Computer Science Masters

JC0724

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So I would like some advice as well as some input. Anything you guys can give me, I would greatly appreciate it.

I got my undergrad in Electrical Engineering back in 2005. My favorite classes in college were electronics, logic design, digital systems and every software/programming class I took. I didn't take many programming classes. Maybe 3 at most.

I have been working the past 6 years. 3 years in electrical analysis and design, 2.5 years in software engineering which I really liked. I used mostly in house software to write my code which wasn't to complicated(conditional statements, functions, single dimension arrays, loops) stuff like that. I have decided I really want to go back for my masters.

2 reasons

1. Which is the biggest reason. I enjoy school and learning and 2. Cause my company will pay for it.

I am pretty sure I want to go into computer science but I am considering computer systems/engineering as well.

I need to slim down my areas of interest for grad school.

I am really interested in

Game development/AI
User Interfaces and Graphics
Logic Design/Digital System using HDL(VHDL or Verilog)
Robotics
Software Security Systems

Just want your input/thoughts on these questions

So my questions are

1. How would you rank these in terms of difficult?

2. Which ones are in higher demand in the job market today?

3. Which ones usually have the higher paying salary?

4. Which ones are harder to get jobs for? Ex. I heard getting into game development is tough?

5. Last questions is which ones is more adaptable to my other interests?

Ex. I know I can work AI in game development but I am sure I can do the same in robotics.
 

KENNYB

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I'm a CS major. :)
Choose the track you are most passionate about. Not what you think is easier.

- Game development/AI

My friends were initially enthusiastic about taking this as a project course, but at the end were burned out. Maybe it was the instructor.

- User Interfaces and Graphics

I took this project track. Once you take a sequence in User Interfaces, you will notice mistakes in every app that you use. It's like noticing cue marks when watching a film.

- Logic Design/Digital System using HDL(VHDL or Verilog)

This was fun.
 

mikeblas

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Sounds like a complete waste of your own time and your company's money.

Given a post-grad degree in CS, what specific thing would you be able to do that you weren't able to do before attaining the degree?
 

Wiseguy2001

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I have decided I really want to go back for my masters.

2 reasons

1. Which is the biggest reason. I enjoy school and learning and 2. Cause my company will pay for it.
Then go for it. There should be quite a bit of overlap between degrees, I wouldn't be surprised if only the last year would you start learning the specialised material. Just make sure you study something you love, don't make decisions based on money.

Oh and I think there will be a robotics boom coming up, but like most booms you need to be in the right time and place. If you have the right mindset/ can apply yourself there will be good jobs out there.

Don't worry about Mike, he's just jealous (funny thing is he actually works for a game company). :D
 

mikeblas

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Not jealous in the least; just smart enough to not waste time when there's no goal or benefit. Lots of people are pursuing meaningless post-grad degrees when the could be earning money and making real progress in the industry instead of boondoggling.
 

Wiseguy2001

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I do agree with you. Part of me would like to do a masters but I like earning money and putting what I have leant to good use and solving problems. I think it is on my life's todo list, but not right now..

But if he wants to do it and doesn't have to foot the bill, then I don't see a problem.
 

jimmyb

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Game development/AI
User Interfaces and Graphics
Logic Design/Digital System using HDL(VHDL or Verilog)
Robotics
Software Security Systems

Just want your input/thoughts on these questions

So my questions are
[...]
.
I don't think a lot of us will be able to accurately compare these fields because it is unlikely that anyone will be well-experienced in more than one or two of them.

I work in IC design, so I am really only able to comment on the "Logic Design/Digital System" area.

The job market is more regionally dependent than software positions. Additionally, my impression is that it is filled with a lot of very talented people, and if you aren't very good at it then you won't be able to get and/or keep a job.

This area *might* be applicable to robotics, but otherwise there is not a lot of adaptability to the other fields you listed beyond the basics.

For compensation you can check on glassdoor or other websites; however you'll likely get all sorts of unpredictable sampling biases. I suspect on the high end the fields are all pretty comparable.
 

mikeblas

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He explicitly stated the benefit in the OP:
He did. But there are ways to learn without spending so much time or money. Work at any challenging job in a technical field involves learning; why not get paid for the learning (and its enjoyment) rather than spend the time and distraction to do it somewhere else?
 

jimmyb

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Ok, I guess you were being hyperbolic when you said there was "no goal or benefit".

Regarding why not just learn on-job, in the case of the OP it sounds like the potential areas of study are not all directly related to his current field and therefore it is unlikely that his employer would teach him these things on-job or even be able to provide a suitable environment to learn independently.
 
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You don't want to get into game development unless you like changing companies frequently. Most game development companies do not make any money and end up closing shop.
 

mikeblas

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Ok, I guess you were being hyperbolic when you said there was "no goal or benefit".
Actually, I wasn't. The OP has expressed a desire, but no goal. The benefit ("I like learning") given the costs, is extremely weak.
 

JC0724

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Hay guys thanks for your input. I really appreciate it.

Mike I understand your points but if I could easily move around within my company to learn/work any of these fields I just express my interests in I would definitely do it. And maybe then my desire to go back to school would change cause I would be learning the same thing and getting paid for it. But in my mind why do something you don't like when you can do something you do enjoy. Whether its on the job or not if money is not a real issue.

I really like the company I work for and don't want to switch especially since I have so much invested in them. The group I am in now is cool but i don't really like it. Also at the current moment there are no openings in the fields I want with my company. So since I do really enjoy school and learning and they will cover the cost why not. It definitely can't hurt my career. And the way I see it, is they are paying me to learn and I actually have the choice to decide what I want to study/learn. And when I finish maybe there will be a new opening for something I want to do at my company, and if not then I am right back where I started. Except now I learned some new things I wouldn't have learned at my job and I have an additional degree making me a higher prospect to get a job of my interests when my company opens up a new position.

Maybe this is dumb to you but not to me. Once again thanks for all your input guys.
 

ameoba

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I got my undergrad in Electrical Engineering back in 2005. My favorite classes in college were electronics, logic design, digital systems and every software/programming class I took. I didn't take many programming classes. Maybe 3 at most.

CS is not programming - there's a lot more to it than that. There's going to be a metric fuckton of material that you were never exposed to that's going to be a prerequisite to going into graduate studies. You sound interested in learning about a few applied aspects of CS - some sort of professional certificate program sounds like a far better fit for what you're actually interested in. To be perfectly honest, I doubt you'd be accepted into a CS Masters program without extensive work to get caught up - take a look at the degree requirements for a CS program and see what you'd be expected to be bringing to the table.

Some of the things you list as interests (like the VHDL and robotics) might actually be doable for you in an academic setting - inside of an electrical or computer engineering department.
 
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