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Old 09-25-2017, 07:06 AM
 
Location: Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA
3,597 posts, read 3,148,377 times
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Our son is double majoring in Mathematics and Computer Science and should be graduating in the spring.

My wife thinks he should go straight for his Master's degree, and I think he should find an employer who will pay for it, and go to school at night.

We are both coming at this from personal experience. She got her Master's right after her Bachelor's, while I went to night school for computer programming while working full time.

I know there are pro's and con's to each choice, and ultimately it's our son's decision. But I'm wondering what others' experiences have been.
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Old 09-25-2017, 07:32 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
27,825 posts, read 49,253,412 times
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I went and paid on my own right after my BA, and I'm glad I did. For me it would have been hard to go back after being out of school, so best to get it done. As it turned out my first employer after graduate school would not have paid for that particular major, since it was not all that related to my work at the time, though it was after the first 3 promotions.
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Old 09-25-2017, 09:48 AM
 
Location: NY/LA
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I worked as a developer for a few years before I went back to school full-time for my Masters (out of my own pocket). I think having some real world experience added a lot more context to what we were studying, but you could probably also achieve that from interning if he wants to go straight into grad school.

If your son does decide to work full-time first, what I wouldn't do is prioritize educational reimbursement. It's definitely a nice benefit, but in my opinion, it's more important to pick a company and role that's a good fit, and where he will be getting a lot of experience with the technologies and type of work that he's interested in.
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Old 09-25-2017, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA
3,597 posts, read 3,148,377 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Zero View Post
If your son does decide to work full-time first, what I wouldn't do is prioritize educational reimbursement. It's definitely a nice benefit, but in my opinion, it's more important to pick a company and role that's a good fit, and where he will be getting a lot of experience with the technologies and type of work that he's interested in.
Good point. Thanks.
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Old 09-25-2017, 02:35 PM
 
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I know a lot of parents come from the viewpoint of when night school was the only option. These days, there are plenty of online programs, even from top-ranked schools. Night classes for master's programs might be even harder to come by because most schools have gone online. I remember seeing a survey that found that IT/CS employers are the most open to online degrees, but hardly any school issues transcripts or diplomas that indicate that a degree was earned online. IT and CS are also some of the best-suited majors for distance education.

I don't work in IT, but my last two employers had no problem with reimbursing tuition for online programs regardless of department.

Georgia Tech offers a very popular online master's in computer science that is less than $7,000, but if you can get your employer to pay for it, that's even better. Your son might find a lot of people on tech forums who are completing their degrees online and are having them paid for by employers. I know a few on distance education forums.
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Old 09-25-2017, 03:35 PM
 
5,417 posts, read 2,831,741 times
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I'd go with the employer pays for option if possible. Actually adds up to a good bit of money. General comments about on line. I have done both (from the same brick and mortar so the on line were legit, not UoP type). Given that as a baseline to compare from, I found the online version of classes harder because you missed the direct interaction with the professor and other students. Let's say I'm doing the lesson on Saturday night, I can't just ask a question. Instead it's email and wait until Monday for an answer or the group VTC on Tuesday or Thursday. That instant interaction and feedback just isn't there. That said, it does offer a lot more flexibility than being in the classroom at a specific time.


Having done both, I'm not against on line; just go into it with your eyes open that it takes a good mature student to thrive.
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Old 09-25-2017, 04:01 PM
 
6,655 posts, read 10,541,246 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtab4994 View Post
Our son is double majoring in Mathematics and Computer Science and should be graduating in the spring.

My wife thinks he should go straight for his Master's degree, and I think he should find an employer who will pay for it, and go to school at night.

We are both coming at this from personal experience. She got her Master's right after her Bachelor's, while I went to night school for computer programming while working full time.

I know there are pro's and con's to each choice, and ultimately it's our son's decision. But I'm wondering what others' experiences have been.
It totally depends on the situation and the program.

If your son is graduating from MIT and wants to do a Masters at Stanford, and he's looking to work for the Google/Facebook/Microsoft, then I would encourage.

If he's just trying to get a job as a software engineer 'somewhere' and isn't even sure that's what he wants to do, then I would put it off, maybe ... forever.

Depends. Be specific with the situation, and people can help you. But his work experience will mean more.
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Old 09-25-2017, 07:50 PM
 
Location: Florida
3,172 posts, read 4,111,474 times
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Between those two choices I would go with trying to have an employer pay for it or even partially pay for it.

There are things he would learn by working that he could not learn from a masters program. To me work experience counts for a lot. If I were in the position of hiring, all other things being equal, I would take the applicant with a bachelors degree and work experience over the applicant with the masters degree.
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Old 09-25-2017, 08:40 PM
 
608 posts, read 270,941 times
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Just keep in mind....

Employers don't pay tuition for 'free'. The employee almost always has to sign an agreement--typically employee must have tenure of at least a few years before being eligible, plus must continue to work for the company while studying AND for several years after that. The average is two years prior, plus the term of study, plus five years after that. That means a commitment of almost ten years to an employer.

It is very rare for employees to stay with a company that long anymore. Certainly it is very rare for a new graduate to stay at their first job that long. No company is going to hand a shiny new graduate a massive tuition check--they'll have to prove their worth first--and if an employee leaves before the 'contract' is up, they may be forced to pay back the tuition...to the tune of tens of thousands.

If they leave mid-study, the employee/student may have trouble financing the remainder of their study (in addition to their pay-back bill), and find the credits won't transfer to a cheaper institution. They become 'stuck' having to complete an expensive degree or having an unfinished degree.

Moreover, the question posed assumes that there are only two options. That's not true. Scholarships are available for graduate programs, in fact many programs set aside scholarships for 'non-traditional' students (that is, students who have left academia and returned). It helps encourage diversity in the student body.
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Old 09-25-2017, 11:55 PM
 
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This applies to the government agencies I've worked for and applied to after looking at their benefits. It also applies to a non-profit I worked for that has contracts in multiple states.

The norm I've seen with government agencies (and that one non-profit) is that you have to be employed for a year before you qualify for tuition reimbursement. I saw one agency that required two years. After you are finished with the degree program, you are obligated to work for the organization for the amount of time you were in school. If you were only reimbursed for one semester, then you'll only owe 4-6 months. If you were reimbursed for two years, then you owe two years of work. At the least, you'll be at the same agency for five years unless you can manage to complete a master's faster.
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