If I work for a company for 2-3 years in India before heading for an MS in a reputed university, will I be recruited with a higher salary than fresh grad recruits who joined grad school without work experience?

At most of companies, prior work experience counts. In most of these cases, there is a big difference between a fresh BE/BTech + MS compared to someone who has worked in India for a couple of years and has a MS from the US.

The difference comes from the rigorous training most MS programs at the US (and other countries) universities provide. This training is both technical and process oriented. In addition, exposure to working with customers globally helps a lot.

MS training gets you into the technical details and firms up basic concepts. It gives you confidence in the skill set and the attitude of getting things done with little direction.

At the same time, don’t expect to be hired as a team lead or manager. Don’t go through the process of job + MS to solely for a better salary. If money is your primary driver, you are not going to be satisfied, no matter what.

Better salary or not, you will get priority over a fresh grad with no work experience in the hiring process.

What salary one should expect in India after completing MS in CS from decent university in US and having 3 yrs work experience from reputed software company in the US itself?

Companies don’t compensate you for the additional investment you’ve made in yourself, that just makes you hireable. You still need to prove your worth.

Most employers are receptive to reasonable ‘higher than market’ salary expectations as long as jobseekers are able to articulate their reasons.

As a general guide, the Purchasing Power Parity between urban US and urban India varies between 1:2 and 1:3. So if you currently earn $60K then it would be reasonable to expect a salary of between $20-$30K in India, i.e. Rs.10-15 lakhs per annum.

However, it is possible to earn more.

You value is higher in India because of your (hopefully) better education and international experience. If these have translated into professional achievements for you and are backed by good communication skills, then a much higher salary is possible if you sell it correctly and to the right companies.

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