To Further Educate or Not
Currently I hold a Computer Science degree from a four year college. Ever since I have been out of school, I've wrestled with the idea of going back to work towards a Master's degree. Due to family and financial obligations that must come first (barring winning the lotto), I won't be able to go back and attend school full time, but a class a semester would certainly be doable.
What really has stopped me so far is that I'm not sure a Master's degree would even be worth it to me. The prestige would be nice, but at no point in my professional career have I needed to work on a project and felt like my lack of education was holding me back. If there is something I don't know (which I admit has happened at least once), I've found that the Internet is a wonderful source of information, most any issue I have I can do some searching that will point me in the right direction, or worst case I will ask for help on a message board.
Certainly having a Master's degree would open up some new doors for me, but I'm not sold they are doors I want to be opened. At my previously attended college, the Master's degree program was even more math-heavy than the bachelor's program and classes involved things like sorting optimization or writing your own compiler. Certainly positions that required these skills would be more challenging than my current employ, by I don't find the prospect of spending my days trying to shave a few milliseconds off of a search all that appealing (no offense meant to those who do, it's just not my bag, baby).
The prospect of more money that comes with a Master's degree certainly would be nice, but one thing I've realized since joining corporate America is that extra money isn't always worth it. I previously worked a job that paid considerably better than where I had been before, but after a year there, I found myself miserable at work for eight hours a day. It's an experience that I never want to have to relive and a big reason why I'm leery of some of the jobs that a Master's degree would open up for me. And if I don't want those types of jobs, it doesn't make a lot of sense to put myself in a position to get those jobs.
Now it's possible that having a Master's degree would open up more opportunities for me at my current position, in terms of getting more challenging projects (but still things that I'm interested in) and also a better likelihood of bigger raises when it comes that time. But certainly those are things that continuing to work hard and do a good job could also net me.
I would be interested to hear what other people think on this topic, especially those of you who have gone back to receive Master's degrees or better. These observations are me looking in from the outside, so they could be things I'm missing and I'm certain opportunities that would come with a Master's degree that I don't even realize. I probably sound more negative towards further education in this piece, but I think I might try a class come this fall and see if that changes my mind.
If nothing else, it will give me an opportunity to rack up more student loans. It's not as if I have enough of those that I'm paying off already.
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