Dear Mentor:

Should I get my MS in CE or IT?

I have completed Diploma in Computer Engineering and I am aiming for BE. In India, the two fields for Computer Engineering and Information Technology (IT) are different for BE studies. After evaluating the subjects in both programs, I found the IT program more interesting. I have ambition of doing MS in USA. But I don't know whether there is MS in IT in USA. If an MS program in IT is not available, do I get admission for MS in Computer Engineering on basis of grades I would get in BE in Information Technology? I would also like to know your opinion on whether I should take Computer Engineering or Information Technology especially due to IT slump in the market. Waiting for your early reply.

CE or IT?, Mumbai, India

Dear CE or IT?:

While some schools do offer MS in Information Technology in the US, the more typical offerings for MS are Computer Science and Computer Engineering. One must have a Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering to do an MS in the same field. Such is not the case for an MS in Computer Science. One must have at least 4 years of university education in any discipline to be eligible for admission in the MS program for Computer Science. When this education is not in Computer Science, the student is required to take additional courses - one might call them Pre-MS courses - to acquire the basic knowledge of computers and programming prior to undertaking the regular MS program. Computer Engineering is about design and construction of computers and systems (a hardware focus), while Computer Science deals with utilizing the computers effectively for desired applications (a software focus). With this information, along with your own interests and desires, you can determine the appropriate course of action for yourself.

The slump in the IT industry is a temporary one. The market goes through economic cycles - a boom occurs when the demand outstrips the supply and a slump occurs when supply exceeds the demand. The ups and down of the market in any sector, and sometimes the entire economy, are natural phenomena of free markets to get rid of excesses. The upturns in the economic cycles traditionally last much longer than the downturns. The future of IT remains quite good, despite the economic cycles in IT, just as in other sectors. By the way, the term IT in this context refers to all IT-related fields of education; that is, education in Computer Engineering, Computer Science, and Information Technology.

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