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BS in Electrical Engineer. Full-time employee. Is it worth doing Masters ?

addtd2sd 1,413 320 July 30, 2012 at 05:17 PM
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I've a dilemma. Hope someone can point me in the right direction.

I've a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering and i've a stable full-time job. Is it worth quitting my current job to pursue masters in either ECE or Computer Science ? It will cost me ~$22k ($8.5k per semester *2 + summer tuition).


Are there any advantageous ? I've 2-3yrs experience in this field and most people i've talked to advice me not to do it because my experience has "more value" than a MS. But then, some have advised me to do it before "you're too old".

Does an MS degree give me any advantage when it comes to promotions and stuffs or will they look at your experience and skill sets only ?


Any help is appreciated.

Edit: I work as a developer. (not sure if it matters)

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#2
will your company pay for it?

I got my doctorate right after BS (chem eng) and right now my employer is paying for my MBA (PT, almost done). I have contractual obligations with them afterwards (2 years from completion) and I am off scot-free.

if you can continue to work and get the MS, do it. Otherwise it may not be worth it.
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Quote from Dr. J View Post :
will your company pay for it?

I got my doctorate right after BS (chem eng) and right now my employer is paying for my MBA (PT, almost done). I have contractual obligations with them afterwards (2 years from completion) and I am off scot-free.

if you can continue to work and get the MS, do it. Otherwise it may not be worth it.
No, they don't have any reimbursement programs.

thanks for the reply.
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#4
Although you may be slightly further on your career path than I, I'll tell you my story and hopefully something proves valuable. I decided to pursue my M.S. in essentially electrical engineering (mainly radar signal processing) immediately after finishing my B.S. In my situation, the decision seemed easier as I was offered a T.A. position with waived tuition and a small salary.

I discussed career options with my advisor at school quite extensively. He possesses a PhD (obviously), and he has fully recommended furthering my education as much as possible. It has certainly paid off in his case, as well as a good friend of mine who just finished his M.S. and obtained a nice job.

However, this is more in radar signal processing/atmospheric science, which is quite different from your career field. When I worked for a conveyor manufacturer, I don't think ANY of the engineers had M.S. degrees, be it the company president or the mid-level supervisors. My opinion is that the more academic/scientific the career field, the more one stands to gain from having an M.S. The more traditional industry positions (from my experience) seem to place less value upon an M.S.

On another note, some practical questions you might ask yourself are:
1) Do you enjoy furthering your education? If not, I would view it as working at a job but paying them to do so.
2) Where you live, are there several engineering jobs available? This isn't the best economy and although you can't predict the future, you certainly don't want to end up with an advanced degree with no job opportunities.
3) Will you be taking out loans for the tuition?
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Quote from addtd2sd View Post :
I've a dilemma. Hope someone can point me in the right direction.

I've a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering and i've a stable full-time job. Is it worth quitting my current job to pursue masters in either ECE or Computer Science ? It will cost me ~$22k ($8.5k per semester *2 + summer tuition).


Are there any advantageous ? I've 2-3yrs experience in this field and most people i've talked to advice me not to do it because my experience has "more value" than a MS. But then, some have advised me to do it before "you're too old".

Does an MS degree give me any advantage when it comes to promotions and stuffs or will they look at your experience and skill sets only ?


Any help is appreciated.

Edit: I work as a developer. (not sure if it matters)
I have a BSEE with many years experience, and have just started working on my masters in Engineering Management this summer.

Experience is more important at the beginning of your career, but a masters later will be beneficial. Unfortunately, getting a masters now may be a net negative for you, unless the company you work for will pay your tuition and guarantee you a raise afterwards. Otherwise, a young new grad with a masters will just not get paid much more, if any more at all, than a young new grad without a masters. The masters starts coming into play about ten years into your career or so, and even later.

But don't take my word for it, I'm just some random guy posting on the interwebz. This has, however, been my experience.
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Quote from Lpearson42 View Post :
On another note, some practical questions you might ask yourself are:
1) Do you enjoy furthering your education? If not, I would view it as working at a job but paying them to do so.
2) Where you live, are there several engineering jobs available? This isn't the best economy and although you can't predict the future, you certainly don't want to end up with an advanced degree with no job opportunities.
3) Will you be taking out loans for the tuition?
Thanks will answer some of the questions.

1. Yes and No laugh out loud. I do enjoy learning but the thought of having sleepless nights and draining my bank worries me.

2. I think its hard to get a job in Electrical engineering where i live but i see openings for developer though i don't know what it will be like when i graduate.

3. Nope.
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Quote from The Raddish View Post :
I have a BSEE with many years experience, and have just started working on my masters in Engineering Management this summer.

Experience is more important at the beginning of your career, but a masters later will be beneficial. Unfortunately, getting a masters now may be a net negative for you, unless the company you work for will pay your tuition and guarantee you a raise afterwards. Otherwise, a young new grad with a masters will just not get paid much more, if any more at all, than a young new grad without a masters. The masters starts coming into play about ten years into your career or so, and even later.

But don't take my word for it, I'm just some random guy posting on the interwebz. This has, however, been my experience.
I've a feeling that the more older I get, the harder its to understand/learn things. So i think i'd better off getting my masters now than later.

I may look for tuition reimbursement for my next job.

Thanks for the input.
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Quote from addtd2sd View Post :
I've a feeling that the more older I get, the harder its to understand/learn things. So i think i'd better off getting my masters now than later.

I may look for tuition reimbursement for my next job.

Thanks for the input.
I went back to school at age 32 and actually did far better than I did when I was in my 20s. I prioritized school, was able to better balance work/school/family/social life, and found that many of my life experiences gave me valuable insight that helped with my course work. I graduated with a 3.98 GPA (damn that A- in macroeconomics). Of course, if you don't do it now, you may never go back. Career, marriage, kids, etc. happens and before you know it, you're thinking "screw it, it's too late."
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I'm 37, married, have two hooligans, and a demanding job.

I'm finding the masters program to almost be a vacation!

Not quite, but it's not bad at all, actually. I think I'm more focused now than I was when I was younger.
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It depends on whether the company is dominated by MBAs or by engineers/scientists. The former care about degrees, the latter more about performance.
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Don't waste your time on a technical Masters. Get a managerial masters like an MBA. You are not going to learn anything technical in a technical masters program that will help you in your job. You will, however, learn a ton of useful management information in an MBA. And as you move up the ladder, you will be moving more and more towards management. Most employers would much rather see you with an MBA that an advanced engineering degree. And the bonus is the managerial masters is 100x easier than the technical one.
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#12
I'd say give it a few more years. Get about 5 years of solid experience under your belt & that'll give you a better understanding of where you want to go with your career. If you want to stay technical, look at technical degrees. If you want to go into leadership/consulting/want to open your own business someday, look at MBA programs.

But I'm also curious why in the heck you'd consider quitting your job to go back to school? The only advantage to doing that is if you just can't afford tuition & want to work your way through as a TA or something. If you have the tuition money, keep working! There are plenty of part time programs, and even accelerated full time programs if you don't want to stretch it out to 3-4 years.

In any case, good luck!
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#13
It will cost you more than $22k. What about your opportunity cost? If you're doing it for a year full-time, that's at least a year's salary that you're missing. Even if we assume you only get paid $40k annually right now (I'm not aware of an engineer being paid less than even $45k), you're losing out on $62k for your MSEE.

I agree that it's not really worth it to get a technical Masters. I have an MSCE (Civil Engineering) and I think it bumped my salary by about $3k annually. 62/3=20 years return on your investment. Unless you're getting some sort of reimbursement (TA - Teaching Assistantship/RA - Research Assistantship/Fellowships), you should keep your current job. I got an RA opportunity when I did my Masters and couldn't find a full time job (Graduated in 2009) so it was a no brainer. I did it in 3 semesters + 1 summer = 3x$2k + $1.5k = $7.5k and was getting paid around $1.8k/month for working as an RA and saved like mad to make it "enough".

I'm thinking about doing an MBA but after looking at the tuition fee: $120k for the whole program, I think I'll wait...
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Keep the job, no tellin where this economy is headed
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Quote from dealgate View Post :
Don't waste your time on a technical Masters. Get a managerial masters like an MBA. You are not going to learn anything technical in a technical masters program that will help you in your job. You will, however, learn a ton of useful management information in an MBA. And as you move up the ladder, you will be moving more and more towards management. Most employers would much rather see you with an MBA that an advanced engineering degree. And the bonus is the managerial masters is 100x easier than the technical one.
I 100% agree. It will open up many more doors going this route.
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