Author Topic: Masters in comp Sci. Worth it?  (Read 624 times)

trompowsky87

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Masters in comp Sci. Worth it?
« on: July 07, 2019, 08:32:47 PM »
Hey all,

Is a masters in comp Sci worth the time and money. I'm 5 years into a IT career. I'm Currently a sysadmin. Seems like a masters will offer me many more job options. I should mention that I do not posses a degree in IT, just a bachelors in physics.
Also, I don't have any interest in management.

On the other hand, Certifications are cheaper. Any thoughts are welcomed.


secondcor521

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Re: Masters in comp Sci. Worth it?
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2019, 08:53:12 PM »
Depends on where you want to go with your career.  I'd consider a second bachelor's in CS instead of a master's.  I have a BSCS and MBA and worked for about six different companies doing firmware and software development and testing.  None of the six companies paid more for a master's.

I never did the certification route.  My impression is that certifications are valuable currency in the IT world but pretty much worthless in software engineering.

Do you want to continue in IT or switch to software development?

bacchi

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Re: Masters in comp Sci. Worth it?
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2019, 09:33:53 PM »
Grad school in CS is fun and challenging but I wouldn't do it without a good background in CS. ^^ Get a 2nd bachelor's.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Masters in comp Sci. Worth it?
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2019, 10:31:33 PM »
I did a master's in computer science after a bachelor's in computer engineering. I have doubts about whether it actually opened up any career opportunities that would have been unavailable if I had instead spent those two years in the software job I was offered straight out of college. It was probably a poor move from a purely financial perspective. That said, I definitely enjoyed it more than I would have enjoyed that job.

Also, paying for CS grad school is dumb. Get an assistantship or don't go.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Masters in comp Sci. Worth it?
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2019, 10:47:16 PM »
I stopped looking at the education section of resumes when interviewing software engineers. It's probably the worst predictor there is.

thesis

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Re: Masters in comp Sci. Worth it?
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2019, 11:29:26 PM »
I knew a guy who got his master's in CompSci and now has a software job with a very popular dod contractor. The problem is, those jobs usually suck, but they make you sound smart because woooo, big name company.

I seriously doubt it's worth it. People like to poo-poo stopping at bachelor's because of "opportunities", but there are shat-loads of opportunities for experienced IT workers. So maybe, in theory, you have 20 opportunities instead of the 30 you could have with with fancy master's degree. Who freaking cares?

If you don't have some deep love of computer theory and you want to FI in the next 5-15 years, forget the master's, IMO. The people hocking master's degrees either 1) have earned one and feel a deep need to defend their decision and deny their sunk costs, 2) are educators or otherwise think highly of formal education, 3) are people obsessed with career advancement, who typically believe in climbing the ranks until age 65, or 4) are lazy HR bums who don't have any better way to distinguish good candidates from bad, and you don't want to work for them anyway. (I'm not being completely serious here, but I am poking fun very intentionally)

trompowsky87

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Re: Masters in comp Sci. Worth it?
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2019, 05:25:51 AM »
Considering that Im only expecting to work another 20 years in the corporate world, it sounds like it is not worth the investment.

SwordGuy

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Re: Masters in comp Sci. Worth it?
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2019, 05:36:23 AM »
If you are planning to teach at the university level it's a requirement to do so.

Otherwise, no, I would not bother.   I worked in IT for decades and no hiring manager I know ever cared unless they knew nothing about IT -- and working for an IT manager who knows nothing about IT isn't something to aspire to.

Put that same effort into experimenting and learning at home.   Read technical manuals and blogs voraciously.

Write technical articles for user groups or other technical publications.  Find something that people need to know, learn it well, and present it at local professional groups or, if you can get the money from your company, at technical conferences.   

That will open doors.    Worked like a charm for me and for all the people I mentored.



FatFI2025

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Re: Masters in comp Sci. Worth it?
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2019, 06:56:53 AM »
The people hocking master's degrees either 1) have earned one and feel a deep need to defend their decision and deny their sunk costs, 2) are educators or otherwise think highly of formal education, 3) are people obsessed with career advancement, who typically believe in climbing the ranks until age 65, or 4) are lazy HR bums who don't have any better way to distinguish good candidates from bad, and you don't want to work for them anyway. (I'm not being completely serious here, but I am poking fun very intentionally)

What about 5) Have greatly benefited personally and professionally from their master's degrees?

mlipps

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Re: Masters in comp Sci. Worth it?
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2019, 08:56:29 AM »
A while back Georgia Tech unveiled an online only $10k masters in CS. I haven't heard anything about it since the forum I read about it on closed down--might be worth investigating for your situation?

catccc

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Re: Masters in comp Sci. Worth it?
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2019, 09:05:57 AM »
I'm not in the field, but I'm going to guess no, based on the fact that my programmer BIL never even finished his bachelors and makes bank, with job offers out the wazoo.

So I'm not surprised about this gem:
I stopped looking at the education section of resumes when interviewing software engineers. It's probably the worst predictor there is.

ketchup

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Re: Masters in comp Sci. Worth it?
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2019, 09:08:57 AM »
A CS degree could pay off if you're interested in switching gears to software developing, but in IT/sysadmin-land, nobody cares about degrees.  I'm an IT manager with no degree, and my sysadmin guy and developer are in the same boat.

pvnotp

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Re: Masters in comp Sci. Worth it?
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2019, 08:34:12 AM »
I got an M.S. in Computer Science after earning a B.A. in mathematics, and was subsequently able to get a great software engineering job that I couldn't have gotten an interview for otherwise.  However, I chose the M.S. route because I was able to do it part-time while being home with my young children - something not possible with a bootcamp or the sort of CS job I could have found with just my math degree.  Had the kids not been in the equation, the time I took to get the degree would be hard to justify.  I will say that it was possible to complete the master's coursework without a C.S. background - though it wasn't easy!

mtnrider

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Re: Masters in comp Sci. Worth it?
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2019, 07:10:31 PM »
Hey all,

Is a masters in comp Sci worth the time and money. I'm 5 years into a IT career. I'm Currently a sysadmin. Seems like a masters will offer me many more job options. I should mention that I do not posses a degree in IT, just a bachelors in physics.
Also, I don't have any interest in management.

On the other hand, Certifications are cheaper. Any thoughts are welcomed.

Get a MSCS if you want to code.  And/or want to understand the algorithms, math, and theory behind the code.  And maybe if you want to do some research into coding or software-related areas (eg bitcoin, AI).  If you don't want to do those things, I'd think twice.  I say this as someone with a MSCS.  I absolutely love it, but it's not for everyone.

If you intend to continue with IT and you're looking to open more job doors, I'd suggest certifications - particularly around security.

blingwrx

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Re: Masters in comp Sci. Worth it?
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2019, 10:11:06 PM »
A masters is not worth it. I have a bachelors in CS and have been in this field for a long time and i have never seen anyone needing a masters unless you want to be a professor. As others have mentioned if you want to continue in IT, Certifications are the way to go, no college degree needed, experience and certs are more valuable.

If you want to switch to software engineering a bachelors in CS is equally as good as a masters. Employers are more interested in experience and your portfolio over education these days. Any bachelor degree is already a plus. Even people who just do a boot camp are getting decent jobs. It's also about who you know, if you know people who can refer you, you'll get your foot in the door and on top of the resume pile even if you're not as qualified. It could also be possible to apply to other positions internally and they give you a shot even if you're under qualified. I've worked with a lot of software engineers who have unrelated bachelors degrees. They learned on their own and pretty much started somewhere entry level and move up from there, once you get the initial experience on your resume you're golden.

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Masters in comp Sci. Worth it?
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2019, 10:14:59 PM »
I know a number of developer types with a physics background. Their physics background was computational (both BS and PhD types), so they already had plenty of development skills. Maybe not so much on the cs theoretical stuff, but they had a better numerical cs perspective than most standard cs types.

Personally I have the B and M in CS. I'm not generally a type to question previous decisions I made. I did the best I could with the info I had. I've used the M. It probably got me ahead of many other candidates for at least one job, and may have been the in-the-door at another. Do I think it got me pay bumps? Probably not. Would I do it again? Probably not, although that butterfly would have changed a bunch of the rest of my life, and I kinda like my life, so...