Civil engineers are critical for the functioning of the civilization as we make what are known as public goods – says Dr. Sudhir K. Jain in conversation with Team MentorClub.in

Professor SudhirJain

Contributing Writer – Surabhi Sanghi

Name                  Sudhir K Jain

Profession          Director at IIT Gandhinagar

Age                      59

Gender               Male

City                      Gandhinagar

Industry              Education

LinkedIn             https://www.linkedin.com/in/sudhirjainiitk/

Insights

  • This is a job that provides good money in short amount of time but also requires lot of hard work.
  • It has a lot of social and professional costs involved.
  • There is no scope for mistakes. Perfection is the key.
  • You have to build your own work culture that will grow and develop with you.
  • The working conditions will be harsh at times. You should be ready for such challenges.

Where have you been born and raised?

I was born in a small town known as Lalitpur in Uttar Pradesh. I have not grown up in one single city but many cities of in Uttar Pradesh such as Etawah, Uttarkashi, Rudrapur etc. It was because my dad had a job which required us to keep moving.

We were a total of four siblings. I had three sisters but one of them passed away. I was not a very bright student in school and neither did I have too many friends.

What is your family background? Who all had the most influence on you and how?

My father was a Civil Engineer in government service, which meant he was continuously transferred. My mother, like most of the women of the time, was a home maker. We belong to the Middle class.

I think my parents have had the most influence on me. Other than my parents, though, my school teachers have been a supporting pillar. One particular teacher who had a huge impact on me was my class 8 math teacher.

Please give us a summary of your career, chronologically, including organization names and your role/designation.

After my class 12th, I did my B.E. Civil from IIT Roorkee, then known as University of Roorkee. I obtained my Masters in earthquake engineering. Then I did PhD from California Institute of Technology, USA and my PhD thesis was – “Building behavior during earthquakes”.

I worked at IIT Kanpur for 25 years since 1984 as a Professor, before joining IIT Gandhinagar in 2009 as its Director.

Which institutes are best for the education/training of this profession?

I feel to become a Civil engineer today, the IIT’s are a good choice. My first preference would be IIT Kanpur followed by IIT Madras at the moment because of the faculty. Currently these two institutions have the top faculty for Civil Engineering.

What are the costs associated with the education/training of this profession?

Since I’ve talked about IIT, the tuition cost for Bachelor degree (B.Tech) is roughly around Rs. 2 lakhs per year. If you include hostel and lodging too, it would come to about 3 lack a year. So, in four years cost is about 12 lacks.

What are the typical entry level jobs in this profession?

To be a civil Engineer, it is very easy to start working after the completion of an Undergraduate degree. But one must really be aware of the challenges and should not lose interest in this field. Otherwise you will not be left with too many options at your disposal.

What is the range of remuneration one can expect when starting out in your line of career & industry?  

Years of Experience Remuneration (Annual)
5 years of experience Up to 1 lack
10 years of experience 3 – 5 Lack
20+ years 7 lacks

Describe your work? What do you typically do on a normal work day?

As the Director, I have regular meetings with various people and the administration on a day to day basis. I usually work 6 days a week. On an average, per day I put in 10 -12 hours of work. That makes it about 60-70 hours of work in a week.

What are some of the positives, which would encourage someone to consider this career/job?

Civil engineers are critical for the functioning of the civilization as we make what are known as public goods. We design cities and facilities for better living. This job also provides good money.

You can earn a lot of money in short span of time.

Even though you usually work with some organization, you create and grow with the work culture around you. It is usually very flexible. There is a lot of scope for professional and personal growth. The more growth there is, the more chances of becoming successful too.

What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering this career/job?

The working conditions can be very harsh and dangerous at times. For instance, if you are involved in a construction project in remote areas, villages or wild areas.

There will also be a lack of resources such as water supply or food in such areas.

If you make even a tiny mistake, it will prove to be costly but professionally and personally. In construction projects a huge amount of money, time and resources is invested so the chances for loss are also pretty high.

You will be dealing with all kinds of people – from bosses to laborers so it is very important to know how to deal with different kind of people with diplomacy and regard to their context.

What are the relevant trends/skills/technologies that are currently commanding premium in your job profile?

This is a field which requires the person to be extremely comfortable with numbers, angles, geometry and mathematics in general.

Not only that, the person should be extremely clear with basic principles of the sciences also. The person should also be well versed with the latest material and construction technologies because technologies are dynamic and change every day.

What kind of person would be happy in your career?

Somebody who enjoys being out in the field and engage in outdoor activities frequently. It is because, this job requires you to perform outdoors work more than indoors.

A person who is creative and can bring new and innovative ideas on the table. Lastly, a person who wants to serve humanity and likes to engage with people of all background.

Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned? Would you pursue another profession or a passion perhaps?

I could have been a Civil Engineer working with top MNC’s, but I still chose to be a Professor.

What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path similar to yours?

It is very important to enjoy yourself and not take too much stress in life. One must keep learning every day because that is how you will grow as a person. Don’t mug up the theory, understand the practicality.