This is a story of how I took my career down by doing M. Tech / M.Sc in Computer Science. I understand many people benefit by getting a higher degree in the field but there are a sizeable bunch of people who regret the decision.
I will outline my complete experience and career journey so that you can learn for it and take better decisions in your life.
Outline of my journey:
- Phase 1: B.Tech + First Job
- Phase 2: Hustling at 9 to 5 Job
- Phase 3: M. Tech + Placed
- Phase 4: Downfall in a year
- Advice for you
Phase 1: B.Tech + First Job
I completed my B.Tech in Computer Science from NIT, Jamshedpur in the year 2012. I had a CGPA of 9.0 which places me among the top students in my batch.
I got placed in Infosys through campus placements for a annual package of 6 lakhs INR. Due to campus rules, I could not appear for any other jobs but a hustled for off-campus placements.
After interviewing with 11 companies, I got any offer which I consider decent and had accepted. I got a package of 11 lakhs INR per annum at Microsoft for the role of Software Developer.
At that time, it was a very competitive package. Career was about to take off.
Phase 2: Hustling at 9 to 5 Job
From 2012 till 2017, I worked hard at my job. It was stressful and the tech culture as portrayed online is no where to be seen. This is not the case with Microsoft but it is the same for all major companies.
In fact, it is even worse for startups. The stress is not worth it.
Being influenced by discussions with peers and online content, I portrayed a picture that:
- If you have knowledge of the field, no one can stop you from promotions.
- Working hard day and night will help you progress in your career.
- Work even after office time to have an upper hand over peers.
- Higher degrees like MBA, PhD, M.Tech is a must to become a manager and make your career blossom.
- Changing companies frequently is a must to make progress.
Till 2015, I never applied in other companies as my focus was to grow in the same company. Later, I started applied for gaints in the Industry like Google and Facebook.
I got interview opportunities but failed to get an offer. I had an offer from Intel but the increment was mere 8% so I declined.
Over the 5 years, I got promoted 3 times and had reached the position of "Senoir Software Developer Engineer 2". Despite the frequent promotions, the salary had increased to a mere 16 lakhs INR per annum. The major factor was that the initial package had major one-time payments which I was unaware of as a fresher in the Industry. So, the actual start package was 9 lakhs instead of 11 lakhs INR in reality.
Though the CTC was not low, I felt I deserved more depending on my work and the comparison from my peers. The unstatisfaction was growing and I applied for GATE which is the entrance exam for M.Tech in India.
I got an all India rank of 171 and got admitted in IIT, Kanpur for Computer Science.
Phase 3: M. Tech + Placed
I was extremely excited for M. Tech and the 2 years course went well. I graduated in 2019 with the official degree with specialization in Machine Learning.
The on-campus placements were disappointing and does not link to online claims. I should have learnt this from the B. Tech days but somehow I never did.
I got placed in Adobe as a Member of Technical Staff (MTS) for a package of 21 lakhs INR. I was wise this time so could calculate that the package was around 17 lakhs on removing the one-time payments.
I was a small increment from my 2 year old job but still, I hoped my M.Tech degree will pay off in the near future. The twist came when just 2 months before joining, the company retracted their offer.
Phase 4: Downfall in a year
At this point, the on-campus placements were over and I had no other offers in hand. The same situation was will 7 other students in my batch.
After attempting multiple interviews for the next 4 months, I got placed in Twitter for a CTC of 19 lakhs INR. After one-time deductions, it was 18 lakhs INR so it was a win win situation.
The first 6 months was provisional peroid but at the end of it, the company refused to convert the current provisional employees to a permanent employee. I was back at the starting point.
On referral from my previous peers at Microsoft, I got placed at the same company again. I am grateful for the opportunity but the downfall began of the circumstances.
It was nearly a year after M. Tech degree now and the offer I had to accept was:
- Position: Senior SDE 2 (same level compared to 3 years back)
- CTC: 14 lakhs INR (after one-time payments) (down by 2 lakhs compared to 3 years back)
I was now at a lower position compared to my original peers but with a higher degree. Had I continued in the previous job, I expect to reach the position of "Principal SDE" with a CTC of at least 22 lakhs per annum.
Advice for you
It has been 3 years since and I am at the same company. It seems impossible to recover my career at this point. The only advice I have for you is:
"If your day job is going good or even decent, do not leave it to pursue higher studies. I have seen many land at a lower position after course completion. If you eagerly want to increase qualifications, go for part-time M.Tech degree but remember the company will make you sign demands and your progress will be slowed down significantly."
Note: It is not the fault of the companies I have worked at. Such situations happen at every company with several employees. My intention is only to inform you what happened with me so that you can save your career.
Best of luck. Remember time is important. Even if you get a bad job, it is fine if you lead a happy life with your family.