Part of the master degrees in IT (CS, SE, IS) offers two kind of programs:

  • With the thesis work;

  • Without the thesis work but with the final project.

My question, how does it matter to get the M.Sc. degree in IT (Computer Science, Software Engineering, Information System) with the thesis or without? Does the employer really distinguish between the degree owner with the thesis or without it, but with the final project? Particularly interested in the situation in Europe, but USA and Canada cases are also welcomed.

Of course, my question is related to the non-academic employers where the thesis work is a small brick on the way to Ph.D. and the whole research career.


Employer here - I don't care about details of your degree - or if you have a degree at all (and I have a PhD).

To an extent for junior level jobs (where you don't have 10years of experience) I care about the university. Purely because if you got into MIT or CalTech or Cambridge, or Technion then I know that somebody put some work into selecting you and you put some work into being selected and that the odds are that you aren't a complete idiot.

But I don't know what you learned (I don't know the current content of my own ugrad course 20years later) and I don't know how much you understood or remembered. Just because you have a 1st class honors degree doesn't mean you can do the job.

At a larger corporation having a Masters degree may put you on top of the HR pile or may be a requirement for a certain job grade -but that's about it.

  • Thanks. In your answer, you mentioned Technion, out of curiosity, is it really so famous in your place?
    – Mike
    Apr 17 '15 at 15:06
  • This sounds on-the-money. I know people who deliberately conceal that they have a PhD since it tends to make getting jobs harder, as employers suspect the potential employee will want a lot of money, but won't bring much in terms of skills to the table. The people who do a Bachelor's degree and a PhD have it worst, since the Master's degree is often more valuable than a PhD in most coding-related jobs, and the employee has to pretend he only has his/her Bacherlor's. This isn't the 70's where a degree was a ticket into a job: it's now just a barrier to entry.
    – Cloud
    Apr 17 '15 at 15:49
  • 1
    @MikeB. I was trying to be international. I don't know about their UG degrees but I have yet to meet a dumb researcher from there Apr 19 '15 at 1:36

It probably doesn't matter as far as it being a line-item on your CV. However, writing is an important skill that too many people lack. You will be a better and more confident candidate. You will have consumed more literature in your area. You will be showing an advanced interest in a particular area. It will be an opportunity to work closely with your instructors who are going to be potential candidates for job references.

Don't take the easy road. Take the opportunity to make yourself better.


U.S. hiring manager perspective here:

I have always looked at grades and education when hiring junior level positions. I wouldn't care about which Masters route you took though. Your undergrad grades and where you went to school would probably have more weight.

For instance a graduate of an online college that anyone can get into is just a slight step up from a high school diploma - in my hiring equation. It doesn't mean I won't hire the person but they better have good grades in said online college and bring it during their interview.

If you went to a good college, good grades, and Masters. That would be pretty impressive and the exact type I would want to hire for entry level positions. If I had to pick between a paper and a final project I would probably pick project yet it would matter .5%. Really only a really bad project shown to me would matter (as that would make me question you and your university).

For almost all of our junior positions, I don't really care what you know or what you did in college. If it is something that relates directly to the job then that is a big bonus. But really we teach all of our people how to do their jobs/programming/networking/whatever. We don't rely on colleges for this. Going to college and getting good grades just proves you can pick up what we teach you quickly (hopefully).

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