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Instrumentation Engineering

Instrumentation engineering can be referred to as a ‘mixture’ of different subjects that can be the launch pad for many careers. Indeed, instrumentation engineering is an inter-disciplinary branch that includes study of electrical, chemical, electronics as well as computer engineering. Instrumentation and control engineers design manufacture and fix snags in devices or systems that are used to measure or control physical quantities such as temperature, pressure and flow. They step in wherever ‘sensing’ of physical quantities is required and work in power plants, chemical plants, manufacturing facilities, oil refineries, the steel industry as well as with drug makers and software and hardware companies, to name a few avenues.

Instrumentation engineers typically work for industries with automated processes, such as chemical or manufacturing plants, with the goal of improving system productivity, reliability, safety, optimization and stability. The control of processes is one of the main branches of applied instrumentation.

The payoff

Initially, the median pay of instrumentation engineers is Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 2.2 lakh a year. The average pay of a graduate engineer — regardless of the branch — is Rs. 6.5 lakh per annum.


  • Must be good at maths and physics
  • Skilled at handling instruments and software
  • Have leadership qualities
  • Adept at trouble-shooting

Getting there

Take science with physics, chemistry and maths at the plus two level. Instrumentation engineering is available as B.Tech or B.E programs, entry to which is normally through a written test.

Institutes like BITS Pilani offer it with electronics, as BE (Hons) electronics and instrumentation. Job options in this field are good. Instrumentation engineers work in software firms like HCL and TCS, as well as hardware companies. Other employers include Larsen & Toubro, ABB (Asea Brown Boveri), Siemens, Texas Instruments, National Instruments, Bechtel, Fluor Daniel, Foster Wheeler and even American Express. In the public sector, there are companies like EIL, BHEL, NTPC, SAIL, GAIL and ONGC.

Institutes and URLs

Some institutes offer degrees in electronics and instrumentation, such as:

Pros and cons

  • Your wider knowledge base gives you an edge over mechanical or electrical engineers in a plant
  • Money is good
  • Highly responsible role — if the instrumentation system fails, the whole plant will grind to a halt
  • Your health could be affected because of high noise and temperature levels at manufacturing plants
  • If things go wrong at work, you are required to be on call 24X7


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