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MTech in India vs MS in USA – which is better?

Let’s cut the chase. Many applicants wonder if they should just go for an MTech in India instead of supposedly expensive MS degree in USA. Here are my thoughts on the same.

Whether you should go for GATE or not partly depends on where did you do your Bachelors from.

How helpful is an MTech degree?

Pros: MTech is cheaper than studying abroad and can make you eligible for placement in PSUs. If you did Bachelors from a low tier college and if you can do MTech from IIT/NIT/BITs (that means doing very very well in GATE), it will increase your employability and can give you access to top tier of employers in India.

Cons: Education quality in India is not good enough and the same is true for MTech. You have to, at the end of the day, deal with same kind of teachers and similar infrastructural constraints in colleges. That is why I said it depends on your college. If you did undergrad from a good college, MTech will give you only a little additional advantage in terms of job opportunities and I don’t think spending 2 years is worth it. Even if you get into a top tier institute in GATE, I feel that employers always have a higher demand for undergrads at these places and you might compete against not only your MTech batchmates but BTech guys as well. The fact is a Master’s from India is not considered that cutting-edge. So, if you think you are going to gain some major knowledge boost, that is wishful thinking.

Just to give you a perspective on how competitive GATE is, IITs offered < 700 seats in Computer Science for MTech in 2011. Even if we double the number of IITs and calculating for more branches, that is <10,000 seats for MTech in IITs when 7.5 lac+ people appear for GATE every year. So, 98.5% of the candidates appearing for GATE will end up not meeting the cut off or even if they do, they will get non-IIT kind of colleges.

Pros of doing MS from USA

  1. Education is just way way better than in India. At UIUC and NYU, I had the privilege of learning under Nobel Laureates, reputed award winner scientists and people who were truly experts in their fields.
  2. Starting salaries are quite high (read USD 85k and above) that you can earn so much more than what you will back in India. Many students have this myth about financial affordability but if you do the math, you can repay the loan in 2-4 years if you go to a decent enough school and work hard to get a good internship/job since CS folks are really in demand there.
  3. Besides the exposure to a foreign land, opportunities and learning to be independent are something that will make you a better person and professional in the long run. It will prepare you for a global career better than an MTech.

So, what to do?

In the end, it depends on your financial constraints but if you can manage a semester worth of fee, I highly recommend looking at Master’s from USA instead of MTech in India.

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