Bursting the Bubble – CSE, IT & CCE

In 2014, a 17 year old kid, extremely interested in computers desperately wanted to get into computer science in one of the good colleges of India. He had no aspiration to get into the rat race of the IITs or NITs and had written the entrance exams of only 3 colleges, one of them being MIT Manipal. Sadly, a score of 115 meant he could not get a CS branch. He may have got a seat in IT but he decided that CCE would be a better choice, a shot in the dark for most parts. CCE then was a branch that has started just a year back. It didn’t have any placement statistics, since no batch before his had even passed out yet. He didn’t even know if that degree held any value. But he took the risk and now after 4 years, he realizes that its the best choice he ever made.

Unlike this guy, you do not have to take the same risk. CCE has been running for many years now. You have access to a couple of years of, if I may say so, stellar placement records, definitely so for a non IIT-NIT institution. Over these years, the curriculum has been modified and improved, faculty have become accustomed, public perception of the branch has improved, companies are becoming more receptive and the student quality has improved drastically.

So what is CCE all about and why is it different from CSE and IT? CSE is the almighty traditional course. It is, staying very true to its name, a science as much as it is an engineering course. And being an age old course available in pretty much all engineering colleges of the country, the course has been structured and modified to perfection. Sadly enough, it still remains very traditional in India. The CSE course structure still contains a lot of elements which have no use for the majority of the students in the current industry while sadly staying away from some courses that IT and CCE have which are of great use in the industry. Let me give you a simple example. Compiler design. Crazy stuff. Fun stuff if you are into it. Extremely valuable set of information. How industry relevant is it? Very less. Unless you are into a field that uses it strongly, you are learning something you won’t ever use. Don’t get me wrong, its a great course, and you get to understand the science behind it. I personally would love to take that course. But there’s so much stuff to learn now days. The industry is shifting towards, ML, AI; low level stuff needs to be pushed out of the curriculum if you wanna stay industry relevant. You can’t learn everything in 4 years now, can you? CCE and IT attempt to take away things from the CSE course that are not very industry relevant and instead insert topics that are. In this regard, CSE is amazing if you wanna get deeper into the science of computers. Neither CCE nor IT will really provide you that. Also, if you are interested in a research topic in the field, CSE fits your bill perfectly.

I said CCE and IT take out some topics that are not very industry relevant at the moment. So to fill out this gap, you put in topics that are industry relevant. The only difference is that CCE fills it with equal parts of computing skills as it does with communications engineering skills. IT, still being an old branch, has topics that sadly aren’t industry relevant any longer. If you go deeper into the course structures of IT and CCE, you’ll see that CCE’s course is definitely slightly better in terms of industry usability. CCE has successfully weeded out some topics from IT that aren’t so required in the industry at the moment. Also, the communciations engineering part of CCE is great. Yes, you may have an iota of interest in communications but trust me, it helps when you work in the industry. For what it takes, I wasn’t a fan of a lot of the communication courses but they have inevitably helped me more than I can describe in my work life. And these are topics that you will never otherwise go and learn by yourselves since it doesn’t fall directly in your field of interest, but because it does ultimately ‘support’ your field of interest, it becomes really crucial when you need them the most.

The problems associated with CCE is something that’s generally problems associated with the entire set of computer branches. You must rememebr its a college. You are taught by a teacher. Most of them don’t or haven’t worked for long in the industry. Even if they have, it was a long time back. This means their method of teaching will be research oriented, no matter what the curriculum is. But because CCE is a newer branch, CCE faculty are usually the youngest of the lot, and since some of them are fresh graduates themselves, they have a lot different thought process than the more experienced ones. Don’t get me wrong, both types of teachers have their own pros and cons. But since CCE is an industry oriented course, getting younger faculty helps sometimes (not always though, sometimes it just gets even worse).

The best part about CCE is definitely its curriculum. I am not someone who likes to sit and concentrate in classes. I used to sit in classes, get my fair share of my 75% attendance, get notes from the best note creator in the class (you must always have one of these guys, book them up for yourselves from the first year itself) and study by myself. If you can study by yourselves, CCE is great. The course is awesome and you can learn stuff in and about the topics of the course and it’ll help you all along the way.

Will CCE help me in the industry? Traditional classroom teaching by itself won’t. But because the curriculum by itself is great, you can learn stuff by yourselves in an industry oriented way making you very relevant in the industry.

This would seem like a cheeky little point, but being a CCE graduate defintiely sounds better than an IT graduate. Don’t get me wrong, but I have seen this first hand. Forget India, in Germany I have seen different reactions when someone says he’s an IT graduate and when I say I am a Computer and Communications Engineering graduate. They always wanna know more about my course. If you can gauge a potential employer’s interest, its always good. In highly academic oriented ocuntries, CCE sits very well with people, much more than IT does. And considering CCE is also accredited, there should be no problem. IT has a bad rep in certain cirles to being accociated with support staff, a wrong but nonetheless prevalent assumption.

Is CCE better than IT? I will say yes. Atleast from my perspective. Atleast in the current state of things. It CCE better than CSE? depends on what your goals are. If you are very industry oriented, CCE, coursewise, is a better fit.

There’s another cheeky little thing I’d like to add. Because students always pick CSE, IT, CCE, in that order during counselling, CCE always has the least ‘studious‘ students amongst the branches. Please note that I said studious. At the end of the day, you are still in and educational institute in India and mugging up will score you crazy amount of marks. And you’ll find more people who can mug up that well in CSE than IT or CCE. I know people who are potato as far as computers are concerned but with a 9+ CGPA in CSE. Whereas I, in CCE hardly had to put in any hours of study time and still got an 8.5+. If you are in CCE, you can just be conceptually strong and get decent grades. What this means is that because we have a relative grading system, you will score more in CCE than CSE. I’ll not elaborate further on this. Though this gap is reducing strongly every year.

As for placements, if you look at the stats, CCE does fall behind CSE. There’s multiple reasons for it. First of all, there are a larger pool of actually better students in CSE. Inevitably, placement stats there will look better. An extremely few set of companies may give better preference to CSE but most don’t, and over the years, this trend will change and CCE gets bigger. So by the time you are in your 4th year, this isn’t something you’d need to worry about.