Technical education can provide a wide range of opportunities in today’s world.
It can be said that today’s technology depends on a country’s most important resource – skilled workers. A technically sound population can contribute to a country’s overall economy by being a part of manufacturing, designing, developing, and maintaining goods and services.
But, it’s important to understand what technical education means.
We look at it here. We also look at some of the best universities across the world that offer great technical education.
When we talk about technical education, the first thing that comes to mind is digital/information technology. However, information technology isn’t the only field that is related to or is a part of technical education.
Technical education covers engineering, architecture, management, planning, applied sciences, and other related fields.
It helps to prepare students for a career where they can apply scientific and technical principles to create solutions. Technical education focuses on providing industrial training and imparting knowledge for specific purposes that help to build or improve one’s career. The field helps in understanding the fundamentals of how things work and how they can be designed/manufactured from the ground up.
In order to become a technically skilled worker, one would need to learn subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, electronics, engineering, and other applied sciences.
Today, the demand for people with technical skills has increased exponentially, due to the growth of technology and innovations. And demand is only set to grow vertically. Development, in terms of both industrial as well as technical, is bound to be an offshoot of great technical education.
What are the types of Technical Education?
Technical or vocational education is typically a post-high-school curriculum that is offered in different kinds of institutions, resulting in different degrees. The scope of this education system is to learn practical applications of the sciences to carry out highly skilled jobs.
A few decades ago, the best examples of technical education would be refrigeration repair technology, carpentry, and such. Now, the scope has increased exponentially, to include niche areas such as modern electronics, the internet, data sciences, medical technology, and so forth.
You can look at technical education from two standpoints: knowledge-based and industry-based. The former is what a conventional higher education/ college/ university degree will give you. It begins at a theoretical level which is then applied to your area of work. It results in a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree.
The latter is a more non-conventional form of learning given by vocational schools, polytechnic colleges, ITIs, junior colleges or specialized technical institutes where the learning model in itself is based directly on practical applications.
These institutions offer industrial training programmes that result in a diploma or an equivalent certification. Enrollment in these institutions can take place on completion of Standard 10 or after Standard 12. However, while applying for these courses abroad, the minimum requirement is the completion of Standard 12.
Just like university education, these also come in different levels: diploma, graduate, postgraduate and specialized research.
In India, all institutions offering technical education come under the purview of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). Each state also has a Directorate of Technical Education to maintain and enhance the quality of technical education.
What are the most popular technical roles?
Technical education has a wide array of fields to choose from based on one’s interest. Due to its highly specialized nature of training, technical education focuses on providing a more hands-on approach than general education. Some of the opportunities that await those who are interested in technical education and look forward to a career related to it are listed below.
Data Scientist – A Data Scientist makes use of available data to form meaningful insights and to derive information that is valuable in one sense or another. They make use of multiple disciplines including mathematics, computing, algorithms, and others for the purpose of gleaning information.
Machine Learning Engineer – Machine Learning Engineers are responsible for designing and developing artificial intelligence-based approaches that can help to simplify tasks or to perform complex computations.
Economists – Economists help to formulate economic models and policies using their knowledge of how an economy should work, based on their observations of markets or financial systems.
Programmer – Programmers write pieces of code (sometimes known as programs or source code) that become part of the software or any other electronically transmitted media that are used by people, across different platforms. Programs connect the underlying hardware of a device with the software that users interact with.
Social Media/Digital Media Marketing and Strategy Specialist – Without actively promoting ideas and services on the Internet, it is virtually impossible to turn a venture into one that is successful. Social media marketing and strategy specialists understand their products and services and study their clientele so that they know how and when to promote their offerings.
Manufacturing – Manufacturing involves a whole lot of complex processes and requires those who can handle machinery, equipment, computers, and other systems. It also requires one to be technically sound and to have a sharp eye for detail.
Robotics Specialist – Robotics specialists design, maintain and manufacture robots that are industrial, commercial, or personal variants. They need to be experts in robotics, electronics, mathematics, computational models, artificial intelligence, and systems engineering.
Agriculture – Agriculturists engage in agricultural activities where they cultivate and harvest crops. To achieve better results, agriculturists need to have knowledge about scientific methods of farming and understand how the market works in order to sell crops at competitive prices.
Technical Writer – Technical writers need to be on top of their game to write about the latest technological trends. They also need to possess great communication skills to convey technical details in layman’s terms since most of the readers would be technology enthusiasts and not experts.
Computer Hardware Engineer – They partake in the research, design, and development of hardware components. Without hardware engineers, it is impossible to imagine the current technological growth that we enjoy. Think of the latest Apple M1 Max processor!
Why is Technical Education important for students?
The main goal of technical education is to prepare you for employment in the industry. Skill development and industrial training is the primary aim. One of the common issues that recruiters face with students holding conventional degrees is the lack of a particular competitive employable skill that makes them stand out. That will never be the case with technical education. It provides a highly career focussed education.
The system is such that it encourages self-learning and independence. It is more adaptable to the needs of the students and of the industry. Many institutions of technical education, offering courses at the diploma level do not follow a rigorous academic calendar. It gives students the flexibility to learn and upskill at any point. It is also comparatively more affordable than a university education. They are often supported and subsidised by a state government or other govt agencies to increase the number of skilled workers.
The stigma around technical education is also changing. The idea that a degree is better than a diploma is an old-school thought process. It is not the case anymore. Recruiters certainly don’t see it that way. Your set of skills is what sets you apart and students of technical education stand at an advantage. The demand is such that even universities are now establishing a department of technical education (DTE).
What are the most popular universities for technical roles?
There are many institutions that offer technical education to those students who are looking to build a career out of it. Let’s take a look at some of the best universities that offer technical education.
MIT boasts of one of the best-developed schools and departments that takes part in groundbreaking research and development.MIT’s engineering college, The School of Engineering, The School of Architecture and Planning, MIT Schwarzmann School of Computing, and The School of Science offer some of the best undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs for those interested in technical careers post-high school.
Stanford University has constantly been in the spotlight for its innovative research and for the quality of education they impart. Although vocational in terms of the education Stanford imparts, The School of Engineering and The School of Humanities and Sciences offer courses that focus on fields closely related to technical education.
The School of Technology at the University of Cambridge offers courses in computer science and engineering at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The School of the Physical Sciences offers courses in mathematics, material science and metallurgy, physics, applied mathematics, and theoretical physics among others.
ETH Zurich has an array of programmes across disciplines such as engineering, natural sciences, mathematics, and civil engineering. These programmes are designed to help students to build highly creative and successful careers.
The University of California, Berkeley offers technical programs including construction and sustainability, sciences, mathematics and biotechnology, technology and information management, and writing, editing, and technical communication. These courses are tailor-made to fit those who are looking forward to kickstarting a technical career.
What does Technical Education mean? Here's a myth buster...
There’s a popular belief that technical education is only for those who have an analytical bent of mind. Not so true. Technical education can be taken up by those who are creative too (being technically inclined and being artistic and creative do not have to be mutually exclusive). Technical education is really an umbrella term and can mean many things – can lead to varied career avenues, which are for people with varied skills and abilities. And that’s what we’ve tried to give a snapshot of here.
Technology is only going to become deeper entrenched in our lives, so it’s important to think about roles that you may be good at that involve technology.
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