Do Computer Science majors generally on to Masters Degrees?

My son will be going to college in the Fall as a computer science major (we are still considering which school). I’ve always expected that he would go to grad school, but he told me today that he’s determined that most CS majors don’t need to get a Masters. It’s all about your on the job training. If this is true, this may go into our considerations of cost if we don’t need the money for post-grad education.

That was our experience with our CS grad. Straight into the workforce as did most of his CS friends.

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Agree. My son also started working right after Undergrad and making very good money.

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The answer depends on the specialties within CS and the types of jobs post graduation one pursues. For software development jobs, the answer is clearly that a bachelor degree is sufficient. For more advanced positions and in areas (such as AI) where greater knowledge/preparation is needed, a more advanced degree is often a necessity.

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No, a grad degree isn’t necessary. Heck an undergrad isn’t even necessary, but don’t tell your kid that!

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I think it all depends on what interests the student. Some employment positions still mention MS (or higher) as either required or as nice-to-have (industry speak “ya would really be good”). And, while an undergrad (or no-grad) could apply, they would definitely be swimming upstream. Check out job postings for some of your top employer picks and look at their requirements and “nice-to-haves”.

Our S had several hard job offers in hand before the start of his senior year, but chose to stay another year to finish up some research and get an MS along the way.

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From my D’s school’s reports, about 11% of CS grads had “Continuing Eduction” as their graduation outcome, averaged over the last 5 years. This is about 1/2 the rate of the school as a whole.

So not ultra-rare, but less frequent than others majors, which matches my experience in the industry.

I would agree. It’s not like Law school or Med school where you need to go to graduate school. My daughter majoring in CS is interested in FinTech. No discussion of Masters or even a push where she is of people doing it. If she wants to, we’re all for it, but no big deal.

My oldest, skipped college altogether and other than 1 company that he interviewed with, not one company has cared nor did it cause him to be paid any less than someone with a college degree. Even if it did, then the 4 years he would gain in work experience vs the friends of his that would’ve graduated with a CS degree would’ve put him way ahead of them anyway and by then the degree would also have been irrelevant, which is exactly what’s happened. Those kids are about 2 years out of school and he now is funded with his own start up. Of course, that’s not a given for all scenarios and not recommended, but just goes to the point that a Masters isn’t necessary.

Personally, I would get the Masters if a) money is not an issue in paying for it or b) your job will pay for it. But I wouldn’t take out loans or go into financial hardship just for the sake of getting a Masters.

Thank you to all! I think my son should leave Masters possibility open and not choose the more expensive undergrad college now with the expectation this will be a “one and done” without need to save $ for grad school. I think it’s prudent to budget our undergrad decision with the possibility of subsequent payment of further education. Whether the more expensive school with no financial aid (his #1 choice) with higher ranking for CS is really worth it over the second choice school ($60k scholarship) is another issue entirely! :grimacing:

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Hey there! I’ll chime in here as someone who’s facing the same dilemma. I’ll start by saying I have a walking impairment, cerebral palsy to be exact. For this reason I want to go for my masters. To stand out. In the end, the degree isn’t everything. It’s going to be down to his internships, job skills, portfolio and overall how much he nails the interview. I’m specifically going for a degree in Cyber Security and will probably be doing a masters to “top things off”. Certifications in this industry hold quite a bit of weight too in my opinion as they show that you really “know” the material and not just A-B-C on an exam. Take the A+ Comprehensive exam for example. While there is a multiple choice portion, you also need to do simulations. “Mom can’t turn on her computer, can you diagnose the issue?” The lab/exam will track clicks and see if the person taking the exam can effectively troubleshoot the issue at hand. What I would say is, get as much practice as you can (if he reads this, I’m directing it as if I was speaking to him). You learn more by really digging into the material yourself and learning by doing than you do in some 16 week course and a book. The degree is very important but so is having hands on experience and internships and real world experience. If he really dives into the content and is self motivated then the resume does the talking of a masters in quite a few cases! If he can get a job that’ll maybe even allow him to get a few certifications under his belt (at the expense of the company.) that’ll serve him well too!
Just adding my take on this. The other thing is, wait and see, you never know what the market will look like in a few years! :slight_smile: I personally want to pursue a PhD for personal reasons. I was lucky to find an AS and BAS program that included certification and hands on experience. It’ll be up to him to dive beyond the scope of the course and really spread his wings if he loves CS.

Again, just an added perspective and some knowledge I gathered throughout the years from employers, friends, professors and a father in business.

Hope this helps! @annoyingmom21

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Thank you for your wonderful detailed response. I will be sure to go over this with my son. I can appreciate “Mom can’t turn on her computer”. I’ve been working at home since the pandemic and I’ve needed his quick fix on some tech things, although our firm does have IT help. I am hoping his choses the lesser expensive school to leave his options open for higher education after undergrad. Best of luck to you. You have great insight and your future is very bright in the field! It sounds like he has picked a major with many prospects.
Thanks again!