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Is it worth going for a graduate degree in the middle of your career?

spiffmastercow (1001386) writes | more than 2 years ago

Education 2

spiffmastercow (1001386) writes "After nearly a decade of professional software development, my desire to work on something more interesting than business applications has pushed me toward looking into going back to school. I'd like to go into a graduate program for Computer Science, but I need to weigh my options very carefully. Is a Ph.D. a near-guarantee of a spot in a skunkworks type of job (MS Research and the like)? Is a MS just as good for this? How does the "letter of recommendation" requirement work if you haven't kept in touch with your professors?"

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Degrees don't impress (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 2 years ago | (#40985247)

People impress. Not degrees. If your only goal in getting a higher degree is to make yourself eligible for some fantasy job, forget it. You're not eligible and a piece of paper won't change that.

Go for the degree because you have a burning desire to learn more. Because there are things you can't bear not to know and you've identified the professors and the schools that can teach them to you. Knowledge for its own sake, not for any goal. Do that and the rest will take care of itself... because that's the intellect that a skunkworks is buying in to and there aren't nearly enough to go around.

Re:Degrees don't impress (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40985711)

People impress. Not degrees. If your only goal in getting a higher degree is to make yourself eligible for some fantasy job, forget it. You're not eligible and a piece of paper won't change that.

Go for the degree because you have a burning desire to learn more. Because there are things you can't bear not to know and you've identified the professors and the schools that can teach them to you. Knowledge for its own sake, not for any goal. Do that and the rest will take care of itself... because that's the intellect that a skunkworks is buying in to and there aren't nearly enough to go around.

Learning isn't a problem. I've studied many an advanced subject outside of school, just for shits and giggles -- I spend what little free time I have on MIT OCW and Project Euler, and read Knuth for fun. The issue is that I have a full time job that takes up most of my time, and in order to truly advance I would need to make a grad school program my full time job (complete with lots of student loans I'm sure. The desire for a skunkworks type of job is based largely around the idea of being able to support my family whilst having an opportunity to learn, as going into academia would be financially irresponsible and unfair to my children.

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