Skip to main content
5 answers
6
Updated 690 views

Is it worth it to get a master's in Computer Science career-wise?

I'm a college junior considering applying for a BS/MS program in computer science where I can get into grad school without taking the GRE. However, I'm a little conflicted on whether or not getting an MS is worth it in the first place. My primary motivation was monetary/career security and I'm not particularly passionate about a specific field (like cybersecurity, AI etc) of Computer Science to the point where I want to spend more years in school studying it.

From a monetary perspective, does the salary boost outweigh the opportunity cost of going straight into industry and how much does not having an MS limit my career opportunities? #college #computer-science #graduate-degree

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

6

5 answers


2
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Ashley’s Answer

At an entry level, it may seem like getting a master's degree was worthless. I started working with just a bachelor's in computer science alongside some of my peers who had or were working towards a master's degree. There wasn't very much of a difference in starting salary at all, and I expect there won't be for a while.


HOWEVER, having an advanced degree puts you at a competitive advantage against others who are applying for the same upper level position/promotion. Depending on the field you're in, you may also have further opportunities for advancing in your career - I've known people with an Associates or Bachelor's degree that got to a point in their career where they could no longer move upward without a graduate degree.


My advice would be to look at the field you're interested in working in and decide if, later down the line, the graduate degree will be worth it to you. If nothing else, they do have online master's degrees from accredited universities (see schools like Georgia Tech) that you can work through while you're working full time if you don't feel the passion right now.


I did the above - started working full time with a Bachelor's degree and taking a break from school to recharge and attend the Georgia Tech Online Master's in Computer Science (OMSCS) program. I'm not quite at a level where I'm blocked from progressing upward, but I'm working towards bigger opportunities for future me.

2
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Ann’s Answer

In my experience a master degree does little if anything in making a salary difference. My experience is in IT shops in the corporate world, not Technology firms where the answer may be different. If you were interested in a particular focus, such as data science or cyber security, the master degree may be helpful in giving you a leg up when you are in competition for an entry level job in that field. But by far it is experience and performance that drives advancement and salary, rather than bachelor vs master degree.

0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Ryan’s Answer

A Masters degree program typically takes 1-2 years to complete. Taking into consideration the tuition and the opportunity cost of not working for 2 years, it's probably not worth it monetarily.

Now on the flip side, having a MS degree does help you decide whether academic research is something interesting to you. If you are unsure if you want to pursue a PhD, then a Master's degree deepens your understanding in one area of CS and gives you a taste of research. There are also some positions, such as research engineers, that sometimes require a Masters degree. So the answer really depends on what interests you the most: general software engineer positions typically don't require Master's degrees, but if you are interested in research, then a MS or even PhD degree is what you need.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Scott’s Answer

100% no. If you are going to get a higher degree in CS, go for your PhD. The salary difference is negligible if at all between a Bachelor and Masters within CS.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Jaime’s Answer

Hi Ryan,

I did a similar BS/MS degree in Electrical Engineering (although I had to take the GRE and meet certain GPA requirements). I thought it was worth it, because I found the graduate classes to be more interesting than the undergraduate classes, and was determined to practice as an engineer after school.

I agree with the others that performance and experience matters more in terms of advancement. But a Master's degree can potentially open more doors for you after graduation. Some software companies only hire people with at least a Master's degree, with a corresponding higher starting pay. At my workplace, everyone in my team has at least a Master's degree or higher. The most senior technical folks have PhDs. Having said that, maybe explore and research the field that you think you would be interested in working in, after graduation. Does a large majority of people working in that field have a Master's degree?

It is easier to complete your Master's program while still in school. After you start working, it may be harder to switch back to school because of other commitments. This may also be something you want to consider.

Jaime
0