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Masters in Computer Science Question

student970student970 Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
edited August 2017 in Graduate School
Hi, I graduated this past May from a top 3 LAC with a major in mathematics and a 3.65 GPA. I took about 5 CS classes undergrad. Did excellent in three of those (A-, A-, A), did decent on two (B+, B- ).
Now my goal is to go into tech. After much thought, I realize that one of the only jobs I would really like to do is working in tech at a top tech company. Ideally, something like working with flying cars, AI, or anything of "the future". My goal in pursuing a masters is to become very knowledgeable about the tech industry and have a better idea as to what startup I could start. My long term goal is to found my own startups.
I am a non US citizen who had to return to home country because I did not get a job in CS in the US (mostly told I needed more experience).
My question(s): is a Masters in Computer Science worth it? What are my chances at a top CS grad school (I would only apply to the very best, such as Stanford, CMU, MIT, Berkley, Penn)? Note I have no research experience in CS (although I have in PolSci), and I am pretty sure I could get some very strong rec letters. I also have no industry experience. Suffice to say I ended up doing CS at the last minute in my college career. I also expect to score above 330 on GRE. Thanks

Replies to: Masters in Computer Science Question

  • hisllamahisllama Registered User Posts: 112 Junior Member
    You don't have to have a CS degree to work in the tech industry. A hypothetical flying car company isn't comprised solely of engineers who make the flying car, there are people on the marketing, business, finance, operations, HR, legal, etc side of things that are indispensable to the running of a company. And just because someone works in HR at a tech company doesn't mean they aren't knowledgeable or interested in "the future", their skill set and educational background are just more geared towards HR. So you can still be involved with creating cool stuff at a tech company, you just need to think about how you want to contribute to making "the future".

    I would highly recommend against doing a CS graduate degree unless you are interested in actual computer science. There are enough people graduating with CS undergraduate degrees that unless you can demonstrate a solid interest in CS through side projects/research/industry work, you are not going to be attractive to a CS graduate program. A top CS school definitely wouldn't accept you just based on a high GRE/GPA and 5 CS classes.

    And I do have to preface this with I've lived in Silicon Valley for 20-odd years, but startup is basically a buzzword to me. It is nothing more than a small business that that does innovative things usually, but not necessarily, involving technology. You could open a donut store that sells triangular donuts and validly call it a donut startup.
  • MandalorianMandalorian Registered User Posts: 1,554 Senior Member
    Being a foreigner without a strong CS portfolio, the odds are not in your favor.
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 11,783 Super Moderator
    Are you interested in actually working as a software developer or something else using technical CS skills, or do you just want to work in tech? An MS in CS could be useful for the former, but you don't need a master's in CS to do the latter.
    After much thought, I realize that one of the only jobs I would really like to do is working in tech at a top tech company.

    Why does it have to be a "top" tech company? And what do you consider "top"? There are a lot of great jobs at all kinds of tech companies, and if your long-term goal is to start your own startup, it could be worth actually working at a startup so you can see how it's done. (Also, do you have any work experience? If not, how could you know this?)

    There are a lot of things that are of "the future" that you may have never heard of or don't sound like a futuristic movie. There are 'exciting' things like AI or flying cars, and there are less exciting-sounding things like cybersecurity or data compression or whatever. But you may find that your perfect job is on one of those teams, doing that work. (I will say that there's likely not really anyone working on flying cars right now. But there's a big industry in self-driving cars, of course.)
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