Dear Mentor:

Should I get my MS in networking or database technology?

I have completed my 3-year Diploma in Industrial Electronics and B.E in Computer Science. I plan for an MS from the United States in the computer science field. It would be kind of you if you could suggest whether it would be better to pursue an MS in the field of database technology or in the networking field. Finally, I want to work in India. Would an MS be of any practical advantage for me, as my final destination is India? Some people tell me that learning in the US has the advantage of stressing the practical aspects of all things. Please advise.

Jumping the Gun, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Dear Jumping the Gun:

First of all, we are not quite sure whether you have adequate academic qualifications for an MS in the US. Typically, you are expected to have completed at least 4 years of college/university education in degree granting programs. Unless your Bachelor's degree is of 4-year duration, colleges in the US would typically require the completion of the first year of a Master's program. Some colleges may even require the completion of a Master's program. Requirements vary across colleges, and you will have to research the specific requirements of target colleges. The iMahal Education Channel offers the List of Computer Science Colleges in the US.

Your focus at this stage ought to be on getting admission, and not on the area of specialization such as database technology or networking. Colleges do not demand that you make such a decision prior to applying for admission. Moreover, you will have plenty of time to research the issue after starting your program. Selection of courses is fairly flexible, and choosing the area for specialization is not a big deal.

The value of your education for employment is determined by the marketplace. It depends on many factors, not least of which is the perception of the quality of your education. The actual quality of education across colleges in the US varies, and sometimes dramatically, just as it does among colleges in other countries. Whether your education is from a particular college in the US would be valued well in India depends on the college and the prospective employer. However, since facilities are more readily available in the US colleges, the learning-by-doing is often the case. Moreover, the international student visa allows you to take up paid employment for up to 12 months under the optional practical training (OPT) provision.

You will be well advised to read the iMahal Authoritative Guide on Studying in America and Canada. The iMahal Guide offer guidance on all aspects of pursuing education in these two countries.

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