If you work in the tech industry, you know that it is unique in many ways. One thing that sets this industry apart is the ability you have to find a job without an undergraduate degree. This isn’t the easiest path to success, but if you have strong coding skills, it is possible. With that in mind, you may wonder if it is worthwhile to return to school for a graduate degree. If it is possible to find a job without an undergraduate degree, is there a significant reward for earning a master’s? Like many things in life, the answer is, it depends. There are several reasons why doing so will benefit your career, and if those reasons align with the goals you have for your career, it is a choice worth pursuing.
The idea of paying for this education should not stop you from working on your degree. You can take out private student loans to finance your education. Once you complete your master’s, you will be positioned for a higher-paying job. This should alleviate any concerns you have over paying off student loans. So, why should you consider returning to school?
Interested in Specialized Work
If you have a strong interest in a highly specialized field, such as artificial intelligence or machine learning, it makes sense to invest in additional education. It is hard to gain the depth of knowledge you need for these careers without spending serious time in the classroom. In addition to access to the latest thinking on the subject you are interested in, you will also have the opportunity to work on research. Learning how to conduct your research and involving yourself in this type of deep learning will pay dividends when you transition into your new career. As a graduate student, you may also have the opportunity to work as a teacher’s assistant or research assistant. Working in one of these roles not only provides you with a stipend, but it also gives you valuable experience.
Looking for a Promotion
While it is possible to move up the career ladder in tech as long as you have strong programming skills, there will probably come a point where you will not move any higher up in the company. While many people are happy to spend their career as a mid-level manager, a position that is well-compensated in the tech industry and still allows you to spend some of your day coding, others want to advance. If you are looking to move up to the executive level, returning to school can provide the resume enhancement you need.
The idea of taking on debt when you do not have a job can be scary, but if you are unable to find a job in your field, earning a graduate degree may be beneficial. If the reason you are struggling is due to market conditions, spending time in school gives the economy time to rebound. When you graduate and resume your career search, hopefully, the job situation will have improved. If you are unable to find work due to a deficiency in particular skills, focusing on your weak areas, which you can do in graduate school, can strengthen your position when you resume the job hunt. Using your graduate school years to work as a TA or RA also gives you some experience you can list on a resume, as well as a strong reference.