What are the best engineering masters degrees

What is the master worth?

A master’s degree means creating a profile and is not necessarily a standard requirement for engineers. This is how Michael Berger from the VDE sees it, with whom VDI nachrichten spoke about the importance of the Masters from the point of view of associations and companies.

"I advise very young people: treat yourself to a master's degree, a stay abroad or an internship," says Michael Berger from the VDE.

Photo: panthermedia.net/WavebreakmediaMicro

The job prospects of master’s graduates

Mr. Berger, do bachelor graduates have as good a chance of getting a job with VDE members as students who have also completed a master’s degree?

Michael Berger: The companies are looking across the board. To put it a bit flippantly: Many companies prefer to take a committed Bachelor with good grades and potential than a Master who actually just didn't feel like working. So if you are wondering whether you want to add another master's degree, you shouldn't hang your flag in the wind.

Michael Berger heads the VDE Federal Committee for Studies, Work and Society with around 40 experts from business and universities. He was Vice President of the West Coast University of Applied Sciences for 13 years and introduced and accompanied various Bachelor and Master courses and ensured their quality.

Since May of this year, the 61-year-old Berger has been heading Campus 100, an energy transition institute with the aim of coupling the electricity, heating and mobility sectors.

The Association of Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies (VDE) is one of the largest technical and scientific associations in Europe with around 36,000 members, including 1,300 companies. The VDE embodies the five specialist societies information technology, energy technology, medical technology, microelectronics / microsystem technology and automation technology.

Why doesn't the master make all the difference?

The engineering job market is upside down anyway, the shortage will cost us a lot of orders and a lot of money in Germany. The question is not: which engineers do I need? The question is: Are there any qualified engineers at all? Hence the tip for students: In order to want to do the master’s degree, there has to be a certain technical thrill behind it. “Why Master?” Is also a good question in an interview.

The perfect master - a specialist

What should the master’s course then ideally look like: Are generalists or specialists more in demand?

When I talk to entrepreneurs, I always find that they expect more pronounced specialist knowledge in a field, for example in electronics design or industrial automation. I would always use that as the benchmark for choosing my master’s university. You should look at a field-forest-meadow offer very carefully and not choose it because you don't want to move. Master means creating a profile. The theoretical components are always higher here than in the Bachelor's degree. The practice then mostly arises during the master’s thesis.

So do you advise students to specialize as early as possible?

According to the higher education framework law, the bachelor's degree is the first professional qualification. When companies hire a bachelor's degree, they rightly expect a certain degree of specialization and a current level of knowledge with regard to the reality of the profession. Many universities are based on this and impart application-oriented specialist knowledge in the higher semesters of the Bachelor's degree.

The trend towards the master’s degree is obvious.

You allow yourself a little more maturity. The legislature's idea that the bachelor's degree is the standard qualification can only be acknowledged with a smile. If you drive this two-stage model, it also means that you have to do a second lap through the basics of the master and then specialize a second time. But there is also the other model with basics in the bachelor's degree and focusing on the master's degree.

Requirement for professional experience and soft skills

What role do aspects such as age and professional experience play in the selection of graduates?

In our experience, three things decide at the beginning of the interview: personality, personality and personality. The course content will only be checked in the specialist department. Life experience turns out to be more important than work experience, although there is of course some overlap.

Where should young graduates get life experience?

At the moment we are of course experiencing a dent from G9 / G8. The overall impression, however, is that not much has changed. The difference between a FH diploma and a bachelor's degree is usually only one semester. The master’s degree can even take longer than the old university diploma. With a G8 and seven semesters, you can already have an academic degree at the age of 22. But the very young people should only be advised: treat yourself to a master's degree or a stay abroad or a longer internship. My university colleagues don't like to hear this because the standard period of study has been exceeded, but not everything has to be strictly according to regulations.

Diploma and internationalization

Do you mourn after the diploma?

There is no simple answer to that, because many things have changed as part of the changeover, such as accreditation, competence orientation and other political requirements. I was allowed to teach diploma, bachelor's and master's degrees at universities and technical colleges for more than 30 years. What has changed are the students, their school education, their motivation and their goals in life. It would be sad if it were different.

Will the diploma make a comeback?

There is still the diploma here and there. But I don't see a way back. If you look for a flaw in the system, it is very little the Bachelor and a lot the school policy. The VDE's demand in connection with digitization is therefore: "More education!"

How do the universities perform in an international comparison?

We are amazed at how well we are still. You notice that when you get lateral entrants from other countries or when our students go abroad for a practical semester. In terms of performance, however, I see continental Europe as balanced, as the general national characteristics rather than the technical side usually play a role in the overall assessment. Engineering training is very similar internationally and of high quality everywhere.


This article appeared in the magazine “Ingenieurkarriere-Spezial MBA for engineers” of the VDI nachrichten.

The article "Tips for the compulsory internship abroad" was also published there.

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