Monday, March 15, 2010

From being an engineer to a media guy

This is a query (and my response to it) that came on my school's alumni association site( about a guy who wants to go into media related role rather than being an engineer. I thought it might be of use to someone else who is reading this blog.
The text in green is the query.

Hari Om everyone,

Ah well m doin in comp science From NMIMS university.
So the thing is that i don like engg a lot..

I mean though i understand wat they teach here but i don like solving problems based on the things they teach.

And i have always been very keenly interested in media and communication,

So is there something i can do ..after graduation that would get me into my desired field...

Hope u reply soon....and i am gonna complete my graduation next year may...

Hi Rituraj, 

I see two parts in your query,  

1) Doing something based on your engineering skill is not about "solving problems". you have to build things based on the principles you learn in your classroom. It is not the same (and not as boring) as solving problems in an exam.  

2) And about your desire to work in the field of media and communication I am not very sure what you mean by that, are you talking about  
2.1) Journalism (print/ news channels) 
2.2) Advertising 
2.3) Compering 
2.4) Publishing house support and proof reading  

I don't know too much about you, so I am giving general pointers maybe you can see for yourself where you fit well and we can discuss that in greater detail.  

Given the fact that you have an engineering background, you are at a disadvantage vis-a-vis your competitors on two counts 
1) They have more "domain knowledge", and are typically good at articulating. 
2) Engineers are stereotyped as being bad at communication skills. And the fact that you dont have very many people from your background who have broken into this field certainly reinforces the stereotype.  

But, all is not lost You do have a few positives. 
1) Being an engineer, you can bring to the table a much needed skill of structured thinking. 
2) You will have a better understanding of products and businesses, So you can work well in a field that lets you analyse them. Maybe like a gadget guide thing, or a column on new trends in technology, or on stocks and share markets.  
All said, breaking into this world will take a lot of dedicated effort, for 
1) Prima facia, you dont have the specific skill set that such a job requires. 2)Its not glamorous - atleast not at the junior levels.  

Sure you can blabber an hour on how you actually do have those skills, but none of it is going to help you if you cant prove it. 
So my advice would be to go out there and make yourself known.  
1) Fish for events that need a compere - at college fests, products promotion events etc. 
2) Look for FM radio stations that call for guest jockey. 
3) Look out for competitions that ask for marketing ideas. 
4) Try and get a marketing internship. 
These will help you in two ways, one this will get you some experience, and more importantly, it will help you build a network of people who know that you are talented. The latter will help you a lot in getting you the proverbial foot-in-the-door.  

If, however you feel that structured learning is the way to go for you, There is this college called Mudra Institute of communications - Ahmedabad. This, I have heard is the best B-School to go to if want a career in advertising.  

I hope this helps you. Do get back to me here on this forum or at if you want to discuss something specific.  

All the very best. You have more than a year at your college. Make the best use of it.  


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Musings of a wanderer said...

I have checked against "enlightening" for this post. Well written with a touch of reality. A career in writing is much romanticised. It needs a lot of hard work to be that in fact! Going by the communication skills of your friend, he has a long way to go.

Ankit Ashok said...

Hey Trinath!
How are you?

And yes, a lot of people think that they can build a career in writing just because they can write a bit. As you say, it takes a lot of hard work.

And dont judge the poor kid based on how he wrote on the career forum of his school's site. He might be better skilled than that. At least I am hoping he is.