How to approach a Masters in Computer Science
January 4, 2013 9:40 PM Subscribe
I am interested in going back to school for a masters in something, but probably comp sci. I would like some advice on how to approach this.
posted by dubitable to Work & Money (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Here are the facts or things that I know:
- I just turned 37.
- I've been programming professionally for almost 15 years, and finding a job is no issue (yay).
- I like programming a lot and I'm pretty good at it; I want to continue to do it. I still continue to spend a lot of my free time learning about programming, new languages, new approaches, etc.
- My work up until now has primarily been in the web world; back-end and front-end. Like many developers, I've been learning a bit about mobile development too, as that is the way the world is moving. I don't find it particularly challenging but I don't find it particularly interesting either. I want to try something new, some new discipline within computing.
- Bottom-line, I would like to be a better developer, a well-rounded disciplined software engineer who also has a deep(er) computer science foundation, and maybe some specialized scientific domain knowledge. I want to be using more math every day, working on harder algorithms touching realms of computer science that the average web/mobile developer doesn't touch, working on projects which are on a different scale than most small-to-medium web apps I've built up until now, using languages outside the realm of Java/PHP/Ruby/Python (I'd love to be doing some Lisp or using another functional/multi-paradigm programming language with developers who are as enthusiastic about it as I am...). I would love to be in an obscure discipline requiring deep domain knowledge: something like signal processing, scientific visualization, etc. It'd be fun to be working with academic researchers doing cool, advanced work, but I've got no objections to working at a company either; in fact, I'd probably rather be working on products which provide value to a large user base.
- I'm not particularly driven by money, if that's not obvious. I want to be stimulated and make enough to live reasonably comfortably, if not ostentatiously. I don't care if I never make a million bucks in an IPO and buy a Ferrari...actually, I would probably be miserable with that kind of life.
- While I'd love to learn a lot more about the math and programming involved in game graphics and physics programming, I really, really don't want to work in the game industry from everything I've read.
- Speaking of math, my math skills have largely atrophied, but I know I can get back up to speed; I used to love math in high school and I'm willing to push through it as I need to. Granted, that was a while ago but my interest hasn't dwindled, I just haven't needed to use any math in my career, past basic stuff...further testament to the fact that you really need a minimal amount of math in a web development career. But I digress...
- my undergrad is in...wait for it...music performance.
So, questions I'd love to get your help answering:
- any chance some company/school would want to pay for my degree, in exchange for me working for them?
- considering my interests as I laid them out above, what sub-disciplines should I be looking into?
- is a comp sci masters degree the right way to approach my goals? Related to that, can I get back up to speed in mathematics enough to get into a masters degree program, or, what is involved in that? Etc.
- what schools would you recommend? I live in Japan now, and I'm an American, so let's just say I'm pretty open to going most anywhere that would take me...although a less cold climate would make me happier.
Thank you for your advice!