If I Already Have a Job as a Programmer, Is Getting my Master’s in IT Worth It?

In today’s fast-paced world, the value of higher education is self-evident in virtually every industry across the board. Many entry-level positions require a graduate degree and virtually all senior management positions in IT and engineering companies require a Master’s degree. Still, with the rising cost of college tuition and a struggling job market, any reasonable college graduate with a job they’re satisfied with might question the value of an advanced degree. Is it worth it? It depends.

Singing the blues

Throughout the United States, folks holding college degrees are singing the blues – and collecting unemployment compensation – because employers that once emphasized the value of higher education are now paying closer attention to real-world experience. At present, the unemployment rate for recent college graduates is more than 14%, which is higher than that of high school graduates of the same age, as reported in the International Business Times. The numbers aren’t much better for those with advanced degrees.

College Affordability

“When we make college more affordable, we make the American dream more achievable.”
-Bill Clinton

With the increased availability of federal student aid and the development of Plus loans for those seeking post-graduate education came rapidly rising college tuition rates. Though higher education has become more accessible, it is by no means more affordable. That’s a major problem in today’s market, and a major consideration for those wanting to pursue a Master’s degree.

Ultimately, you have to be a prognosticator and ask yourself whether or not a job will likely be available to you after graduation. If you’re a programmer in a large company and there’s plenty of room for upward mobility, the answer to whether or not you should pursue a Master’s degree in IT is a resounding yes. If you live in an economically depressed area and work for a small mom and pop software developer, you might want to think twice before taking on additional student loan debt.

To read more about college affordability and the measures President Obama is taking to improve it, click here.

Tuition Assistance?

Probably the biggest factor you should take into consideration when deciding whether getting your Master’s degree is worth it is whether or not your employer offers tuition assistance or reimbursement. If they do, talk to the wonderful folks in HR. You may be able to get all of your school-related expenses covered, which would make the decision that much easier.

The bottom line

The bottom line is quite simple: if it doesn’t cause you undue financial stress, pursue your Master’s degree. It’ll be one more feather to put in your hat when shopping around for a new job. Even if you don’t intend to leave your current job after earning your Master’s in IT, a graduate degree will put you in a much better position to get promoted. In the very least, your advanced degree will add to your job security and give you a fresh sense of achievement.

If tuition will put a strain on your finances but you’d still like to enjoy the benefits of a Master’s in IT, consider going with a lesser-known – and therefore less expensive – accredited University.

Is getting your Master’s in IT worth it? It’s never not worth it to pursue a higher degree in your chosen career field.