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I'm graduating soon with a Bachelors of Science in CIT and I was wondering if it's worth the trouble of going to Graduate school or not. It doesn't seem like it's really necessary so I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter.

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This question appears to be off-topic because it is about career advancement and improvement. It may be better suited to Workplace.SE. –  kce Sep 27 '13 at 5:57
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closed as off-topic by kce, Ward, mdpc, Michael Hampton Sep 27 '13 at 23:43

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6 Answers

No, a masters is not required. My suggestion would be to go out and get some real world experience. Then, if you REALLY want to do it later go for it. If you want to move into positions that require it go for it. If your company will pay for it, and it will help your career path go for it.

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+1, I would recommend people do not go straight into Masters programs; instead go get some real world experience for 4 to 6 years, then get a Masters, it will be around the time you finish that you have the opportunity to use it. –  Chris S Jan 14 '11 at 22:47
    
Thanks Chris that's the best advice I've heard so far. I think that's what I'll end up doing. I'll probably be able to relate the things taught in the graduate courses much more than now too. :) –  에이바 Jan 14 '11 at 23:29
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@Eyiba I would keep an eye on studies, however - it can be hard to go back to a theoretical program after enjoying the professional world :-) –  ring0 Jan 15 '11 at 3:01
    
+1 real world experience is very important in this profession –  lynxman Feb 1 '11 at 21:54
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IMHO: A "Network Administrator" does not need a masters to get a job.

I have a masters, and I did it right after my undergrad.

Here was my thinking at the time:

  • I am in no hurry to go work in a cube.

  • There are some more interesting classes that I want to take.

  • With a research assistant position, the University will now PAY me to take classes. (instead of the other way around as it's been the last 4 years)

  • I have funding options and a thesis advisor who was asking me to stay.

It turned out to be a very nice two years. I took much harder classes that I never had time for before and I TA'd a networking course, which helped me internalize lots of networking fundamentals that I had only lightly covered.

That said, I did spend a few days each year teaching BGP. And BGP in the classroom is nothing like BGP in the real world. So when I got my first job at an ISP they wouldn't even let me touch the BGP configs. (rightly so)

So do the Masters if you like school and want to avoid "the real world" a bit. It may not pay off, but it's a great learning experience. I'm glad I did it. There are often times now a days when I wish I had the freedom to just 'study'.

Several other posts discussed going back for a masters. There's no way I would have returned to school after getting out. The quality of life that a paycheck brings makes it VERY hard to go back to student life.

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This is an outstanding perspective on the highly subjective nature of real-world decision making about education. –  Skyhawk Jan 15 '11 at 18:25
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Experience, experience, experience. I couldn't care less if you have a Master's or an Associate's degree.*

*Coming from someone in a position to hire, but I'm not the Google.

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+1 - I've found that the employers I most enjoyed working for followed a similar concept of meritocracy... does it matter where you learned how to do something if you know the best way to do it? –  danlefree Jan 15 '11 at 4:38
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It's possible you might save a couple of years on the IT career-ladder, but at this stage in the game real-world-experience with actual products in actual environments will earn you better resume-polish. Once you have a few years under your belt, then you can opt for graduate-school. Some hiring managers like their middle-career people to have degrees, others don't give a wet fig. Though it's hard to predict the future, Tech has historically been an experience-driven career-path.

That said, the graduate degree you get in a few years may not be Manager of Information Technology, it may be an MBA. Business-smarts matter quite a bit once you get to a certain level.

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No. If you are just graduating with your B.S. degree, real-world experience is far more important. If you really want to invest more time and energy in your education, you are far better off getting professional-level industry certifications that have knowledge requirements but not experience requirements.

What if I were hiring a network administrator and I had to choose between two candidates, one with a master's degree and one with an MCITP plus a CCNP? All else being equal, I certainly would find the certifications more compelling.

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Well if I do decide to go on and get my Master's I would still get certifications. It just doesn't seem like a Master's is really sought after in a potential employee in this field. I don't want to waste my time with it if it's not going to make a big difference. –  에이바 Jan 14 '11 at 23:27
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There are ways to get a master's degree without wasting time, e.g. the online Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance at Western Governors University. That's the one I chose. –  Skyhawk Jan 19 '11 at 6:14
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I suspect people with masters degrees will tell you it is important, and people without them will tell you it is not. I have a bachelors degree in computer science and it has served me well. When I was younger (I'm 37) I did think about going back to school for an advanced degree, but never seriously pursued it. I've had a successful career so far with a bachelors.

Keep in mind that most studies indicate that the financial return of a masters degree may be worthwhile, but PhDs are a losing proposition.

My vote is for at least a bachelors degree in computer science, so you have a solid theoretical foundation. After that, don't worry about it.

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I've had to take a few intro and upper level programming courses with my curriculum already. I'm not a very good programmer but I do understand the concepts. Having both degrees isn't over-kill? –  에이바 Jan 14 '11 at 23:23
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Having a masters degree will certainly increase you education, however it may not make economic sense - the amount of additional money you will make over your lifetime may not balance the amount of money you will lose by obtaining more education. –  Phil Hollenback Jan 15 '11 at 3:44
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