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Masters in Computer Science - Potential

  1. Sep 25, 2011 #1
    Hi guys,

    I'd like to know your opinion about a potential of masters degree in Computer Science for an individual's career in U.S. industry - along the track of data analysis, IT project management etc. Does it make a difference if it is a M.S. or M.A.? What about threat of outsourcing? What kinds of roles does a masters holder fulfill within an organization?

    Do you have a similar credential and what - in your opinion - did it do for your career? Any ideas are welcome, and do mention some external sources if you think they are relevant.


  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 26, 2011 #2
    To be honest, the IT field is one in which you don't even need a bachelors, let alone a masters to be successful in. Go learn a couple programming languages, basic debugging, and pick up some coding internships and you should be fine. I think, especially in this economy, that it's rather wasteful to spend $40k+ on 2 years of grad school for a negligible salary increase.
  4. Sep 27, 2011 #3
    It really depends. I myself went into a local universities master's program after having only been able to find retail jobs after my bachelors. My grades were average (3.1 gpa) and I didn't have any specific technical skills or significant internships during my bachelor's degree.

    I made up my mind to do terrific the first two terms in the program after I joined. Joined clubs, went to job fairs, networked with people. After all that I finally picked up an internship at a local hospital's network staff and eventually wound up joining full time (at 47K) after a year there. I went from basically below 20k a year to a decent wage for my area of the country.

    If you're really stuck with no prospects, a master's in a technical field might help, but you really have to get involved with the program and know what you want. In my case, I lacked a resume and used the extra time in school to develop one. But that's not something I really needed the master's for. I just needed the extra time.
  5. Sep 27, 2011 #4
    Hi Asian Sensation,

    Yes, your response sounds much like what I had in mind. This option - masters in comp sci - seems to generate some very controversial opinion. I would even say more controversial than when people are asked about doctorate degree (there is more consensus there.)

    I'm curious - was it M.A. or M.S. that you pursued? You mention hospital network staff - are in you the technical field or computer science (and would you say there is a difference)?

    Finally, did you do thesis as part of masters or took exam?


  6. Sep 27, 2011 #5
    It is an M.S. degree and I'm in my final term.. There's not really an option for an M.A. in computer science anywhere I've seen. My program had an option for a thesis, but many people opt to take the exam. Our exit exam is different. It's more like a smaller research paper than any kind of specific test.

    The networking job I have doesn't really require any advanced computer science knowledge by any means. It's just in this case, the hospital was looking to hire students from a local comp sci program. It was more a job I found by by attending school and having good grades. I hate to say it, but it's a lot like being a plumber. Pays well though.

    It is very expensive regardless of where you go. I go to a terrible school and tuition is still 5000 a term. So I've spent 20k. I'm assuming better schools are much more. Didn't really matter where I went though. I just wanted a better job. This is what I assume a lot of people are really looking for when they ask about if a master's will help or not. For me it did, but if you're still a bachelor's student use your time wisely. That way you won't have to spend more money.
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