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industrial vs research experience for masters


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Hi, I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this type of question, but I thought it is the most fitting..

So I graduated from university last year with a bachelors degree in Mechatronics Engineering. Good learning experience and GPA is quite good. I have planned to do a Masters degree from the US next fall with a focus on data science (I am very much interested in learning all of computer vision, data visualization, machine learning and using these to solve practical problems eventually - I have made some projects related to these in my undergraduate as well. Also I am aware that these are huge fields on their own but I plan to learn them one by one). Unfortunately, where I live in the third world, there are barely any research or work opportunities in this field and of the few that exist, most require years of experience and/or a PhD.

Now after graduating I have been working in a Fortune 500 company as a service engineer for the past 4 months. It's a bit stressful and the job feels quite menial because while there is quite a bit of work to handle, it's simple (replacing parts if a machine breaks down, sending emails to customers, some sales inquiries, etc) and in terms of actual learning there isn't much. Like you don't need a degree to do any of the tasks, just a bit of training. My manager told me this as well. I only get time to research and work on my personal projects that are related to "data science" after work. But because I have to travel and work overtime quite often, I tend to "miss" a few days of learning which ruins my flow of learning completely. Case in point is when I was about 25% of the way through a machine learning book but then later hadn't touched in the past 2 weeks because of excess work. So I have to start all over again.

So recently I was thinking to quit and work an easier job I've been offered (which again is not too related to the field I want to get into (for the record it is STEM teaching)) that gives me more free time to work on my own things. I even considered the option of not working at all and taking several MOOCs (I feel like there is a lot of good material there), learning as much as possible related to the field of study I want to pursue for the year I am still here and try to make the most out of them. For the record, money is not an issue for me, although not working an actual job at all feels very degenerate and does look bad on the CV so I am thinking to work the other job I've been offered.

So my question is: what do the universities really want to see and what would help my chances of getting admission aside from the letter of recommendations / SOP / GRE / GPA? Corporate experience? Should I sacrifice my "good" Fortune 500 job for an easier one to work more on my personal projects / research? Will this help more because I can mention more things related to my field of study in my SOP? For example I want to further improve some of the things I've made in undergrad but it's hard to find the time to do that with the job I'm currently doing.

Advice would greatly be appreciated. Please let me know if I have been vague anywhere as well.

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