Master's degree after 30?

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Hi, everyone.

Here I am, once again, full of uncertainty as for my future.

I've previously stated my situation in another thread so this time I'm going straight to the point.

If all ends meet I'll be acquiring my Master's degree in applied and computational mathematics at the age of 32. Assuming that I have zero experience in the field (except for an internship or another), will I be eligible for decent employments or will I simply starve to death, which will force me to try and become a high school teacher? (I've been a teacher once when I was graduating in physics and I tell you what... it's pretty hard to survive, for many reasons).

Also, which would be best in terms of employability on the applied mathematics field, a professional or a research master's?
 

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  • #2
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will I be eligible for decent employments or will I simply starve to death,
You will be eligible for decent employment. Of course, there is a fairly large gap between “eligible for employment” and “employed”.
 
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You will be eligible for decent employment. Of course, there is a fairly large gap between “eligible for employment” and “employed”.
And this is my main concern.
 
  • #4
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And this is my main concern.
So be sure not to focus only on becoming eligible to the exclusion of learning how to cross that gap.

Many cities offer free community services for help improving your resume and coaching for interviewing skills. Develop those skills, cultivate a positive and energetic demeanor. Know and communicate your professional and personal goals.

It is not a guarantee, but it will narrow the gap.
 
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So be sure not to focus only on becoming eligible to the exclusion of learning how to cross that gap.

Many cities offer free community services for help improving your resume and coaching for interviewing skills. Develop those skills, cultivate a positive and energetic demeanor. Know and communicate your professional and personal goals.

It is not a guarantee, but it will narrow the gap.
That's a great idea. I have some programming skills which may be useful in data science, like Python and R, so I think developing projects for non-profit companies might add some valuable experience as well.

Thank you for your help.
 
  • #6
Choppy
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A lot of people seem to have this question. It's like turning 30 is seen as some kind of a death sentence or something.

It's not.

And even if it was, you're going to turn 30 anyway.

One way to look at this a little differently is to ask how can you turn your life experiences into an advantage on the job hunt. As an applicant you bring added maturity for one thing. If you were employed in another field, you bring that diversity of experience into your position. Even if it's not related, that can help you to think outside the box. Also, people that are fresh out of school tend to have fewer life commitments and are more mobile. As someone who has gone back to school you've made a commitment to the field and might be seen as less of a flight risk. You might also be able to develop a better rapport with others who've been working in the field for a few years, just based on common life experiences.
 
  • #7
symbolipoint
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A lot of people seem to have this question. It's like turning 30 is seen as some kind of a death sentence or something.

It's not.

And even if it was, you're going to turn 30 anyway.

One way to look at this a little differently is to ask how can you turn your life experiences into an advantage on the job hunt. As an applicant you bring added maturity for one thing. If you were employed in another field, you bring that diversity of experience into your position. Even if it's not related, that can help you to think outside the box. Also, people that are fresh out of school tend to have fewer life commitments and are more mobile. As someone who has gone back to school you've made a commitment to the field and might be seen as less of a flight risk. You might also be able to develop a better rapport with others who've been working in the field for a few years, just based on common life experiences.
That, OR maybe not!
You may believe that employers value diverse life experiences and thinking 'outside the box'; but someone may find the contrary when either or both looking for their new job or actually working at their new job. No matter, a career change at or after age 30 is a risk.
 
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  • #8
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You may believe that employers value diverse life experiences and thinking 'outside the box'; but someone may find the contrary
That is a reasonable point. But “employers” are not a monolithic homogenous group any more than “employees” are. It is true that some employers may not value diversity, but others do. All he or she has to do is find one
 
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  • #9
Choppy
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That, OR maybe not!
You may believe that employers value diverse life experiences and thinking 'outside the box'; but someone may find the contrary when either or both looking for their new job or actually working at their new job. No matter, a career change at or after age 30 is a risk.
Sure, some employers will exhibit ageism.

But the point is not to pretend the world is some ideal place, rather to figure out how to adapt to it. I'm suggesting a strategy of looking for the positive aspects of what the poster might bring to the table instead of dwelling on negative ones that are out of his or her control.

I think a lot of people hear anecdotes about challenges faces by people who go back to school later in life and they're quick to assume those challenges are insurmountable. Just because a situation is less than optimal doesn't mean it's impossible.
 
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That, OR maybe not!
You may believe that employers value diverse life experiences and thinking 'outside the box'; but someone may find the contrary when either or both looking for their new job or actually working at their new job. No matter, a career change at or after age 30 is a risk.
I think the risk needs to be compared to the risk of being in a dead end career, which is arguably more risky. The proper analysis would ask the question: Just how much more of a disadvantage the older candidate would be at compared to the younger candidate, given both are of equal qualification, skill, and intellect? Then a follow up question, would be: what would be necessary to close the gap?
 
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  • #11
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Sure, some employers will exhibit ageism.

But the point is not to pretend the world is some ideal place, rather to figure out how to adapt to it. I'm suggesting a strategy of looking for the positive aspects of what the poster might bring to the table instead of dwelling on negative ones that are out of his or her control.

I think a lot of people hear anecdotes about challenges faces by people who go back to school later in life and they're quick to assume those challenges are insurmountable. Just because a situation is less than optimal doesn't mean it's impossible.
Agreed. Also, it shouldn't be much harder at an age of around 30. There are plenty of people that can do complex tasks at that age. Maybe they learn slightly slower compared to at age 20, but it's only slightly slower. Dementia is a long ways away to have any impact.
 
  • #12
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Agreed. Also, it shouldn't be much harder at an age of around 30. There are plenty of people that can do complex tasks at that age. Maybe they learn slightly slower compared to at age 20, but it's only slightly slower. Dementia is a long ways away to have any impact.
I find the idea that ageism could play a role at age 30 to be silly and I can't believe the thread got that deep into it.

At age 30 with a master's you are only 5 years "behind" and most people won't even be able to tell from looking at you. There is a host of legitimate reasons why someone could "lose" a few years in their 20s, from a gap year, to military service, to working your way through college part time, etc. Starting a career (switch or first) at 30 should be very unlikely to incur a penalty and in most cases it should be a benefit over being 25* - though it depends on what you were doing.

Ageism isn't really about age anyway, it is about money. Older people tend to have more experience and have been getting raises over time, which makes them expensive.

*There is a real age issue on the low end: young people tend to be assumed to be immature, which is why I expect being 30 to be mostly a benefit if all else were equal.
 
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  • #13
symbolipoint
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I ....

*There is a real age issue on the low end: young people tend to be assumed to be immature, which is why I expect being 30 to be mostly a benefit if all else were equal.
Very important issue for sure. Age of 30 is still at the low end and you should expect that someone in their early 30's tend to be immature. The benefit of hiring OR educating someone in their 40;s or 50's is that these are more experienced (usually), mature, and worldly, and are better at focusing on their work, or organizing their study time.
 

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