My journey in becoming a Master

The path I took to become a Master of Technology(M.Tech) in Software Systems, Specialization in Data Analytics, BITS PILANI, Work Integrated learning program.

Background

I completed my Bachelor of Engineering(B.E), Computer Science in 2016 from SSN College of Engineering, Chennai. It was during that time I discovered my passion for technology and wanting to become an Entrepreneur. I never had thoughts and interests in pursuing higher education at that time as my thinking was to get as much experience in the IT industry and pursue my dream.

After a year with my job, it was the time when most of my known people started traveling abroad to pursue higher education. Honestly, I never felt the peer pressure in me, but my parents had expectations as all of my family counterparts were already pursuing higher studies. We came to an agreement that I’ll pursue higher studies, but in India and that keeps me flexible in aligning my long-term goal of starting a business in India.

The Search

Half-heartedly I started to search for places that offer me the career path I wanted, but nothing felt right. A few months later, I heard about BITS PILANI, WILP (Work Integrated Learning program) during a coffee chat at the workplace.

I was super excited the moment I knew a premier institute in India that conducts online classes and offline exams nearby your hometown, also allowing me to continue the job. My parents were happy and convinced with my decision to pursue M.Tech Software Systems.

Application Process

The process was quite unusual for me, as everything was online. I registered as a user and filled in my details and uploaded scanned copy of all the supporting documents needed.

I had the eligibility covered with a very good CGPA in my B.E Computer Science Engineering, over 2 years of experience at the time of application and with good exposure to the industry I’m seeking higher studies.

On Christmas Eve, I received an email from BITS Pilani saying that my application has been selected and further instructions were given.

Mentor

WILP program in BITS Pilani requires a mentor from the company you are working with a criterion of work experience. Coda Global, the company I work, was really helpful in the process of application and mentoring me throughout the course wherever possible.

The Next 2 years (The Journey)

It all started off exciting with the online classes starting during the Pongal weekend.

Here’s how the evaluation was based on:

  1. Quiz and Assignments – 20%
  2. Mid Semester Closed book exams – 30%
  3. End Semester Open book exams – 50%

Quiz and assignment are conducted online whereas Exams are conducted in different centers in major cities. We’ll have to travel to the exam center to write exams.

Open book exams were the ones I loved the most. Yes, the way the questions were asked. Because it doesn’t matter what you take as reference materials with you unless you understood the concepts, you can’t answer them correctly.

Here are the subjects I had in my course –

Semester 1
Software Architectures
Data Structures and Algorithm Design
Object Oriented Analysis and Design
Database Design and Applications

Semester 2 – (Electives)
Advanced Data Mining
Information Retreieval
Data Storage Tech and Networks
Data Warehousing

Semester 3 – (3 Electives)
Software Development for Portable Devices
Software Project Management
Distributed Computing (Mandatory)
Machine Learning

Semester 4
Dissertation – Project work to be done with the Company you are working. BITS will have a mentor assigned to you.

I chose to do a specialization in Data Analytics, hence most of my Electives were based on that and the rest were on the areas I needed exposure to my career goals.

COVID Times

COVID did impact the WILP course but in a positive way. All Schools, Colleges, Universities in the world started to conduct classes online which was the default mode in WILP program and I felt more value and recognition was added to WILP.

Positives

  1. The Entire course was structured neatly. First semester having all the mandatory subjects. Second and third with Electives and final semester with Dissertation work.
  2. Recorded lectures were useful in cases when I wasn’t able to attend the live lectures.
  3. We can choose a preferred slot(Regular or Makeup) for exams based on our availability. In general, Regular and Makeup exams will be 2 weeks apart.

Downside

The only thing I considered missing was the On-Campus feel and interaction with peers who are pursuing the same course. There were WhatsApp groups and discussion forums within Bits Pilani Apps, but those aren’t enough for the lively experience.

Work-Life-Study Balance

I am a person who does anything I’m really passionate about. Be it work or a hobby, I never mind spending extra hours to get things right. After enrolling for WILP, There was a time crunch on my daily activities I had to balance out. I didn’t do anything special to manage time but am happy with whatever I did to get here.

I am feeling a void in my routine today as the course is completed. Already working on figuring out something to fill 😀

What did I gain out of this

  1. My conceptual foundations and understanding become stronger.
  2. Improved my Decision-Making skills to be based on facts.
  3. Multitasking – Definitely My Notes taking capability improved

Conclusion

Overall, I’m extremely happy that I have successfully completed my Master of Technology(M.Tech) in Software Systems with Specialization in Data Analytics From Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani (Work Integrated Learning Program).

Indeed it was a A special moment to see my parents happy and proud.

I would definitely recommend this course for people who are looking to pursue a P.G and cannot afford a break in Job.

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