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How much would a masters degree in computer science benefit me if I want to be a software engineer in the near future but unsure in the long run?

I am a computer science major junior, and right now I am considering if I should pursue a BS/MS 5-year program offered at my school. I am considering working as a software engineer but am unsure about my long-term professional goals. #engineer #computer #software

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Ollie’s Answer

Well done making it to your junior year!


It's hard to answer your question in the abstract. May I offer some questions you can ask yourself?


--Can I afford another year of education, or will I get deeper in debt?


--Will I be able to get a job if I don't extend my education?


--Do I want to spend another year with this group of faculty members? with this group of fellow students? Can I learn a lot more by sticking around an extra year?


--Considering that software engineering is a craft that takes lots and lots of practice, will doing the MS give me real practice? Will I get to develop software, or will I only have time to read lots of books, take lots of quizzes, and jump through academic hoops?


--Do I have a supportive mentor in the faculty? Will another year continuing that relationship help me blossom as a practitioner of my craft?


--Is there something special about the MS program? Does my university or my mentor have a particular focus area? Do I want to pursue that focus area and gain experience?


--Do I have a big project inside me clamoring to get out? Will an extra year of study give me time to do that project?


--Can I take special advantage of the resources available to students, like supercomputers, labs, libraries, and so forth? Do I need those resources to follow my dreams? Or will similar resources be available to me in the wider world?


--Will I learn more from taking a MS degree after I have some years of experience and maturity, or am I positioned to build on a good undergraduate career by extending it right now?


--Do I love teaching, and will an extra year in university give me the chance to serve as a teaching assistant?


Those are some of the questions that come to my mind.

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Philip’s Answer

I live Ollie's answer. In my opinion a 5 year program doesn't sound so bad. I have not gotten my MS mostly because other life items have taken a priority. If you have the energy, interest, and finances to do it now I would encourage you to spend the time now.

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Hanish’s Answer

If you’re someone that wants to be a software engineer then a bachelors should be enough. There are companies that ask for a masters, but that’s usually for specialized roles. If you’re looking into get a job with a decent starting pay as a software engineer then a bachelors would suffice but if you’re looking to get into more specialized roles and expect a better starting salary then a masters would help.
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