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A question that I still can't figure out whether is relevant or irrelevant. Everyone must have had this question brewing in their mind at some point or other, mostly when we start to think of preparing for GATE.

Why the Question is irrelevant?

A GATE rank or for that case for any competitive exam, it is not something that you can choose for yourselves. Everyone in the first 500 would have given their best, aiming for AIR 1 & still only one or two ended up being AIR 1. As far as I know, GATE committee is least influenced by those cliché Telugu movies (No offence!, just cliché ones) where the committee decides to give everyone a First rank seeing your effort for preparation. There may be many who have done better preparation, have better strategy, and will naturally perform better than you. That was enough de-motivation for the day, I think. Secondly, this question doesn't mean the same to everyone who asks this. This is something that has been the most abstracted form of the questions that one has in mind, especially related to their expectations on IITs and what they need to get into IITs.

  • For many, IIT is the brand name that boosts their image and improves their value in the market (Acad, Industry, or any other thing).
  • For many others, IIT is a place which guarantees them a secure future and a high paying job.
  • For some idealists, it's a temple of education, where one can get high quality education, or land into somewhere where they can do things that satisfy their passion, or fulfill what they have missed out in their undergrad course (that's my spot).
  • For yet another group, that turns out to be the intersection of idealists and long term planners, who might have well decided the institution and specific course they are interested in.

Now, looking at another perspective, by mentioning IIT, it may not be the case that everyone is thinking about the same IIT. As mentioned, few people have specific institutes in mind, while a whole lot consider the established IITs as desirable. A certain others don't mind as long as IIT tag is there; while for some others, placement statistics is what amuses them. So, we can say by IITs, it can either mean

  1. Established IITs - IISc, IITB, IITK, IITM, IITD, IITKgp, IITR, IITG
  2. Tag / Brand - Choice 1 + New IITs
  3. Job Statistics - Choice 2 (some new IITs ) + Top NITs + IIITs

These are just vague descriptions and I neither have any authority nor sufficient data to back these things up. This is what I have come to understand as a general opinion among GATE aspirants and toppers after my interaction with a whole lot of them in person and online. I am not making any opinion here about which group is better or which group must be annihilated to save our education system. Also, am ignorant about job statistics or quality of education at IIITs (and NITs other than 4 or 5 of them). what can be more vague when we say 'Top NITs and IIITs have good packages'. Here top NITs and good packages varies from person to person. It is advised that you check the details yourself before taking such decisions (of course after GATE Results, lot of time for that ☺)

Why The Question is Relevant?

For the obvious reason that this question occurred to everyone at least once. Again, we all aim for IITs when we say we are preparing seriously for GATE. Moreover, it's always good to be informed about the options that are available to you, because there is no use in repenting after you have lost your chance. Other than MTech in CSE, in fact GATE CS paper makes you eligible for other courses as well. To get a Quick Glance I Suggest you to use this link:
http://www.gatecounsellor.com/where-can-i-apply-through-gate/index.php?dep=cs&inst=all&th=thgate

The site tells you which are all courses a person appeared in GATE Paper CS & IT can apply for. The list is not complete in fact, there are many more. Lets see how this works, for every course it will be specified in its requirements that the student applying should :

  1. Have completed his BTech from one of the streams among the given list.
  2. The GATE paper attempted must be again from one among the given list

For example: A person who has done Electronics & Instrumentation for his Bachelors is eligible to write GATE exam in CS & IT paper, but is eligible to apply for only those courses where both the combinations are allowed. Also apart from MTech programs, you can apply for MS, PhD, Management courses, and some others as well.

Here I would try to give a description of Different courses that I am aware of:

MTech / ME in CS:

The most in demand for any CSE undergraduate. Almost all IITs provide this. In most IITs, your qualifying degree can be of any stream but your GATE paper must be CS.

In 2013 IISc, IITB, IITM, IITKgp went for Direct Admissions (DA) based on your GATE Score along with some other minimum requirements like Percentage of marks in your Bachelor's degree etc. It's difficult to say cut offs for DA as each year different institutes have different admission procedures. Like in 2012, IITD, IITKgp, and IITK went for interview and called till rank 450. This resulted in IITM cutoff getting tighter. Following you can see how the scenario was in 2013 (data till July'13 last week).

  • IITD - 10 DA (till AIR 99)
    Rest - Test + Interview till rank 220 (Score 740)
  • IITK - again few DA and
    Test / Interview - GATE Score 684
  • IITG & IITR - counselling, first session cutoff is AIR 240 & 214.

Apart from this, IITB Offers a 3 year MTech program RA. They take students via Test & Interview. Cut off is normally till AIR 800 or so. After the test, your GATE rank is generally not considered. Here, a student needs to work in the labs/project for 20 hours a week.

At IITD, Electrical deptt. offers a course Computer technology, which also has an impressive syllabus and a good set of faculties. However, it has only 13 seats and students from EE, EC, & CS apply for it. It also has interview procedure. They have 100% placements for the past few years, but package is not that appealing compared to CS MTech. Their cut off for interview (no written test) will be slightly less than that for CS MTech at IITD.

MS Research / MSc Engineering:

This is a research course and hence has no fixed duration. Typically, research courses are said to have a duration of 1 and half years to 3 years. Here, students need to do less course work, but need to choose a research area and work on a thesis from that area. Students are eligible to sit on all placement sessions that an MTech student can appear for, which in turn is all the placements that a BTech student can appear for.

IITM, IITD, IITKgp, and IISc (MSc Engineering) offer this course.

IITM - Cutoff was GATE Score 600 (Around 2013 rank 1100)
IITD - For the past two years they have kept the cutoff same as that for MTech
IISc - Cut off was score 640
IITKgp - First you need to enroll there as a project associate and then apply for MS
IITD & IITM offers MS twice a year as well.

Choosing a research course is desirable, if you already have a research area in mind, which can even be broad enough like intelligent systems, or theoretical computer science and you want to work deep on this, it will be very help.

Direct PhD:

IITs & IISc, Offer direct PhDs for students who have done their bachelors. Typical length of the course is about 5 years, though again it is no hard and fast rule as far as length of course is concerned. It's cut-off is generally kept same or lower (at times) as compared to MS.

Now coming to other courses that doesn't come under CS, like applied mechanics at IITM or interdisciplinary courses, this is entirely a personal choice. Many people enroll for it for the sake of the earlier said IIT tag, while a lot others take these courses out of interest, and a lot others use it as an opportunity to change their career path.

How can I Know about various courses that I am eligible for and that suits me?

The best way to know more about various courses one can pursue is, to grab the admission brochures (download from individual department sites), check with qualification criteria, previous year cut-offs, find students, staff, or faculty who are affiliated with these courses, interact with them. Get to know about course structure, electives offered, student effort expected, job prospects (if interested), and decide for yourself. It is better if you clarify your concerns with people who are related to that particular course or department. It will be a bad idea to put questions regarding specific and lesser known courses for a public poll. As said different people have different interests. Well, this is one thing that you can do between the post exam - pre result gap.

Well, coming back to the main question, Till what rank one can get call from IITs & IISc?, and all I have been doing is bragging about various courses and opportunities at IITs, Well I do agree, in this article things have gone a bit out of my hand, but still hope you can make some sense from this article that it is indeed a vague question to answer. The cut-off depends on lot of factors that clashes with your interests. So choose wisely. The whole intention of this post was to Teach you how to fish, rather than giving you fish. The easiest way out is to aim for AIR 1, put in your best effort; so that, you can choose whatever you want to. ☺

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