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Designed to be an Engineer

Following are the excerpts from a special interview session our GT student correspondent had with Mr. Moorthi Chokkanathan, the President & Global Head – Enterprise Solutions, Hexaware Technologies on the occasion of Engineer's Day.






Q. What is the definition of being an engineer according to you?

In my definition, an engineer is a person who transforms ideas, designs and innovates. Engineers are those who turn ‘visualization into reality’.

Q. Can you tell us a little about your journey ?

I am a Civil engineer from IIT madras. I was very much inclined towards drawing and sketching during my childhood, so much so that I would sketch any given object so easily and this skill was crucial in my entry into engineering itself. Sketching gave me an edge in a subject we all know too well ‘Engineering drawing’ and helped me gain high ranking in the course.

Q. Being a civil engineer, was it a deliberate switch into the IT domain ?

Yes, I was always inclined towards new technology and during my undergrad I happened to take up programming courses at the computer centre in college, and found that calculation intensive results generated in the Final Element Analysis of materials was much much faster than the conventional approach. I was almost instinctively drawn toward the Information Technology discipline from then. Today, I also play the role of chairperson in the digital technologies domain, going over emerging software solutions like cloud computing etc,.

Q. Today we see surplus amount of engineers being produced yet there is a constant lack of innovation, what is your opinion ?

Today, we talk about ‘Make In India’ but I feel this should shift towards ‘Design in India’ for real innovation to emerge. Let us begin to increase the design in India, take our products to the forefront and allocate production to wherever most economical. For instance, we all are aware of how Apple’s iPhone is designed in California but is made in China. Our education system’s excessive focus on method and mechanisation has lead to producing robots as students, which is stagnating our growth. We should instil the need to nurture ‘design skill-set’ in our youth so that we can be instrumental in creating other robots which will take up our tasks. I believe that machines are needed for improving our performance, and that human work is needed only where machines cannot be employed.

Q. Can you tell us a little about what we can expect from your presentation for Engineer’s day ?

During the Engineer’s day programme, I shall address the topic of ‘Digital India’. Our country is moving from the agricultural era into the industrial era now in the 21st century, while several had made their transition right from the 16th century itself. So clearly the gap to bridge is quite vast, but this can be easily done with the help of digitalisation. Leveraging the digital era will make the jump seamless and smooth. It will help interaction for people with government bodies and industries easier, improve fast communication and overall performance.

Q. Is there any memorable incident from your college days that you would like to share ?

During my final year, I got selected to work on a project on ‘Large scale pre-stretched concrete pipes’. An intensive selection process was in order where a panel consisting of the department heads, professors and other faculty were present. The project was funded by our alumni, and included a stipend so I was naturally thrilled to hear that my friend and I were the chosen ones to implement it. The best part of the project was that it was real-time work so we were exposed to actual industry experience and our design was taken in for implementing. To date, the pipes we made for the project are being used in the ‘Veeranam project’ which is unforgettable to me.

Q. What message do you want to send to our future engineers ?

There are great opportunities that await today’s engineers. In my time, we had rudimentary technology and limited exposure. Whereas, today with the power of the internet and social media you are all exposed to so much more. You are able to connect across the globe, from San Francisco to South Korea almost instantaneously. So you can definitely be regarded as ‘global citizens’ and therefore have an advantage over the previous generations. With your set of resources and knowledge pool, you must scale new heights and aim to solve problems that affect all of humanity itself.

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