Regardless of where you happen to live, you’ll no doubt be aware that that tech industry is among the fastest-growing in the United States. If your current degree has only landed you an entry-level position, and you are ready for the next step, then you need to spend some time considering exactly what that next step should be.
As you’re already in one of the major growth industries, it doesn‘t make sense to jump over to a different career path, but with technology advances moving at breakneck speed, only the very bravest would bet on which sectors will offer the greatest number of job roles or the highest salaries.
With that in mind, here are some things you might consider before engaging in any further training to help you make the best choice you possibly can.
Why an online master’s degree might trump training specific to your current role
Any internet search will show you that there are many ‘job-specific’ courses you can take to further your career in any one discipline, and while obviously, some will be better than others, most are very good. However, they do only offer further training for a specific role, which can limit your choices. Instead of pigeonholing yourself, you could instead look at options that cover all the bases, even if they do involve a slightly greater commitment.
Choosing to re-enter the formal education system and taking a course like a Baylor University’s Online Masters in computer science will open up a number of new doors for you. There is no doubt it is a much bigger step than in-house training in your current role but consequently has much greater benefits.
It has been documented for well over a decade that those with a masters degree in a field typically earn much more than those with a degree in the same discipline, and that’s not just in tech industries either, where that difference tends to be even more pronounced.
Where learning online can be a better solution than going back into the classroom
If you are currently in full-time employment, choosing an online course scores highly over taking one on campus in several areas.
Firstly, there is the convenience of being able to complete your course around your current work commitments. If you were completing this course on campus, you would have lesson times that clashed with when you were at work, whereas an online course can be done at weekends, in the evening, or even in the time you spend on your daily commute.
Next, there is the unavoidable issue of cost. If you currently have a full-time job, you can keep to your financial commitments, which is especially important if you have a family, a house, and bills to pay. If you had to leave your job and leave all of this behind to go and live on campus, you might be able to relive a few of your glory days, but you’ll also get a further refresher course on the extra expenses you incurred while you were a student – some of which you are probably still paying off today.
The final tick in the box for taking the course online is that you are only paying your course fees and have access to material 24/7, and can work within a much more extended timeframe, as well as keeping your full-time job.
Benefits for your current employment while you are taking your online master’s in computer science
Another thing to consider is that your employer will also be seeing some benefits while you are completing this course. Firstly, they will be seeing the results of your progress on the course first-hand by seeing an improvement in your output, and they should also be impressed by your ambition to progress to the next level. They will also see that they will have to up their own game to keep you as part of their workforce.
This could have the knock-on effect of a salary increase to keep you in-house once your qualification is achieved, something you could start to negotiate while you are learning. If you are happy with your current employer but not your salary, this can be a massive bonus. Your qualification could also result in an in-house promotion or another role in a department of your choice.
Your online master’s in computer science can open doors in other industries and other countries
While it is true that the tech industry is growing quickly, it is also true of the tech-reliant areas in other industries. This means that the skills you gain from your online master’s in computer science are easily transferable between one niche and another and that you can try different industries until you find one you feel at home in, or keep on switching ad infinitum to keep learning and improving.
This also means that your choices are not just limited to roles in the US, and you can travel to other countries to work, most obviously if you are a freelancer, but also if the company your masters lands you in is a multinational concern. The practical upshot of this is that it means you could spend a couple of years in Europe, Australia, or New Zealand as well as other cultures a little further removed from your own.
A few final thoughts
A bachelors degree is a passport to many the first step of many great tech and IT careers, but you might have the ambition to get things moving a bit faster than just waiting patiently for a promotion or raise. If that’s the case, then the better option might be to go for a master’s in computer science over more job-specific training.
It can open more doors for you, and this big step can be made easier by completing the course online, in your own time, where you can keep to your current commitments, in your current job, with the progress you are making evident to your current employer, positioning yourself ideally for a promotion and a raise.