Original Post is written by Sayantan Ray [ Post link –> https://www.facebook.com/groups/core.cs/permalink/1482016598497255/ ]
This is for all those who will not be getting Mtech direct admissions in the top 5 IITs (B, D, K, M, Kgp)
Now the question is, whether to take Mtech in IIT G/H/R or to opt for MS in IIT M/K
Firstly i would like to mention three things about myself:
1) I gave gate 2016, got 796 score and 230 rank. General Category.
2) I was never interested in research.
3) I took MS in IIT madras over mtech in IIT G/H/R
Some quick info about MS : (most facts will be in Accordance with IIT M MS)
1) There are two types of MS – Normal HTRA MS, Project category MS.
2) The first one is normal MS where you are allowed to choose a guide and area of your choice and you find a problem statement and work on it for your MS thesis.
3) The second one is MS by project – where you will be chosen by professors(mostly). You will have to work on some ongoing project under them, as well as work on a problem statement that may or may not be related to your project. Stipend may vary (mostly a little higher or same as HTRA MS – depends on the project client)
[People who are open to both types may get selected for either of them. People who are not interested in MS by project can choose Normal MS only before interview]
4) You have to do 5 courses. Your guide will select them for you.
5) You will have to define a problem statement (some real world problem you want to solve) and produce significant results in 3years.
6) If your work is good, you will write a paper and try to get it published in a journal. All professors expect atleast 1 paper, some expect 2.
7) Once it gets accepted you will have to attend the respective conference and present your work there.
8) If you get a paper published, then review of your MS research becomes very short and simple (done by internal faculty).
9) if you cannot publish papers, review will become a long tiresome procedure (external faculty). Your degree will totally depend on whether your guide wants to give it to you.
Here is a post about my IIT M interview experience :
Now opinions may differ, and both MS and Mtech have their own pros and cons. I will try to explain :
Pros of MTech in IIT G/H/R :
1) In 2 years you will have an MTech degree and a good placement.
2) You can resume your “survive the semesters somehow” mode from btech. Do courses and be done with it. If u cannot make significant progress in final year project, drop the project and do more courses instead. It will be tenacious, but one dimensional hard work is enough.
Cons of MTech in IIT G/H/R :
1) Courses in MTech will be overburdened. U have to do 9 courses in 2 semesters. Thats 4-5 courses per semester. Most of them will have heavy assignments and u will hardly get time to breathe.
2) Faculty won’t be as good as that in IIT M/K
Pros of MS in IIT M/K :
1) You have to do 5 courses in 2 semesters. So u can relax, and actually focus on things u want to learn. More time on a course = better understanding.
2) At the end of your degree, after publishing a paper in the field you have worked on, you will have definitely gained a lot of knowledge.
3) If anyone wants to pursue PHD, MS can be a great warm up, getting into the practice of publishing papers can land u PHD abroad.
Cons of MS :
1) No certainty of when MS will end. Generally takes 3 years. Can be less if u work hard, can be more if you are good at slacking off.
2) You will actually have to get out of the “survive the semester” mode and start thinking. Research is hard. The thought of publishing a paper, presenting it in international conferences can be intimidating. I still am intimidated.
3) A lot depends on your guide. Mostly in MS by project, guide gets the final say on when you complete your MS, what courses you do, what research you will do, what projects you will be assigned to. Some guides are very friendly and will allow you to go at your own pace. Some are strict and will keep you burdened all the time. So only pick MS after doing some initial research on the faculty you want to work under.
So why did I select IIT M MS over IITG/H/R Mtech?
1) Faculty is better at IIT M according to me. (The field i am interested in atleast)
2) I don’t know if i want to do a PhD in future. Doing an MS will throw some light on whether i want to continue on this path.
3) I wanted to get rid of laziness and actually learn something, and contribute to CS. (No offense to Mtech people, it is just that if i had taken Mtech, most probably i would have ended up doing courses all the way just to get the degree).
4) I didn’t like Guwahati.
5) Roorkee CS dept isn’t that great. Hyderabad isn’t well structured. I didn’t appear for Hyderabad interviews.
5) I love the animals in IIT Madras campus.
6) I love challenges.
1) if u select MS, firstly decide which area excites you the most. Don’t be like “Machine learning = job at google”. It’s better to be stuck with something you enjoy and have a 12-20lpa placement, than being stuck with something you don’t like due to your dreams of a 50-80lpa job.
2) See which IIT has the best faculty in that area. There are two aspects of choosing a guide.
— i) An experienced professor will definitely have more reach and knowledge in that area. There are professors under whom if you do an MS, companies will be willing to offer you a job. But, the more experienced a guide is, the more busy he will be, and consequently he will not give u enough time. You will mostly be on your own. Select such a guide if you are confident about research.
— ii) Young professors will have less knowledge but they will work very hard alongside you. They will help you at every step, and push you very hard. Take such guides if you are lazy and not so confident in research.
3) Don’t take MS just if you are not willing to work hard. It will get hard once the courses are over. But to be in one of the best institutes in the country, u need to up your game as well.
Myths (busted ?):
1) Placements are better for Mtech – NOPE. Same placements. An MS guy can sit for placements when his guide feels he has done work good enough. That’s all.
2) MS life is lonely – NOPE. It depends on your social skills. In fact MS people get more options – MS batchmates, MTechs, Labmates, professors
3) MS is harder than mtech – varies. Someone talented will always do awesome whether he/she takes mtech or ms. First one year is harder for Mtechs as they have to do 9 courses in 2 semesters compared to 5 for MS. Second year onwards it gets harder for MS as they enter a new domain (research).
4) Research scholars are in labs all day and have no life – Depends on your guide. I have a friend who wants to have fun but is always burdened with work from his guide. I, on the other hand, am having the time of my life.
Experiences will differ for everyone. Don’t be scared to try MS. Everyone (almost) who takes MS is as equally scared as you are. Then people get used to it. Professors will eventually pass you out once they feel you are wasting the institute’s resources !