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#1 leo255  Icon User is offline

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Should I go for a Masters in CS, or a BS (have a prev degree)?

Posted 17 May 2014 - 02:23 PM

Hello all,

I have a previous degree (B.A. in Psychology) that I got about 7 years ago. Long story short, after working in the field for a few years, I just decided it wasn't for me, and then worked office jobs for the rest of the time. After being let go of my last job, I decided to go back to school at a CC (last fall), and am about the finish my second semester (not including winter school) - I took/am taking Calc I, Intro Data Structures, Java, and C this semester. Next semester, I am planning on taking Beginning Computer Architecture, Object Oriented C++, Calc II, and maybe another class.

My ideal degree would be one from a really good UC (i.e. UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD, UCSB, UCI). Obviously, besides the great education and name, I would have a great chance at getting awesome interships. The problem is that I believe that they do not take 2nd bachelor applicants, and I also think that financial aid gets dicey with 2nd bach., no matter where you go. Because of that, I'm wondering if the Masters is the better way to go.

I remember running into a professor I had for my introductory C++ class in the fall a few weeks ago, and she said to get the BS, with internships/certs, and not the MS, unless you/I want to teach the subject in college. I didn't really have time to talk, as I didn't mention the policies of the UC's with 2nd bachelor's students , fin. aid, etc.

Anyway, that's just what's on my mind. I still have finals/projects/etc. to worry about for this semester, but I appreciate the input from some of you guys on here.

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Replies To: Should I go for a Masters in CS, or a BS (have a prev degree)?

#2 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: Should I go for a Masters in CS, or a BS (have a prev degree)?

Posted 17 May 2014 - 02:43 PM

What do you expect the benifit of having the masters to be? If you can add languages and computer science classes and can get into the field your employer will usually pay for or reimburse for furthering your education.
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#3 leo255  Icon User is offline

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Re: Should I go for a Masters in CS, or a BS (have a prev degree)?

Posted 17 May 2014 - 07:40 PM

^^Well, the two primary issues are that financial aid is not given to those trying to get 2nd bachelor's, but most importantly, most of the good/great schools will not admit someone going for their 2nd bachelor's. The best schools (Berkeley, UCLA, UCSB, UCSD) just flat-out do not accept 2nd B.A.s/B.S.'s.

http://admission.uni...-baccalaureate/

In my Java and Data Structures classes, I hear all the time about students who were already accepted to really great schools (UCLA, UCSD, etc.). It sucks.

This post has been edited by leo255: 17 May 2014 - 07:49 PM

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#4 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: Should I go for a Masters in CS, or a BS (have a prev degree)?

Posted 17 May 2014 - 08:00 PM

You can pity yourself. You can go to , in your opinion a lesser school and get the degree. Or not. You either know what you can do and don't want to do it or want someone to convince you into something else.

Get your masters in a computer science field. Don't. Student loans are always an option. You can take your education where you want to. it does not limit what you can do for employment.
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#5 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Should I go for a Masters in CS, or a BS (have a prev degree)?

Posted 17 May 2014 - 09:21 PM

Have you looked at the admissions requirements for a Master's in CS? You will need at least a second semester data structures course, a decent background in low-level architecture, and a comparative languages course. A theory course would be helpful, too. Graduate programs in CS look at research potential (not teaching potential). Applicants from other fields are accepted with a demonstrated research potential if they have deficiencies. If you are applying for a Master's to learn CS from the ground up, you might not be choosing the best course of action. A Psychology degree would go well with Human-Computer Interaction, but again it comes back to prior experience in this area.

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Obviously, besides the great education and name, I would have a great chance at getting awesome interships.

My school wasn't on your list. Big name companies like Amazon and Microsoft pay our CS department big bucks to have access to our students. I agree with astonecipher- don't focus on the ego trip of the school name. Go where you can afford and get what you need. Any school with a decent CS program will get you where you need to be.
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#6 tarmizi_adam2005  Icon User is offline

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Re: Should I go for a Masters in CS, or a BS (have a prev degree)?

Posted 18 May 2014 - 04:00 AM

Hi,

First of all, you will have to ask yourself why would you want to go to graduate school ? Is it because of the money ? or do you like research ? are you going for teaching and university/college level ? or are you planning to go into academia ? From my experience, the ones that get out successful trough graduate schools are the ones that love research and are planning to go into academia some time in their life.

IMHO, if you have no interest in research or academia you would be better to just go into industry after finishing your bachelor's degree. Experience from industry and academia are quite different in my opinion. If you are planning to go into industry, yet still considering a master's degree you could check out the professionals Master's program or Master's without the thesis option. However, if your ultimate plan is to go a step further for your PhD and academia you should consider the Master of science with the thesis option. The Master's of science with thesis would really train you in conducting research and would be really beneficial when you enter the PhD program. You'll have to publish papers, go to conference etc.

Regarding the universities you listed, I think they don't have the professional master's. Top research universities usually offer the master of science because of the research output this program yields which is important for top research universities.

The masters' program is more than just programming. You will be introduced to advance theoretical aspects of computer science for example Advance AI, advance topics in maths, signal processing etc depending on your research field (if you are taking the Masters of Science). Well, that's about the master's program in general according to my personal experience. Hope this could somehow help you in deciding if a post grad degree is suitable for you, or what you really want.
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#7 leo255  Icon User is offline

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Re: Should I go for a Masters in CS, or a BS (have a prev degree)?

Posted 18 May 2014 - 08:00 AM

@astonecipher Thanks for your reply. I assure you, I'm not feeling sorry for myself. I've known about my general situation for a while, but it hasn't stopped me from working my behind off in my classes, as well as in my overall learning. Again, thanks for your help.

@macosxnerd101 Thanks, as well - I'm sure you went to an excellent school. My experience in Psychology was with working with autistic kids, and I have worked with kids with a range of mental disabilities. I kind of wondered how technology could help these kids, given the current standard therapies.

@tarmizi_adam2005 If I'm being honest, I probably am more interested in industry, than in teaching/research. I have also considered getting a Masters in Software Engineering - It's still not a professional master's, but it seems like it would be more directly in line with where my interests are.

Really appreciate the help from you all - As it stands, UC Irvine, UC Davis (college of engineering, which includes CS), and UC Santa Cruz accept 2nd B.S.'s. Cal Poly's (Pomona/San Luis Obispo) do not. It seems like all of the Cal State's accept them.

I'll just have to keep trying to get good grades, start working on some open-source projects, etc.
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