Contributing Writer — Shtakshi Gupta
Name – Niraj Gupta
Profession – Engineering Assistant- Indian Subcontinent
Age – 46
Gender – Male
City – Chandigarh
Industry – Animal Nutrition (Engineering Consultancy Services)
- In this profession work experience trumps academic degrees, which is why after completing your diploma it is crucial to get a job regardless of its pay to build your work experience because only after you have the requisite experience are you eligible to apply for the relatively high-paying jobs and positions.
- Field jobs such as this one is a boon for people who love to travel and explore and do not want desk jobs in a sheltered environment but for someone with a family the erratic work days and unpredictable schedules can be a problem.
- One of the biggest advantages of field jobs is that the day-to-day work never gets repetitive as every new site/mill comes with its own set of challenges which requires you to use your technical skill-set to its full extent.
- Travelling to different sites entails dealing with different types of people and as such it is important to have good communication and observational skills, so you can get virtual strangers to cooperate with you to accurately assess the true productive capacity of the plant and what can be done to improve it.
- Although consultancy services and fields jobs are quite demanding in nature they are equally rewarding in terms of financial growth and employment prospects as people with sufficient experience can always start their own firms as well.
Where have you been born and raised?
I was born in Ambala, Haryana. Growing up I lived in a lot of different cities all over the country since we were an army family.
What is your family background?
My mother is a housewife; my father used to work as an electronic engineer in the Air Force and is now retired. I have one elder brother who works in the pharmaceutical industry.
Who all had the most influence on you and how?
As a kid I had a penchant for tinkering with random electronic and mechanical parts, plus I admired and respected my father a lot, so it was only natural that I followed in his footsteps and become an engineer myself.
Please give us a summary of your career, chronologically, including organisation names and your role/designation.
After completing my ITI in Mechanical Engineering from ITI, New Delhi, I started working as an apprentice in a crank factory in Delhi. After that I shifted to Rajpura where I started working in a company that manufactured flour mills and rice-shelling plants. Then I started working as contractor for automation of rice shelling plants after which I started my own shop for electrical parts and home appliances but unfortunately that did not work out.
Then I started doing electrical fittings in industry, I also did some side work on DJ and P.A. sound systems. It was after that I started working at Adisseo Animal Nutrition where I’m currently employed. I mostly go to different poultry feed mills in India and give them consultancy on how to improve the quality of poultry food and see if any automation is required in the production process.
Which institutes are best for the education/training of this profession?
I am not fully aware of the educational side of things, but I will say that given a choice between government and private institutes; students will be better off in government colleges.
What are the costs associated with the education/training of this profession?
For private colleges the cost can range from 1–4 Lakh per annum, this just the tuition fees; the boarding cost would vary from city to city. As for government institutes the cost would be on the lower end, I’d say maximum 1 Lakh per annum.
What are the typical entry level jobs in this profession?
When you are just starting out you can go for positions like electrical supervisor, maintenance engineer, assistant production manager etc since these are some of the positions you can get into with minimal work experience and then start building your base from there.
What is the range of remuneration one can expect when starting out in your line of career & industry?
When we talk about 20+ years of experience, if you’ve stayed in the same company then your income might plateau but if you’ve had a prolific career and have changed companies or opened your own firm you will get substantial remuneration.
Describe your work? What do you typically do on a normal work day?
My works entails going to different poultry feed mills that outsource their mechanical work to our company, examine if they are facing losses due to low productivity because of mechanical problems and see if we can help them get better ROI (returns on investment) by reducing their usage of electrical energy by using our automation processes. I also help them to get more nutritional value in the fodder by implementing a better way of mechanical processing. People working in these mills are seldom very forthcoming, so we must do our due diligence and inquire into the causes of losses and potential room from improvements ourselves.
What are some of the positives, which would encourage someone to consider this career/job?
This job is a boon for people who love travelling to different locations, exploring and getting real world exposure as opposed to a desk job.
Another positive is that the job never gets boring since no two problems are the same, every mill will have its own unique challenges depending on its geographical location, management system etc so it certainly keeps you on your toes.
Another positive which is specific to my job is that since the company I work for is an MNC, which is still working on fully establishing its operations in India and only has a handful of employees covering the entire subcontinent; we all are compensated for it very handsomely.
We are fairly independent, we don’t have bosses to report to per se; instead we have a monthly meeting to see if we’ve met our targets and most importantly as when the company expands within the country we will be part of the leadership team and have people working under our supervision.
What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering this career/job?
A major challenge in field jobs like this is maintaining equilibrium between your personal life and work life. First off we have to travel a lot, like when the workload is heavy I might have to change 4 states in a single day and second of all there no holidays as such, if you are on site it doesn’t matter if it’s the weekend or a national holiday you have to work because this industry works 24 hours and conversely if there’s no work we get to stay at home even during the weekdays so it can vary.
Although the pay is very good, people with families are bound to be very inconvenienced by the erratic nature of this job, it’s best suited for bachelors.
What are the relevant trends/skills/technologies that are currently commanding premium in your job profile?
Yes, there is a process called PPLA (Post Pellet Liquid Application), which is just starting in India, not very many people know about it. This technology helps save the enzyme costs, because when we mix the enzymes in the mills more than 50% are wasted when they’re heated. PPLA allows us to spray it after the heating process is done thereby reducing the quantity of wastage. Since it’s a very novel process we are tasked with going to different locations and teaching people. Implemented properly not only will it bring down the overall production cost but also improve the quality of protein.
What kind of person would be happy in your career?
Like I mentioned before, a bachelor is more likely to thrive in this job than a family man as he will have less external responsibilities that demand his attention. Other than that, as long as you have the requisite qualifications and work experience you will be more than happy with the day-to-day work that comes your way.
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 have a passion for cooking, someday I would love to open a restaurant or work as a chef in one.
What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path similar to yours?
I’ve noticed that after students have completed their education, they immediately start looking for jobs with good pay packages. My advice is for 2 years following the completion of your degree or diploma work wherever you can get work and build your work experience regardless of the pay structure. It is only after gaining this experience that you’re liable to get those high paying jobs that you desire, so a little patience goes a long way.