Master's in disaster
August 31, 2012 5:50 AM Subscribe
What's the 'right' reason for taking a master's course?
posted by Fen to education (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I got myself an English degree four years ago and it's been about as useful as you imagine it would be. So I've applied for a conversion masters in computer science; a one-year course that teaches java programming and other stuff. It's going to cost about £5000, plus £8000 in living costs. I'm funding it myself. My particular reason for taking it is that I want to better my chances of getting a job, and I want to force myself out of home into a new environment.
Everyone keeps telling me that it's a bad idea; I have to be "certain" about what I'm going to do with it before I take it; I have to "want" to be a programmer, and know what the job of a programmer is like before I commit myself; otherwise it's going to be a waste of my life savings.
Other advice I've been given: at previous interviews (editorial positions, bar management work) I've been rejected because I come across as "looking for just any job, not THIS job in particular." Which is accurate; I can't think of any particular goal I have in mind past moving out of the parents' house and getting on with life. I feel attracted to IT because I use computers and because an understanding of computers sounds much better to people than "read shakespeare for three years", but I'm not at the level of love where I've been making my own programs in my spare time or anything. I don't know if that's because I really don't "care enough" or whether, upon gaining some programming savvy, it would turn out that hey, actually, I've got a new love here.
My family also tell me it's not my qualifications that are the problem, it's the fact I have the personality of a brick and I never show enthusiasm. Also true; I've no hobbies to speak of and go out like once every two months when I can't think up any more reasons to not go. (I disagree with the assessment that my qualifications aren't the problem, though, because, well, it's an English degree. I genuinely can't think of anything on the course I didn't know before I started.) Part of wanting to take the course is that it's shift me out the house and into the company of people who also like computing and general geekiness, and I could pick up new hobbies there.
Also a friend of mine who programs computer games for a living says he thinks the course would be good if I have a specific goal in mind, but otherwise useless; my specific goal is "um, job as a programmer. Or a technical writer, because, you know, vaguely proficient writing skills." Which is obviously not specific, but how specific does one's goal have to be before your goal can be actually labelled as "specific"?
Sooo... what would be the way forward here? If you were at the stage of "thinks he might do okay in this industry, programmed a bit, so yeah" where do you go from there? Or is it more a case of "your only problem is flakiness, just bite the bit and effing go for it, damn it"?