Computer programmers with a few years of programming work experience under their belt who are interested in taking their career to the net level may consider returning to graduate school. Additional schooling isn’t typically required for professionals in the computer science field, but for those who wish to get into design, testing, planning, or management might want to consider getting a master’s degree. Master in Computer Science (MCS) programs take on average two years to receive but some of the top ranked schools are offering part-time evening programs for people who wish to continue working full time while studying. Professionals who wish to get the most from their master’s degree should attend a program with a reputation for turning out the best future employees. Here’s what to look for in a MCS program.
Graduate school is the best time for professionals to tailor their skills for a niche in the computer science field. Specializations include AI, software theory, security, systems, mobile and internet computing, real world computer, information management and analytics, and more. All of these “focuses” are in high demand with tech companies and other organizations around the world.
Computer science is quickly becoming a source for innovative research. The top ranked MCS programs have faculty and doctoral students working on research that will change how businesses and the public use computer science technologies around the world. Graduate students are often invited to assist with this research as a way to boost their resume, learn skills, and possibly discover a new passion in their field.
Not all professionals will want to take a two year hiatus from the full time job to go back to school. Fortunately, even top ranked schools offer part-time and distance learning programs which can be completed alongside a day job. Also, for professionals who have been working for ten years or more there are executive programs which may be more appropriate.
Computer programmers earn a salary in a range from $30,251-$82,533. However, the big tech companies are known to pay considerably more, especially for experienced professionals. Programmers who work in management, design, and in large cities with a reputation for technology can expect to make six figures.