Get BS from Good School or MS from OK School

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by ricgnzlzcr, Oct 31, 2008.

  1. ricgnzlzcr macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    I recently earned a BA in sociology from St. Mary's College of Maryland. Now, I want to go back to school to study computer science. My two options are:

    -Go to the University of Maryland: College Park and get a BS in computer science


    -Go to Towson University and get an MS in computer science

    Towson would allow me in their graduate program regardless of lack of computer science background as long as I take some courses to catch me up. The issue I have is that I know College Park has a very good computer science program and is ranked (much) higher than Towson.

    So, if I were applying to a software engineering job in the future, would the employer prefer a MS from Towson or a BS from College Park?
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    why not get your MS from Maryland? I know there are grad programs where you pretty much have to earn your bs while getting your MS. That is probably what Townsend is doing. Either case, you will have to take the same classes so I think you should get your BS and MS from Maryland if it is a better school
  3. ricgnzlzcr thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    Well Towson requires me to take 3 classes consisting of 3 credits each to start their MS program if I don't have a computer science bachelor's. To enter University of Maryland's computer science program I'm required to have the bachelor's in CS before even applying.

    So, the choice is between the MS from Towson or the BS from University of Maryland. I want to know which one is most appealing to employers. Thanks for your input.
  4. itcheroni macrumors 6502a

    Sep 23, 2005
    This might not answer you question, but I would look at the quality of education vs. cost. There are a lot of good schools out there that don't have a big name and offer very high quality programs. The difference is that you are confident in your abilities upon graduation, which will consequently help you in other aspects of your employment. I don't know anything about Towson though.
  5. GSMiller macrumors 68000


    Dec 2, 2006
    Well think of it this way...Most resumes submitted only get a single glance and thats it, if you were an employer which would stand out more to you...A BS or MS?
  6. djjclark macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2008
    Dont think my company will even interview someone unless they have a MS now days.
  7. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    Being a former HR person and getting into the habit of looking at hundreds of resumes, most of them too wordy, I look for the MS over the BS.

    But if chosen among the final few, then there is time in a crazy work day to see which college sounds better. From an HR perspective, very few colleges just jump out and grab you from the page. Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and the like speak volumes to the point the HR person often forgets what major the applicant majored in. Those Ivies, and private schools make the short list pronto.

    As the for the field of high tech, I was in it for 8 years and near Silicon Valley, many of the talents didn't have MS degrees, and many didn't even have a BS.

    Apple God Steve W. at the time didn't have a degree when he built Apple with hs grad Steve Jobs. Nearby Oracle is run by hs grad Larry Ellison. Not too far away, billionaire and Napster founder Shawn Fanning was not old enough to drink. Microsoft and Dell, who had a big presence in the valley, were run largely by 3 guys (Gates/Allen at Microsoft and Micheal Dell at Dell) who terrified the competition and could drop in on the valley they dominated from their lear jets from Washington or Texas, respectively, and yes only have hs educations.

    That trend flows downward into many medium and small CEOs of the same mold and senior technology managers all throughout the tech sector. It's unlike medicine where all doctors and nurses have to have a college degree, or two. So from that perspective, at least in San Jose, get the best education with the BS from Maryland. That should get you up to speed and there is no need for the MS quite yet. You will either get that later, and the graduate education, often paid for by employer, will more likely be an MBA or MS in telecommunications or systems management, or you will be making so much money you will have arrived and not even need a graduate degree.

    If you are on an education path of two or more degrees, the best option is to have the current school trump the previous school in reputation, or at least match it.
  8. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    Also, look at the big picture. Only 27% of the US population have a bachelor's or higher. That means nearly 3/4s of the workforce don't have a bachelor's degree. Only 9% percent of the US population have a master's or higher, so make sure you really need a graduate degree, lest you become overqualified. The trend is towards a smaller percentage of people going for and receiving college educations in the future.

    Part of that, perhaps a large part, is due to a decreased need for college graduates as computers fill in a lot of occupations (lawyers, accountants, high level professional assistants) where people had to man such jobs before. Before computers, the accountant I used to go to had his BS in accounting and had two bachelor's degreed assistants in the office. Now the town, same size, has just one accountant with a computer handling the same load as before. Thanks to computers, our small town's only accounting firm lost two people and now it's a person working from home doing the town's taxes. This trend happens on similar and larger scales all over the country as computers replace more jobs than it makes.

    And as robotics grows, more jobs will be replaced and we will be a nation of 350 million people with too few jobs to go around.

    And then there is off-shoring of US, Japanese, and Western European jobs to one poor countries that have meteoric rises in their populations' attainment of college degrees.

    We are entering a whole new dynamic, especially in America, where a degree will inherently lose it's once powerful value. Keeping current skills up as you enter and stay in the workforce will be key after you get that BS degree and land a career. Professional certifications are often what many a BS computer science worker use to move up in the high tech field.

    If you want a professional graduate degree, and go for the most money according to most salary surveys, there are eight fields, the first one of which may most closely be related to you, and they are:

    MBA with a concentration in info systems, telecommunications, IT

    These degrees differ from academic graduate degrees like the MA, MS, and PhD which may be harder to attain and usually pay less and are perceived to have less value in the corporate world than a professional graduate degree. As you know, you can probably further your sociology studies and get an MA or even PhD and work your butt off with a thesis and a dissertation and still never end up getting paid well for all your efforts.

    Having been in two of the above mentioned "professional" programs, they are not intellectual in the least and are more job related training in the classroom. The MA, MS, and PhD are academic and truly intellectual and reward original research and innovation and are designed to expand you more than they are designed to custom fit to a career.
  9. ricgnzlzcr thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    63dot, those last few posts were really insightful. It seems that at the moment there is still a good demand for software engineers so I might not need a MS to get a good job. Instead I'm leaning towards taking the better education from the University of Maryland. If I want an MBA or a MS later on it will be easier to get into a better school with a degree from College Park.

    I'm always afraid of the outsourcing of tech jobs out of the country but I do live really close to Washington DC. Government contract jobs won't get outsourced so I feel a bit better about coming out with the BS instead of the MS.

    I really appreciate the input. If anyone else has any experience with this please feel free to post :)
  10. cube macrumors P6

    May 10, 2004
    With your background in sociology, why don't you look into how to become a knowledge engineer?

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