Grad School: A worthwhile experience?

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Generalisimo
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Grad School: A worthwhile experience?

Post by Generalisimo »

I'm considering applying for graduate school at a local uni, to start in Fall 2005.

The three graduate programs I am considering are: Mathematics, Computer Science, and Physics, basically in that order. I have a B.S. in computer science with a math and physics concentration.

My employer will pay 100% tuition, but only if the courses are relevant to my job. I'm not sure if Math or Physics would be considered relevant, which would cost me lots of money (a bad thing).

I'm a little out of practice in all these areas, but with some GRE study materials and the better part of a year to brush up on subject matter, I should be alright.

Is a master's degree worthwhile for a programmer? I'm not expecting much career advancement out of it (not at this company, anyway :evil:), it's just something I was considering doing. Having the Mathematics degree would open doors to some different engineering fields (a good thing).

Thoughts?

:?
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Loon
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Post by Loon »

My gut says "go for it."

Talk to your employer about what might be relevant. Be persuasive. Perhaps look into financing one or two classes on your own.

I can't really speak to the value of the degree for programmers, but if you think it might open doors, go for it.
I guess there he chose to err on the side of more votes. -[size=75]Grammatron[/size]

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Zombified
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Post by Zombified »

I enjoyed my time in graduate school. I am still sorry I was unable to stay. I was studying physics.

Make sure the goals of the program align with your own. Some programs prepare or enhance people for professional careers, while others are oriented towards academic careers, particularly PhD programs.

Whether a master's or indeed a PhD helps you professionally is a tough call. It depends on what field you go into and whether the company you end up working for value those things or work on the kind of problems where you need more formal preparation. If you're writing dialog boxes, it's not going to matter. If you're developing some whacky DSP algorithm, then the fancy book larnin' comes in handy.

Some companies can be a little dismissive of PhDs (the perception being that they haven't developed real-world skills). But that's really for entry-level positions; if you have the experience to come in at, or the ambition to get promoted to, a more advanced position, then the skills and knowledge acquired in graduate school may become important.

Then again, work isn't the only reason to get a degree. This stuff is just plain interesting for its own sake. I was studying physics basically for fun, with little attention paid to career options, before the real world intruded.

Good luck.

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DrMatt
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Post by DrMatt »

I left the music program at Stanford because actual instruction was limited to theory and history of music, which are okay as far as they go but then Stanford should not have been offering the DMA in composition. At Michigan I got most of the personal mentoring I sought.

Don't go without having interviewed THEM for the job of being your university.
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Generalisimo
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Post by Generalisimo »

Holy thread bump!

Let it be known that I haven't applied for grad school, and probably won't any time soon.
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Post by DrMatt »

Separate the application process from money in your mind. If you're a desireable enough plum of a student, there'll be money.
Grayman wrote:If masturbation led to homosexuality you'd think by now I'd at least have better fashion sense.

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Generalisimo
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Post by Generalisimo »

DrMatt wrote:Separate the application process from money in your mind. If you're a desireable enough plum of a student, there'll be money.
Money was never an issue. The employer will pay. Time and determination are the issues.

It's something I'm interested in, and I suppose there's never a good time, but now is really not a good time. Meh, there's always next year. :)
[size=75][i]"It's rude to talk about religion, you never know who you're gonna offend."[/i][/size]