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I'm currently working in the tech field, and I have studied Electrical Engineering.

I hold a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering. For those who don't know, it's a different degree than a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. you take more credits and it makes you eligible as an 'Engineer' for the workplace.

Beside the fact that pursuing a degree that requires the same effort as a Masters degree without getting one is a bad idea, this was ok where I used to live and when I moved to Germany recruiters became perplexed by my degree and are always comparing it to a Bachelor's degree.

Now I'm still able to find a job thanks to the huge German job market, but my question is the following for professionals working in Germany:

  • Should I pursue a Master's degree?
  • Would that be beneficial for my career track to show on my resume, even though I would be studying something that I already know?
  • Does the experience I gather have a stronger impact?
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  • Just to make this clear, with "tech" you are referring to hardware/electronics jobs, right? – nvoigt Feb 16 at 11:46
  • i worked in HW/Electronics and moved to software/data science – anxiousPI Feb 16 at 12:09
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    I have never worked in Germany so I will avoid posting an answer, but I will say that work experience almost always trumps education. 2 years of actually doing the job is more useful than 2 years of showing you could theoretically do the job. – musefan Feb 16 at 13:04
  • In data science, depending on what you do, some companies might prefer PhD candidates but the difference between your degree and a masters will be negligible, especially since you're working in another field now. – Peter Feb 16 at 14:39
  • Yes, you should pursue the masters. No, it won't help in your current job - but your chances will be better in the following ones. – Gray Sheep May 20 at 2:35
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I have never worked in Hardware, but for Software, work experience is better than any degree.

The only exception is Government and Academia. They can be incredibly ridiculous with their title fetish. For example they require a BSc for the job, I have been doing for 20 years. Fun fact: The title BSc in Germany only exists since the academic reforms in 2007. You do the math, I do not have one, I was busy working the very job they are looking for at the time. But they would not hire me, because Government lives by paperwork, not by experience or performance. There is a reason they are not lauded as being efficient or effective.

In corporate Germany however, where paperwork does not generate any profit on it's own, and experience and performance is an important measurement, any company will always say "or comparable experience on the job" with any title they request.

So look at the job ads of the jobs you want to have now and you want to take your career to. What do they request? My guess is "Something or comparable job experience". But to be sure, check for yourself.

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    There is an alternative interpretation, which is that governments require degrees primarily because it shows that you are trainable. The private sector prefer hobbyists and self-starters because it saves on providing initial and ongoing training costs to those with only a general education - but because of that, they get a large proliferation of hobby-horse technologies and methods, and strong opinions on all matters of the craft. Or else they get trainable-but-untrained workers with third-rate capabilities as a result. (1/2) – Steve Feb 16 at 13:40
  • The public sector is more likely to invest in that training, which ensures they get a large number of sufficient candidates (and they typically do work on a scale that requires larger volumes of workers to cooperate), all with the same initiation, all working from the same hymn sheet, for a more modest cost in the end. I speak as someone in private industry, incidentally. And as for academia, their preference for those with academic credentials has an obvious rationale (though it perhaps leads to narrower minds than would be desirable). (2/2) – Steve Feb 16 at 13:43
  • I'm not sure how much experience you have with German government. I'm not talking about education vs. no education, I'm talking about Government approved education vs. Government approved education, just not the exact one that is required. For example pre-2007 and post-2007 education. Both people can work the job, both have formal education, but Government is really picky without any reason apart from "bureaucracy". – nvoigt Feb 16 at 13:55
  • @nvoight, no I can't claim to be familiar with the details of the German system. I understood you to be comparing their attitudes to so-called on-the-job experience with formal qualifications. If you have older equivalent qualifications which they weren't willing to accept, then I would again speculate the agenda is to crudely select for those most likely to submit to a bureaucratic environment (which you clearly aren't!), where you will fall in with systems done at scale, rather than bringing in your own opinions and preferred ways of working. (1/2) – Steve Feb 16 at 14:44
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    You are giving too much credit to the public sector here. There is no sinister plan behind it, it's just inflexible bureaucracy at it's best. If they say you need a BSc in CS, you could be a 70 year old sailor, that earned their BSc in CS in 1973 in the UK and went seal clubbing for the next 48 years and you would be eligible, if you are a 35 year old German who did their education in CS in 2006, adding 15 years of experience in the very job they are looking for job on top, you are not. It's just stupid, there is no hidden agenda or reason. – nvoigt Feb 16 at 15:10
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This very much depends on the field and the company you (want to) work in.

I partly disagree with the other answers here, but electrical engineering (in Germany at least) is one of the few fields where, in my experience, academic education can matter more than work experience.

I work for a large company in Germany which, among other things, develops and integrates specialized electronics. Every manager in electrical engineering has a PhD and almost all electrical engineers are either PhD or have a Masters degree. This is not the case for other departments like mechanical engineering or manufacturing.

However your required qualification depends very much on the specific role you would like to take on and the size of the company. If you want to work in R&D for a large corporation, you might have a hard time finding a job without a Master's degree. Even more so if it is in a specialized field. If you are looking for work closer to manufacturing at a smaller company your work experience will likely matter a lot more.

If you decide to pursue a Master's degree you might be able to have some of the courses from your previous studies recognized at a German university, which could reduce the amount credit you need to earn.

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Should I pursue a Master's degree?

Only if you want to for your own sake. Most people in the tech field in Germany, and most other countries, only care that you can get the job done. At least in software many of your co-workers will not have any degree, or a completely unrelated degree and taught themselves how to code.

Only purse an advanced degree if you want to work in Academia or Government, as it is required in many cases. Sometimes advanced degrees can take you out of the running for certain jobs, so advanced degrees aren't always a positive.

Would that be beneficial for my career track to show on my resume, even though I would be studying something that I already know?

If you want to do a masters degree, find a program where you will add skills. Adding skills is valuable.

Does the experience I gather have a stronger impact?

Probably yes. Many of your co-workers will just have the experience, and no degree. Software is still pretty immature compared to the rest of engineering.

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