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macuser1232
Jul 16, 2012, 04:35 PM
Hey I was wondering if it is possible to be paid over $100,000 a year if you go to a college that is in the top 10 and receive a Master's in Computer Science. Also I am talking about specifically OS programming and cross platform languages like Java, C, C++ etc. Also I am not really looking for a Windows Programming job because I prefer to Code on Mac or even Linux.

Thanks



Catfish_Man
Jul 16, 2012, 05:04 PM
Hey I was wondering if it is possible to be paid over $100,000 a year if you go to a college that is in the top 10 and receive a Master's in Computer Science. Also I am talking about specifically OS programming and cross platform languages like Java, C, C++ etc. Also I am not really looking for a Windows Programming job because I prefer to Code on Mac or even Linux.

Thanks

Yes. It's also possible to be paid that much if you don't do those things.

macuser1232
Jul 16, 2012, 05:30 PM
Yes. It's also possible to be paid that much if you don't do those things.

oh wow, a while ago it the salary was between 30,000 and 88,000. So what would be some examples of business to work for?

larswik
Jul 16, 2012, 06:18 PM
Ya know. I am wondering something about this topic.

It seems more and more people are getting in to this field (including me). I went to film school from 90-94'. back then there was no youtube and when you bought video gear it was an expensive investment. People were paid well because the industry required skill labor and there was not that much.

Today you can buy a Mac with editing software on it. Your smart phone comes with a cameras built in. If you are lucky you get a job making $25 an hour. A local cable company I work with pay there guys around $18 p/h.

So today if you want to make a lot money in video / film you need to make the next best low budget movie that is a hit. That is your Angry Birds app for example. The more people enter the programming field the more saturated it will be just like I saw what happened to the video production world.

The only certain thing that I see is that everything changes.

macuser1232
Jul 16, 2012, 06:28 PM
Ya know. I am wondering something about this topic.

It seems more and more people are getting in to this field (including me). I went to film school from 90-94'. back then there was no youtube and when you bought video gear it was an expensive investment. People were paid well because the industry required skill labor and there was not that much.

Today you can buy a Mac with editing software on it. Your smart phone comes with a cameras built in. If you are lucky you get a job making $25 an hour. A local cable company I work with pay there guys around $18 p/h.

So today if you want to make a lot money in video / film you need to make the next best low budget movie that is a hit. That is your Angry Birds app for example. The more people enter the programming field the more saturated it will be just like I saw what happened to the video production world.

The only certain thing that I see is that everything changes.
So are you saying the pay of this job is raising or decreasing?

chown33
Jul 16, 2012, 06:52 PM
Yes. It's also possible to be paid that much if you don't do those things.

It's also possible to do all those things and not be paid anywhere near that much.

----------

So are you saying the pay of this job is raising or decreasing?

I'd say it's "spreading". At the low end especially.

There continue to be some highly paid positions. Some of these are at big companies. Some of these are at startups that happen to have a hit.

There are also more positions that pay less well, or don't pay at all. Consider all the folks who don't even make back their iOS Developer fee, or intentionally don't charge anything for their app. Basically, the App Store gives more exposure to infrequent developers, or single-app developers, or hobbyist developers. Many of those would be invisible before, unless they somehow managed to make a splash and have a hit.

And there's still the big middle ground, where you make decent money, working for any number of different-sized companies, with or without a degree from a big university.

mslide
Jul 16, 2012, 07:00 PM
Hey I was wondering if it is possible to be paid over $100,000 a year if you go to a college that is in the top 10 and receive a Master's in Computer Science.

What college you go to, what degrees you have and how many languages you know have little to do with how much money you'll make. It's more about your experience, whether or not you are considered an expert in a certain field, who you know, what part of the country you work in, whether you work for a big or small company, are you just a programmer or can you be more of a software architect for a large project, etc.

In general though, given maybe a decade or 2 of experience and you are considered to be at a senior level, you can make close to or more than $100,000 / year. It's also possible to be paid a lot more than that but that's more rare.

macuser1232
Jul 16, 2012, 08:05 PM
Hm. Well I know for a fact that The West and North East(I live here) are the two regions that have the highest paying jobs associated with Computer Science and Programming. Um, I do plan on aiming high because I know I have the potential and I also have very good education ahead of me so I think with the experience I will have in the end, I may be able to work for a big software engineering company. Unfortunately, even though I love Apple and Macs I however, do not enjoy IOS developing :( . Some of the things I am interested in programming are computers(don't know much about it, but hope to learn), operating systems, and software/applications for Mac or Windows. All of these I hope to do on a Mac computer. I really hate using Windows and wish to stay away, but I do like Linux.

lee1210
Jul 16, 2012, 08:10 PM
I know of people making that much or more without all of the stated criteria. Why do you want/need to make this much (or is this just academic?)? Why set that as a bar? Are you considering cost of living? Are you expecting/hoping to make that much right out of school or make that 10 years down the line? Do you have a BA/BS in CS already? Do you have professional programming experience? Are you willing to work in a niche language/field/location? Are you considering base salary only, or bonuses/equity awards?

To paraphrase "The Social Network": $100,000 / year isn't cool, $1,000,000 / year is cool. Tell me what school I need to go to for that.

-Lee

Mac_Max
Jul 16, 2012, 08:59 PM
I'm going to speak in general with a programming slant since this really isn't a software developer specific question. Most of this is simply food for thought since a career isn't really just a question of making the biggest salary possible.

Like most careers, the matter of pay comes down to what you know, how much they want/need you, and how well you negotiate. If you can make your employer feel like you're worth $1XX,000 v.s. $XX,000 you're going to get the bigger pay check. Just having a CS degree in and of itself is as useful to programmers as having a drivers license is to race car drivers. Some of my coworkers have a Masters in CS and others never went to College at all. I have an AS in CS and an unfinished bachelors and have done fine for myself so far. There are certain jobs I will never be able to get until I finish my bachelors because the people who hire are either told, or firmly believe themselves, that you must have a Bachelors of Masters from a highly ranked university to work there. I've been told that Google has that policy. From what I'm told, Apple and IBM also seem to have that policy unless you're damn good and don't mind being a contractor.

One thing I've found has helped me is to try my best to be indispensable but not irreplaceable... i.e. be such a valuable asset you're always wanted but don't pidgin hole yourself into a job where you can never move up or sideways. Two perks I've found to this strategy are: A. your employers make sure you're happy. And try to find interesting things for you to do, and B. If your company is going under, and someone asks your boss or manager "hey, do you have anyone good?" they'll tend to mention your name. At my current job I started as a Perl developer but then moved into iOS dev because I'm the only one on the team that knew the basics of the platform. As a result they paid me to learn iOS dev and they didn't have to pay a head hunter to find an iOS dev. Mutual win!

On the other hand Some people find a level and development stack they're comfortable with and try their hardest to stay there. I'm not one of those, so I can't really comment on how well that works. However, what I have seen is that people who are slow to change usually get left behind and out of a job. Another thing I can't comment on but seems to work for some people is finding your way into management as quickly as possible. I've met managers with only a couple years of experience. I've met people who started as interns and became managers because new interns came in and the old manager quit. At my first internship I was offered a similar position (I'd be the #2 manager) but turned it down because they wanted me to remain an intern for a few more months until more budget was freed up. I had another offer from a startup and took that instead.

Some places, usually mega-corps, ad networks, and naively run startups with too much cash on their hands, simply higher whatever grads they can get from whatever top schools they can attract because they know that for however many people they get, a certain number will be great programers, another tier will be just ok, and then they figure the six months of salary they spent on the rest was worth the investment in finding the first two groups. If they're really lucky, they'll land a super star and be able to retain them. If you're a really good negotiator, you can get into one of these places and from there flip work places and make a great salary while all along you know absolutely nothing about developing software. I went to school with one guy who does this (completely unaware of his incompetence) and met another from India who has been doing it since the .Com boom years (and is completely aware of his incompetence).

Huge pay checks are nice, but working in a friendly environment with good perks and competitive pay is better IMO. I'd rather make $70K and be happy than $120K and miserable... but at the same time I have very few material wants and am single. If you have an expensive hobby (say a race car) and/or a family, perhaps your case is different. If you can get paid > $100K while working in a fantastic environment, then you're set.

Another thing to look at is stock options. Obviously this is not a sure thing, but if you can find a competitive salary at a start up the stock options could end up being worth more than the difference in salary you'd get while working at a mega-corp. Again, kids, mortgage, expensive taste might make you prefer the safer more secure approach.

Finally, if you fancy it, you can be a contractor for most of your career and do pretty well. My cousin taught himself electronics and programming in the 80s and got his start in Hollywood building lighting computers and PLC based stage controls (an example of something he worked on include stages that move and reconfigure themselves during the Super Bowl). He branched out into other areas and got to do some work for military contractors, an early IMAX competitor, the Luxor casino, and a now defunct F1 team. He made a lot of money, saved most of it, and retired, comfortably, at 50. This is a guy who was totally self taught.

KarlJay
Jul 16, 2012, 09:27 PM
Timing is a huge issue here.

1. Years ago I was a true expert in DOS, people were moving to Windows and it was hard to find a DOS programming job.

The point is that the market (supply/demand) is a huge issue.

2. Way back when Microsoft said Visual FoxPro was _THE_ development environment for business apps on Windows. Computer Associates said CA-Visual Objects was the path to go.

The other timing issue concerns the years needed to get a job. Look at the ads and you'll see 2 years for iOS, 5 to 10 years for C++/Java/C# etc... 2 years from now, they'll be asking for 4 or 5 years iOS.

The point is that unless you get in near the start (first year or two) of a wave, you might not ever catch up.

Consider: If you decided to develop in C++, you'd compete against people with 5 to 10 years over you.
If you decided to develop in ObjC(iOS) you'd be about 2 years behind the curve and next year you'd have 1 year while everyone already underway, would have about 3 years.

You might end up going down a path that is popular now, only to find out it's not popular when you get the 2 years under your belt.

Not too much demand for Y2K COBOL hot-shots any more...

Waves come and go...

macuser1232
Jul 16, 2012, 09:57 PM
Timing is a huge issue here.

1. Years ago I was a true expert in DOS, people were moving to Windows and it was hard to find a DOS programming job.

The point is that the market (supply/demand) is a huge issue.

2. Way back when Microsoft said Visual FoxPro was _THE_ development environment for business apps on Windows. Computer Associates said CA-Visual Objects was the path to go.

The other timing issue concerns the years needed to get a job. Look at the ads and you'll see 2 years for iOS, 5 to 10 years for C++/Java/C# etc... 2 years from now, they'll be asking for 4 or 5 years iOS.

The point is that unless you get in near the start (first year or two) of a wave, you might not ever catch up.

Consider: If you decided to develop in C++, you'd compete against people with 5 to 10 years over you.
If you decided to develop in ObjC(iOS) you'd be about 2 years behind the curve and next year you'd have 1 year while everyone already underway, would have about 3 years.

You might end up going down a path that is popular now, only to find out it's not popular when you get the 2 years under your belt.

Not too much demand for Y2K COBOL hot-shots any more...

Waves come and go... Wow. Very helpful advice. Thanks!. Yeah there are so many things to learn in this subject(CS)! I guess I will just keep on expanding my knowledge of programming languages.

larswik
Jul 16, 2012, 11:09 PM
In regards to the video business I saw get watered down over the years. There are still people that get paid very well doing it. Just like people mentioned with programming.

With the one app in the app store I have, I don't make money with it and I give it out for free. But when I go around selling advertising on my hotel visitors TV program I say, "Now I have an app tourists download for free". This added more value and although I don't make money from the app directly, I make it on the back end with more sales in ads.

"Think Different" as apple once said.

nishioka
Jul 17, 2012, 12:10 AM
Education helps but is not a golden ticket. I could probably fetch $100-130k in some markets with my skill set as a developer, and you want to know what my educational background is? A bachelor's in international studies, from a lowly state school better known for football than academics.

Experience is just as important as credentials. If development is what you want to do, spend your college years contributing to open source projects (esp. since you don't seem averse to Linux development) and finding a team on campus to develop and release apps to the App Store/Google Play with, anything you can document and fill a resume with. If you happen to be doing it while at a top 10 university... great.

Don't just shoot for some number you want to see on a tax return, though. Focus on starting a building a career on something you like doing, and the money will follow. Especially in this field.

macuser1232
Jul 17, 2012, 08:57 AM
Education helps but is not a golden ticket. I could probably fetch $100-130k in some markets with my skill set as a developer, and you want to know what my educational background is? A bachelor's in international studies, from a lowly state school better known for football than academics.

Experience is just as important as credentials. If development is what you want to do, spend your college years contributing to open source projects (esp. since you don't seem averse to Linux development) and finding a team on campus to develop and release apps to the App Store/Google Play with, anything you can document and fill a resume with. If you happen to be doing it while at a top 10 university... great.

Don't just shoot for some number you want to see on a tax return, though. Focus on starting a building a career on something you like doing, and the money will follow. Especially in this field.
Yeah exactly. I'm trying to learn as much as I can right now but sometimes I find it difficult. Currently I'm learning Java and I'm also moving to C, C++, and Python. Along with this I'm not letting my Web Development skills get away either. Also I really need help learning about other stuff like Assembly, the hardware aspect of computers, etc.

KarlJay
Jul 17, 2012, 12:09 PM
I wouldn't fixate on the payrate alone. In SF Bay Area the average tech job pays $100K, but it's also a pricy place to live. The taxrate in CA either the highest in the nation or close to it.

I live within commute distance to the Bay Area, and the job postings there are HUGE compared to the ones just a few hours out.

Something else to think about, it's not just what lang/OS that you dev on. It's also the industry that you work in. Not as important, but still a plus when you're looking for a certain job.

macuser1232
Jul 17, 2012, 03:26 PM
I wouldn't fixate on the payrate alone. In SF Bay Area the average tech job pays $100K, but it's also a pricy place to live. The taxrate in CA either the highest in the nation or close to it.

I live within commute distance to the Bay Area, and the job postings there are HUGE compared to the ones just a few hours out.

Something else to think about, it's not just what lang/OS that you dev on. It's also the industry that you work in. Not as important, but still a plus when you're looking for a certain job.
Yes I agree. Right now, I just need to find a website on the internet or book that will enable me to learn something from each of these topics, computer hardware, OS's, Assembly language, and just general stuff about computers and computer science. I already know quite a bit about programming though.

DrMotownMac
Jul 17, 2012, 03:49 PM
Yes I agree. Right now, I just need to find a website on the internet or book that will enable me to learn something from each of these topics, computer hardware, OS's, Assembly language, and just general stuff about computers and computer science. I already know quite a bit about programming though.

Here is a GREAT book.

Introduction to Computing Systems: From bits & gates to C & beyond (http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Computing-Systems-gates-beyond/dp/0072467509/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342556970&sr=8-1&keywords=from+bits+and+gates)

Unfortunately, it's not available for Kindle or iBooks, but I read the FIRST edition about 10 years ago. The link above is for the second edition, but apparently there is a third edition due to come out in January 2013.

It used to be the textbook for the introductory computer science class at the University of Michigan, but then the professors who wrote the book both went to other places. It's great because it really explains the LOGIC of computers, starting with how the hardware works, machine language, assembly language, and ultimately up to C. All of those things about bits and bytes, logic gates, etc., made much more sense to me as I was reading that book. Actually, as I'm writing about it here, I'm sort of inspired to re-read it! But I may wait for the next edition. I sent a message to the publisher (on Amazon's site) requesting a Kindle version, but I'm not very optimistic.

Check out McGraw-Hill's website on the book.

Introduction to Computing Systems, 2/e (http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072467509/)

They actually have some good downloadable material there, including some PowerPoint slides from lectures given based on the book. If you download the first few PowerPoint presentations from NC State, I think you'll get the gist of what the book's about.

firewood
Jul 17, 2012, 04:59 PM
Depends on the economy and supply-and-demand at the time you graduate.

During boom times, new and growing companies around my area outbid each other for programing talent with experience competing at top University graduate programs. During the deep downturns, programmers with great educational credentials and far more experience than you might end up working at an ice cream shop... if they could find any employment at all.

And things can go from boom to bust faster than you can get out of school.

Enjoy your gamble. It's a bigger one than taking the mortgage down payment and heading to Vegas for some fun. Except some people think the odds are slightly better.

macuser1232
Jul 17, 2012, 05:46 PM
Here is a GREAT book.

Introduction to Computing Systems: From bits & gates to C & beyond (http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Computing-Systems-gates-beyond/dp/0072467509/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342556970&sr=8-1&keywords=from+bits+and+gates)

Unfortunately, it's not available for Kindle or iBooks, but I read the FIRST edition about 10 years ago. The link above is for the second edition, but apparently there is a third edition due to come out in January 2013.

It used to be the textbook for the introductory computer science class at the University of Michigan, but then the professors who wrote the book both went to other places. It's great because it really explains the LOGIC of computers, starting with how the hardware works, machine language, assembly language, and ultimately up to C. All of those things about bits and bytes, logic gates, etc., made much more sense to me as I was reading that book. Actually, as I'm writing about it here, I'm sort of inspired to re-read it! But I may wait for the next edition. I sent a message to the publisher (on Amazon's site) requesting a Kindle version, but I'm not very optimistic.

Check out McGraw-Hill's website on the book.

Introduction to Computing Systems, 2/e (http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072467509/)

They actually have some good downloadable material there, including some PowerPoint slides from lectures given based on the book. If you download the first few PowerPoint presentations from NC State, I think you'll get the gist of what the book's about.

Oh my gosh thanks so much for the links! Can't wait to read it. I do think i'll wait for the next edition if it's not too long.

Mac_Max
Jul 17, 2012, 05:51 PM
Another interesting bit I read today:

http://michaelochurch.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/dont-waste-your-time-in-crappy-startup-jobs/

macuser1232
Jul 17, 2012, 05:59 PM
Here is a GREAT book.

Introduction to Computing Systems: From bits & gates to C & beyond (http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Computing-Systems-gates-beyond/dp/0072467509/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342556970&sr=8-1&keywords=from+bits+and+gates)

Unfortunately, it's not available for Kindle or iBooks, but I read the FIRST edition about 10 years ago. The link above is for the second edition, but apparently there is a third edition due to come out in January 2013.

It used to be the textbook for the introductory computer science class at the University of Michigan, but then the professors who wrote the book both went to other places. It's great because it really explains the LOGIC of computers, starting with how the hardware works, machine language, assembly language, and ultimately up to C. All of those things about bits and bytes, logic gates, etc., made much more sense to me as I was reading that book. Actually, as I'm writing about it here, I'm sort of inspired to re-read it! But I may wait for the next edition. I sent a message to the publisher (on Amazon's site) requesting a Kindle version, but I'm not very optimistic.

Check out McGraw-Hill's website on the book.

Introduction to Computing Systems, 2/e (http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072467509/)

They actually have some good downloadable material there, including some PowerPoint slides from lectures given based on the book. If you download the first few PowerPoint presentations from NC State, I think you'll get the gist of what the book's about.Little did I know that it was $120

DrMotownMac
Jul 17, 2012, 06:57 PM
Little did I know that it was $120

Um, yeah. Sorry. I forgot to mention the bad thing about it. I was hoping if they released an ebook version, it would be a little cheaper.

firewood
Jul 17, 2012, 07:39 PM
Yes I agree. Right now, I just need to find a website on the internet or book that will enable me to learn something from each of these topics, computer hardware, OS's, Assembly language, and just general stuff about computers and computer science.

Try Petzold's book "Code". Not too expensive.

DrMotownMac
Jul 17, 2012, 07:50 PM
Try Petzold's book "Code". Not too expensive.

Thanks for the tip! Just downloaded...looks very interesting!

chown33
Jul 17, 2012, 08:24 PM
How Computers Work (http://www.fastchip.net/howcomputerswork/p1.html), by Roger Young.

It's free. Online HTML, or downloadable PDF.

softwareguy256
Jul 17, 2012, 09:51 PM
I wrote a nice piece but decided that it is simply too valuable to give out for free. But all I can give out declassified is that understanding the business is the most important to make a lot of money. Doing things for the love is BS, when its endless, relentless crunchtime, the love sours into resentment and depression. You will get tired, whether it is 1 week, 3 months or a year. A solid understanding of the business will keep you rolling like a machine however.

Hey I was wondering if it is possible to be paid over $100,000 a year if you go to a college that is in the top 10 and receive a Master's in Computer Science. Also I am talking about specifically OS programming and cross platform languages like Java, C, C++ etc. Also I am not really looking for a Windows Programming job because I prefer to Code on Mac or even Linux.

Thanks

macuser1232
Jul 17, 2012, 09:58 PM
Try Petzold's book "Code". Not too expensive.

Oh wow that look's like a wonderful book! And really cheap too :) . I'm actually going to go buy it tomorrow! Thanks!

KarlJay
Jul 18, 2012, 02:47 AM
You've mentioned several things here like Assembly, Java, C, web and so on...

Long ago, I learned the difference between a 'handyman' and a 'specialist' ... as one saying put it, "you can know a little about a lot or a lot about a little"

Put yourself in the shoes of the person hiring. What would you think when you start hearing all these "... I've studied _____" You start to think this person is not focused and trying to cover all the bases.

Point: Don't make the common mistake of trying to cover all the bases or claiming you can fix anything.

Consider the value of a specialist.

You might think that you'll be safer if you can fix all things, but how good can you be at fixing all things?

Remember, the experience time race. Somethiing new comes out and if it gains traction, people start climbing on board. If it's a hit, and you have a usable knowledge of it, you can win... If however you are late to the game, you'll always be playing 2nd string. Your years will always be a few years behind.

It's kinda like the old country doctor vs the modern specialist. You wouldn't want a general doctor patching up your heart, you'd rather have a 10 years in, heart specialist.

A good chef knows not to ruin a great meal by making it something it was never meant to be.

I've not programmed anything PC in several years now. All my effort is focused on handheald devices and right now it all on iOS devices.

Colleges have classes most all the students take, they also have other classes only certain students take. This is done for a reason.

DrMotownMac
Jul 18, 2012, 10:00 AM
It's kinda like the old country doctor vs the modern specialist. You wouldn't want a general doctor patching up your heart, you'd rather have a 10 years in, heart specialist.

Speaking as a primary care doctor (not really an "old country doctor", since I'm in the Detroit suburbs, but same idea), I actually agree with your comment 100%. Specialists make more money and they should. They're better qualified than me to address their specific areas of interest. However, my job is to work as the "gatekeeper" in the sense that I take care of LOTS of minor problems (colds, back pain, migraines, small lacerations, etc.) and manage many, many chronic general health problems (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, diabetes, etc.), but I'm the first to refer to a cardiologist when someone is having symptoms of angina. My job is fun and interesting, but it's certainly not the most lucrative. On the flip side, I have spare time for doing things like spending time on MacRumors or trying to learn about programming (unlike my cardiologist friends).

Back to the programming analogy, if you want to teach high school computer science and have your summers and weekends off, being a "generalist" will probably suit you well. You'd be well versed in lots of languages and general concepts -- perfect for teaching inexperienced kids. But, if you want to make big bucks writing software and you aren't afraid of 70-80 hour work weeks, you would probably be best served by finding your area of interest and then zeroing in on it. Also, make your area of interest something that's high in demand right now.

macuser1232
Jul 18, 2012, 03:49 PM
Speaking as a primary care doctor (not really an "old country doctor", since I'm in the Detroit suburbs, but same idea), I actually agree with your comment 100%. Specialists make more money and they should. They're better qualified than me to address their specific areas of interest. However, my job is to work as the "gatekeeper" in the sense that I take care of LOTS of minor problems (colds, back pain, migraines, small lacerations, etc.) and manage many, many chronic general health problems (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, diabetes, etc.), but I'm the first to refer to a cardiologist when someone is having symptoms of angina. My job is fun and interesting, but it's certainly not the most lucrative. On the flip side, I have spare time for doing things like spending time on MacRumors or trying to learn about programming (unlike my cardiologist friends).

Back to the programming analogy, if you want to teach high school computer science and have your summers and weekends off, being a "generalist" will probably suit you well. You'd be well versed in lots of languages and general concepts -- perfect for teaching inexperienced kids. But, if you want to make big bucks writing software and you aren't afraid of 70-80 hour work weeks, you would probably be best served by finding your area of interest and then zeroing in on it. Also, make your area of interest something that's high in demand right now.

Well every time I try to zero in on something people will either say, "There aren't going to be many jobs that don't use Windows computers" or "What if the thing you are studying isn't popular anymore when it is time for you to find a job?"

KarlJay
Jul 19, 2012, 04:19 AM
Well every time I try to zero in on something people will either say, "There aren't going to be many jobs that don't use Windows computers" or "What if the thing you are studying isn't popular anymore when it is time for you to find a job?"
This is exactly what happened to me. I was/am one of the best for database DOS platform... I made some money from it. Jobs went from popular to sparse, to NONE!

This is just the way life is. Same thing with video store clerks, newspaper type setters, PhotoMat employees, etc...

You'll have to come to terms with these facts:
1. high tech changes quickly
2. NO company can control the direction forever (remember Apple was almost out of business a few years back)
3. You can be left hanging (ask anyone that signed up as a WebOS developer)


There is an upside:
1. When you get the timing right, you can cash in nicely
2. Learning crossover, logic is logic and business reports are still much the same. I was doing OO programming way back then, so I didn't have to learn much new. Some things have a lot in common, C#/Java ...

One other note: years ago, head hunters looked for keywords and numbers, that's it! You didn't get the job based on skill, you got it because you had the right keywords and the right number of years. Head hunters were CLUELESS yet did a very important job.

BTW, Windows will continue to rule the desktop world, but the desktop world is NOT the whole world, handhelds are making inroads into the business/work world.

phr0ze
Jul 19, 2012, 07:07 AM
Head hunters are still clueless. Also I have never seen any favoritism for someone who went to a top 10 college. Most only care if you have a BS, Some only care if you have a BS in CS, and usually all of them will trade 5 years of experience for a BS.

I say go with the flow, be ready for change, and don't spend the money on the top 10 school unless you have a very specific path in mind (ie. Startup poaching, google, etc)

Finally, to just say 100K is silly. In DC 100K is nice, but not great. And you have to fight hours of traffic EVERY DAY or pay high mass transit prices every day. In somewhere like South Carolina, 70K would be equivalent in comfort plus you wouldn't have to deal with traffic and you would get back 2 hours of your life every day.

macuser1232
Jul 19, 2012, 08:32 AM
Head hunters are still clueless. Also I have never seen any favoritism for someone who went to a top 10 college. Most only care if you have a BS, Some only care if you have a BS in CS, and usually all of them will trade 5 years of experience for a BS.

I say go with the flow, be ready for change, and don't spend the money on the top 10 school unless you have a very specific path in mind (ie. Startup poaching, google, etc)

Finally, to just say 100K is silly. In DC 100K is nice, but not great. And you have to fight hours of traffic EVERY DAY or pay high mass transit prices every day. In somewhere like South Carolina, 70K would be equivalent in comfort plus you wouldn't have to deal with traffic and you would get back 2 hours of your life every day.
First off, this top ten school is a public school and it's not very expensive. Two, of course there going to see that I went to a good school but that's not going to be the only thing they look at. They're gonna see what I majored in(planning on getting a masters) and what classes I took. But other than that, yes they are mainly going to want to know my skill level in a certain field. I could be wrong but I have a feeling software engineering may be a solid and decent job to have that won't unneeded for a while. But yeah I just have to wait until after I get the education to actually look at all the jobs! I mean I may hate to use Windows right now but because of technology, things can change fast! But, how long would it take me to learn Windows so i'm an expert with it? Because what if I wait until the last minute to start using Windows?

KarlJay
Jul 19, 2012, 12:03 PM
Generally a MS doesn't have the same value in CompSci as it would in some other fields. Of all the jobs I've had, having a BS never set me back and I've had some high level jobs.

On the subject of Windows, this really depends on what you want to do. Generally speaking, any job where you focus on the OS is going to be an entry level job. OS is just the software that gets in the way of you doing what you want the computer to do. I'd work in a command line OS if I had the choice :D

Everything you need to know about Windows, you can learn in a week, unless you intend on doing user support / upgrades / help desk. ... not exactly what someone with a MS in mind would be shooting for.

One other thing you'll have to come to terms with is that you most likely will NOT like every program/OS/Language/API/Devices etc... that you'll have to work with.

I had to work with modems, they suck, each one had a different init string and they never seemed to work all day without a reboot. It was just part of the job.

firewood
Jul 19, 2012, 01:01 PM
Generally a MS doesn't have the same value in CompSci as it would in some other fields.
I would say that an MS in CS has no salary value after the first job or two. It may help you get a first job in some specialty area, or get you involved in a high visibility graduate research or open source project, but once in, all the value is in your work experience in that area. The smaller the company (e.g. startups), the more this is true.

In my opinion, the best specialists also have a bit of generalists in them, to have a good understanding of all the layers and connections underlying their specialty (e.g. when not to use it). And the best generalists have enough specialist experience to know how little they know (e.g. the limitations of general knowledge). That sometimes makes them better at climbing the management ladder, if that is of any interest to you.

lee1210
Jul 19, 2012, 03:04 PM
The whole tone of this has been very odd. The OP started with what he is going to do, then asked if those are the right inputs to produce a job (career is being misused, I'd say) whose base salary is >= $100,000 per year. A lot of additional questions were asked of the OP to narrow down the scope, and many weren't answered. The real answer is that there aren't a set of prerequisites that will yield the desired outcome in and of themselves.

I've known people with the criteria you describe making less than you hope for and people without them making more. I can, in general, tell you that there are diminishing returns when you move up the chain from high school -> associates -> bachelors -> masters -> PhD in CS. Most job listings ask for BS or above. If they want more, experience generally substitutes. Generally it will in place of a BS, too. I'd say a HS education is probably a minimum. Generally everyone has a story about a great programmer with no college education. You can read studies on career-long earning potential by degree.

http://www.payscale.com/best-colleges/degrees.asp/
This says for an undergrad CS degree the mid-career median is ~$98K/year. This is not base, this includes bonuses, etc.

This article:
http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2011/08/05/how-higher-education-affects-lifetime-salary
states that a masters earns you $400K more over your career. So over about 40 years that's about $10K more per year.*

Combining these, this means mid-career a MS might be at ~$110K. So scoot that back a few years, maybe 3-5, to get $100K. So we'll say that's at 42 vs. 45 for a BS. So to reach your goal you need to get older (more experience). More education will cut the wait down a little, but not a lot. If you need $100K base, you have to remove bonuses, etc. so you might be looking at closer to 50-55 for either.

The other option is to be exceptional. The way to $100K is to be worth a few times that to an employer, and be sure they know it and compensate properly. Being exceptional is not a product of more letters after your name. You can have both, which is great, but don't think you'll automatically be able to demand a higher salary due to your degree. And definitely don't think you're going to make more because of where you went to school. Unless academia is your goal, school rankings are not that important.

I'll close with: worry more about a fulfilling job/career and being happy. If you make a few million dollars along the way, great. But don't be miserable for 10-25 years because your salary isn't at an artificial benchmark.

-Lee

KarlJay
Jul 19, 2012, 06:29 PM
Good point.

Consider the cost of the MS and the delay it'll cost you.

If you start out at $70K/YR and it takes 2 or 3 years to get the MS... now you're $140K~$210K (plus loans, books, etc)

Several of the classes I took the get my BS, where the same ones required for the MS.

Also, little of what I learned in school, applied to the real world. With tech, a lot of what you learn will not directly apply after a few years at best. I learned Pascal, COBOL, and several others... GUI programming wasn't even offered.

Even now, learning Xcode 4 and iOS 4, parts might go unused... ARC is taking over memory mgmt, the rules for releasing objects are changing per WWDC 2012...

Back then, one VERY important thing was how FRESH the work was... being out of the loop for two years moved you down the list.

macuser1232
Jul 19, 2012, 08:14 PM
Good point.

Consider the cost of the MS and the delay it'll cost you.

If you start out at $70K/YR and it takes 2 or 3 years to get the MS... now you're $140K~$210K (plus loans, books, etc)

Several of the classes I took the get my BS, where the same ones required for the MS.

Also, little of what I learned in school, applied to the real world. With tech, a lot of what you learn will not directly apply after a few years at best. I learned Pascal, COBOL, and several others... GUI programming wasn't even offered.

Even now, learning Xcode 4 and iOS 4, parts might go unused... ARC is taking over memory mgmt, the rules for releasing objects are changing per WWDC 2012...

Back then, one VERY important thing was how FRESH the work was... being out of the loop for two years moved you down the list.
Well I don't know where you went but I'm positive there is a big difference between BS and MS. You definitely going to have more opportunities and higher pay. You going to learn more with MS I can guarantee that. I mean I agree that technology changes but a MS is only going to benefit me at the least. Plus, CS is the only thing I want to pursue and I can't really think of any other computer degrees.

lee1210
Jul 19, 2012, 09:18 PM
You came here to ask if you'll make $100,000 if you get an MS from a top 10 CS school. We've told you that you can do so with a high school degree, an associates, a BS, a PhD, etc. We've also told you that no matter what degree you get it will be a while before you are making that salary. When people have told you real numbers or examples you have seemed disinterested and argumentative.

If you're going to pay for school, let's say that's $50K. Base with a BS is $56K, times 2 years, that's $112K. So you're down $162K. You're also down 2 years of real world experience. Over your career you'll make $400K more, so net you're at $238K more over your career. Over 40 years this is about $6K per year. You have made up your mind that your MS will be very lucrative and will provide you with more opportunities. That's fine, but compared to a BS and real world experience the difference is nominal. I haven't seen a job that absolutely require an MS if you're good enough and have experience. There are definitely some out there, but don't imagine that you'll walk over competing candidates with BSs.

My point is that you should go to school because you have the time, means, and thirst for knowledge, not because you think it will make you richer than your less educated peers. I have a more senior title than my 2 teammates and one of them has a masters, the other a PhD. I have a BA and 8 years experience. They may "catch up", but we're all the same age right now. As I said in my last post... be incredible and you will succeed. You're set on your MS, that's great. Do it. But don't think it makes you win the career lotto. You're going to have to be awesome, too.

-Lee

chown33
Jul 19, 2012, 09:44 PM
...[awesome advice elided]... You're going to have to be awesome, too.

Best post of the thread. I'd upvote it by my entire weekly quota of upvotes (if upvotes had weekly quotas).

balamw
Jul 19, 2012, 10:14 PM
be incredible and you will succeed.

Words of wisdom.

The degree and where it is from may be a tie breaker, but what you can do is what gets you the high salary.

Just do.

B

nishioka
Jul 20, 2012, 12:28 AM
Well I don't know where you went but I'm positive there is a big difference between BS and MS. You definitely going to have more opportunities and higher pay. You going to learn more with MS I can guarantee that. I mean I agree that technology changes but a MS is only going to benefit me at the least. Plus, CS is the only thing I want to pursue and I can't really think of any other computer degrees.

Getting a master's degree is an investment on your part. It's an investment of your time and it's an investment of your money. It is not a wise investment of your time if all you want to do is write software - there are plenty of jobs out there that don't require a master's degree but do pay you what you want to get paid. And it is not a wise investment of your money if whatever pay increase you may see from having a master's takes years or decades to catch up to the amount of money you spent on the degree and the amount of earnings lost while you were still in school.

The only SURE benefit you will get out of having post-graduate work in computer science is that opportunities for advanced research and teaching college-level courses open up. Employers aren't guaranteed to hire you over someone with a bachelor's just because you have a master's, and even if they do hire you it's not a guarantee that they will pay you more.

KarlJay
Jul 20, 2012, 03:13 AM
Well I don't know where you went but I'm positive there is a big difference between BS and MS. You definitely going to have more opportunities and higher pay. You going to learn more with MS I can guarantee that. I mean I agree that technology changes but a MS is only going to benefit me at the least. Plus, CS is the only thing I want to pursue and I can't really think of any other computer degrees.

I really don't know where you get this info from. You say: there is a big difference between BS and MS. You definitely going to have more opportunities and higher pay

Look in any job listing and see the number of years, few ask for zero. Consider this:
Person A : BS w/ 2.5 years
Person B : MS w/ 0 years
Now fast forward 5 years A: BS with 7.5 years ... B: MS with 5 years ... pretty much a wash.

One other point is that few (if any) schools change quickly enough to match the trends in the market. Tech changes direction quickly. What you learn might be going out vs something new they don't offer yet and may never offer.
What schools offer is general programming concepts, what companies want is working knowledge of a product/language.

Consider me: BS with decades of software development, for the last 2+ years, I've been learning iOS/Xcode/ObjC etc... I have an advanced knowledge of computer programming, however, 2 years ago, I knew nothing about Apples API or IDE.

Concepts are different from working knowledge. Working knowledge usually comes after concepts.

What do you think the odds are that the MS vs BS is going to get you up and running at a certain company any faster? They use whatever combo of tools, database servers, version control, editors, APIs, etc... Do you think the extra years will be learning each of the products that company uses?

Not likely. Each company selects from a huge list of tools that change over time. Each company has a certain list of needs and beyond the basic direction, these are addressed in the real world.

I see a common theme in these answers and I'd look at some posting for jobs and see if schools actually offer classes on all the products companies are looking for.

Lets say that some new tech comes out and it takes hold in a lot of companies, how long will it take to work it's way into the schools? Now, consider that person A starts using it when if 1st comes out... now person A has working knowledge of the product and can be productive right from the start.

Being productive is very important, there's only so much concept that a company can benefit from.

In contrast, an MBA has more value than a BS, one reason is that in business management, products don't change as quickly and concepts have more value.

Anyways, I think we've over-discussed this. If you feel a financial advantage of waiting a few years to gain an MS will more than pay for itself then have at it.

phr0ze
Jul 20, 2012, 09:16 AM
... Two, of course there going to see that I went to a good school but that's not going to be the only thing they look at. They're gonna see what I majored in(planning on getting a masters) and what classes I took.
You assume a lot. And it rarely comes down to a tie breaker where the name of the school is the winner. And why would they see your classes? If I see a resume with a bunch of classes listed, I'm picking the other guy. And I'm going to tell you the Masters will not matter. If you know what you're doing you can beat out someone with a masters every time, esp if you have more experience. (BTW: you seem hell bent on the masters, so get a job with your BS, then have that job pay for the extra school. You get experience and a cheaper masters.)


But other than that, yes they are mainly going to want to know my skill level in a certain field. I could be wrong but I have a feeling software engineering may be a solid and decent job to have that won't unneeded for a while.

Never said it wasn't. But you will find your actual job changes as you move up in pay. You may also see something more lucrative. Don't assume you will always be a software engineer.


But yeah I just have to wait until after I get the education to actually look at all the jobs!

Why? I didn't wait. I'm paid more than my co-workers every time and I'm promoted faster.

I mean I may hate to use Windows right now but because of technology, things can change fast! But, how long would it take me to learn Windows so i'm an expert with it? Because what if I wait until the last minute to start using Windows?

I hate windows too. But you often don't get the choice.

Finally it seems you know more than people here with real world experience.

AlanShutko
Jul 20, 2012, 09:26 AM
The masters would not help you at most companies but would open up opportunities at certain companies. There are a number of jobs at companies like apple, google, intel, etc where they are looking for a masters or better. But it won't do any good if you are working on the payroll system for a random business.

aaronvan
Jul 23, 2012, 02:19 PM
Hey I was wondering if it is possible to be paid over $100,000 a year if you go to a college that is in the top 10 and receive a Master's in Computer Science. Also I am talking about specifically OS programming and cross platform languages like Java, C, C++ etc. Also I am not really looking for a Windows Programming job because I prefer to Code on Mac or even Linux.

Thanks

http://www.htdp.org/

http://racket-lang.org/

http://www1.idc.ac.il/tecs/

;)

Thiemo
Jul 23, 2012, 05:20 PM
. On the flip side, I have spare time for doing things like spending time on MacRumors or trying to learn about programming (unlike my cardiologist friends).


So, do you already have one of these calculators on the app store? :)