- What will it cost you? Master’s degrees are expensive. You might pay as much as $40k / year for tuition at a private university. On top of that, there’s the opportunity cost. If you would be earning $80k / year otherwise and it’s a two-year program, you’ll be $200k poorer at the end of your program.
- What salary increase will it get you? Some companies pay more for a master’s degree. Others don’t. A salary increase of $5k - $10k is pretty typical at the top tech companies.
- What will you learn? A master’s degree in CS typically involves the standard data structure, algorithms and computer architecture curriculum (albeit at a deeper level than you might get as an undergrad), plus a specialty in some area, such as machine learning. In some cases, a master’s might be the only way to break into a specific field.
- What recruiting opportunities will it get you? In a two-year full-time program, students on a master’s track usually have the opportunity to take on a summer internship or research positions. This means that when they graduate, they’ll have that extra bit of credibility and experience. Programmers from other countries have also found that entering a U.S. master’s program is an effective way to “break in” to American recruiting channels. Even if you’re applying for companies within your own country, you might find getting a big university name on your resume to be invaluable.
- How will it pad your resume? Although a lot of companies don’t particularly care about having a master’s degree, some companies see it as a big plus. They might be more inclined to select your resume as a result. This is especially true for students who don’t have an undergraduate degree in Computer Science.
Is a CS Master's Worth Anything to Programmers?
Some argue that a master’s degree is “the new bachelor’s.” That is, so many people have bachelor’s degrees that you need a master’s to stand out. There is some truth to that. But is a master’s degree in Computer Science worth it for programmers? There are a number of factors to consider here.