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Engineering@ Project Work
Doing a project whether it is a mini or a major one gives a very good understanding of the subject. Normally all engineering students have a major project in their final semester which plays an important role in their future job. Therefore, while preparing for the project, it is advisable to choose their domain and area of interest in which they want to continue their work.

Prof. P.S. AVADHANI
Training & Placement Officer,
A.U. College of Engineering.

Generally there are two stages of projects throughout the course work. One is called a mini project which is helpful for the foundation of the main project. It provides the outline and information about the modules in the main project. The next one is the major project which will, normally, be in the final semester of the course work because by then the student is expected to acquire the necessary skills. It is essential that every student has to undergo a project during his graduation. By doing these projects they get to know their abilities and also weaknesses so that they can improve further.

The project experience provides an opportunity to apply the theoretical principles learnt during their coursework. They will transform their theoretical knowledge into a practical one in the real time environment. This enables them to learn and explore about the new emerging technologies in the market. They can also get an idea of the life cycle of the entire process that they will undergo in real time projects in the industries.

In this process the students acquire not only the technical aspects, but also some managerial aspects too. Generally any project is done by 2 to 4 members of team. This imbibes the culture of working as a team and develops leadership qualities as well. Further, they learn how to co-ordinate and interact with the team members, their role and responsibilities in the project and can actively participate to accomplish the project.

Moreover, these final year projects provide an opportunity to know the trend of the current market which allows them to know the industries that they are working, their area of interest or domain. This, in turn, makes them understand the skills they have to develop so that, it will be easy to plan their future. If students are interested in research and development, there are many projects to pursue their research in their domain. Many companies are providing the opportunity to students to participate in research and development so that students can get better environment to apply their skills.

Main sources for the ideas for projects:
Internet is the major source of information regarding college or university projects. It provides vast information across the world. Generally there are some communities in the internet to provide the information in a particular domain like IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), ACM (Association of Computing Machinery). These provide some technical papers in different domains of electrical, electronics and computers. The other source is Journals. There are lot of journals which publish information on research and development that is going on in different areas. Most of these are, normally, published in the latest journals which are available in college or university or public libraries.

Role of Project Guide:
One of the important aspects in the college or university projects is the role of the project guide, who will assist in the project so that if runs in the correct direction. A student must choose a guide in such a way that he must be an expert in the domain in which he is doing the project so that the project will be structured in a correct manner. The role of the Project Guide is to provide the blue print of the project which is an important information regarding a project. A Project Guide not only provides the technical knowledge but also trains the student how to behave with their superiors or managers in the industries in which they are going to perform their duties in future jobs.

Role of College or University:
College or university has to provide proper environment so that students can improve their skills by applying their theoretical knowledge to implement something tangible and useful. The first step of any good project is getting information. Hence institutions have to provide all the possible sources of information to the students to improve the knowledge domain. They have to provide the platform to apply their innovative skills and for the interaction of students with the industries so that they will come to know the real time applications and new technologies and the processes that are undergoing in the industries. This may be achieved through programmes like industry-university interaction, inviting industry people to give some lectures to students sharing their expertise and experiences and encourage them to visit some important industries in their field.

Role of Industries:
Many of the industries are providing opportunities to the students to work in their organization for their project works. Generally every industry has a research and development (R&D) department. This is very much helpful to the students who are willing to go into R&D later. Every student looks for a good company or organization there he can improve his skill as per his area of interest or in a particular domain. Similarly every organization will look for such students who are enthusiastic. So it is the time for both students and industry to interact for mutual benefit.

Present Trend and Setbacks:
Unfortunately a majority of the present day student community is not taking the project work seriously. Many of the students are buying some project work done by some one else in some part of the country. There are many software shops which have a thriving business in this. The same project reports are being circulated to students for a price. As more and more students are resorting to this practice of buying and copying, it has become a threat to the students who genuinely do their project work because they have to put in a lot of hard work and the project may not be upto the standard of the so called 'bought projects' which might cause them to lose marks or fail in the examination.

Advantages of doing a project:
  • There are many advantages if students do a project on their own. Some of the following are listed below.
  • Their confidence level about the subject increases which results in getting a good job.
  • It will be useful as a testimony when they apply for higher studies like M.S./PhD abroad.
  • It develops a culture of working together as a group.
  • It is a way to identify one's own core competence.
  • It brings out the natural talent of the student
  • It inculcates leadership qualities which may be very much useful in the latter part of their life.
  • It makes them improve their communication, presentation and writing skills because they have to prepare a project report and submit to the concern authorities at the end of the project.
Keeping all this in mind students are advised to do the projects on their own, no matter whether good or average and learn the skills of doing it. If they do it on their own that experience goes a long way in the latter part of their professional life.
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Published on 12/17/2010
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