“Why, for so many years, have I been buckling down to find the value of the ‘x’ by frequently using the periphrastic and complicated methods taught in the conventional engineering education?” “Is this what I am going to do once I start working as a professional?” “But my uncle, who works as a professional engineer in XYZ company and my father who is a plant maintenance engineer in ABC plant for decades, have never shared a single situation wherein they had to find the value of this always-problematic ‘x’?” “Doesn’t this indicate the insignificance and futility of what I am being taught at the engineering university? Isn’t it the prime reason why students have to face difficulty to settle in once they step in the practical life?” These are some staggering questions that remain unanswered. I have seen this conundrum where engineering students found themselves unable to find the connection between almost all the theoretical topics and the practical engineering. Eventually, almost all of them find their university alumni at respectable positions in industries telling them how irrelevant are most of the courses that they studied during engineering education. This exposure to the staggering reality makes the students conclude that the engineers, who failed to put their hands on any decent job, were left with no option but to choose the profession of teaching engineering itself. Due to the fact that there exists a striking disconnection and lack of synchronization between the conventional education and the norms and principles actually applied in the industry, teachers are often observed to be imparting irrelevant things. The narrow applicability of the principles taught in the universities renders them useless and futile in the practical world. Being in this profession for over a decade, I can testify the fact that there are many theoretical topics that I studied during my undergraduate degree have been proven to be completely useless. For example, during my 2ndyear of Electrical Engineering (semester system wasn’t in place back then), we studied two complete courses purely related to mathematics (Mathematics II and Mathematics III) trying to find the value of ‘x’. Though there are courses which may look relevant to the practical engineering, course material taught in the classroom is way more theoretical than practical. In the course titled ‘Electrical Machines and Design’ that appeared in the 4th year (final year), we were supposed to figure out why a transformer is called a machine even if it has no rotating part and how to calculate the electrical and magnetic flux. And when I asked my senior, who at the time was working in Motor Department in a multinational engineering company, as to how often he has to calculate the magnetic flux, he answered with a laugh, saying that what I was studying in the classroom had nothing to do with real life. However, this disconnection is not because we have been taught irrelevant material but because of the fact that most of the engineers worldwide and almost all the engineers in countries like Pakistan, including myself, are ‘technical clerks’ who are working on application layer without doing any real ‘engineering’. This can be explained with an example of learning to operate a new mobile phone where you have to apply the knowledge of the operation. That’s what application layer is. You have no idea about what’s going inside. Then there are mobile technicians who can tell you the details about the modus operandi under which mobile phones operate and also have a little know-how that helps them to fix mobiles. But yet, they cannot be called the ‘engineers’; they are the ‘skilled technical clerks’. For them, studying about how mobile operating system is developed is irrelevant when it comes to what they are doing in practical life i.e. repairing cell phones. However, those who are working on design layer to ‘engineer’ a better mobile operating software with state of the art technology, they have to have deep understanding of what mobile operating software is, how it works, deficiencies it has, etc. They are the ‘engineers’ who are coming up with software features which were unthinkable a decade ago. What adds more to the misery is the fact that technical professionals generally toe the same line rather than explaining the difference between ‘skilled technicians’ and ‘engineering’ job. Perhaps they don’t feel comfortable with the idea of declaring themselves as ‘skilled technicians’ rather than engineers. University professors are the ones who should explain the difference between the design layer and the application layer so that the students can salvage themselves from this confusion which has its own serious ramifications. I am quite sure that those who actually get hold of jobs related to ‘design and engineering’ can explain how important those theoretical concepts are which otherwise seem irrelevant to the rest. The problem is, especially in countries like Pakistan, that these professionals are far and few between for obvious reasons. So, dear engineering students, as long as you don’t understand the difference between ‘skilled technicians and ‘engineers’ and how ‘design layer’ is different from ‘application layer’; you won’t be able to understand why you are being taught all those courses in such details, which you have never heard of from your elders, even after they have spent decades in engineering industry. Sometimes, things are not illogical; it’s our ignorance.