After graduating from VJTI in 2010, I opted out of my job and instead took up a research fellowship at the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay. Getting into IITB wasn’t as difficult as I thought. A brief email and a meeting was all that it took for the professor to decide to give me the research posting. I believe that the eagerness to learn and a willingness to work hard is all that it takes to get a research oriented job like this. Working on a research project was overwhelming in the first month or so, but once I got over it, I was learning new things at an exponential rate.
I am working as a Research Assistant here at IITB and my work is mainly related to heat transfer. My primary project is one funded by BARC and involves the experimental study and numerical simulation of thermal radiation in furnaces. I am also working on a side project that deals with enhancing convective heat transfer in ducts. This research will be used further to study gas turbine blade cooling and is funded by the Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE).
Working here at IIT is completely different from what I’ve seen and heard about a conventional 9 to 5 job. Here, a person gets to choose the area of his or her interest rather than some cooperate structure telling you where you have to work and what you have to do. You do have to answer to and report your findings to a professor who heads the research, but other than that, you are completely independent and free to proceed with the research on your own terms. There aren’t very many stringent deadlines and the working hours are quite flexible. There have been some days where I would have to wait long hours for a particular experimental observation and I was sure the boredom would kill me. Yet there have been some other days when even 24 hours seem to have been too little to do the things that had to be done. But at the end, the promise of discovery and knowledge assuages any and all misgivings one might ever have in this line of work.[......]
My appraisal of my job cannot be complete without saying a few words about IIT Bombay. After being here for the past 9 months or so, I have no doubts as to why IITB is ranked amongst the best technical institutions in India. It has a vibrant atmosphere which is very conducive to learning and there is a mind-boggling array of facilities and equipment available for carrying out research. They have a wonderful library and IITB provides online access to technical papers and other resources that would be impossible to access from outside. IITB has no dearth of funds and they do not hesitate in spending money as long as it furthers research. Besides, some of the professors here are the foremost authorities in their field and there are a lot of things that can be learnt from them.
However, I must state that no matter how interesting this working in research at IIT may sound, it is by no means a permanent career. It may be best viewed as a constructive step in one’s academic progress. My main objective in pursuing this is to learn more about a subject I am very interested in and establish a secure base from which I can pursue higher studies. I must conclude by saying that anyone who is interested in engineering and would like to go beyond the textbook in their pursuit of knowledge will find the entire concept of a research fellowship very promising.
- Nikhil Nair, Batch of 2010, Mechanical Engineering Department
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