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JoeDavola

Postgraduate study - is it worth it?

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Was having a rare browse at LinkedIn earlier and looking at how ridiculously successful some of my contemporaries from when I graduated 10 years ago are now...fair play to them; yes part of it was good fortune but they've also probably worked harder than I have these last 5 years.

It reminded me of something that I'd been meaning to ask the hive-mind here; have any of you undertaken a part-time masters years after completing your original degree, and did you find it at all useful? I'm speaking as someone with a Computer Science degree.

I'm generally quite skeptical when it comes to getting one degree after another; I'd guess that it's only recommended if you have a very specific job in mind. I see there's some of them have gotten 'Innovation and Entrepreneurship'  type masters and MBA's and all that malarkey.

But I'd guess that any postgraduate study without relevant real-world experience either before or during the study is pretty much useless?

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Don't believe the shite that people post on LinkedIn. They always, without fail, big themselves up. 

Re the further study. Do it for two reason.  First because you are intrinsically interested, or second, because you have a specific career move in mind and a certain qualification will open the right doors. 

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7 minutes ago, JoeDavola said:

Was having a rare browse at LinkedIn earlier and looking at how ridiculously successful some of my contemporaries from when I graduated 10 years ago are now...fair play to them; yes part of it was good fortune but they've also probably worked harder than I have these last 5 years.

It reminded me of something that I'd been meaning to ask the hive-mind here; have any of you undertaken a part-time masters years after completing your original degree, and did you find it at all useful? I'm speaking as someone with a Computer Science degree.

I'm generally quite skeptical when it comes to getting one degree after another; I'd guess that it's only recommended if you have a very specific job in mind. I see there's some of them have gotten 'Innovation and Entrepreneurship'  type masters and MBA's and all that malarkey.

But I'd guess that any postgraduate study without relevant real-world experience either before or during the study is pretty much useless?

When I left uni masters degrees were the approved alternative to signing on 

luckily I got a job 

Edited by Malthus

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2 minutes ago, One percent said:

Don't believe the shite that people post on LinkedIn. They always, without fail, big themselves up. 

Re the further study. Do it for two reason.  First because you are intrinsically interested, or second, because you have a specific career move in mind and a certain qualification will open the right doors. 

Nah in this case they've got impressive jobs, Head of <Department> or Technical Architect blah blah...fair play to them. I just remember some of them when we were students and they were the biggest skivers out there! Evidently they grew up and I havent :D

Regarding your two reasons....yeah I agree. And even then, if the only reason is interest in a subject, I'd say there's cheaper ways to learn about it than forking out for a masters.

1 minute ago, Malthus said:

When I left uni masters degrees were the approved alternative to signing on 

luckily I got a job 

Yes there is a path that some trustafarian types take that involves a degree, a masters, and then a phd...maybe with a couple of year outs peppered among them....and then boom you're 30 and you've never gotten round to getting a job.

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MBA is a waste of time unless it is taken mid-career, with a progression in mind, and from one of the big and expensive international schools. Professional qualification plus some moving about (while blagging it but being good enough to deliver on it) would be equivalent

Edited by Panther

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I forked out for a masters out of interest in the subject (at a specialist post-graduate university). I didn't have a plan when I came out of it and fell into a PhD in an extremely interesting, but so far for me, not commercially successful field. Still haven't actually finished the bloody thing nearly a decade on and it's driving me and my family around the bend. 

Even when I do finish it, it's not going to open any lucrative doors. But, like my brief stint in the military, the experience has been a real eye opener. 

 

For comparison, a friend from school flunked his A-levels, got an apprenticeship with BP. He now earns a good six-figure salary, with defined benefit pension and they are paying for him to do a chemical engineering degree on the job. 

Edited by The Generation Game

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6 minutes ago, The Generation Game said:

I forked out for a masters out of interest in the subject (at a specialist post-graduate university). I didn't have a plan when I came out of it and fell into a PhD in an extremely interesting, but so far for me, not commercially successful field. Still haven't actually finished the bloody thing nearly a decade on and it's driving me and my family around the bend. 

Even when I do finish it, it's not going to open any lucrative doors. But, like my brief stint in the military, the experience has been a real eye opener. 

 

For comparison, a friend from school flunked his A-levels, got an apprenticeship with BP. He now earns a good six-figure salary, with defined benefit pension and they are paying for him to do a chemical engineering degree on the job. 

Yes, the road to,riches is not paved with PhDs. xD

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I did a Masters degree in IT (full time) three years after my original degree for earning potential reasons, mainly because my original degree (Environmental Science) was bugger all use for getting anything but lab technician jobs. Ironically, these days it seems my original degree maight have been a decent earner given the amount of eco bollox out there.

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I did an MSc as a sort of career converstion 7 years ago, absolutely yonks after my original degree (molecular biology) which was really useful for doing what I found really interesting - research/development.  I was getting a bit meh in the lab role and was never really interested in teh management side of things as it's mostly bollocks and people talking shit then delegating actual work onto others rather than doing and producing anything.

Anyway, I applied for and got full funding and a grant (!) for my MSc (computer science), took a career break from work, returned for a bit then jumped ship to pursue what i find really interesting and fullfilling, data science.

... I'm thinking about doing a distance learning MSc in statistics though too haha

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I did a two year MA in archaeology at 31 with the intention of going into academia.

I lost a fortune in wages, paid out for the course and accommodation, and very rapidly realised that academia wasn't for me and I was going to resume my previous career; which I did.

So in career terms it was a disaster.

But in personal terms it was tremendous. I had grabbed control of my life and gone off to do something that I really really wanted to do despite everyone thinking that I was being "brave" (= daft).

Despite it not working out how I intended I would have been so burdened by "What might have been?" if I hadn't done it that I am so pleased that I did.

As long as you are fully happy that your motivation for doing something is that you really want to do it, rather than it being a skive or soft option, then you should do it. IMHO.

You won't regret it. I don't.

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I got fuck all qualifications.  I left school at 16 and straight into work as a  lowly IT technician (assistant).  Been contracting for 20 +  odd years now.  Planning to semi retire now in my 40s.  An IT degree is a waste of earning years imho.  

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Tempted to do one on the OU, once I finish my degree off.  For me, its studying something I am genuinely interested in, rather than the earning potential I can extract from it...

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Just now, Dave Beans said:

Tempted to do one on the OU, once I finish my degree off.  For me, its studying something I am genuinely interested in, rather than the earning potential I can extract from it...

An OU degree cost the same as a red brick degree these days;  Lots of online freebee courses out there but depends what your interests are.

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2 minutes ago, montecristo said:

An OU degree cost the same as a red brick degree these days;  Lots of online freebee courses out there but depends what your interests are.

OU degrees post transitional funding are around £15k.  Mine will cost around £8k...For me, I wanted to prove to myself that I could hack it...

Edited by Dave Beans

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OK, I did an MSc in Optoelectronics in the 80s, courtesy of the Manpower Services Commission, and Margaret Thacher, and another one in Parallel Computer Systems in the 90s, again on the dole plus a tenner scheme,  courtesy of John Major. As Malthus points out I would rather have had a reliable fucking job.

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7 hours ago, montecristo said:

An OU degree cost the same as a red brick degree these days;  Lots of online freebee courses out there but depends what your interests are.

I wish Id done an OU Maths degree centred around Stats when I finished my Masters.

I had a 5 year period where I wasted a lot of weekends and would have been ideal to have sunk 20h/w into studying. Gets harder to do as you get older and have kids,

NOt sure Id bnother with a formal degree course now.

Other comments.

MBA are really useless.

30 years ago they were done by a few 100 40 yo mid ranking managers in v. large companies -Ford, Unilever, etc, and delivered by exclusive Unis - Hardvard, LSE etc.

Now every FE college does an MBA, delivered to the likes o someone I know - an overpaid admin assistant at a LHA. I looked at the material and chatted to one of his lecturers. Jesus. Failed social working trying to deliver the secrets of high level business orgs to someone who refuses to work in the private sector/profit sector as he terms it.

 

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10 hours ago, JoeDavola said:

Nah in this case they've got impressive jobs, Head of <Department> or Technical Architect blah blah...fair play to them. I just remember some of them when we were students and they were the biggest skivers out there! Evidently they grew up and I havent :D

Regarding your two reasons....yeah I agree. And even then, if the only reason is interest in a subject, I'd say there's cheaper ways to learn about it than forking out for a masters.

Yes there is a path that some trustafarian types take that involves a degree, a masters, and then a phd...maybe with a couple of year outs peppered among them....and then boom you're 30 and you've never gotten round to getting a job.

Until ~2000 the path into research in the UK was Degree > PhD > Postdoc. First postdoc at age ~24-26 yrs, while in the US because of their 5yr PhD the first post-doc was at age ~26-28 yrs.

Around the year 2000 in the UK the number of students graduating with no hope of a job was so great that more people were considering staying in the education system than ever before and, as there were not enough PhD opportunities, the competition for the PhDs increased. Those with a masters degree stood a better chance of getting a PhD position and consequently all graduates started to see it was necessary to get a masters and so the number of masters courses expanded (very handy for the Universities too as they bring income). (So a PhD in the UK now matches the 5-yr US situation).

As @One percent said there are only two reasons for post graduate education and they apply whenever you do it.

The difference between you and other people is due simply to the differences between people and their priorities. I don't compare myself to others except to say 'there but for the grace of God go I'. I do what makes me happy now (with an eye on short-term and long-term security) as situations can change in the blink of an eye and are out of my control. I see people with more money than me but IMO they just spend it on 'material things'  that show their status rather than increase their 'enjoyment'. Only those with a lot more money have the latter luxury, and one of those that I know (a lord) that has several country estates is often saying to me 'I wish I just had  a bungalow'.

Edited by Hopeful

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4 minutes ago, spygirl said:

 

MBA are really useless.

 

And dangerous.

At least someone with a media studies degrees knows it's useless.

Someone with an MBA has the mistaken belief that it means they can manage and if the recruiter also makes that mistake then they will be taken on and let loose to cause damage to the company.

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1 hour ago, MrPin said:

OK, I did an MSc in Optoelectronics in the 80s, courtesy of the Manpower Services Commission, and Margaret Thacher, and another one in Parallel Computer Systems in the 90s, again on the dole plus a tenner scheme,  courtesy of John Major. As Malthus points out I would rather have had a reliable fucking job.

The more specialised course you do, the more important it is to get a set of lecturers who know what they are teaching.

Even the most abstract of studies have their practical side.

In your example, Id guess opto electronics would have been OK , but the parallel computers might have delivered less.

What I found stunning - and still do now - is how few people teaching software  have ever done much in the way of large, complex systems.

Years ago (30 odd) that was understandable -computers were costly, power hungry machines.

These days? Nah - you can string 5 RaspbeyyPi3 off a 2A USB PSU, connect them them up to a 16 port enet switch, put erlang and a c compiler on them- bingo! the worlds most powerful computer circa 98ish.

 

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3 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

And dangerous.

At least someone with a media studies degrees knows it's useless.

Someone with an MBA has the mistaken belief that it means they can manage and if the recruiter also makes that mistake then they will be taken on and let loose to cause damage to the company.

110% effort people!

Lets go for those margins!

On paper, business is simple - you try and achieve the maximum return for the capital and labour input - see, thats the core off what an MBA should be. One sentence.

In practical terms you are trying to mange the people and the capital and customers. And trying to find how much money the company is actually making.

 

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1 minute ago, spygirl said:

The more specialised course you do, the more important it is to get a set of lecturers who know what they are teaching.

Even the most abstract of studies have their practical side.

In your example, Id guess opto electronics would have been OK , but the parallel computers might have delivered less.

What I found stunning - and still do now - is how few people teaching software  have ever done much in the way of large, complex systems.

Years ago (30 odd) that was understandable -computers were costly, power hungry machines.

These days? Nah - you can string 5 RaspbeyyPi3 off a 2A USB PSU, connect them them up to a 16 port enet switch, put erlang and a c compiler on them- bingo! the worlds most powerful computer circa 98ish.

 

This. In every subject area. 

As you mention spy, most subjects have some kind of practical application. This also needs drawing out in effective teaching, just talking to students in the abstract isn't going to ensure they understand. 

Yet, the number of people teaching things and stuff that they have no real knowledge or understanding of is massive. 

And the government 

looks on in wonder at how bloody dire vocational education is in the uk. 

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2 minutes ago, One percent said:

This. In every subject area. 

As you mention spy, most subjects have some kind of practical application. This also needs drawing out in effective teaching, just talking to students in the abstract isn't going to ensure they understand. 

Yet, the number of people teaching things and stuff that they have no real knowledge or understanding of is massive. 

And the government 

looks on in wonder at how bloody dire vocational education is in the uk. 

Again, its down the UK academia being decided at ~22 - work or PhD.

In computers, the Us is a *much* better setup. The likes of Stanford and MIT have a healthy interchange between work and Uni.

In the UK - bar a very few Unis, people go into academia to avoid work/business.

 

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