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I'm a fresh graduate in Electronic & Telecommunication field, and in our University, we can have major and minor fields in the relevant subjects. So, I majored in telecommunication and minored in Software Engineering. As I learned programming long before, Now I'm passionate about SE and programming. And, I want drive into the SE field.

And, I come to know that, in industries, most of them expect the candidates to have a Bsc + experience of two+ years, or having a MSc in the related field. [I'm referring to my surrounding environment, not all the industries].

My Question is how do they consider those MSc and BSc + experience guys in the industries? IMO, having MSc is great assert when compared to experience. Because, in the industry, you can drive in a particular technology (Java, .Net or some thing else), not all, and with MSc, we can get the domain knowledge, not a particular technology!

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Are you asking whether how we view software engineers with or with MScs vs with or without job experience? –  Martijn Verburg Jan 17 '11 at 15:10
@Martijn Verburg : MSc without job experience or BSc with two years experience. –  Abimaran Kugathasan Jan 17 '11 at 15:14
Cool, edited your Q to clarify that :), I'll give a go at answering it now. –  Martijn Verburg Jan 17 '11 at 15:15

5 Answers 5

For me personally, I treat them equally as it really depends on what the person with hte MSc was doing for his/her post-grad work and what the BSc person was doing for their 2 years of work out in the field.

  • It could be that the MSc was working on an awesome open source software project and has demonstrated his/her ability that way.

  • It could be that the BSc with two years experience has picked up awful habits and a bad attitude from their 2 years out in the field.

It could be the reverse of those two :)

In short, I hire based on ability and passion - I tend to take qualifications and experience with a large grain of salt.

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The Bsc/Msc proves that you can study, no more, no less.

I am much more interested in learning what you know how to do, so I'd give much more weight to experience (which also shows that you can work with other people).

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Both experience and a Masters degree are valuable. Personally I recommend working for a few years before pursuing a Masters. It provides additional experience and context of the 'real world' while in the Masters program enabling you to better understand how concepts can be applied in industry rather than just a purely academic approach.

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I agree - when all else seems to be equal, a MS degree helps. –  Job Jan 17 '11 at 16:57

Because I'm a business applications kind of guy, this is slanted in that direction only. I can't tell you about other specific industries, so I won't guess.

Take three candidates for a position. All pass technical interviews, all seem to be easy to work with, etc. In short, all other factors other than education and experience are the same.

Avik - He has 7 years of experience. He is self taught but has taken a few one week classes along the way. He has a basic 2 year degree in "Communications". He has worked in the technical area you are hiring in.

Barry - He has an MS and BS in Computer Science. He wrote a thesis in an area that exactly applies to what you are hiring in. This would be his first job.

Carlita - Has a BS in Computer Science + 2 years of experience in the area you are hiring in.

Depending on the specific job, Avik or Carlita is winning this position. If it's front end web developer and I'm happy that Avik knows the proper ways to do html, etc, Avik probably gets the job. The reason for that is I know that most schools do little to prepare you for that kind of position anyway. Otherwise, I'm probably leaning towards Carlita.

Barry is left out because I know that schools do little to prepare you for the daily grind of a project. Things like source control, appropriate levels of comment (no, I don't need a comment on every loop thank you), how to estimate, how to plan, how to engage in requirements discussion are all things that aren't part of what you get in most schools. Many graduate without even having a clear idea on basics like source control or build automation. Short of it is that I know Barry will take time to come up to speed.

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So, how do Barry's prospects start to look after MS degree + 5 years of experience (but not having a thesis written on a topic that is very much similar)? –  Job Jan 17 '11 at 17:00

I've noticed a lot of jobs are saying "degree or equivalent experience", which doesn't add to the idea that experience is more important than a degree, but these jobs usually have experience requirements in themselves.

That suggests that the degree doesn't count as much as it used to. I guess the modern world where practically everyone and his dog goes to university has devalued the 'specialness' of the degree somewhat.

So to expand on MIA's answer, Dave with 5 years experience and no degree would be a prime candidate, whereas once upon a time he wouldn't even be considered for some companies where a degree was a hard requirement.

In any case, whereever I've interviewed, there is no difference between a MSc and a Bsc, they both get lumped in the "degree" category and act solely as a foot-in-the-door qualification. If you're interviewing for an entry position, it might actually act against you as entry positions generally want more junior staff; for a more senior position, your experience counts for significantly more.

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