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#4586990 - 11/27/17 08:06 PM Q's for those who have gone to grad school
JeepWJ19 Offline


Registered: 09/09/15
Posts: 933
Loc: PENNSYLVANIA
Howdy smile

I am graduating this December earning my B.S. in Software Engineering. I have been blessed with a job as a Software Engineer and so embarks my career in the working force.

Aside from that, I love learning and want to get multiple degrees while I have the time and energy. I have decided I'd like to earn my M.S. in Computer Science with a concentration in Cyber Security.

For those that have gone to grad school while working:
1. how did you manage the workload (number of courses per semester)?
2. did you go through an online program or did you go to class at the campus?
3. what was the most challenging part?
4. should I "shop" around and weigh other programs, even if it is online?

My university offers the M.S. so since I am local it seems like the ideal situation.

Thanks!
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#4586993 - 11/27/17 08:11 PM Re: Q's for those who have gone to grad school [Re: JeepWJ19]
StevieC Offline


Registered: 08/21/08
Posts: 17116
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I went to school for Computer Engineering and I worked full time while I went to school all years. It was a brutal grueling schedule involving very little sleep and catching up on sleep on the weekends sort of thing.

To be honest with you if I had to do it all over again I would have taken the time to do all over a couple extra years and be able to sleep more. Just me.

Hope that helps. cheers
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#4587008 - 11/27/17 08:21 PM Re: Q's for those who have gone to grad school [Re: JeepWJ19]
maverickfhs Offline


Registered: 12/28/16
Posts: 2010
Loc: VA
Originally Posted By: JeepWJ19
Howdy smile

I am graduating this December earning my B.S. in Software Engineering. I have been blessed with a job as a Software Engineer and so embarks my career in the working force.

Aside from that, I love learning and want to get multiple degrees while I have the time and energy. I have decided I'd like to earn my M.S. in Computer Science with a concentration in Cyber Security.

For those that have gone to grad school while working:
1. how did you manage the workload (number of courses per semester)?
2. did you go through an online program or did you go to class at the campus?
3. what was the most challenging part?
4. should I "shop" around and weigh other programs, even if it is online?

My university offers the M.S. so since I am local it seems like the ideal situation.

Thanks!


Honestly, there's nothing stopping you to learn as much as you want and it's always helpful.

But, I personally think, it's always better to have some field experience or earnings, unless your employer is paying for Grad school? Then get as many degrees, as you possibly/happily can thumbsup
Also, degrees help with an experience, unless you want to go into teaching or R&D field.

In no particular order :

1- I initially took 1 course each semester and then took 2, as I progressed, still took almost 2.5 years to finish it.

2-Took classes at the campus, for some reason I think it's a lot more easier. But these days, online is a great option too, provided a good/reputable school.

3-I personally think, managing business travel, homework and classes. Maybe, a few other bits too smile

4-Yes, choosing a right school/career path and program is definitely important, unless you already know what you want to do in next, say 10-15 years?

Good luck with your decision thumbsup
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#4587012 - 11/27/17 08:22 PM Re: Q's for those who have gone to grad school [Re: JeepWJ19]
cpayne5 Offline


Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 605
Loc: Virginia
Similar education and path here. BSCS, MS SWE. I did the MS immediately following the bachelor's while working full time. It wasn't fun. I did a class or two per semester (depending on difficulty of the course), and devoted weekends to schoolwork/projects.

I finished my bachelor's in '05, so there weren't many online offerings at the time - I would have chosen online classes back then if I could. I got my MS from the same school where I got my B.S. They had an accelerated B.S./MS program where you could take two grad classes in place of two senior classes. Same class, just a 500 series instead of 400 series. That lopped two courses off my workload. The most challenging part for me was that I hated school and didn't want to be there. smile I saw the value in it, so I stuck it out.

I'm glad I did it, but I was hating life during that time. I also knew that if I didn't just go ahead and get the MS, that I never would. Looking back, 35 year old me thanks 25 year old me for falling on that grenade.

Congrats on graduating! My career advice is to not let your employer pigeon hole you into something you don't want to do. CS majors wind up in a variety of roles. Databases, web apps, backend, project management, etc etc. If your job tries to push you onto a path you don't want to go down, don't let it happen! There are tons of jobs for guys like you - especially with you being young and cheap ($$$). The last thing you want to have happen is to be old and gray like me and doing a job you hate. I pushed back on management when they tried to lead me astray and pretty much forged my own path. I'm pretty high up with my employer, making good money, with little management responsibilities, and writing code everyday - and that's how I like it!


Edited by cpayne5 (11/27/17 08:36 PM)

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#4587020 - 11/27/17 08:33 PM Re: Q's for those who have gone to grad school [Re: JeepWJ19]
ecotourist Offline


Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 1067
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
I have an MSc in Mechanical Engineering. I did a year of full time study, then part time work during Medical School vacations. I did so much work that at the end of it all my supervisor suggested putting in an extra year (because 2 years of full time study on campus would be required) and calling it a Doctorate. I didn't do that because I preferred to keep up with my Medical School classmates.

Unless you intend to get a PhD, I'd suggest trying your wings with your Bachelor's Degree instead. An MSc could be a useful reset later in your career. You could find yourself out of work at some point with few or no opportunities (job opportunities are largely dependent on the economy) and that would be a great time to do an MSc.

And unless you're prepared to do a full-on MSc, don't bother.
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#4587021 - 11/27/17 08:34 PM Re: Q's for those who have gone to grad school [Re: JeepWJ19]
ruhroh Offline


Registered: 12/11/16
Posts: 110
Loc: NC
Can't say from experience while working; I tried it for a very short while but the commute time was prohibitive. Plus, the grad program was top priority and eventually I focused solely on that. I just took the normal schedule of full-time courseload. Maybe it's different for other fields, I did microbiology, but I had ample time outside of classes even with a 'full' courseload.

Classes online cannot substitute for in-person oncampus experience. I took one online course because of the part time job the first semester and there's no comparison in the quality of the class between in-person and online. You'd talk a lot more with the professor, your classmates, and it's just more interactive. Plus, I found that I need the structure of a normal in-person class because I slack off online and push everything back to the last possible moment. It's hard to focus on an online-course without slacking off with a video game or websurfing.

The most challenging part was me crying over the amount of money the grad degree cost, not just tuition - which was already high since it was a top private university but also living expenses in an atrociously-expensive city. I don't feel like it was worth the money and effort I put into it. There weren't anything that if given enough motivation that I couldn't have learned for free on the internet, but I guess the accreditation isn't something that can be given freely. Still, it was unexpectedly easy to get good grades in class. I probably put more effort in undergraduate and got worse grades.

If you're local to a program then I'd focus on that if you're certain you can get in - not a jab at you, I've no clue on how other fields evaluate grad students. Science and research-based programs have, by design, low acceptance rates and I applied during the recession when everyone was trying to get into grad school because there were no job opportunities.

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#4587050 - 11/27/17 09:17 PM Re: Q's for those who have gone to grad school [Re: JeepWJ19]
xBa380 Offline


Registered: 02/12/08
Posts: 832
Loc: Cleveland
I may not have the best advise, but here is my .02!

Quick background... I have a B.S. in mechanical engineering... Did 5 internship/coops while in school and had 2.5 years of work experience before graduating with 4 different companies of all types (medical, aerospace, consulting / mixed engineering, combustion). Was hired on full time at the combustion company six months prior to graduation and worked there the past four years or so. Recently, switched jobs to an aerospace company. Making a very good living now, above the average mechanical engineering salaries in the market for my field where I live. Not shabby at all for being out of school four years.

I guess my question is... What do you want to get out of multiple degrees? Just to be book smart? Make yourself more valuable? Make more money?

My point I suppose is that I have learned FAR more on the job, at work, than I ever would have in school. You get paid for learning that knowledge as well, versus paying ridiculous amounts of money. For engineering, I suppose, I never felt getting a masters would be worthwhile at all for me. I hated school though, even though I did well, I would much rather be out in the field than in the classroom. For me, engineering school was nothing more than learning how to solve problems... You won't remember much beyond that. My manager at my last company would tell me about all these extremely smart people he would interview, but they lacked real-world experience or social skills because all they know was school... This was a common trend I noticed from a few places I was at. Perhaps its different with software engineering (I have no clue!), but I am speaking from a mechanical standpoint at least.

I heard from a few managers though, from multiple companies actually that having work experience is more valuable than how many degrees... I completely believe that. The job I just took, I beat someone with a masters degree and someone with a few more years experience... Never interviewed somewhere and didn't get the job! I am 6 for 6 now, and interviews are a breeze talking about what I have done at all the other places. The experience on a resume is worth its weight in gold, even as an intern/coop.

My vote? Work a few years and see if it's really worth doing. A friend is doing their masters now in engineering (fluid/heat transfer), about to finish in a few months. Took up all their free time for the past two years or so and they don't know if it was really worthwhile. She took a class or two a semester in the evenings right after work a few days a week.




Edited by xBa380 (11/27/17 09:19 PM)

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#4587052 - 11/27/17 09:19 PM Re: Q's for those who have gone to grad school [Re: JeepWJ19]
2015_PSD Offline


Registered: 09/26/10
Posts: 7243
Loc: SE Texas
I did a BSIT/ISS and a MSCIS/ISS back to back while working full time with small children. I did full course loads so that I could finish it in a reasonable amount of time. In retrospect, I would do it exactly the same way. My advice is IF you want your graduate degree, then go for it now while you are still in the college mindset. You may feel differently if you take a break and may not want to do it. Good luck!
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#4587058 - 11/27/17 09:28 PM Re: Q's for those who have gone to grad school [Re: JeepWJ19]
Reddy45 Offline


Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 2973
Loc: USA
I'm one of those [censored] MBAs who ruins everything. wink

1. how did you manage the workload (number of courses per semester)?

Part time program, so I think it was 2 courses a semester (6 credit hours total)

2. did you go through an online program or did you go to class at the campus?

It was technically a "distance learning" program through an affiliate campus. Hard to explain but it was mostly online, with capstone being a tele-commute course and an in-person final presentation/project.

3. what was the most challenging part?

Looking back, I don't know where I had the time to actually do half decently in the program. I was working 40+ hours a week, had recently bought a house that I was renovating and had to study every night. Perseverance is good to have so that you just stick with it and figure out as you go along. It helped that the classes were smaller so I was more personal with my professors.

4. should I "shop" around and weigh other programs, even if it is online?

This depends on what your goal in getting the M.S. is. If you want a great resume and connections then go to a top school, regardless. If you have to balance between cost/accessibility/quality then at least find a regionally accredited school. There are plenty of state schools that are not Big 12/Top 10 level, that are flexible, affordable, and the paper you get at the end is actually worth what you paid.

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#4587089 - 11/27/17 10:10 PM Re: Q's for those who have gone to grad school [Re: JeepWJ19]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6176
Loc: Waco, TX
If you are married, I hope the marriage is solid before going back to school.
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#4587111 - 11/27/17 10:44 PM Re: Q's for those who have gone to grad school [Re: Linctex]
bmwjohn Offline


Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 728
Loc: indianapolis in
well, my view is that school gets easier from first grade then up. A MS or similar is easier and quicker than a B*S or even a high school diploma. AND, staying in the school mode, focusing on school, ramen noodles, limited social life, and frugality beats quitting, enjoying life, spending, and then trying to reverse back into student mode. Get away from it long enough and it will be very difficult to go back.

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#4587170 - 11/28/17 03:22 AM Re: Q's for those who have gone to grad school [Re: JeepWJ19]
OneEyeJack Offline


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 7479
Loc: S California
I feel for students today. I went to school in the 60's and 70's before student loans. Part of my education was paid for with athletic scholarships but I worked and lived in a VW bus parked in various places. It appears that the cost of education went up once student loans were established. In my day there was no Internet, handheld calculators within reach, desktop or laptop computers so it was the slip-stick and lots of paperwork. We did have electric lights and automobiles and although it was a busy time, life was good. By the way, my first Texas Instruments hand-held calculator was more than $200 when rent after the VW bus, was $54.40 a month. If you're old enough you remember them.

My first job that depended on my degrees was working for a gas-turbine manufacturer qualifying complicated casting from the foundry. I thought I was going to save the world but instead, I got dirty and learned the reality of my job from a tool-maker that became a good friend. I did all his lifting and toting and he taught me the secrets of a good tool-maker. We made a good team. Besides the measuring, I could soon make all the surface cuts, leave the witness marks and cut, ream and tap all the holes and set all the dowel pins. I never saved the world but I did save a few marginal castings. I found out that working was a real education, too.

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#4587210 - 11/28/17 05:59 AM Re: Q's for those who have gone to grad school [Re: JeepWJ19]
ET16 Offline


Registered: 10/28/08
Posts: 1271
Loc: MD
Go to the place with the best reputation that you can afford. Be careful of debt. Steer clear of for-profit schools, also on-line schools or programs.

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#4587242 - 11/28/17 06:53 AM Re: Q's for those who have gone to grad school [Re: JeepWJ19]
09_GXP Offline


Registered: 12/14/10
Posts: 430
Loc: Indianapolis, IN
Originally Posted By: JeepWJ19
Howdy smile

I am graduating this December earning my B.S. in Software Engineering. I have been blessed with a job as a Software Engineer and so embarks my career in the working force.

Aside from that, I love learning and want to get multiple degrees while I have the time and energy. I have decided I'd like to earn my M.S. in Computer Science with a concentration in Cyber Security.

For those that have gone to grad school while working:
1. how did you manage the workload (number of courses per semester)?
2. did you go through an online program or did you go to class at the campus?
3. what was the most challenging part?
4. should I "shop" around and weigh other programs, even if it is online?

My university offers the M.S. so since I am local it seems like the ideal situation.

Thanks!


My personal experience. [censored] Physics, MS Mechanical Engineering, MBA Finance and Supply Chain Operations

I completed my Physics and ME degree is one 5 year span my first time through college. I then went to work for ~5 years and went back for my MBA. I really liked doing the Physics and ME together as I was able to leverage a bunch of classes to count under both degrees which greatly reduced the time required. For my MBA, I completed 51 credits in a 2.5 year span only having 1 month free each year between classes. My MBA program was a hybrid in class and online. I don't think a pure online degree can give the same experience as in person as you lose a bunch of discussions and other interactions.

To answer your questions more directly:
1. You have to decide what is priority. Work, Family, School, Free Time. Once you have your true priority set you can figure out what works for yourself. Don't try to take too many classes and get depressed about losing out on other parts of your life. Similarly, don't take too few classes and not be able to reach your goal as quickly as you would like.

2. Hybrid Online and In Class. My program was aimed at working adults so it worked really well in this format and most of the class was on the same page.

3. Group projects, when everyone else has multiple things competing for their time versus just being a full-time student.

4. Absolutely, I go back to my answer to #1, figure out what your goals are and make a plan from there. Do you want to be in a program targeted to working adults? Do you want to find something where everyone is focused 100% on school. How quickly do you want to jump in?
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#4587276 - 11/28/17 07:47 AM Re: Q's for those who have gone to grad school [Re: JeepWJ19]
Virtus_Probi Offline


Registered: 06/25/15
Posts: 3970
Loc: New England
I wasn't sure that my choice of Bee esS degree was right and also felt that I needed to help support my aged father (which turned out to not be true), so I started working full time immediately after graduation and decided to worry about the MS later. I was only 20 at that point and felt I had time.
After about 5 years, I started on the MS through distance learning, watching videotapes at a special site my employer set up. This ate severely into my personal time and my then GF (now wife) was not too happy, plus there were many times I would sign up for a class and then have to switch it to audit when a "gotta have it now" project came down the pipe at work...it was kind of funny, usually 4-5 of us in my group would sign up for the same class and then change to audit within a month when the next impossible deadline popped up (we often worked until 10pm-midnight 7 days during these design cycles that were 3-6 months long). I think I managed to get 4-5 classes in at that job.
The next job was a little less intense, but still bad enough that I only wanted to take one class at a time and also didn't take any classes for my first year while I "proved myself". I got two more classes in by videotape, this time they were mailed to my work in my name instead of being from a library of classes kept at the site.
That place started to go under and I left to join a company that paid really well but asked for a lot in return around the same time my wife was carrying our child. My continuing education stopped at that point...this company would still support obtaining an advanced degree, but the only guy I knew in our office who could it was working hourly as a tech at the time. Not having a master's has really hurt me since then, as it has come to be expected in my field.

My advice would to be get your MS as early as possible if you feel sure about the field you have chosen. I'm guess you are young and it's going to be lot easier now than when commitments start to catch up to you. Getting it at your local university sounds like the ideal solution if you can make it work, distance learning is OK but I think in person is almost always going to be the better choice when possible.


Edited by Virtus_Probi (11/28/17 07:54 AM)
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