Importance of the GATE exam

1) For whom is GATE the best choice and why?
GATE is an entrance exam for Masters & Phd Programs and jobs in Public Sector Units (PSUs). It is best suited for those who are interested to pursue jobs in PSUs and those who intend to pursue Masters and Phd in india’s top universities. Additionally, if you are a student from many of the thousands of non top-tier institutes in India, GATE opens up a way a path to join the best universities in India (like IISc, IITs, NITs) in their Master’s/Phd program and later pursue exciting careers in top notch product-based companies (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, DE Shaw etc.) in engineering and research roles.
2) Career after GATE CS exam or Job-Placement after your BTech? Which is the right choice?
The pay packages of most service based companies have seen little improvement in the last 20 years. What was once considered a good package two decades ago, is barely enough to survive in today’s economy. Professionals working in these companies find themselves struggling near the end of every month, having not being able to save any money from the meagre paycheck of roughly Rs 23000 per month (CTC Rs 3.5 LPA). Rent, food, commute and other general expenses eat away most of this low salary. Career growth in such positions is often stagnant, causing many professionals to fall short of their full potential. Even after 2 years of industry work experience, many do not earn more than Rs 5 Lakhs per year.

On the other hand, there is the alternative of GATE, a national level examination that provides numerous opportunities after qualifying the exam. Pursuing Master’s from the best engineering institutes of the country gives students a head start before joining the industry, and can breathe new life into the careers of working professionals who have not seen any growth even after years of experience in the industry.

So, GATE is a good choice to pursue if you want to work on exciting and cutting edge research and engineering projects in top notch product based companies after your Master’s/PhD.
3) Is Teaching the only line of profession after MTech? What about jobs in the industry?
While teaching is an option for those who are interested, there are many career options other than teaching after MTech.

Shekhar Sanyal, director and country head, Institution of Engineering and Technology, remarks, “Currently MBA is more popular, but we need more MTechs in the country. Contrary to popular belief, MTech graduates are in high demand and much sought-after by technical industries, not just in India but worldwide . There is a dearth of talent in research and development industry in the government and private sector. It is a fallacy that the government sector doesn’t pay a lot. If you are good and technically sound, MTech can open up various opportunities for you. MTech leads to extremely lucrative and well-settled careers.”

With ever growing demand for top talent in the software industry, there is a huge requirement for software professionals in both startup companies and well established product based companies. Startups are competing with product based MNC’s in offering the pay packages starting from Rs 7 lakhs/annum to Rs 36 lakhs/annum to MTech students from the premier institutes (IITs, NITs, IIITs and BITS etc) of India.

Apart from the above mentioned jobs, there are other opportunities:

Researchers and Scientists
A lot of product based companies (Google, Microsoft Research, IBM Research, Xerox, Samsung R&D, Infosys Labs) and Government agencies (DRDO, ISRO, BARC, BEL) hire post graduates with specialization in different fields. You can work and build your profile in exciting and high growth domains like Cloud Computing, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science etc.
There are an unprecedented number of opportunities in this space. Many companies even encourage you to do a fully funded doctoral program as a part of their research.

Analyst and Banking Software Engineers
Many Investment banking firms, Many Stock analysis firms are ready to pay huge paychecks for Quant Analyst profiles. You can work towards and specialise in Trading Algorithms.

Entrepreneurship and Start-Ups
A few Master’s degree graduates from top institutes and their entrepreneurial journeys:
INFOSYS - Kris Gopalakrishnan (Co-Founder), MTech (CS) from IIT Madras

INFOSYS - N. R. Narayana Murthy (Co-Founder), MTech(CS) from IIT Kanpur

OLA - Ankit Bhati (Co-Founder) M. Tech from IIT Bombay

There are many other great examples like these. There is no limit for those who dream big. In fact, a Master’s degree in Computer Science will open up an enormous number of opportunities that you would have never dreamt of before. Additionally, the alumni network at some of these top universities is very helpful while starting up.
  • Most importantly to get to be a part of any nationally reputed Educational Institute and enjoy learning and research in the conducive ambience. One gets intellectual satisfaction of working in the area of interest.
  • Last but not the least, Master course changes the individual's thought process; teaches us how to approach and solve a problem in the totally new & unknown environment
4) Which institutes and universities conduct admissions via the GATE exam? Are there any foreign universities accepting GATE Score?
There are more than 20+ IITs, many IIITs (IIIT Hyd, IIIT Bangalore, IIIT Delhi, IIIT Allahabad), and more than 25 NITs (the top NITs are among the best institutes of the country) offering MTECH for CSE students. There are also top class universities like BITS (Pilani, Hyderabad, Goa), ISI Kolkata, CMI Chennai, NSIT Delhi and some Central universities (UoH, Jadhavpur University, COEP) accepting GATE score for admission.

Preferable All India Ranks to seek an admission in these premiere universities are:
  • Open Category candidates <= 2000,
  • OBC is <= 3000,
  • SC <= 7000
  • ST <=10000.
Some world renowned foreign universities also accept GATE score for admissions. These include:
  • National University of Singapore - Ranked 11th in the world, 2019 QS World University Rankings
  • Nanyang Technological University, Singapore - Ranked 12th in the world, 2019 QS World University Rankings
  • Technical University of Munch, Germany - Ranked 61th in the world, 2019 QS World University Rankings
  • RWTH Aachen University, Germany - Ranked among the top 51-100 in the world, 2019 Times Higher Education Rankings
5) Right choice: GATE or GRE for CSE students?
Planning masters abroad is also a good option only if you have a score of above 320 in GRE. Premier Universities abroad will not only consider your GRE score and also your educational background in your BTech. Also one should not forget about the expenses, it costs at least Rs 30 lakhs in the current situation.

Where as Mtech in INDIA may cost us at most 2-5lakhs. Don't forget that if you are a GATE qualified student you will get a stipend of Rs.12,400/month from MHRD.

If money does not matter and you have a GRE score of >=320 with a good academic excellence then Masters in Abroad is a good choice.
6) Right time to start GATE CS preparation?
Syllabus of the GATE CS exam has 10 core subjects and 2 General subjects (Aptitude and English). Even though its syllabus seems a little scary it is easiest exam when compared your IIT-JEE exam written after Intermediate. You don't need a dedicated 2 years to crack this exam but rather it takes 10-12 months with the self preparation and 6-8 months with Coaching guidance because for every subject we have 2 or 3 prescribed text books which we need to cover them.
  • Create your own schedule daily wise or weekly wise by giving enough time for each subject.
  • Your schedule should contain completion of course contents, revision, practice tests.
  • If you are able to follow the schedule / time table regularly, it will become easy for you to complete the course contents, have enough revisions and giving as many tests as possible including subject wise tests and mock tests.
Just remember one thing whenever you are opting for a guidance/coaching choose the organization/institute wisely.
Prof Sandeep Shukla, HOD, CSE , IIT-Kanpur recently posted on his Facebook profile about the lack of conceptual understanding and the low quality of candidates he is interviewing after shortlisting based on GATE rank. So, what is important for GATE is not just the ability to solve problems in the GATE exam, but a deep conceptual and applicative understanding of the concepts. It is important to understand why a concept is needed in the first place, where is it used and how is it used in to real world applications. Many GATE coaching institutes focus a lot of solving the problems in GATE without a focus on foundational knowledge resulting in students not performing well in interviews post GATE exam. So, it is important you learn concepts form a first principles perspective while also being able to solve GATE level problems.

Here we want to conclude that your GATE exam preparation should not only help you crack the GATE rank/qualification but also for the interviews. If you are able to learn the subjects with the applied aspects, this knowledge will help you throughout your career whether it is a job or research kind of role.
7) Preparation Strategy for GATE CS Exam?
Before starting the preparation of any competitive exam, analysing the syllabus and type of questions asked in the exam is crucial. It is highly recommended that aspirants thoroughly familiarize themselves about the exam and prepare a well planned out schedule that they would follow throughout their preparation. Applied GATE Course has leveraged the experience of hundreds of previous GATE toppers and 15+ of our mentors who are alumni from IITs,IISc, IIITs to come up with an easy to follow and flexible strategy. By analysing this plan, aspirants can get a good idea of how they would need to plan out their preparation.

The strategy provided below is also followed by the students of Applied GATE Course and we expect other students to benefit from the same. We advise students to keep the following things in mind while they are preparing for GATE, Devise a preparation strategy suited to you by using the tips provided below, and by going through blogs of previous GATE toppers (which are available online)

  • Be regular and consistent throughout your preparation. Never try to slack off, especially during the final few months.
  • In the initial months, dedicate a fixed number of hours for preparation every day and do not skip any day. For example, studying for 3 hours every day (without skipping any days) is much more fruitful than studying for 10 hours on one day and then skipping studies for the next 2-3 days.
  • Don’t try to immediately look up solutions for problems that you could not answer correctly in the first attempt. Instead, try to approach the problem from different perspectives. Struggle with the problem until you figure out the solution yourself. Look up the solution only when you find yourself unable to solve the problem even after a few days. This helps in developing problem solving ability which is extremely useful in a concept-focused exam like GATE and in the industry as well.
  • It is advisable to regularly interact with fellow aspirants and people experienced with GATE as it helps to clear doubts and to measure one’s own preparation level with respect to others.
  • Familiarize yourself with all the resources that would help in your preparation. There are many good quality resources available both online and offline. Always refer to internationally recognized standard textbooks.
  • Finally, keep yourself motivated throughout your preparation days. Keep in touch with family and friends whenever you feel like giving up. Always remember, GATE is not the only exam. With a good GATE preparation you can easily crack many other prestigious exams like ISRO, BARC, PGEE, BITS etc.
Plan:
  • Starting preparation with an easy subject will boost the confidence and keep motivated. An example preparation structure is given below:
    (Aptitude → Theory of Computation → Compiler design → Digital Logic → Linear Algebra → Sets and Relations → Graph theory → C-Programming → Data Structures → Algorithms → Database Management Systems → Operating Systems → Computer Networks → Computer Organization)
  • Please note that if you are able to complete till C-Programming in the mentioned order you have almost completed 50 marks worth of the syllabus which is quite easy.
  • Don’t spend all your time studying theory only. Finding a balance between studying theory and solving questions is key.
  • Practicing questions is crucial as it gives an idea of the type of questions asked in the exam along with the importance of each topic, from the exam’s point of view.
    Students at Applied Course take 2 practice tests every week that helps them analyze their weak areas that they need to focus more on. They also have constructive discussions with instructors and other students that helps them gauge their preparedness. We recommend the rest of the students to solve practice questions from standard textbooks, given at the end of each chapter (try to solve them in a timed manner, like writing an exam) and make a note of their weak points. They should then try to focus more on improving these weak areas. This exercise should be repeated for each subject and should be done at least on a weekly basis.
  • Make revision notes for each topic such that they cover all the important definitions, formulas etc
  • Try to clarify all the doubts by discussing with peers and from other sources.
  • Once all your subjects are completed, start solving the previous 20 year questions papers like the actual exam in a timed manner. These exams (along with their detailed solutions) are available at the Applied Course website (gate.appliedcourse.com) FREE OF COST. The website provides a comprehensive analysis of the student’s performance with subject-wise score breakups and comparative rankings with other test takers. Observe the topics where you are scoring negative marks and the questions where you are taking too much time. Work on these areas and aim to improve your weak points in the next test.
  • Revise the running notes on a weekly basis to recall and memorize the concepts.
We wish you all the best and hope that you achieve tremendous success in the exam and your career.
PSUs and Govt Organizations Recruiting through GATE:
  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Post of Programming Officer - CTC Rs 19.5 Lakh/annum
  • Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Post of Engineer/Officer - CTC Rs. 17 Lakh/annum
  • Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Department of Atomic Energy, Post of Scientific Officer - C, Pay Band 3
  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) conducts its own exam for the post of Scientist/Engineer - The exam syllabus is very similar to that of GATE. Preparing for GATE helps greatly in preparing for this exam.
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