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Is a Master's in Computer Science Worth it?

Today, jobs in the computer science industry can be found in almost every sector—from a company developing innovative technology to a government agency or a nonprofit entity. With high demand, most professionals assume on-the-job experience is enough for a successful computer science career. But that’s only partly true.

While practical experience is essential, it may only take you so far. As technology rapidly advances and becomes more specialized, companies are seeking highly-skilled candidates with advanced degrees to lead their technology teams. 

If you want to succeed in this extremely competitive field, a master’s degree in computer science might be your best bet. If you’re still not convinced, here are five of the most compelling reasons to get your master’s in computer science.

1. Set Yourself Apart For Senior and Leadership Positions

One of the most important roles of senior technology professionals is the ability to interact with organizational stakeholders and translate an evolving set of business goals into high-level technology requirements.

Advancing from entry- and mid-level positions to senior and leadership roles requires bridging the gap between implementing technology and strategically planning and managing technology for an organization. This transition requires strong business acumen, communication skills and big-picture problem solving—all of which are inherent to master’s degree coursework. 

A master’s degree in computer science is designed to couple specialized technical skills with the interpersonal skills that will set you apart from your peers and prepare you for advancement. That’s why, according to labor market analytics firm EMSI, jobs for professionals with a computer science master’s degree are expected to grow by 15.5% over the next 10 years.

 

What matters most when choosing a master’s program? Compare features, benefits and cost to find the right school for you.

 

2. Gain Niche Skills That Can Take Your Career in a New Direction

Technology is present in every facet of business. As its prominence grows, technology also becomes increasingly complex. There are a multitude of programming languages, frameworks and functional areas that require deep expertise. 

Practical experience or a bachelor’s degree can provide foundational technical skills that will help you enter the computer science workforce. A computer science master's degree, on the other hand, can help you take advantage of this industry shift toward specialization. A master’s program will allow you to focus your degree in fast-growing specialties like network security, data analytics, software development and artificial intelligence.

Here are some of the cutting-edge skills you can gain in a computer science master’s degree program:

  • Applied machine learning: Gain insight into the two major types of machine learning— supervised and unsupervised—to advance your skills in software automation.
  • Cryptography: Learn to preserve confidentiality and integrity of data, both stored and in-transit, to protect against cyber hacks.
  • Advanced database management: Understand how to properly construct databases and configure systems with in-depth analysis and advanced algorithms.
  • Object-oriented design and programming: Stay up-to-date with the latest practices in software development, including: agile, extreme programming, model-driven architecture, and more. 
  • Verification and testing in complex systems: Focus on improving software quality through advanced strategies that test and trace requirements throughout the development process.

By gaining deep expertise in these areas, you will open the doors to new career possibilities.

3. Boost Your Research Acumen to Prepare for a Doctoral Program

A master’s degree can be a stepping stone to a doctorate in computer science. Master’s programs allow students to take advanced courses and gain the research skills they need to prepare for successful admission to a Ph.D. program. Depending on the university, they may even be able to apply some of the credits they earn toward a Ph.D. in the future.

If your long-term goals include starting a research-based company, working in industry research labs, or teaching at a college or university, a cutting-edge master’s degree is critical to your success. 

4. Make More Money (And Yes, That Translates to ROI on the Degree)

A master's degree in computer science can also increase salary potential. Although some entry-level computer science jobs don’t require a master’s degree, professionals in the field who go back to school are seeing the benefits. Among all master’s degree categories, computer science graduates are projected to be top earners among lucrative master’s degrees.

The increase in salary expectations is well documented. According to Payscale, a bachelor’s in computer science earns you, on average, $85,000 per year. If you get your master’s degree in computer science, Payscale notes a pay bump of $16,000 to an average salary of $101,000 per year. Over your lifetime, that more than pays off the cost of earning your master’s degree in computer science.

5. Get Your Foot In The Door At Competitive Companies

Want to work for one of the top companies in the country? You’re not the only one. Getting your master’s degree in computer science can help put your resume at the top of the pile

From April 2019 to April 2020, these are the industry-leading companies posting the most positions for professionals with a computer science master’s degree.

Industry Leaders Posting The Most Jobs For Computer Science Masters

CompanyNumber of Unique Jobs Posted
(April 2019 - April 2020)
Specialization
Oracle Company20,365Cloud applications and platform services
Deloitte LLP11,198Professional services consultancy
Northrop Grumman Corporation10,687Aerospace and defense
Leidos Holdings, Inc.8,345Defense, aviation, information technology and biomedical research
11Humana7,108Health Insurance
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)6,326Information Technology
Amazon6,266E-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming and artificial intelligence
Raytheon Company5,254Defense contractor and industrial corporation
Anthem5,157Health Insurance
Capital One Financial Corporation5,002Bank holding company

Source EMSI

Make Sure a Master’s in Computer Science Is Worth It By Choosing the Right Program

Get the most value out of your degree by finding a master’s in computer science program that‘s tailored to your needs. If you’re a working professional, you need a flexible program that will allow you to gain in-demand, job-ready skills.

Franklin University is dedicated to meeting the needs of working adults. Our online Master’s in Computer Science degree is taught by professionals with real-world expertise. You’ll use industry-leading tools to gain hands-on experience, while completing a customizable degree that can be tailored to your career goals. Explore our Master’s in Computer Science Degree to see if it’s the right fit for you.

Free Master's Toolkit
Estimate The Cost of Your Degree & More
Eliminate guesswork by comparing schools and calculate the ROI of a master’s degree.