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by SS at 6:15 am on Saturday 26th April

A number of the incoming MEng students have asked for advice when making their decision to come to Berkeley and one question appeared repeatedly - is the MEng degree regarded any differently by employers to a conventional MS?

From my personal experience interviewing at ~ 14 tech. companies in the Bay Area and having spoken to recruiters and so on - no, it is not.

Generally the Master's degree will get you a slight hike in starting salary but the rest of the process will usually be the same as graduate applicants with a Bachelor's degree. Employers typically hire university graduates into the same entry level software engineer positions (unless you have prior experience - and even then, this will account for a neglible salary hike, since they'll anchor your salary to a 'new grad' salary).

To an employer, a Master's degree is a Master's degree - regardless of whether it is a Master of Engineering or a Master of Science. They may question why it is shorter than normal but the retort to this is that it is a professional program - and not intended to be preparation for a PhD.

The main caveat with getting the MEng degree appears to be its lack of preparation for a PhD program. It isn't the case that having a MEng from Berkeley will make it any easier to get into a PhD program since, aside from some graduate level coursework, you won't have additional research experience. (Although it may slightly upgrade your resume if you went to an unheard of school previously.)

I would also advise prospective applicants to take with a pinch of salt the claims that employers covet the 'Engineering Leadership' aspect of the courses. While these courses are valuable in their own right and may help alumni to advance up the management ladder faster, most employers aren't aware of this aspect of the program and look more for engineering talent than management promise in their new graduate hires.

At some point I will follow up this post with a more detailed one outlining my interview experience and suggestions for how to approach your job hunt. (Be warned, it involves creating a spreadsheet, so get rid of any prejudice against spreadsheets now.) Generally though, in the Bay Area, it is extremely easy to get interviews for CS positions and I don't see any reason why, with adequate preparation, any MEng graduate should be forced to accept an offer they aren't completely enthusiastic for. Indeed, I was able to get my role of choice at a very exciting startup.

(Note I mention CS positions. Product management positions are much harder to come by. Also, other majors sometimes struggle to find jobs.)

1 comment posted so far
wrote at 11:48 am on Sat 8th Aug -
Is the situation really that bad for operations research graduates in M eng as suggested by your text in the parenthesis at the end

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