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What Is the Career and Pay Difference Between a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Computer Programming

Is there a significant difference in pay and career options when it comes to getting a Master's Degree in computer programming versus a Bachelor's Degree?

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Weiqi’s Answer

I think the Bachelor and Master's Degree is not a deterministic factor in terms of the Career and Pay Difference.


The pros of joining the software industrial with a Bachelor Degree's are:

  1. You save a lot of tuitions and 1 -2 years time for yourself. Personally I think time is very important for young people in early Careers. You could join a company and starting contributing and promoting a little bit earlier if you found job right after Bachelor degree. After 2 years working in this industrial, I believe you will be equipped with more practical skills as a software engineer, you will also become more competitive either in the job marketing or in your current company.
  2. You could choose to learning certain skills which is a little bit newer and popular in the software industrial. Such as deep learning, AWS services, web framework etc. You will have a more clear picture which skills you will need to get your job done.

The pros of joining the software industrial with a Mater Degree's are:

  1. After starting working, it is hard to find a large chunk of time to study certain topics or knowledge in a systematic way anymore. If you are interested in deepen your knowledge in certain area. You should start to consider to get a master/phd degree.
  2. If your bachelor degree is not computer science, getting a master degree in computer science is helpful, it will help you have a smooth transition from other major (math, physics, engineering, business) to computer science better.

Weiqi recommends the following next steps:

Trying to look for a computer programming internship in the summer. It will help you get an understanding of what this job looks like. Talking to the people or manager in this company. Do they think master degree or bachelor degree make a difference.
Explore as many computer science courses as you can, such as Data Structures and Algorithms, Computer Systems, Operating System Design, Compiler Design, Databases, Computer Networks, Distributed Systems, Machine Learning. If in your junior year, you really into certain topics of those courses, talking to the professor in the courses and try to see what will be master students life looks like.
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Sanyam’s Answer

I have done a Masters and Bachelors in Computer Science and the short answer is: not necessarily. But I would highly encourage you to think about this question differently. If you are debating whether to do a masters or not then you should base your decision on the following factors:

  1. Do you want to specialize in a particular subfield of computer science such as Cloud Computing, Computer Graphics, Security etc.
  2. Do you like learning more and want to go deeper into the understanding of computer science in general?
  3. Do you feel something lacking in your education from your bachelors, like maybe you didn't go to a great school and want to go to a better school to have a better understanding of your field?
  4. Are you feeling stuck in your job and want to go back to school to further advance your education in the same or a different subfield of computer science?


When it comes to career growth and salary growth, your degree level may only help you start off at a better salary or career level (not necessarily though, since I was in a company that started all degree levels with the same salary!). But the way you grow in your career and salary going forward is all dependent on your work ethic, basically how hard and smart you work.


So don't worry about what degree you should be doing and focus on finding a field you like, because being passionate about a field will make you work harder and grow in the ranks very quickly! Good luck.



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Ken’s Answer

The area involving computer programming is very diverse, so that it is difficult to determine what the difference might be in a broad view.


The most important thing for you to determine is how you might most effectively fit into that broad area and then develop answers for you questions by meeting and talking to people who are doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can see what they do, how they got there, and what advice and suggestions that they might have for you.


Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
• It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
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