likely to be in a narrow area; you may not be able to jump to any company. However, there are enough companies to choose from and your chances are by no means very small. So do explore the exciting opportunity in engineering software; be a proud engineer and contribute your part to the exciting world of engineering.
Auther:S Sadagopan,director, IIIT-Bangalore

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Higher Study : Engineering software services
Engineering software services
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