If you are thinking of getting a computer science master’s degree then you will probably be wondering whether or not it will be worth it.
This post will show you whether or not a computer science master’s degree will be worth it for you and some things that you should consider.
So, is a computer science master’s degree worth it? A computer science degree will open you up to a number of new job opportunities. However, a bachelor’s in CS will still qualify you for many good jobs. The cost and time investment required to get the master’s degree might not necessarily be worth the opportunity cost.
There are actually many things to consider when deciding on whether or not you should get a computer science master’s degree and there are a number of alternative options to consider as well.
According to Payscale, the average salary for someone with a master’s degree in computer science is $101,000 based on 10,679 survey respondents. This is $18,000 more than the average salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree in computer science (source). This makes a computer science master’s degree one of the most highly paid degrees available.
In addition to that, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the demand for computer scientists will increase by 16% by 2026 which is much higher than the average across all sectors.
Types of jobs you can get
While a computer science bachelor’s degree can qualify you for a number of well paid and satisfying jobs, a master’s degree in computer science will help you to qualify for a number of even more highly sought after positions.
These positions can include:
- Data scientist
- Computer scientist
- Machine learning engineer
- Network and computer systems administrator
- Software engineer (could also qualify with just a bachelor’s)
- Senior database administrator
Something to consider is that the types of jobs that you will qualify for will depend a lot on the specialization and the classes that you choose. For example, if you choose a CS master’s that specializes in machine learning then, naturally, you will qualify more for those jobs.
Different computer science programs will offer different computer science specializations. Before choosing a computer science master’s degree it would help a lot to consider what you want to do with the degree and then to choose a program that offers classes and specializations suitable for that job role.
Furthermore, getting an internship during the summer would go a long way in improving your job prospects.
Types of classes you will be taking
The types of classes that you will be taking in a computer science master’s degree will highly depend on the college and specialization that you choose.
You can take a look at the Cornell computer science curriculum here to see an example of a curriculum that is more focused on data science/machine learning.
You can look at the Colorado State CS master’s curriculum here to see a curriculum that features more traditional CS subjects.
Alternative master’s degrees
If you are thinking of getting a master’s degree in computer science then there are a number of other degrees that you might want to consider such as:
- Software engineering
- Computer engineering
- Data science
- Applied mathematics
Is a computer science master’s degree marketable?
Computer science is a degree that is useful to companies in many different ways and one that has a direct business utility. As a result, computer science master’s degrees will tend to be very marketable.
With that being said, how marketable it will be for the jobs that you want to get will depend a lot on the college that you choose and the specialization that you choose.
Before deciding on a college and specialization it would help a lot to consider what jobs you are hoping to get and what classes would be appropriate in preparing you for that job.
It would also help to speak to hiring managers in that field to get an idea of what educational background they would like to see.
Is a computer science master’s degree worth getting if I already have a bachelor’s in CS?
A bachelor’s degree in computer science is a very marketable degree and it will be possible for you to qualify for a number of respectable jobs with just a bachelor’s.
The master’s degree will help you to qualify for a number of more advanced jobs that will depend on the specialization that you choose. Also, you will often find that a master’s degree will improve your career progression opportunities.
Whether or not a master’s degree would be worth it for you will highly depend on what you want to do and your current situation.
When deciding on whether or not you should do it you should consider things such as:
- Whether or not you might already qualify for the job
- If the cost of the master’s will be worth it including what you could have made if you were to be working for the years that it would take to get the masters
- The programs that you would be able to qualify for
- The job placement rates of the programs that you would qualify for
- Whether or not you will have the time to focus on the master’s degree
Should I get a computer science master’s or a data science master’s if I want to be a data scientist?
You will find that most data science job listings will mention computer science in the list of degrees that they are looking for. With that being the case, and considering that you can get master’s degrees that specialize in data science, a computer science degree can be just as good or even better for getting a job in data science.
When deciding on which you want to do it would help to consider the programs that you would qualify for and what their job placement rates are like as well as their costs.
The difficulty of a computer science master’s degree
Something to consider is that a computer science degree will not be easy and it will require significant time investment on your part. Before deciding to do the master’s degree it would help for you to be sure that it is the right degree for you and that it is really what you want to do.
How difficult the master’s degree will be for you will depend on what classes you took/ are taking as an undergrad and the specialization you choose. You will often find that a master’s in computer science will become a lot more mathematical so having taken some classes in math and stats would help depending on the type of master’s you are looking to get.