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Cool, Science-y Masters Programs For Software Devs?

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the build-me-a-wormhole-out-of-infinite-loops dept.

Education 150

An anonymous reader writes "I'm an early-30s software engineer with 10 years of development experience, and a BA in computer science from a top university. I've been working for several years at a national lab in bioinformatics, but I'm starting to wonder what other interesting directions there are to go for people in my boat: computer science majors with software development experience. The goal would be to find a position that could leverage my development skills, but also include a strong research component, without the need for a Ph.D. (I would be happy to get a masters for the right job.) I'm actually getting some of those things in my current job, but I'm ready to move on to new or different areas of research. Possible fields that seem interesting so far: neuroscience, economics/sociology, and AI. I'm happy to work in a team in support of Ph.D.s, but would like an active part in the research end of things as well as the tool-making end."

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150 comments

wait, wait, i think i.... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943708)

BINGO!

Obvious answer... (4, Informative)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 4 years ago | (#32943724)

Have you considered just going for a standard master's degree in chemistry, biology, etc.? You'll probably have to take 4-6 remedial courses, but that wouldn't be the end of the world unless you absolutely can't invest the time/money.

If you really want to do a program that has one foot in Computer Science, maybe something like Brown's computational molecular biology program [brown.edu] ? It's PhD-oriented, but I'm sure they'd take your money in exchange for a master's degree.

Re:Obvious answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943938)

If you work in a research environment your standing lacking a PhD will be about the same as a janitor despite your expertise in software.Why not just go for the degree?

Re:Obvious answer... (1)

mikael_j (106439) | about 4 years ago | (#32943988)

I think that would depend a lot on where you work and how needed your expertise is.

Someone with two degrees, one in CS/CE and another in the field at hand could probably be considered very valuable although I'm sure there are stuck up researchers who would look down on you for "only" having two degrees in different fields instead of a single PhD.

not true (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 4 years ago | (#32946130)

If you work in a research environment your standing lacking a PhD will be about the same as a janitor despite your expertise in software.Why not just go for the degree?

That is only true if you limit research environment to academia to the exclusion of private and government R&D programs. Once you include those, then that statement is pretty much bullcrap.

Re:Obvious answer... (1)

evolvearth (1187169) | about 4 years ago | (#32944014)

Science grad schools don't take a dime from you. You're either have a generous RA stipend or TA stipend.

Re:Obvious answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944206)

I think it's typically full tuition, $20,000ish stipend, and health care. If you have an outside fellowship, the department usually increases your stipend. I know some people who came for the PhD and left with a masters. They received all the benefits and paid none of the costs that the masters students had to pay. I know of at least one masters student who was not accepted to the PhD program. They admitted him to the masters program and gave him the full funding package.

Re:Obvious answer... (1)

cjcela (1539859) | about 4 years ago | (#32944324)

For what I've seen, it is harder to get founded for an MS than for a PhD. Undergrad and MS are cash-cow's for many schools. They likely want your money. PhD's bring something different, so usually are given RA's or TA's. If you are interested in research, you should go for a PhD with the right adviser - that is what will open the doors for you, the people you network with, even more than the degree.

Re:Obvious answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944832)

My Advisor told me something similar when I was graduating with my Bachelors, that it's much easier to get funding for a PhD than a Masters. He also said something about how with a Masters, you've pretty much laid the groundwork for you PhD and then just stopped, if you're going to go for an advanced degree you might as well go all the way for a PhD and get the extra standing and respect that it gives.

Re:Obvious answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32945820)

This is true in the U.S. It is very hard to get funded for an MS degree. I've been through the process before and it was painful. U.S. schools want you to do a Ph.D. -- the Master's (being a 2 year) program, is too short to do any significant research so most profs prefer not to fund M.S. projects. They are cash cows, like MBA programs, except without the payback.

There are exceptions, but they are just that -- exceptions. I know a couple of folks on funded M.S. programs, but they're usually folks who did their undergrad degrees in the same institution and are staying on for an M.S. A couple of them are top students from India or some such place.

I decided to do my M.S. in Canada, where most bigger universities fund all graduate studies in science and engineer (even if you're not a Canadian citizen). My stipend was about C$24,000 a year (tax free. USD1 = CAD1.05), which includes a guaranteed TA/RA position. It's not much, but it's enough to survive on if you're single. Depending which school you go to, you'll get an M.S. degree is comparable in quality to a large American state school. Seriously. The Canadian university system is very, very similar to the American one (thesis with coursework, GPA system, U.S. professors etc.).

Re:Obvious answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944476)

Hear, hear: Domain knowledge in a related field rules. A masters in statistics can be surprisingly powerful for a developer.

Re:Obvious answer... (1)

eonlabs (921625) | about 4 years ago | (#32946534)

Or you could keep the computer science side of things as your focus and work on biologically inspired systems. Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Computer/Machine Vision are all good candidates.

Math (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32946670)

I got a masters of science in math last year from Texas A&M. It was a fun program, quite educational, and decently affordable for an in state resident. They've got a distance option if you want to keep getting paid.

John

Law School. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943734)

Just graduated after 9 years as a software dev. It's a cinch as a Dev, it is interesting, and tremendously useful.

Re:Law School. (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 4 years ago | (#32943772)

How would you contrast what's hard about law school vs. software development?

For example, do you have to memorize far more for law school?

Re:Law School. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944284)

There wasn't much memorization in law school (now studying for the bar is a different matter). I loved it because law is essentially programming. Both law & software provide a set of instructions that you are supposed to follow to get a result. In law, your processor may or may not follow the instructions, or may not even understand the instruction set that is being used, and moreover each processor's interpretation may affect (i.e. screw up) subsequent processors. In software, your processor does exactly what you told it to, whether you want it to or not. The end result of both is bugs, either leading to re-factoring, hacking, or wholesale replacement.

Leaving aside ideological positions for the moment, Roe V. Wade is a good example. The legal framework from that case was an unworkable "trimester" framework that was subsequently replaced in Planned Parenthood v. Casey with the "point of viability" test, which arguably isn't much clearer (when exactly is the point of viability?) in programming, there really can't be any uncertainty because a processor can't handle it. In law, the entire game is "where to hide the uncertainty." In tort law, uncertainty hides behind the "reasonable person." Want to know what the standard of care is? It is what a reasonable person would do. It is a fascinating study in sociology & logic.

Finally, as a programmer, it is relatively easy to understand. What a lot of your classmates and up struggling with will seem like a relatively trivial set of if-then statements compared to the nasty logic you had to sort through as a programmer. And if you are seeking to either exploit or overturn the existing IP framework, what better way than to understand it from the inside.

Re:Law School. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944678)

"Finally, as a programmer, it is relatively easy to understand. What a lot of your classmates and up struggling with will seem like a relatively trivial set of if-then statements compared to the nasty logic you had to sort through as a programmer. And if you are seeking to either exploit or overturn the existing IP framework, what better way than to understand it from the inside."

Now that you become a lawyer, why would want to overturn them, unless you're paid to do so?

Re:Law School. (1)

jc42 (318812) | about 4 years ago | (#32946544)

... Both law & software provide a set of instructions that you are supposed to follow to get a result. In law, your processor may or may not follow the instructions, or may not even understand the instruction set that is being used, and moreover each processor's interpretation may affect (i.e. screw up) subsequent processors. In software, your processor does exactly what you told it to, whether you want it to or not. ...

Heh. In reality, software is usually more like you describe law. Computer may do "exactly what you told it to" in some sense, but this claim is highly misleading. Unless you're working at the very lowest hardware level, the processor's behavior is often wildly unpredictable, because the documentation is always sketchy and very often downright wrong. A significant part of debugging is discovering what the code did "wrong", i.e., differently from the way you understood the language was supposed to behave. Furthermore, when you carry code to a new processor, it's quite normal for all sorts of things to be executed differently than on the previous processor. As a programmer, you have no defense against this. You can say that the machine is doing something wrong, but the machine doesn't listen to you or correct its behavior. It can take years for programmers to appreciate this and learn how to do "defensive programming" so that code is actually portable among a class of machines and systems.

And extreme case is anything that works on the Web. Browsers often do wildly different things with the same "code" (i.e., your HTML and/or CSS). This behavior is mostly not documented at all; what documentation you can find is vague, fuzzy and often contradictory. Thehe browsers are full of outright violations of published standards. The top browser, IE, openly declares itself the standard, and thumbs its nose at the official standards, but the other browsers are wildly different from each other while claiming to follow the official standards. Compared to this, the legal system is almost sane and reasonable in comparison.

(Actually, I've done a fair amount of programming in perl and python, and I've rarely found non-portable code in those language. But then, the designers of those languages explicitly faced the insanity that they knew existed at the lower "system" level, and took extreme steps to correct for it in their implementations. Most of my perl and python code actually works on Microsoft systems, although that's not where I wrote it. ;-)

Re:Law School. (3, Insightful)

Tyler Durden (136036) | about 4 years ago | (#32943814)

No offense, but I'm guessing that anybody with the same interests as the OP would find the topic of law wrist-slashingly dull.

Re:Law School. (2, Interesting)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | about 4 years ago | (#32943864)

Not necessarily... I bet writing an expert system for legal questions would be fascinating. Or hell, even just a legalese to English translator would be a non-trivial problem.

Re:Law School. (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 4 years ago | (#32943978)

Those are dumb ideas. Those problems are not only undecidable, but they are actively discouraged by the profession.

Re:Law School. (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | about 4 years ago | (#32944192)

Fully automated systems are discouraged.. But what if a big law firm wantted to analyze all previous decisions on a subjuct, then apply a statistical liklihood that a given judge will decide in your favor, based on the judge's previous judicial bias? It's not much different than trying to predict the stock market, really. Though it does add a few more variables.

Re:Law School. (3, Funny)

afabbro (33948) | about 4 years ago | (#32944382)

Fully automated systems are discouraged.. But what if a big law firm wantted to analyze all previous decisions on a subjuct, then apply a statistical liklihood that a given judge will decide in your favor, based on the judge's previous judicial bias? It's not much different than trying to predict the stock market, really. Though it does add a few more variables.

As we said: wrist-slashingly dull. Law is just excruciatingly boring to most people.

Re:Law School. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32946516)

As we said: wrist-slashingly dull.

This is an acute observation, because if a person followed through with this course of action and was consequently left with debilitating physical, psychological, and/or career problems, there would be a number of interesting liability issues to be resolved. In particular:

  • the person's employer; were employees with mental health issues encouraged to seek help, in a way which could not damage their careers? And were they given sufficient time to develop their private and family lives, or were they expected to essentially turn their lives over to the firm?
  • the manufacturer of the knife used in the self-inflicted wound
  • the store (bricks and mortar, or online) where the knife was purchased
  • the manufacturer(s) of bandages (if any) and disinfectants used to temporarily dress the wound
  • the hospital, paramedics and doctors who treated the wrist wound
  • the employee's psychiatrist or other mental health care professional, if any

might all be usefully served with subpoenas for depositions and detailed document discovery requests, including any and all paper and electronic records, email, receipts, and call transaction logs covering the period of the employee's tenure with his current firm.

You'd be surprised (5, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 4 years ago | (#32944380)

My family all seem to be engineers, computer scientists or lawyers. There really isn't that much difference whether you're checking available APIs and algorithms and using them to build software, checking technologies and codes and using them to design a building, or checking law and precedent to build an argument. They all involve abstract thought, concrete outcomes, and an ability to guess in advance how people will screw up, and try to mitigate it. Law pays more, engineering gives you greater variety of work, that's about it.

Re:Law School. (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 4 years ago | (#32946146)

Just graduated after 9 years as a software dev. It's a cinch as a Dev, it is interesting, and tremendously useful.

How's the job search going? It seems lawyers are harder hit than many others in white-collar jobs by the Depression.

Better off... (2)

alfaromeo (190210) | about 4 years ago | (#32943750)

You are better off getting a Master's in the field of your choice from a top-ranked university. It is not so much what they teach you, it is the following:

1. You get exposed to a wide range of fields so you can pick and choose what really fascinates you.
2. You meet a lot of great people and network, so you can open more doors that just mailing resumes.
3. Finally, going back to school gives you the time and bandwidth to think through these issues (rather than the daily rigmarole of a job)

Good luck

top rank's not so important (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944018)

With relatively few exceptions, nobody much cares specifically where you went to school, as long as it's not Nocturnal Aviation and Degree Mill, LLC. What they care about is that you did "something" and that you did "well". You're much better off being at the top of the class at a 2nd tier school than struggling against the stars at a 1st rank school. This is both from a philosophical standpoint (it should be fun) and from a ROI standpoint (salary is correlated more strongly with class position than with school. 50th percentile starting pay doesn't vary all that much between schools)

If you're self-funding the process, then shooting for a reasonably good, but less expensive, grad school is a better thing overall. You don't have to worry about cash flow as much (which seriously distorts your thinking processes.. if you're worried about making the rent, you're not worrying about the education).

Bioinformatics (1)

Cyberax (705495) | about 4 years ago | (#32943780)

Bioinformatics is currently a very interesting subject. You can dabble into cloud computing, non-relational databases, etc. And that's only from the IT side.

Computational Physics (5, Interesting)

diewlasing (1126425) | about 4 years ago | (#32943788)

I'll cast my vote for computational physics. As a physics grad student myself, I find myself writing and reviewing code for simulations. And you don't need a phd to do this.

If you get any sort of training in computational physics you could be invaluable. Computational physicists are in demand in almost all fields: nuclear, atomic (simulating system-bath interactions), high energy, biophysics (protein folding sims), astrophysics, etc.

In my department, we have collaborated with the cs department in writing software for some of our sims.

Re:Computational Physics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943902)

I second this. One of the best grad students I've met double majored in CS for undergrad (he worked in experimental high energy physics, which is basically all programming).

Re:Computational Physics (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944512)

I'll cast my vote for computational physics. As a physics grad student myself, I find myself writing and reviewing code for simulations. And you don't need a phd to do this.

Perhaps not in physics, but you ought to have a very thorough training in numerical analysis (i.e., not just one course or two). Like the OP I work at a national lab (as an applied mathematician). I find there are way too many physicists working in isolation that think "numerical recipes" is extent of what they need to know to do computational physics, and not surprisingly, poor-quality numerical (and scientific) code is often the result..

Re:Computational Physics (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | about 4 years ago | (#32945382)

I find there are way too many physicists working in isolation that think "numerical recipes" is extent of what they need to know to do computational physics, and not surprisingly, poor-quality numerical (and scientific) code is often the result..

I have to second this. There are some fields in which the researchers are not strongly mathematically-minded, let alone numerically-minded, and it does indeed lead to inefficient code that produces results which may be incorrect in ways they never thought to check. You could easily be a hero (or villian) if you can get into one of these research communities with good software and numerical skills: you can sometimes make their code run in O(n) or O(n log n) time instead of O(n^2) (or worse), but you may also show them that it's producing results (which they've been relying on) that are incorrect in some (perhaps not so subtle) ways.

Re:Computational Physics (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 4 years ago | (#32945436)

Pardon my ignorance, but I'm puzzled by your comment. Complexity measures O(n), O(nlogn) normally refer to the amount of work done in an algorithm, as opposed to the (floating point) numerical accuracy of the output. The latter is better measured by the condition number. If you're changing the complexity, then you're really changing the algorithm, not addressing the accuracy per se, unless the new algorithm is inherently more accurate.

Can you give an example where a complexity change improves the accuracy? Offhand, I can think of one case (sorting numbers before summing them), but that actually increases the complexity (the algo goes from O(n) to O(nlogn)).

Re:Computational Physics (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | about 4 years ago | (#32945522)

Sorry if it appears that I'm conflating the two; I didn't mean to imply that accuracy and complexity are necessarily related. I meant that sometimes one can find ways to reduce the complexity of a correct implementation without affecting accuracy, and sometimes one will find that a numerical method has been implemented incorrectly, or that the selected method isn't applicable to the problem at hand, and therefore the results produced may be wrong.

The general case I'm talking about for reducing complexity is when the original coder chose some sub-optimal way to implement something. For example, some step in the algorithm requires using the value of an integral inside a loop, and so they make O(n) calls to an O(n) function to calculate the integral, rather than computing the integral first and then using the computed values in the loop.*

* And, no, we're not talking about small values of n, or limited memory, or any other reason somebody might have for doing this. It's just that they didn't realize they were doing something in an O(n^2) fashion when it could be done just as accurately in O(n).

Re:Computational Physics (5, Interesting)

zeroRenegade (1475839) | about 4 years ago | (#32944552)

I also came from a top computer science school, but I only worked for a year, before having it out with a new senior developer (who wanted me to hold his hand when it was not my job to train asshole senior developers). A professor happened to offer me a masters program the same week everything exploded at work. The happenstance of it was uncanny, so I took the opportunity without a second glance, and quit my job. My topic is hydrodynamics engineering. Numerical simulations for fluid dynamics is one of the most satisfying fields of research. It can be very graphically oriented, or purely math based. If I were you, I would email a few professors in fields that interest you. Find their email address es by combing over the faculty lists at schools that interest you, and check out their personal webpages, since they will list a lot of the research they are currently involved in. The other step is to check out major conferences like chi or siggraph (and some minor ones). Check out videos online, read some papers and presentations that interest you, and then contact the individuals involved.

Re:Computational Physics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944864)

Don't waste your time with bioinformatics/AI/economics, there is VERY LITTLE challenge in those fields. Take a look a meteorology/climatology/computational physics/engineering

Operational simulations (2, Interesting)

spicifer (1224708) | about 4 years ago | (#32944764)

Computational physics is indeed a very good choice. I'll go a step further and recommend any field where modelling is done in an operational setting, i.e. meteorology (weather, tornadoes, ...), aerosol physics (volcano ash!), oceanography, etc.

Often the difference between developing simulations just for research purposes and developing them in an operational environment is code quality. Mission critical code must be more rigorously developed, which means that there is more opportunity for CS majors to apply their software engineering skills to practice. Also funding for operational work tends to be more stable than research grants, since there are more immediate benefits to society.

There are, however, also opportunities to do research. I have a MSc in computational physics and in the few years I've worked with operational model development I've continuously had opportunities to participate in research papers. The PhD's I've worked with always seem appreciate my contributions, I have plenty of work to keep me busy and I learn exciting new stuff about nature every day.

Applied math? (4, Interesting)

gotfork (1395155) | about 4 years ago | (#32943816)

How is your math background? You could get a masters in applied math and then go on to do all sorts of things -- from working in any number of fields to doing further graduate work on things like fluid dynamics or solid state physics. I also like the computational physics suggestion (being a physics grad myself), but it might be hard to get into an interesting program right away depending on your background. Good luck!

Neuroscience (3, Interesting)

Pedrito (94783) | about 4 years ago | (#32943894)

In the past few years, I've become very interested in neuroscience and I've read and studied a great deal about it. Unfortunately, the local universities don't have a neuroscience specialty, so a PhD is out of the question unless I relocate.

Computer science and neuroscience really go hand-in-hand these days. There's a great deal of research being done from the modeling of just ion channels to the modeling of entire cells, to the modeling of large-scale brain structures.

My personal belief is that software, based on neuroscience principles, will become an important area of software development for writing intelligent systems. Systems that can effectively recognize voices, faces, or interpret language, etc, are natural targets. Imagine a stock picking system that reads news stories and factors in emotional content into its picks (after all, let's face it, since the internet made stock-trading more accessible, emotion plays much heavier into the market). Systems could be designed that could monitor financial transactions to find and identify novel types of fraud. In astronomy, because of the number and quality of images coming in, one could create systems that could intelligently view the volumes of images and identify and catalog new objects.

Really, it's an area that's wide open to possibilities. But to understand how to properly piece together the types of artificial neural circuits to accomplish this kind of functionality, one would need a fairly good understanding of how the various circuits in a human brain connect and interact and how they are used to process information (we already understand a tremendous amount about this and we're learning more all the time). Really, neuroscience seems to me to be the new computer science. It's where some of the most amazing advances are being made in science today, in my opinion.

But it is just my opinion and there are lots of other possibilities. I'm definitely enthusiastic about this..

Re:Neuroscience (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944354)

I'm studying for my PhD in Computational Neuroscience currently. I studied for a BSc in CS from the institution previously (and a BSc in Psychology prior to that). The Computing Department I am in does not have a Neuroscience speciality... lots of work on ANN's, expert systems and other Cybernetic/AI topics... But only one individual looking at anything more than point/concept Neuron models (2 with me now). Specifically I'm looking at Compartmental models, and population responses and the role of Noise in Neural Computation... but I'll probably be shifting a little to look at Ion channels and their interactions and dynamics.

But, to get back to the point... Yes, an institute with a dedicated Neuroscience department, or a serious specialisation for Neuroscience in Computing or Biology depts (or similar) would be good... but it isn't necessary. A single supervisor is all you really need to get the PhD off the ground. And maybe access to some good, parallel Hardware... those Compartmental models can be CPU-time hungry.

medical informatics (2, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 4 years ago | (#32943946)

If you want to get away from the micro-scale side of biology but still use some of your skills and experience, you might consider getting into medical informatics. There's an enormous amount of R&D to be done in the areas of electronic medical records, automated order entry, clinical surveillance, drug interaction databases, etc. If you're interested in sociology and economics, data mining to determine the costs and benefits of health care is a big deal right now, for obvious reasons. If you want to go the AI route, then semi-automated diagnosis and "personalized medicine" are also very promising fields. And there's no shortage of degree programs if you want to get a Master's; a quick Google search on "medical informatics MS" turns up tons of results.

Re:medical informatics (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | about 4 years ago | (#32944004)

how many of the results on a search for "medical informatics MS" are for a Masters of Science and not Multiple Sclerosis?

Re:medical informatics (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 4 years ago | (#32944028)

Heh. On the couple of pages, at least, all of them are for the degree, not the disease. Long-term grad students might argue that there's not really much difference ...

Re:medical informatics (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 4 years ago | (#32944078)

Argh. "On the first couple of pages ..." etc.

You're already doing it. (4, Insightful)

mbkennel (97636) | about 4 years ago | (#32943950)

Get a MS in bioinformatics and instead of concentrating on the computer science which you'll find easy at the moment, learn all the relevant biology. And then go back to the national lab.

Or, try physical oceanography/geophysics/atmospheric physics; there is substantial data analysis & software.

But, think about your career path after your degree program.

The problem is that you start to do all the real research after the masters, and everybody else is a PhD student/postdoc. And unless you want to get paid like a PhD student (unlikely since you're at a national lab and making much more $) it would be very hard for a research group to afford you. If they do have the money for a professional programmer (very few do these days) they'll want you to do the programming stuff that the grad students don't want to do (or don't have time/expertise). Even if you can program better than the grad students, you won't be appreciated in an individual research group because the essential purpose is scientific creation and the valued artifact is publishable scientific results, not an enduring software system.

You wouldn't be valued for your scientific skills much unless you are on the science track which is PhD, and if you want to do science for real that's what you need.

If you can get the job you could try to be a scientific programmer for the very large climate model codes on supercomputers which present substantial software problems beyond what a typical grad student or postdoc can accomplish on their own; that's a reasonable, though difficult career path. That's an application where the software itself is considered valuable enough to be worth maintaining professionally. Problem with this is that it is 100% dependent on Federal funding, and as it looks like Republicans are going to win the next elections and likely eviscerate climate research it may not be a large opportunity.

Are you doing this for your own personal enjoyment or do you want to make scientific contributions (i.e. publish papers in journals and contribute to core ideas). If it's the 2nd there isn't any substitute for PhD.

Re:You're already doing it. (1)

mbkennel (97636) | about 4 years ago | (#32943992)

Apologies for the self-reply, I already submitted it.

There is something else to consider: the average biologist is a much worse programmer & mathemetician than the average physical oceanographer/geophysicist, and hence biologists need (or more specifically know they need) professional software & computational scientists much more than physical scientists do.

Re:You're already doing it. (3, Interesting)

zeroRenegade (1475839) | about 4 years ago | (#32944668)

The problem is that you start to do all the real research after the masters, and everybody else is a PhD student/postdoc. And unless you want to get paid like a PhD student (unlikely since you're at a national lab and making much more $) it would be very hard for a research group to afford you. If they do have the money for a professional programmer (very few do these days) they'll want you to do the programming stuff that the grad students don't want to do (or don't have time/expertise). Even if you can program better than the grad students, you won't be appreciated in an individual research group because the essential purpose is scientific creation and the valued artifact is publishable scientific results, not an enduring software system.

I've got to tastefully disagree. I am a professional programmer, I am on a masters track, I get paid like a PhD, and I do the research of a PhD. A PhD is simply part 2 of my research, if I choose to do it. If there are no universities in the USA that can afford you, then come to a Canadian University (University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, University of British Columbia) . There is lots of research money up here. We have produced as much research and development as any country in the world (satellite and radio communications, Canada Arm (NASA's robotic arm), lots of other rover technology, etc).

Re:You're already doing it. (4, Interesting)

RandCraw (1047302) | about 4 years ago | (#32946702)

Outstanding advice. I have a BS in bio and an MS in CS plus 20 years of experience, 80% in R&D (supercomputing/sci programming, DoD C^4I, AI). Presently, I do medical image analysis R&D in a giant pharma. My experience confirms mbkennel's advice. But I would avoid scientific programming. It's a support job that leads only to more of the same. You will likely work beneath postdocs and remain employed only as long as long as your current project remains funded.

More generally, without a PhD you will never lead an R&D team. You will always be a subordinate. This is worst in pure sciences, in academia and at large east coast corporations, and probably best in engineering and at small startups.

My recommendation: look at jobs in bioinformatics (or even comp. bio) that 'require' a MS. Talk to others who are working in such a role to learn whether they really are in a leadership position (and not just extolled the potential of one).

Also: consider a MS in one of the engineerings -- EE, ME, Mat Sci, or Eng Sci. Then find work in industry. Licensed professional engineers are recognized by most for-profit employers as first string players and team leaders. The folks who lead engineering teams, no matter how large (like space shuttles or 787s), usually are pro engineers w/ MSs, and not PhDs. The exceptions are, again, east-coast giant corporations who are more afraid of failing than excited about winning.

Finally, avoid a degree in the sciences unless it's a PhD + postdoc(s). There's a perpetual glut of PhD physicists (and soon, chemists & biologists). When competing for a science job, a MS in science will lose out to these folks every time (since the project manager will also have a PhD, and will see you as 'one of *them* and not 'one of *us*').

Can't do research without PhD (2, Informative)

evolvearth (1187169) | about 4 years ago | (#32943996)

With the flood of PhDs in the market, nobody is going to want you to do any actual research without a PhD. With a Master's you can be a glorified lab tech, database manager, programmer, whatever, but even if you're way more than qualified, they won't let you do any significant research without a PhD.

Your best bet is to join a PhD program, deal with the significant decrease in income for five years, then get into the career you want. The more you wait and older you get, the harder it will be to take such action.

Re:Can't do research without PhD (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 4 years ago | (#32946180)

Absolute nonsense. There is plenty of research (and R&D) in the industry (specially telecommunications and bio-informatics) and government/defense sectors. This is specially true if you are a software developer with a background in EE (or biology in the case of bio-informatics or mathematics if you go NSA).

i go for psychology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944040)

is astonishing the number of beautiful woman per square metre that you can find there, you can make some research too and well, your development skills are not needed but your dating skills will go to the roof.

Re:i go for psychology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32946954)

and then you astonished about the number of crazy lesbian woman per square meter that you can find there too.

Applied Mathematics (4, Informative)

Bob_Geldof (887321) | about 4 years ago | (#32944044)

Get a M.Sc. or Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics. There are plenty of schools that offer it and you might be surprised at how easy it is to be admitted to a program. Some even have an online masters program that makes it rather convenient to complete, like UW Seattle, where I got my M.Sc.

I work at a research lab connected to a large research university and having the M.Sc. definitely helps in getting to work on more interesting projects. The advantage with not having the Ph.D. is there is less burden on you to go find funding. The trick is to become indispensable to a couple of primary investigators that do completely different things to help improve job security. Where I work it is possible for a person with a M.Sc. to become a PI, so eventually if I start coming up with my own ideas, I should be able to work something out and be in charge of my own projects.

Work as an RA for a while? (3, Interesting)

Frequency Domain (601421) | about 4 years ago | (#32944048)

Pick some university department that you think aligns with your interests. Get a job as a Research Assistant or Associate. Take as many courses you want in whatever you want, without regard for whether they make a degree, while you're supporting and being part of a strong research program. If your selected courses look like some existing degree, go talk with the department head to negotiate what would be needed to convert your work into a degree. If not, negotiate an "interdisciplinary" degree with the dean's office or just live comfortably with the course credits but no degree.

You'll make less money than in industry, but that'll be offset to some extent by free tuition. Meanwhile, you'll have unlimited opportunity to explore while you "work in a team in support of Ph.D.s" and have plenty of opportunity to play "an active part in the research end of things as well as the tool-making end."

Terminal Degree and Biostat's (3, Informative)

logistic (717955) | about 4 years ago | (#32944052)

In alot of scientific disciplines Master's degree's are consolation prizes for people who get part way through the PhD and realize they're in the wrong field. (eg a master's in biology basically qualifies you for a pay raise as a lab tech but not much else) You want to pick a discipline where master's degree in itself is a useful credential. Most fields of engineering, Master of Public Health, Medical informatics are examples. If you're willing to get a PhD there are a million fields where your skills will be rare and valuable (most chemist's neuroscientist;s etc are not coders but would build themselves better tools if they were, fish biology, oceonography you name it just about. )

Look really hard at biostatistics. Pretty much all clinical medical research needs a biostatistician to be published but the Ph.D's don't get promoted checking the work of the clinical researchers and consulting for them. As a master's level statistician you could likely find work in a statistics "core" and get to help lots of different groups analyze their data at a given institution. It stay's pretty interesting because you don't get bogged down working for one group on the same project forever.

Good luck!

Re:Terminal Degree and Biostat's (1)

flynt (248848) | about 4 years ago | (#32944598)

I can second this. I did a Master's in Biostatistics, and have a computing background from undergrad. It sounds like this would be a good fit for you, since you're working in a related field already. In the five years I've been working at universities since my Master's, I've had a lot of different experiences, ranging from large clinical trials to military projects. Your computing background will make you a very valuable asset to almost any group you work in, as a lot of stats people are entering from a math background and have little formal programming experience. It's a really good fit for me, because it allows me to balance my time between consulting, designing studies, and programming to analyze them. R and SAS are the two big programs that people in biostat tend to use. I'd look into it if I were you.

It depends (5, Interesting)

hoytak (1148181) | about 4 years ago | (#32944062)

As a Ph.D. student in statistics with a masters in CS (mainly machine learning and AI), here's my few words of advice:

First, some masters programs are aimed at research masters, and encourage you to incorporate a strong research component to your degree, and some are more "predictable" and classroom based with smaller, more defined projects. The master's program I did at UBC - - University of British Columbia -- was heavy on the research; we took 1 year of classes and then 1 year of research. They also have a strong machine learning and AI program, which I thought was very neat. If you pursue that direction, contact me directly and I'll give you the inside scoop. Other programs may have similar research tracks, but many don't.

Second, it would really be the particular professors you end up working with that will shape your experience and how much you develop your software skills. You can learn about what a particular research group or working group is like from the websites of the professors involved and what sorts of paper and software they've published recently. I would highly encourage you to contact such professors before you apply to the university; the university admissions process is more about keeping bad people out than making sure the absolute best get in, so there's a lot of randomness in the admissions. Having a professor say "I'd like to work with this person, he'd be a big help to my research, can you let him in" usually means you get in unless the department doesn't think you could succeed. And, frankly, any professor would love to have a great coder on their team; many people without job experience can be bad coders.

Finally, if you are math inclined, and want something that could vastly help you in the job market, I'd consider doing a statistics degree. Statistics is pretty ubiquitous -- machine learning, AI, etc. are really just sexy names for statistics (yes, there's some more algorithms thrown in the mix, but the underlying theory is all statistics), and it also comes up in pretty much every other field as well. If you go to a strong research university, it's likely that you'll have opportunity to do research in a ton of different fields; I'm now at the university of washington in the stats department, and half the professors are joint with another department like economics, sociology, biology (there's a strong biostats department too), etc. I joke that it's the degree program for indecisive people, since it doesn't really limit what field you end up studying in. (Of course, not all stats programs are like this, but UW is).

Re:It depends (1)

Aboroth (1841308) | about 4 years ago | (#32946730)

Having a professor say "I'd like to work with this person, he'd be a big help to my research, can you let him in" usually means you get in unless the department doesn't think you could succeed.

I'd only add that just because a professor says he wants you doesn't necessarily mean that helps your chances of admission at all. If they aren't on the admissions committee, then their wishes might mean squat, no matter what. Departmental politics plays a bigger role than anyone would like, and can rear its ugly head in strange and annoying ways. These people have seen lots of students come in claiming they know they want to be there, and know what they want to do, only to see them be a horrible fit, quit, or fail spectacularly. This leads to people sometimes ignoring your stated interests, and instead making up their own pseudo-professional profile of you based on your admissions materials. Of course every department is different and deals with things in its own way.

Just learn to never, ever get excited about any statements regarding admission until you get it in writing.

my MIT classmates do software; none majored in it (3, Informative)

peter303 (12292) | about 4 years ago | (#32944068)

Most of the people I keep track of from school are doing some kind software now. Yet none of us majored in it. We have geology, biology, physics, electrical engineering and a literature degrees among us. Its a lot easier to pick up software competency after doing science, than vice-versa.

Re: my MIT classmates do software; none majored in (4, Insightful)

LandruBek (792512) | about 4 years ago | (#32947070)

  • Since none of you majored in CS, how do you know the "vice versa" part?
  • CS isn't just about software development. (Admittedly, a BSCS mostly is.)
  • I've seen what non-CS people call software "competency" and I think we might disagree on what that term means.

(Sorry if this sounds a little bit gruff.)

Re: my MIT classmates do software; none majored in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32947116)

Most of the people I keep track of from school are doing some kind software now. Yet none of us majored in it. We have geology, biology, physics, electrical engineering and a literature degrees among us. Its a lot easier to pick up software competency after doing science, than vice-versa.

Not necessarily true. It's just that there is much more need for folks to understand software in this day and age.

Go for Neuroscience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944080)

I 'm like you, exactly 30, with a bsc in Physics. Worked in IT for 6 years then took a master's degree and now i 'm going for a phd in computational neuroscience. You won't regret it:
1) You don't need any more CS education
2) You will learn a bunch of biology stuff that is actually interesting
3) You are entering on a field that is only starting to become interesting with fundamental results yet to come
4) It is highly interdisciplinary
5) It is the new AI
6) Who knows, one day you 'll be able to see the matrix

BA? Humbug. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944094)

A B.A. in computer 'science' is the equivalent of a cereal-box driver's license. Go engineering for real science and application.

Here we go again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944134)

Dude, you are not an engineer. You're a coder with some nice compsci background.

Labeling yourself an engineer may sound cool but that title is reserved for folks who completed a rigorous degree in a specific field of engineering. Not to mention those that have received their EIT and PE licenses. Those are registered with the state.

Re:Here we go again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944374)

In this case, the OP received a BA in computer science, but many schools offer a BSE in computer science. My BSEs were in computer science engineering and computer engineering. We have to complete the same engineering requirements as any other engineering student including calculus, physics, chemistry, ethics, etc.

Re:Here we go again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32945958)

No. The BA degree is not as rigorous as even a BS, especially with maths. I put up with CS/BS calling themselves engineers, but someone with a BA? That's pure horse shit.

Jeezus! (2, Funny)

bferrell (253291) | about 4 years ago | (#32944168)

another overgrown kid wanting to know what to do when/if he grows up!

Re:Jeezus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944188)

Don't worry, it only takes one month of not being able to pay the mortgage to cure that...

Re:Jeezus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944282)

Another douche bag that misspells words using Z's.

Re:Jeezus! (1)

blackfrancis75 (911664) | about 4 years ago | (#32944852)

congratulations. I was wondering how/when some malignant poster was going to try putting a negative spin on this.

Cognitive Science (2, Informative)

adamgolding (871654) | about 4 years ago | (#32944198)

Since you're interested in Neuroscience and AI a masters in Cognitive Science is a relevant option. Every school's cogsci program is different,but they're all *very* flexible. Check out UCSD, Indiana, MIT, Carleton, Arizona, etc.

Re:Cognitive Science (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944720)

As a cognitive science grad student I couldn't agree more. In the field computationalists are modeling everything from single neurons to whole brain recordings, as well as larger systems such as insect colonies, networks of people for software collaborations, composition of music, really anything you could imagine discretizing. In particular at UCSD there is a pretty healthy Human-Computer Interaction laboratory group that focuses a lot on the design/development side which you seem to be interested in. If you're interested in only an MS degree, those are going to be harder to come by and quite possibly going to cost you some $$. However many PhD programs will grant a MS along the way/or if you leave the program after you've finished some basic course and research requirements. The majority of these PhD programs will provide a not too glorious stipend in exchange for teaching and/or research from you. The pay may not be as good as your current lab, but at least you won't come out having paid money into the degree program like a masters might require.

Cool and 'Science-y'? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944240)

This is one of the most arrogant, silly topics I've seen on this site in a while. Outside of the "I have job - now, how do I do it" posts.

CFD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944312)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computational_Fluid_DynamicsCFD. It's a field that is on the interface between mechanical engineering, physics and CS; applications range from aerospace, space, naval and chemical engineering to more fundamental physics, chemistry and biology - very broad.

Try Robotics! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944352)

After getting my BA in Computer Science from a top university, and feeling a bit unhappy in a software development job, I decided to go back for a master's degree in robotics.

The field is really growing, and there is a lot of fantastic research going on. In terms of hardware, robotics problems have nearly been solved -- but the software has a very long way to go.

It's great to be on the forefront of a new field, and use my CS skills to affect the real world in a tangible manner.

Most of the sciences need programmers, badly (1)

fsterman (519061) | about 4 years ago | (#32944364)

I know Lingustics research has turned into computer programming, haven't most of the sciences turned to computer for their theoretical research?

And trust me, WE NEED REAL PROGRAMMERS! Biologists and psychologists shouldn't be writing machine learning programs...

Health Care Informatics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944458)

Use the skills you have as-is to work in health care informatics. All major insurance companies and major health care providers need people who can combine programming skills with basic statistics and data literacy to mine their data.

Homeland Security (1)

b4upoo (166390) | about 4 years ago | (#32944572)

Perhaps you could get involved in the covert side of programming. Finding intruders or helping to find ways to secure communications may be a real up and coming field.

Two observations (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | about 4 years ago | (#32944596)

A problem with working in an MS level research niche like you're targeting, is you'll be trying to earn a living competing against grad students who earn ~$15K/yr. I'm not saying this makes it impossible or not worth doing, just that its something to be aware of. If you're a US citizen you have a competitive advantage for DoD research, but then there's a different price you have to pay.

BA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944810)

I have a BA in mathemetics... but that is from a little liberal arts school not a "top university."

Not to be confrontational, but what's up with that?

Mathematical and Computational Finance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944826)

Sell out and do a MSc in Mathematical and Computational Finance (maybe some research if you go to the right place - you could continue on to a PhD if you want) or "shudder" Financial Engineering (probably no research)!

Professional masters in computational linguistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944882)

While we're at it, I'll put a plug for my program. The University of Washington has a professional masters [washington.edu] program (that is, the purpose is to put people in industry, not academia) in computational linguistics, though if you like the research you can stay for a Ph.D. If you're not willing to locate to Seattle, they offer parts of the degree (if not the whole thing) online (i.e. slides/audio broadcast in real time, so you can ask questions as if you were sitting in the class).

MRes or MPhil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944926)

In the UK (sorry, not sure about any other countries) there are a lot of universities developing Master of Research or MRes degrees which are sort of halfway between an MSc/Ma and a Phd. I think they are 1 year but focus on research training and are more structured than phd but your thesis will still be a small research project.

Another possibility is to do an MPhil (Master or Philosophy) which is essentially half a phd. It doesn't have the constraint of making a unique contribution to human knowledge that a phd does but is still effectively a piece of research. They typically last 2 years here. Again I don't know what the position is in other countries.

I would have to recommend though that you could just work as a programmer in a group of scientists. I'm currently doing a phd but at the start of my degree I had trouble finding funding and so worked part time as a technician/sys admin/programmer/software engineer in a computational biology research group in my university. I ended up setting up servers, sorting out lab automation equipment, running a beowulf cluster, sorting out desktop PCs, debugging people's code (don't let biologists near prolog and don't attempt to write lab automation systems in excel), writing some software from scratch and being involved in the design process for some pretty complex stuff. Along the way I learnt a lot about how science in general works and also realised that some computer scientists can't actually use a computer or write code (but can devise some really complex algorithms) and that really need somebody with technical knowledge to help them.

Professional Science Masters programs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944956)

Lots of these around the country - they have been in existence for about 10 years now, as a professional degree, like the MBA or the MD, except in science. You can look these up at http://www.sciencemasters.com/ [sciencemasters.com] or http://www.npsma.org/ [npsma.org] . I'm the faculty director for Georgia Tech's Professional MS Bioinformatics program, and we've had a number of CS and IT professionals come to our program and focus on biology and bioinformatics, do research with our faculty, and either go on to jobs with university and government genomics research labs or to the pharmaceutical industry. There's a real need for people who can code, develop user interfaces, and talk to biologists on their terms and understand the research needs.

Jung Choi
   

Get a Masters in SW Engineering (1)

nyabutid (840548) | about 4 years ago | (#32945008)

My advice to you is to pursue a Master's degree in Software Engineering in a school and program that is going to advance your current skill set. Find a program that has a practical approach to s/w engineering over one that emphasizes on the theoretical aspects such as teaching you a new programming language and the likes. Some course work that you might want to make sure is included included: data modeling, software testing, project management, software design and architecture. While in the program try to get yourself involved in research work just in case you ever want to move on to get a PhD at a later date. This is what I did and it has proven to be helpful in landing some amazing opportunities in various industries.

I recommend a bacharelate in Philosophy... (1)

durval (233404) | about 4 years ago | (#32945060)

... as I'm in a similar situation, and doing one myself. Far from being the waste of time its detractors try to frame it as, Philosophy gives everyone a new vision into the world that I find complements nicely the more "positivist" view we technical persons are most used to.

Re:I recommend a bacharelate in Philosophy... (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | about 4 years ago | (#32945850)

As someone who majored in CS and minored in Philosophy, I can tell you this is a horrible idea. Philosophy, like CS or (to to some degree) math, can be learned though self-teaching in your spare time. Also, employers actually see it as a deterrent, to the point that I quit listing my minor on my resume.

Re:I recommend a bacharelate in Philosophy... (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 4 years ago | (#32945996)

I'm quite a big fan of philosophy, but if you're looking for a degree to help your career (as the submitter is), then stay far, far away from the philosophy department. The fact of the matter is that, while it's interesting, it doesn't teach any skills that a business finds worthwhile.

Human Genetics (1)

Autumnmist (80543) | about 4 years ago | (#32945200)

Human genetics. Rapidly expanding field, massive and noisy data sets. Jobs in both industry and academia.

Technology Policy?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32945266)

have you considered TP (Technology policy)??? it's got a good sociology and economics component and your technical background would be a big advantage...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_policy

Why not one of the engineering disciplines (1)

Platinumrat (1166135) | about 4 years ago | (#32945388)

You could try something that gets you outdoor more, like civil or electrical engineering. Stay away from MechEng, as they usually end up in factory maintainance roles or as CAD people. With Electrical, you could move into one of the environmental areas, like solar / wind / alterantive energy, where your computer/software skills are very useful.

ESTEEM (1)

dubious elise (1200247) | about 4 years ago | (#32945492)

Notre Dame has a new 1-year masters program called ESTEEM combining science, entrepreneurship, and technology. I've had a couple of friends go through it with various science and engineering backgrounds and really enjoy it, though I can't give you much more advice than that. The website is esteem.nd.edu .

Computational Engineering and Science (1)

Ron Harwood (136613) | about 4 years ago | (#32946120)

Do a google search for the subject of my post - it's the application of CS to Science and Engineering, without being specific to the particular sci/eng field.

DIMACS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32946470)

A "Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science" program:

http://dimacs.rutgers.edu/

Spanning subjects like "mathematical logic", "automata theory", "type theory" and "number theory", a program at their institute would definitely be science-y.

In particular, if you like the idea of proving without a doubt that your program does what is intended, then this might be something for you.

Comp Ling (1)

Internalist (928097) | about 4 years ago | (#32946606)

For my money this [washington.edu] is one of the most exciting "terminal Masters" degrees out there right now (of course, I'm a linguist, so probably biased).

It will serve you in bioinformatics should you choose to continue in that field subsequently, will definitely tax/challenge your coding chops, and will teach you some cool stuff about language. Also, some of the people who run this program are affiliated with MS Research (you know, the cool arm of MS), and doing this degree is plausibly some kind of foot in the door there.

BA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32947014)

a top university offers a BA in CS?

Masters Vs PhS (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32947120)

As a professor and (obviously) former grad student, I have some advice about your choice of Masters vs. PhD. The above posters have made good comments about the advantages of each, but there is one more thing to consider when you are applying for graduate programs - many universities simply are not interested in taking on anyone who intends to stop at the Masters level. To be honest, most grad students don't become useful until they have been in the program for a couple of years and have learned the ropes. Plus, the first couple of years of any grad program will contain more coursework (and therefore less research time) than the latter years. In other words, a PhD student who is there 4 years is worth more than 2 MS students who are there 2 years each. Therefore in a down economy when student applications are up, anyone who announces their intention to stop at a Master's degree is automatically put into the reject pile. My advice is that if after considering your options, you still think a Master's is what you want, go ahead and state on your application that you want a PhD. In many programs, the first two years of PhD. work are almost identical to the Master's work so it will not affect your studies. Once you are admitted to the program, you can always "change your mind" and decide to stop at a Master's. Or, who knows, maybe you really will change your mind and get the Doctorate for real.

STATISTICS !! (1)

cloudsinmycoffee (1755538) | about 4 years ago | (#32947200)

I think you will definitely want to investigate 'Statistics' as a career path to any of the above possibilities. It will open doors for you, and the pay is clearly on an upward trajectory for at least the remainder of our lifetimes. There was a big, front page article about it on the front page of the New York Times within the last year or so - check with the Science Times editor there. Everyone from Casinos, to the military, to the canyons of Wall Street to the upper echelons of every last Search Engine such as Google hire them in droves. They can be found in any high tech environment, where computers are used to analyze vast quantities of information. They are in very big demand today since the advent of the PC and Internet in the last two decades.

Same here (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 4 years ago | (#32947288)

I'm in much the same situation as you, although I only recently got my Bachelor (and not exactly a "Top" university, but it was a good program).

I applied to and just got my acceptance into the MS in Digital Forensics program at UCF. Other than the obligatory "Topics In" course, it looks like it's going to be cool as hell (for some slashdot-appropriate value of "cool").

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