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Is there any value in a masters degree in IT?

By Lumbergh77 ·
I currently work in a position at a small company where I do everything from network administration to tech support to database design/admin to project management to programming. I'd like to advance my career but decided that certifications are a waste of time because I'm not a specialist and will never use 80% of the material in the books, so I've been thinking about a masters. There's a school in my area that offers a M.S. in Management of Information Technology. It's a mixture of MBA-level business courses and IT courses like e-commerce, ERP, and database management. Ther are about 18 classes to take which would take about 3-4 years if I go part time, and it would cost approx $15,000, not to mention the drive time and gas (the college is an hour away). Is a masters degree worth pursuing in this field? I rarely ever see jobs that require a masters and I wonder if the time wouldn't be better spent starting a side business to make extra money and then investing it.

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Getting a masters degree never hurts

by jmgarvin In reply to Is there any value in a m ...

Having the education is NEVER the wrong path. Getting that degree shows that you are willing and able to pursue more than the average joe. $15k for a whole 3-4 year masters program (which seems awfully long to me) is pretty cheap. Is it 15k/year or 15k total?

I would also suggest getting a few certs. Find your niche and get a cert or two. I highly suggest getting Cisco certs (you are a net admin) and possibly a MSCE or Linux cert to backup your knowledge (I suggest the Linux cert because you are working with networking products and many of them use Linux)

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New Opportunities

by RB_ITProfessional In reply to Is there any value in a m ...

A master's degree certainly couldn't hurt. In fact, I believe that it could open up new opportunities for you....especially if the program offers business courses. An IT person with knowledge of key business skills is a hard combination to come by. I say go for it.

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Part Deux

by Newu In reply to Is there any value in a m ...

This seems to be a question that almost everyone career. I'm going to have to agree with jmgarvin on this one.

Even though everyone's career is different they are also very much the same. We all face a lot of the same issues and the same goals. We are, after all, in the same industry and similar job.

If you get a masters degree, a cert or both really depends on how high you want to go in a corporate structure. If you are interested in a director or corporate officer position then I would definitely suggest perusing your masters degree. However, I would also suggest you picking up a cert or two as well. Good directors and corporate officers come from years of being in the trenches and handling the real problems that the IT department faces everyday.

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Opens Doors

by LouK In reply to Is there any value in a m ...

I got my Masters in Information Systems back in 1997. It has definatley opened doors for me and got me jobs I would otherwise not have been considered for.

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by The Admiral In reply to Is there any value in a m ...

This is actually a topic that I have really been thinking about here lately. If I go to salary.com, I can see that people with a Masters Degree making much more than their bachelor counterparts, however when I look at the employment data for those in the IT industry, I do not see any growth or need for those with Masters Degrees.

Bill Gates recently said that there is a lack of people available to fill the positions in the technology industry, however the ?Unemployment security commission? as I call it, shows that IT jobs have shrunk further than other jobs. Companies advertise in the papers to see what response they get to see if there are any new people out there to pick from, not to try to give a job to a previous resume that went by their desk.

So does it add value? Sure, but does it add the value of what companies are looking for? I can debate it.

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Re: Is there any value in a masters degree in IT?

by scottpmullins In reply to Is there any value in a m ...

I am two semesters away from completing a M.S. in Information Technology from the University of Maryland. To answer your question in short - yes and no.

Yes - it fills a check box.

No - I did not learn much.

A Master's degree is a notch in your belt that puts you in a different class than your fellow employees that do not possess one. In my case, I am completing the M.S. in IT simply to fill the checkbox (although this was not my original intention...) and am pursuing an executive MBA subsequent to that.

I feel that the MBA will likely be the area that I will learn the most and am looking forward to it.

Notwithstanding the above, the M.S. in IT was a good review though. It did fill in a few blanks and provided a survey from an academic perspective.

* Disclosure: I possess a B.S. in Computer Science.

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Is there any value in a masters degree in IT? Yes there is

by jwhite1202 In reply to Re: Is there any value in ...

I have to disagree with Scott's assessment of the MS degree in I.T. I will finish up my MS in Information Systems from DePaul University (in Chicago) next month. I have gone part time for the past four years (occassionally having to take quarters off). I think whether you get anything out of the program depends upon the program itself not the degree. I have had the opportunity to take a variety of classes that include Change Management, ERP implementation strategies, the development of E-Commerce Strategies, to Software Architecture. Each of these classes has helped me develop skills that I could immediately apply to my current position. In terms of choosing an MBA or an MS in IT it is about what you want to do. If you think you may want to spend some time in Marketing, Finance, etc. then an MBA is a great way to branch out. If you think you want to stay pretty focused in IT, but want to get some insight into the business side of things, than the MS is a good route to go. Either way getting a master's degree will not hurt your career path, it just depends upon how close to the technology you want to remain.

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I agree

by baldeagle In reply to Is there any value in a m ...

I concur. A technical master's degree shows that you are
the utmost professional. I'm looking to cross over into a
MS in IT program while finishing up a CISSP certification
(my MS in IT program has an information assurance
concentration), so marketability isn't a problem.

A lot of times it's good to get the credential to get your
foot in the door, anyway. A MS in IT could propel
someone up the corporate ladder.

I'm not sure how many programs out there are like this,
but Creighton University has a great MS in IT Management
program that's offered through their business school. You
take MBA and IT graduate courses.

I'm personally using my MS in IT program to get into a
PhD program in IT. There aren't many PhD in IT's out
there, but I see that it's going to become more and more
marketable for academic positions, so that's why I'm
considering it. The PhD won't help with corporate jobs,
but it's another added benefit of the IT graduate degree
(at least it's another option).

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Interesting Question

by baldeagle In reply to Is there any value in a m ...

Whether or not a master's degree is important to you is
the question you should be asking yourself, really. If you
value learning, go for it. That's a no brainer. If money is
the motive, then you would simply look at some salaries
of people with master's degrees, compare it to your salary,
and deduct the $15,000 cost. You'll probably find that it's
beneficial to get a Master's degree because it's the
pinnacle of professional knowledge. I just left a liberal
arts master's program to begin a MS in IT myself (a lot of
this was due to the marketability of the IT degree), and it's
a good decision. Companies have looked favorably on my
credentials, but even more so with the knowledge that I'm
working towards more proficiency in my skillset.

If you can afford it, get your degree. If you don't want to
take 3-4 years to complete the degree, try looking at
some other schools. The University of Maryland has a
great program
(http://www.umuc.edu/programs/grad/msit/) that you
might consider (no, I don't work for the school!). It is an
online format, a little expensive, but it can be completed
in 2.5 years rather than 4, and it's all online, so no gas
money! There are plenty of other programs available, as
well.

I'm in the Omaha area, and the University of Nebraska -
Omaha has a good, solid MIS program (on campus) for a
decent price ($190/s.h.); while Creighton University has
another good program but more expensive ($590/s.h.).

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Masters degree...only you need it, market does not care.....

by salim In reply to Is there any value in a m ...

Hello dear,
Welcome to U.S IT world. I came to US as a student in 1997 fall. Take my word. If your university has a campus recruiting, then it is great. If not then In US nobody even knows the meaning of M.S.The worst thing is they do not want to know who take your interview. There is a big word in US market" Certification" If do not know, Make sure you are certified in MICROSOFT OR CISCO to survive, people will ask for your certification then academic credentials. Nobody asked me my master?s degree in 10 years of IT. Everybody asked me about certification..........
Start it my friend...... Certification.....
Good luck

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