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Masters, industry qualification or what???

Sam Tilley
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 05, 2001
Posts: 160
I passed my SCJP back in May and have been programming in Java ever since, mostly in J2EE stuff and some GUI, XML, web design etc etc. I am also just about to take my SCWCD to get my J2EE qualification but am unsure where to go from here (starting in the new year)
With the market the way it is i am prepared to sit it out for a bit where i am for another year or so getting experience till the market picks up but what education to do next?
i like studying (weird as it is) and want more qualifications but am not sure whether to start
- a masters which should take up to 2-years and cover general IT & programming
- carry on with industry exams e.g. SCJD, XML etc. etc.
- or whether to learn other languages more such as C#, .NET etc etc (don't beat me for it) in order to get ahead.
Ultimately in a few years i want to do an MBA but am a bit young at present and want some more industry experience.
I am from the UK and so not sure if the US has the same style of masters or not but the general gist of the question still stands.. It is a problem i have been trying to get advice on for ages but to little avail , what is better for the job market now and in the future in terms of both better money and better jobs, also which is better preparation for an MBA
Any help/advice would be helpful and possibly save me a lot of wasted time/cash/brain cells


Sam Tilley SCJP, SCWCD
M.C. Horn

Joined: Sep 18, 2002
Posts: 28
I have been working in the industry for about six years now, and really think all of the things you mentioned will certainly help once things pick up a bit. Which direction you take is really a matter of personal choice, for I have seen no perfect educational path for success. The masters degree should be more of a long term goal that you can chip away at once you are gaining the work experience. Right now you need to continue learning to be productive, and how to solve real world problems you can encounter in the work place. Jumping around between technologies such as .NET and Java will divide and conquer your time somewhat, and you could turn out being fair at both, but good at niether. Keep working on your Java skills, get really good at working with J2EE and understanding design and architecture. These skills will translate well, a little later when you want to adapt .NET.
Matt Kidd
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 17, 2002
Posts: 267
I'm in the same boat as you only I couldn't find employment. Many of the job offerings I did see in Chicago however, one in particular was for the CBOT, required a Master's degree. Through the many discussions I've had with people I'm still divided as to whether its worth the effort or not as when I was employed in the IT industry (tail end of the boom, march 2002) many said its not worth it...just get a certification. Now, since I've started reading the JR boards I've heard the opposite is true too as an applicant with a Master's degree will get looked at first versus someone who doesn't have one. That is contingent on equal experience mind you.
So what happened? Well I had to take A job cause I had bills to pay. This may or many not hurt me in the future as I work at a university library and its amazing how much technology plays a role in libraries. Since I've been here I've picked up flash, some databases/SQL, and we are about to start a project that will have me learning the Linux OS as well as developing in that environment. All projects I can take with me when I leave in addition to the supervisor role I currently have.
Plus...I get to work on my Master's while I'm here and potentially get something to put on my resume that isn't versioned. It may be outdated after 5 years...but at least it can always be put on the resume.
Sam Tilley
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 05, 2001
Posts: 160
Cheers guys for the advice, i have looked further into the masters and i think at the moment it seems like something that i would get a lot of use out of. I would still be able to do it and work in my java programming job learning new stuff at the same time but also add a few different technologies to my CV.
I think there is also a better Kudos in doing a Masters than some industry ones which will be out of date soon. I say this because look at the amount of jobs that ask for a degree, not necessarily what one (i have one in farming if you would believe) and a masters is good evidence that you are prepared to spend the time/money required to get a good qualification. The only problem now is cash, it costs �8k ($12,700) but is spread over 2-years and hopefully the company will help!
Also the one above is recommended to me by my head of IT who has been in the industry 20-years and says its good, and he wishes he did it 15-years ago at my age. At the same time the way it is set up i should be able to spend some time doing the SCJD too, so it could be a painful few years ahead.
Derek Grey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 09, 2002
Posts: 204
Hey Sam,
I'd say that's a wise decision made in going for a Master's degree. In such a depressing economy where in each one of us can only predict what technology would come back with the economy's good times, how is one supposed to invest time, money and energy in getting a single vendor certifications. I'd say the best thing to do would be to go ahead a get a Master's in Computer Science which is always going to exist on your resume.
Good Luck!!!
jayanti Chakravarthi

Joined: Nov 20, 2002
Posts: 3
Hi Sam,
I have my masters degree (CS) and Java certification .... but neither of them are helping me in getting a job. This is the same situation with my friends in Computer Engineering. Everyday so many new technologies are emerging that trying to master all of them without even applying what you have learnt till now is hard to digest. I guess there is very very little space for Beginners in this rough market.
My advice would be to find the right job and then plan for masters because there are many affordable distance education schools where you can study at your own pace and may be your company can help pay your tuition.
Good Luck in your future endeavors
[ November 20, 2002: Message edited by: jayanti Chakravarthi ]
I agree. Here's the link:
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