To obtain a master’s degree or not to obtain a master’s degree, that is the question. A master’s degree takes an enormous investment of not only money but time as well. With such a significant amount of time and money on the line, this begs the question: Is a master’s degree really worth it in the tech industry? Well, the answer depends on a few factors. First, your goals, and secondly, if you have the resources to complete a master’s program.
The tech industry relies heavily on hands-on experience and does not necessarily need professionals with formal education. However, a master’s program gives professionals the chance to focus on niches that they are passionate about. This gives them credibility in the industry and an opportunity to further research in that specific area.
Furthermore, a master’s degree can accelerate promotions and advancement in a company. So, what are some master’s degrees worth earning and what does the industry have to say about the pursuit of higher education? Read all about it here.
Master’s Degree Costs and Requirements
To apply for a master’s degree program, at least two years of prior study is usually required and you must already have an undergraduate degree. Once accepted into a master’s program, you will have to complete 36 to 56 credits in order to graduate. This means if you commit to a full-time master’s program, it will take about two years to complete, while a part-time program will take four to six years.
Graduate school pricing can vary drastically from one institution to the next. It can be hard to pinpoint an exact price. Programs range from $30,000 to even $100,000 for higher-end programs.
There are many factors to consider when adding up the final costs of a program, such as:
Online vs in-person programs: Online programs are popular right now, causing a spike in tuition pricing. However, in-person education results in transportation and other miscellaneous costs, so these expenses need to be factored in when comparing final costs between in-person and online programs.
The subject of study: Which program you choose will result in either a lower or higher tuition rate. Different programs require various credits and hours to complete the degree, which may result in higher tuition. Time is money.
The price of books and other miscellaneous fees: Another factor to consider when enrolling in a master’s program is the numerous fees required during the course. Some of these fees include parking costs, technology fees, library fees and lab fees. While these fees may be minimal, they can still add up over the time of the master’s program. One of the higher costs comes from books. On average, a student will have at least one book per semester with a price point of $60 to $100.
With all this considered, let’s now look at some master’s degrees worth earning if you’re a working professional within the tech industry looking for the right school and program.
Master’s Degrees Worth Earning
MS in Business Intelligence and Analytics
Saint Joseph’s University, located in Philadelphia, offers a master’s program in Business Intelligence and Analytics.
Enterprise Data, Introduction to Data Mining and Predictive Analysis are just a few of the classes that you can expect from this master’s program. You can even test if this degree program might be right for you with a shadowing master’s students’ program. Ranked in the top 20 by US News and World Report, the program offers four career tracks to choose from, including cyber analytics, data analytics, general business intelligence and data science.
MS in Computer-Human Interaction
An ideal master’s program for professionals in the tech industry is at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Here, you can earn a Master’s in Computer-Human Interaction. This master’s program is a combination of four schools, including Industrial Design, Interactive Computing, Literature, Media and Communication, and Psychology. Students can apply to the program through any of the colleges mentioned above. Graduates of the master’s program can go on to create, implement and analyze computer-human interactions.
MS in Professional Studies in Technology Management
Georgetown University offers an MS in Professional Studies in Technology Management using faculty at the forefront of the technology industry. Classes in the program focus on big data and cloud computing, as well as revenue optimization and leadership skills. Graduates begin careers as IT project managers, IT executives, cybersecurity experts, Chief Information Officers and IT program managers. The program, a total of 30 credit hours, combines theory and practice within the tech industry.
MS in Education, Learning, Design and Technology
Systematic Instructional Development, Educational Technology Integration and Emerging Web Technologies and Learning are just a few of the courses offered through the MS in Education, Learning, Design and Technology from Penn State. As one of the top-ranked schools in the country, this Penn State master’s program focuses on learning, design and technology through research.
MA in Technology and Communication
Located at the University of South Carolina is a Master’s in Technology and Communication, which focuses on journalism in the tech industry. Writing for Digital Media, New Media and Society, and Research Methods and Applications are just a few of the courses taught in this master’s program that is offered through the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Tech Industry: Master’s Degrees vs Experience
In an industry where talent trumps education, many are left wondering: Is a master’s degree worth it? The tech industry is at the forefront of alternative education opportunities, including being self-taught or attending a bootcamp. So, what does the industry think of pursuing higher education in the form of a master’s degree?
In a 2019 Stack Overflow survey, 90,000 developers were questioned about their education, with 85 percent reporting that they taught themselves something outside of their formal education. Of the respondents, 43.5 percent had a bachelor’s degree and only 22.7 had a master’s degree.
Furthermore, since the tech industry is extremely hands-on, formal education is not necessarily a requirement. Large tech corporations, including Apple, are hiring tech professionals without even a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree are not necessarily the only education options in the tech industry.
So, when is a master’s degree worth it? That all depends on your goals. Graduate programs in tech are incredibly specialized. This leads to more credibility in your chosen profession and increased opportunities. Advanced degrees can lead to promotions and salary increases.