2 Replies - 270 Views - Last Post: 28 December 2017 - 01:41 PM

#1 AnalyticLunatic  Icon User is offline

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Researching a Masters Program - Suggestions?

Posted 28 December 2017 - 09:02 AM

Now that I have taken Calculus a second time (Technically passed 1st time, but missed what was required to "Pass" requirements for the Degree program by 2%) to receive a B, I am now officially 100% DONE with my Bachelors of Science Degree in Computer Science from Columbia College. (Yay!)

Prior to this I went to a 2yr Tech School for my Associates so I could immediately start working after, which I did, and 5yrs later now I have finished my Bachelors Degree through Evening/Online classes.

While I never intended to go on for a Master's Program unless I someday chose to seek management versus being a Code Monkey/Analyst, I now work as a Software Engineer for an Organization that treats it's employees very well in all facets, including paying (reimbursing) for my continued education. I will be Vested next year should I wish to seek other options, but for the foreseeable future have no intentions of leaving, so figure I may as well take advantage.

I was hoping to maybe hear from some others on here who may be in or have completed a Masters Program of some kind in IT and maybe receive some suggestions to look into. Unfortunately I cannot stay with Columbia College as their only Masters Program is Business Admin and I would like to stay somewhat IT focused.

If I stay local (physical classroom) within the Mid-Missouri area, I am leaning towards Mizzou's Data Science & Analytics Program as either an Evening/Online campus option, but my work will cover all classes required by any Program that can be tied to my current job - so I am also considering the idea of a fully Online Master's Program elsewhere.

Anyone have recommendations outside of Mizzou for me to possibly look at? I primarily enjoy my work as a Developer, writing code, but also have interest in some more Analytical training as well. Thanks! :smile2:

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Replies To: Researching a Masters Program - Suggestions?

#2 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: Researching a Masters Program - Suggestions?

Posted 28 December 2017 - 10:26 AM

Honestly I kind of see Masters in IT a bit of a waste. I think you would be better served to get a degree that compliments what you already know in IT. The reason I say this is because you go through the effort of completing a masters only to find that all the tech you used to obtain it is outdated in like 5 years. I mean imagine going for an interview and the potential employer asking "What did you do your master's thesis on?" and you say something like "Discrete data sets where I used Hadoop" and they going "Oh that is nice, no one really uses Hadoop anymore, we use ___________" or "Discrete data sets? That is so 2010's. We have moved onto _______"

Of course this is an exaggeration but you get the idea. I worked at a telecom company where half the people had masters in some kind of wireless tech that was almost on the verge being obsolete based on our own products.

Now if you mix your IT skills with something like business or finance or something like that, you can develop solutions that will serve for years to come. You can keep up on any new tech as it comes along but get experience in business rules that never expire... how you buy/sell today is almost the same as they use to do hundreds of years ago. The principles change much more slowly. I learned how to learn tech and use that skill to break into all sorts of markets that have me doing everything from accounting to inventory to VoIP to social media to you name it. If I had gone and gotten a Masters in some tech that gets dated, it would have been useless.

I am not saying a Master's in tech is completely useless, but it will show more that you are dedicated to your craft more than anything. But I wouldn't expect it to get you that much further. I beat out master's candidates for jobs and all because I have experience in tons of stuff that they don't.

This post has been edited by Martyr2: 28 December 2017 - 10:28 AM

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#3 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: Researching a Masters Program - Suggestions?

Posted 28 December 2017 - 01:41 PM

I agree with Martyr2- a Masters in IT seems like a waste of time, because technologies go by the wayside fairly quickly. If you are going to do a Masters, figure out what you want to get out of it. My suggestion is to find an area that excites you, and also one that focuses on techniques rather than technologies.

Some possible suggestions:
-Theory and Algorithms: There are lots of really neat areas here, like Complexity Theory, Quantum Computation, Bioinformatics, and Algorithmic Game Theory. In particular, Algorithmic Game Theory meshes quite well with data science, if you are looking for that route.

-Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: These are very hot right now, especially in industry

-Operations Research: The emphasis is on optimization techniques, and applications of CS and Math to real-world problems (e.g., scheduling umpires for the MLB so they each travel an equitable number of miles). In CS, showing a problem to be NP-Hard is usually the stopping point. In OR, the goal is to get better and efficient solutions for computationally difficult problems. Note that OR is often housed in the Industrial Systems and Engineering department or the Business school under Management/Managerial Science.


There are probably lots of areas I missed, but hopefully this gives you a better idea of what is out there.

If you pursue a masters, my suggestion is to knock out a thesis. A thesis presents the opportunity to get up to speed with current research in an area of interest, and it allows you to really become an expert in said area.

Another less advertised point of grad school is to interact with your peers and faculty. Much of what you learn will be from your conversations with these folks, and an online program doesn't offer this opportunity at remotely the same level.
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