Is Diploma Before Degree In Engineering a Good Bet?

Online study platform Stupidsid used to dub it as the most overrated course on planet Earth. Very well, the then teenage founders knew what they were dealing with when they included Bachelor of Engineering (BE) courses into their database. But, little do incoming students know what the technical courses have in store for them once they step into its confusing and gigantic world of information – numbers and alphabets and symbols mostly.

And I am talking chiefly about those students, passed out of the mandatory yet insufficient Secondary School Certificate (SSC), at the entrance of the matriculation edifice. Should I take up the three-year diploma (certificate) course or should I go through the HSC-CET route? Is diploma good after 10th? What if I have decided to become an engineer? What about ITI?

These are the questions you will get answers to in this article.

The Confusion After 10th Grade

That is also exactly when your (yet unheard of) relatives clog your home network with phone calls, text messages, and what-not giving worthless advice about what you should do and which stream you should join and why VJTI is still the number one college in Mumbai. Your parents talk more to those parents whose children now walk behind the top CEOs or are the top CEOs of some native amalgamation under the disguise of an international one. (I’m not taking any names.) Your friends will be helpless because most of them will be in a similar situation.

Your partner is doing fashion designing or is studying town planning or is perhaps busy doing what most untalented folks do – digital marketing. You want to take up a diploma course because it sounds cool and will give you some respite from appearing for the Common Entrance Test (CET) which we all know is a tough nut to crack.

Whatever you are inclined to do, you should give a peek through the following points that I have personally experienced over my engineering days. After completing my four-year diploma course from Agnel Polytechnic, Vashi (which included six months of in-plant technical internship each at Air India and Godrej & Boyce), I entered second year of the degree course (in Electronics and Telecommunication or EXTC) at SIES Graduate School of Technology and studied for three more years to become an engineering graduate. Two years later, I began pursuing my Master of Arts in English Literature. And then in 2019 I successfully completed it. So you can rest assured that this article is based on experience and not on hearsay.

Note – Most diploma courses span three years but in my case I spent four years completing it because of the in-plant training.

Degree vs. Diploma – Which is Better?

A list of important factors to consider before opting for diploma in engineering compared to the HSC-CET route:

You Will Perform Poorly in Mathematics

This is the biggest drawback of doing diploma before degree in engineering. Because whatever stream you choose, a diploma course has the subject Mathematics only in the first three semesters as M1, M2, and M3. And the pathetic syllabus by the Maharashtra technical board (MSBTE) will have you learning only basic Matrices.

By the time you complete the course, you will forget most of it chiefly due to a lack of practise and implementation. Next, since you will directly enter the second year of engineering degree, a huge part of essential Mathematics (first two semesters; M1 and M2 of degree) will elude you and there is where they teach you why Mathematics is so, so, so important in engineering. Eventually, the chances of you flunking in the third semester Mathematics is as high as your chances of getting through the college that you want are low. Tutors may help you, but remember, coaching classes are a multi-crore business in India.

Although I somehow passed M3 in my second year, I struggled a lot to get passing marks of 40 out of 100 in M4. Since Mathematics is critical for other subjects like Electrical Networks, I struggled with those subjects as well.

Lack of Friends

You will find out how badly you suck at Mathematics in less than five days of your degree. And there’s this lack of friends-cum-classmates that you cannot even throw the baggage on.

Most of your classmates have all braved the CET and are, in most cases, younger to you by at least a year; they have already formed groups and all the pretty girls are taken, the topper has been throned and is usually not good-looking, teachers have capped their white-lists and created nicknames for you. You will never be called by your first name until the time you almost forget how a Bipolar Junction Transistor (BJT) works. Diploma students are called D2D students, direct second year admissions, failures, scumbags and thankfully, sometimes “scholars.” Too bad, they won’t call you back-benchers because unlike during the school times, here the only vacant benches are the front ones. Somebody might want to edit that Kalam quote!

members of agnel polytechnic student council 2011
My time at the student council during diploma days helped me get through the degree

To cut the long story short, if none of your diploma classmates have enrolled with you in your college and if you are an introvert, then you will indefinitely sink into a state of desolation. Paranoia will take time, but history shows that soon you will find solace in other diploma students from different college and/or streams.

Diploma is Not Equal to Degree

Diploma will give you opportunities and plenty of accolades for participating in the ubiquitous technical paper presentation competitions where you take a topic (which is often – “Recent Trends In Engineering”) and plagiarize every other online journal/Wikipedia article/magazine related to that topic without citing. The rookie jury will be astonished to see you present a Prezi slideshow because they are used to the more popular MS PowerPoint presentations. Technobabble will win you that cash-prize.

certificates, medal, and trophies received for technical paper presentation competitions
Some of the honors I received during my diploma days. These only look good in the showcase today

In degree, the story is totally different. You think of changing the monotony by participating in a presentation in the upcoming college-level technical fest. They have challenging competitors, professional jury, brainstorming sessions, and concept-debriefing. You will fail terribly if you follow your diploma protocol and that will further attack your self-confidence.

You should also think over this: diploma is typically a three-year course and degree is a four-year one but you only move forward a single year (direct second year admission) in degree after you complete the diploma. That answers the question why diploma has such a low value in career shelves and professional CVs.

Diploma as it should be rightly known is just a certificate course that was originally developed to help individuals land quick jobs in the technical fields. It cannot be termed a degree (as in academic rank) because earning a diploma neither makes you a graduate nor just a 10th/12 passout. You hang in the middle and that’s not a great situation to be in.

Parents Will Never Understand the Paradigm Shift

Okay, so you cracked that diploma examination with flying colors and were consistent in your efforts. You get the provisional certificate. Fine. But, since you suck at Mathematics, and because you will invariably find out that the remaining subjects are partially related to it, you will have the luck of flunking in at least one subject. Because, what you studied during diploma will be located on the farthest parts of your brain, and Mathematics, along with alphabets now has ambiguous sentences and Greek letters guarding it.

Techmax Publications won’t be sufficient also because they are crammed with errors. Depending on Easy Solutions or the recent fad KT280 Solutions may help, but will you really understand and grasp the engineering concepts? When the time comes for you to perform during the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) or any Public Service Undertaking (PSU) entrance test that you may later take, you will most probably experience a huge failure.

And that failure won’t be like how it seems to be in that famous inspiring quote about the invention of light bulb by Thomas Edison. It will bring you embarrassment. Teachers of your former polytechnic will understand and react totally opposite to how your parents will. That’ll be a relief, and if your diploma mates are allowed to keep term (ATKT) in the same subject(s), that will be a support against your parents, too. Pressure will falter and you will stop thinking about the future. This moment will be worthy, and I am pretty sure, the next time you sit to study with a credible reference book, it will be with vengeance. Only, here the adversary is no one.

Final Points

So, it is up to you and only you to decide what it will be and how it will be. Engineering is just too overwhelming when it comes to all the knowledge and learning, but make sure the path you choose is trustworthy and unmasked.

DO NOT listen to people who use sentences like “Diploma will give you experience”, “Diploma is better than the pain of CET”, and “Diploma is in parallel with Engineering.” This is all blabber because these people are actually referring to how the mainstream terms it. Of course, self-thought can outmatch these above listed discrepancies and there are people who have found actual success with the diploma route, like my father who is a successful Civil Engineer now after starting off with a diploma course in engineering. He took the diploma route in early 1970s followed by a four-year degree course and is a proud construction specialist today.

On the other hand, I have recently observed that there is not much difference between diploma students and graduates when it comes to their ability to get jobs in the real world. A friend and former colleague earns a handsome package as an engineer in Schlumberger after doing Industrial Training (ITI) and diploma courses. He still tells me that he has plans to complete his engineering from Mumbai University, but despite without a graduation, he is still an asset to his company.

With respect to how the word sounds bold, diploma is good enough for students who are not planning to pursue graduation in future. It is also a great path for students who are financially weaker and would want to wrap their education with a decent technical faculty. For example, a close friend of mine earns a decent package at Godrej & Boyce in Vikhroli after only pursuing diploma in Industrial Electronics. She has no plans to pursue degree in engineering and she’s happy and already climbing up in the world.

Choosing one over another is just a matter of choice, and there is no objective answer as to which one is better, but all I want to emphasize on today is that Diploma does come with its own set of disadvantages. Which, to conclude, are more devastating than that of going to junior college. TN.

Featured image courtesy: Unsplash

Update: Copyedited; added and removed sentences and links. (14 September 2019)


Mitesh Shah says:

So true… Maths really sucks !!!

Very Well written … High-Five!

nairspecht says:

Sab apne baare mein hi likha hai! 🙂


What would if someone thinks of completing 11/12th and then go for a dipmloa in the second year after completing it then afterward again go for a degree in the second year, this is really happening with me …

Tejas Nair says:

You will end up losing a year. But since you have already taken that route, it’s wise to proceed and complete your BE.

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sanjay pamanji says:

not agree. diploma is better than doing 11 12th. you get two degree in 6 years after ssc. those who do diploma and degree both are more sound engineers than person doing degree after 12th. dont worry about maths. it is easy. very good private diploma engineering colleges are available. dont do engineering in indian government colleges. no one completes syllabus in government colleges, faculty and students are lazy in govt.

Tejas Nair says:

Wait before you tag Diploma as a Degree. Both are totally different concepts. Of course, if you successfully complete degree after diploma (which is a tedious task, by the way), companies may give your priority. This post focuses on how at least 30% of Diploma students fail to manage the hailstorm, called Degree. Maths can be easy or difficult; but if you are a diploma student, it becomes tougher.

ashiq.m.s says:

i am interested in mechanical and automobile. there is no one in my family to help me to choose a course for the better future. i have finished my 12th PCMC. can you please suggest me or help me to choose a better course???

Tejas Nair says:

Hello Ashiq!

It partly depends on your interests. I had a thing for Electronics, so I took Electronics & Telecommunication. However, you will also need to look at the subjects which you will be studying in the span of 4 years. It is very important and should be thoroughly considered. If you are interested in Mechanical/Automobile, then you should go ahead with it. You can reach me anytime at

Chaitrali Palasdeokar says:

But i think HSC is more we get to know the basics in maths in 11th 12th…

kedar Dhawaskar says:

I m kedar Dhavaskar frm goa I hv finished ssc so should I go fr diploma or 11&12 and tan degree

Tejas Nair says:

If you are good in Mathematics and really understand that Engineering is for you, then I would suggest Diploma. Otherwise 11-12 route will be better because it opens many roads.

mansi jatin gajre says:

sir, I am passed out 10th standard from icse board any benefit for going in diploma? or should I go for 11th & 12 th std? pls give me reply as early as possible.

Tejas Nair says:

I would always suggest going the 11/12th route. All the best!

Nitish kumar says:

I just passed my 10th class with 90% marks and i am not that good in maths so what should i do 11 and 12 science or diploma

Tejas Nair says:

Since you are currently not good at Maths, I’d suggest you take the HSC route. This will not only prepare you more for degree but will also leave you with better options that you would if you take the diploma route. All the best!

vaishali kumbhar says:

i am passed ssc exam.I have got 93.60 in ssc exam.So 12 and degree or diploma then degree is better for me in govt. college in computer.

Tejas Nair says:

I would always suggest the HSC route. Because it opens up too many options for you in future. All the best!

vignesh says:

I have passed diploma in extc can I get direct second admission to textile technology for degree

Tejas Nair says:

I’m not sure. Better go to a college and enquire. All the best!

hasmukh chauhan says:

my son get 68% in ssc gujrat bord. what should i do go to diploma or 11 12. my son want to become BE MECENICAL. Should he take mecenical corse in diploma or go for 11, 12.

Tejas Nair says:

Considering that the percentage is low, you should opt for 11-12. If gathering an admission is difficult, only then opt for diploma in Mechanical. All the best!

Mayank Gindodiya says:

Hi sir,
I am in 11th now. Can i join 2nd year of diploma after 11th??

Tejas Nair says:

You can do it, Mayank, but you will be joining as an SSC passout and NOT 11th passout. One other option you can try is to complete your HSC and then go for Diploma, but you will be wasting one more year… Good luck!

Vikrant Khemkar says:

sir,i failed in 12th then took 1st year diploma course in automobile engg. and now im failed in my 1st year subjects.Maths-2, Mechanics. and d-2.Now,im preparing for 12 th confused.cuz i also want to do engg but i dont want those filthy grade msbte subjects i failed in..plz me ..suggest me sir whether to continue diploma or do 12th n then do bsc or any other course like tourism,marine field,etc..or clear 1st year sub n finish diploma??

Tejas Nair says:

Hi Vikrant, if you feel the subjects (Maths, Mechanics, etc.) are not for you, then I would suggest you to resume and complete your HSC. After that you can start afresh – a BSC course with vocational majors like tourism or marine field. First you have to understand that Engineering may not be for you. Good luck!

Vikrant says:

thanks a lot for your suggestions n i highly appreciate your support sir..i thought a lot abt tis n hv decided to complete my hsc this july n then go for bsc ..but with marks of like 65%will i get good college for tourism n travel management in mumbai with low fees?

Tejas Nair says:

Hi Vikrant, that’s good. I wish you all the best. I’m sorry, but I do not personally know what the criteria are for such courses. But, I’m sure 65% is not a very low grade. Do some online/offline research when you get free time. Good luck!

Sir i study in diploma in computer engg iam not studying in 11th and12th it will not completed any problem for my life.please sir say the answer.

Tejas Nair says:

No problem at all. You should not worry about such things now. Please continue your diploma and then preferably pursue graduation in the same or similar field. All the best!

Arpan kumar dey says:

DoB : 21/02/1996
X(2012) : 60%
XII(2014) : 50% (commerce)
Diploma(2017) : 63.7%(Automobile engineering) from an AICTE approved institution.
Now(nov’17) persuing entry) from Techno india banipur(under Techno India Group) which is also approved by AICTE & WBUT affiliated.
Now my question is that,am i going to face any problem in govt. job interviews after & GATE for not having 60% & science in HSE?

Tejas Nair says:

You may or may not. Most PSUs only just care about your GATE and final year BTech score. But it would be good to check the criteria before opting. Either way, there’s no point in crying over spilled milk about your HSC scores. Just do better on your forthcoming exams. Good luck!

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Borom Jamatia says:

Hey…i failed in 12 in 2019..studing in science. I’m opting for mechanical or aeronautical…but I’m confused whether to take Diploma through 10 results of repeat 12 again??Please hepl me..Still in doubt which will be the better way??

Tejas Nair says:

Hi Borom, I’d recommend you to take 12th again because it is critical and you have better chances of acing it. Repeating HSC (1 year) and then doing degree (4 years) will be better than doing diploma (3 years) and then degree (3 years). Think of this in terms of years and work harder next time. Strengthen your 11th subjects and clear the basic concepts. You will definitely pass next time. Good luck!

Revati yadav says:

Sir I have just passed 10th with 84percent I have got 94 marks in maths so what should I refer diploma or 11th 12th

Tejas Nair says:

Hi Revati, go with 11/12 route. Always better because you’ll have more options to choose then.

Umar Shaikh says:

Which is harder HSC route or Diploma.Secondly what’s the difficulty level of diploma mathematics? As I have just passed board exams with 82%

Tejas Nair says:

Hi Umar, both are easier, but what comes next after each of them is what I would call hard. After HSC, if you want to do Engineering, you’ll have to appear for competitive exams like CET. In case of diploma, the Mathematics will be a tough nut to crack.

I would recommend you to go with the HSC route because that way you will have more options in front of you just after 2 years/ Diploma is 3 years and you HAVE to do Degree after that. Good luck!


Sir I have completed diploma 65% with 6 year gap ??? MSBTE Board .what should I do ??? Job or BE

Tejas Nair says:

Hi Mohammad, considering the long gap, I would recommend you to start a job hunt based on your existing education credentials. If you can just start working at a firm related to your field and then use that experience to climb higher, it would be great. The key would be to start as soon as possible.

If you are unable to secure a job, I would then recommend trying your hand at completing BE if you are really confident you can crack it.

To answer you question, I think it’s better to start looking for a job than to spend 3 more years in pursuing degree education. Good luck!

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Chirag says:

Doing diploma would hv any affect on job selection
I hvjust completed 10 and wanted to know this

Tejas Nair says:

If you intend to do just diploma, then it can help you in gaining employment. But if your focus is graduation, I’d recommend going the HSC route.

Diploma + ITI should give you some good job prospects.

tej says:

I have just completed my tenth from ICSE board and i
have scored 88%. Although I am not good in maths but I
thinking for diploma . Will this give me any problem
in my degree college studies

Tejas Nair says:

Hey! Yes, math might be difficult when you enter degree directly from diploma because you skip the basics (M1 and M2) in the first year when yo join BE after diploma.

I would recommend you to take 11/12 where to can begins strengthening your mathematics.

Nishant says:

Hi sir I am in diploma i just got dropout in sy with 10 back logs should i leave or solve the backlogs

Tejas Nair says:

If you have an option of doing a degree course in some other field based on your HSC creds, you should go ahead. The current scenario is not entirely suitable for continuing with Diploma. 10 backlogs is huge and if you proceed again into the 2nd year, you will have a lot of work to do and 3rd and 4th years are equally daunting. But get a degree education because it’s very important for your career. Good luck!

Nishant says:

But sir i have took diploma after 10th ssc so what to do should i take commerce

Tejas Nair says:

Since you’re not comfortable with Science evidently I think it is best to choose Commerce or Arts as a background and then focus on various fields that open after HSC.

Sir I have planned to pursue diploma and then take the SAT and apply for some scholarships and make my way to the U.S. Do you think that diploma would help in my SAT? And what do think about my plan? Have you got something to suggest?

Tejas Nair says:

Hi Gaurav, I wouldn’t depend on Diploma as a preparation for your SAT. It might give you a 10% headstart but not more than that. You would need a much more formal preparation to tackle the SATs. Also, I do not have much info about US education, so I am not the best person to ask that question. You should talk to people who are currently in the US to get more insights. Good luck!

Vishwajeet says:

After 12th whoever have scored low or could not fulfill engineering criteria, I would suggest you to take a gap, learn from your mistakes and then reappear with preparation, you would really score good. Please don’t go for diploma, I am regretting my decision now. You will not be able to understand anything, because you would get direct second year admission in diploma after 12th. If any doubt regarding this problems and questions you can contact me

Shrey Sachdeva says:

Hi i am a student of Delhi polytechnic and currently studying in final year in a government institution and wanted to pursue BTech in computer science as my branch is computer science in polytechnic. I am also not scoring well.Should i do BTech ???

Tejas Nair says:

If you feel like engineering is not your cup of tea, you may pursue other careers. But since you have invested some time in diploma, I would suggest first putting a little bit more focus on your studies and then decide after the final exams. Consult your teachers and mentors.

Also, try looking for fields that you are interested in and study them. So when push comes to shove you can select a favourable career path quickly.

Shrey Sachdeva says:

Can i just resort to other resources without having my 12 class certificate and is BTech difficult for diploma students ????

Tejas Nair says:

You’ll need a class 12 certificate for all graduate courses. Since you are in diploma, the only option is to move next to a B.Tech course and put your everything into it. It might be a bit difficult (mainly Maths, as suggested in the article) but if you get your M1 and M2 basics (get class 12 Math books and prepare) right it will be easier for you than others who don’t. Just go with a little bit of perseverance. Good luck!

Shrey Sachdeva says:

Thanks can you also tell me the best coaching for leet in delhi ???

Tejas Nair says:

No idea, bro. Better to take this question offline and ask your teachers/mentors.

Shrey Sachdeva says:

One last question please can i go to abroad on the basis of diploma degree without 12 and pursue my BTech ???

Tejas Nair says:

I think you can do that but depends where you want to go. Solid research is needed before you take a decision. I am not the best person for this though as I don’t have foreign education experience.


hi.. as u told that maths really stucks in dipolma. so if i take science and write ceet exam and i gate less rank which is not suffeint to take a seat in eneegreing what shall i do.
if i take it is quiet difficult to gate the job.
now i have finished 10std in batch 2020 and i got 81.92% in karnataka state board
so which course best for me.

Tejas Nair says:

I would recommend you to consider commerce or arts too. It is not necessary to take the science stream. Is there a counsellor/mentor you can talk to who will guide you better?

Harshith says:

My son completed his 2nd puc with only 43% he wanted to pursue engineering but according to vtu he has to get 45% what can he take now degree or diploma

Tejas Nair says:

Can you try at some other college? I would strongly recommend against a diploma if he plans to study further and become an engineer like you mention.

Alternatively, can you talk to an educationist or a coach who will suggest better?

If he got 43% in PUC, I would suggest looking at more than one option. Engineering might be difficult and your son may lose precious years.

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