I know this isn't really a technical question, but I was wondering if anyone in here might be able to offer some insight on this. I recently got my BSEE, and am considering going for a Masters, and my question is, is it worth it? Does anyone know what the major differences would be graduating with a BSEE or a MSEE, I don't know if it would be better to start working and trying to learn stuff in industry or continuing school, I'm 30 right now, which is a bit older to have just got a BSEE. The University I attend isn't a top 100 or top 200 in the country as far as EE goes either.
*you were a good enough student to make it into grad school
*you can handle advanced material
*and (for most schools) you can handle a large independent project, e.g. a thesis
I think you'll find from salary tables that the MS pays for itself, i.e. you make more in higher pay than you lose in the 18 to 24 months it takes to get the degree.
However, these days you shouldn't have to choose. Many schools have night time MS programs and you can probably get your employer to pay for it. Not really the same experience as being on campus, full time, with a research team but valuable none the less.
That sounds more like the "non-thesis project" option to me... My experience was that the "thesis" option was, "work on the professor's current pet projector that he's been working on for some years prior and will continue to work on after you leave." Nothing wrong with that, but I'd stress that it's
*very important* to make sure the professor is working on something *you actually give a damn about!*
I suspect that it'd be very hard to find a school offering an off-campus/night-school MSEE in IC or RF design, as these typically require the use of large labs outfitted with lots of fancy equipment few people could realistically duplicate at home. For MSEEs that are more "computer science" oriented, I'm sure it works fine.
I was a little disappointed that there were various HP employees in some of the classes I took who were there only because HP required them to get a degree to advance in title and hence salary. From an employee's point of view... ok, fine, I can understand why they do it (no worse than going into EE in the first place primarily because the pay if good and you find the work "tolerable")... but from a corporate point of view, I'm amazed that HP condones such activities.
I would caution the OP that, from what I've seen, employer-supported (in either tuition pay and/or time away from work to attend class) masters degrees are on the downswing. This was the reason I left my previous employer, even though they advertised support in obtaining an advanced degree.
If you're accepting a job based on an employer's promise to pay for a masters, get it in writing.
Experience counts too. So, if you were not in the EE workforce before or during your BSEE years, you might hold off on the Masters program, at least for now. Here's why:
Time was, a Double-E degree was a guarantee of life-long employment. Perhaps with a Fortune-500 Company, great benefits, retirement....
Nowadays, a lot of EE's (newly minted and otherwise) find themselves scrambling for contract work. (Not all, but a lot.) Times ain't what they used to be. You are at the perfect crossroads, in a sense. Take some time, and find out.
If you find yourself leaning towards more education simply because job prospects appear bleak (be honest!), I personally would face that situation square in it's own reality. Jobs are hemmoraging from the US in general, (and on the whole, they are being replaced by lower- pay, lower-skill, and much lower-satisfaction jobs IMO.) Or they are off-shored. If that is an underlying reality in your part of the world, or in your particular field of interest, make sure you bring it to the surface before making a decision.
Also, I don't personally think 30 is too young to get your BSEE.
I too was 30 when I got my BEE. It was too long ago for my experience to be relevant, so I can offer only an observation, not advice. I got on fine without an advanced degree, but they are more necessary now than they were then. And even considering the more than 40-year interval, I was lucky to have advances as far as I did. (I was good. The luck was working for people who valued achievement more than credentials.)
Of the responses I have seen so far, this is the best advice. What do you want to do? Do you have any passion for some specialty? In my day, I am retired now, amateur radio was a passion for many a potential EE. That seems to be replaced by computers now and ham radio is dying. Do you like working at the bench in preference to design and analysis? Let that guide you.
-- Support the troops. Impeach Bush. Oh, I forgot about Cheney.
Amateur Radio killed itself off by allowing appliance operators to go wild. They should have insisted on taxing imported ahm equipment and put a practical test in place like the one for an A&P license for the Extra.
As a career decision the MSEE makes sense only if very, very carefully evaluated in terms of the future of the H-1B program, which has killed EE/CS as a desireable career path for many Americans.
You can't compete with an Indian who will work for thirty or forty thousand a year in Silicon Valley and live eight-up in a one room apartment. I know a man that with a master's in EE and several years experience in defense plants bought a bus and headed out to Silicon Valley with the idea he'd live in the bus for awhile. This was a very nice MCI MC-8 conversion formerly used by a famous country singer on tour. He couldn't get hired in any engineering job at any rate of pay, he even applied for engineering tech positions and they turned him down, of course, as overqualified. He FINALLY (speaking very good Spanish) had the wild ass idea of getting a Matricula Consular card under a fake name-and to understand why it's funny he's a really Nordic looking guy-and got a job at a big semiconductor company as a fab maintenance person. He finally was able to get an engineering support job under his real name, but the pay isn't a lot better. If he didn't own the bus, and its economical 'toad' (a towed small car behind it) outright he couldn't possibly live out there. As it stands he dreads having to get California tags and insurance on the bus: the toad will never get past CARB.
How on earth did the rec.radio.amateur hierarchy descend into such idiocy (except for the homebrew ng)? I hadn't looked there for many years and am aghast at what I see. This situation is certainly reflected on other online amatuer radio venues on the Internet as well.
In the US, one could argue that FCC policy that has downgraded licensing requirements since the late 1970s has played a significant role in deficits of character, but what explains the online bad conduct of amateurs from elsewhere?
Do you see any hope of restoring an engineering orientation to the amateur radio services and if so by what instrumentality?
The purpose for most amateur radio activities has vanished. Operation during emergencies such as Katrina is about the most useful activity I can think of. Under ordinary circumstances communication is so cheap and more reliable through submarine cable and satellite that the thrill is gone. In my day, phone patch traffic for the military and others provided a service that was not otherwise available. Today, even if I were active, I would prefer paying a few cents a minute for a transcontinental phone call compared to running a patch.
I was a partial victim of the H-1B program in the 70's. That is why I am against amnesty and guest workers at this time.
-- Support the troops. Impeach Bush. Oh, I forgot about Cheney.
Not really. Modern electronics and radio is not really feasible or economical for home construction. I can get an FM stereo radio with earphones at the 99¢ store. You cannot buy the parts for a transceiver for what it costs for a much better piece of equipment commercially.
Don't blame the FCC. The US Navy no longer uses Morse code as far as I know. Even short wave broadcasters have given up good frequencies because internet over fiber gives more reliable and cheaper service.
-- Support the troops. Impeach Bush. Oh, I forgot about Cheney.
Years ago this same question faced me. Research showed the answer is clear! GET THE MSEE!!! Believe me the year or two (you should have asked this question LONG ago Bunky! Many schools have programs that let you get a BSEE and MSEE at the same time.) spent getting the master's degree MORE than pays for itself. This is true in all engineering fields, but especially in EE. Your starting salary will jump-start and the BSEE guys who graduated with you will never catch up!
For what it's worth, getting a PhD. is NOT worth it! The extended time needed to get that degree, means that you fall back behind the MSEE guys who are working and getting promoted. You NEVER catch up! Hence the bottom line is one gets a PhD ONLY for reasons where it is required, like say teaching but never to try to fast track your salary.
And there is more. Once you hit industry and the job scene, you'll find that although everyone makes a huge fuss about how important it is to get on the job training and how nobody teaches anything in college that is useful in a job setting (well except for bureaucratic politics, of course), Fact Is, that the company you chose to work for will invariably advance the guy with the MSEE sheepskin over the smartest BSEE with all the company training they have to offer. Trust me on this!
Joshua, I am assuming that you are in the United States and you are interested in jobs in the United States.
It's hard to say anything that holds in generality, but some companies nowadays don't even accept BS-level, fresh out of university, new hires. So at the very least it will open some doors to you. Whether those doors are attractive to you depends on opportunities and the values you assign to them.
That said, given your hesitation (isn't that why you posted this question), maybe the best thing to do is to go for the master's if and only if you can get yourself into a good program that makes you happy, or a project that you think will make you a better engineer. The increased potential salary is worth it only if you can get to it :-). And that is helped with a degree from a better-known school or with an improved resume.
I don't think that age has much to do here, except for the higher likelihood of having dependents. That always imposes tough constraints and challenges.
One thing that makes the scene a bit complicated is the increasing popularity of the 5-year BS/MEng combo in the United States. That murks the waters a bit. I think it's a great deal for those who stay in school for the 5 years, because it offers a chance at working on a good project before they leave school. But I don't know what that means to those who are going back from full-time employment to pursue a master's degree.
Finally, going for a PhD may not be sensible from a salary perspective, but I'm glad to have done it since I was paid to do it (albeit only student stipend and/or fellowships), I didn't have to pay tuition, and now I can work at the level that I want to within my company. Your mileage may and probably will vary.
panfilero wrote in news:1182203977.820765.80400 @q75g2000hsh.googlegroups.com:
Congrats on asking yourself the hard questions before making a decision. When an undergrad informs me of such a decision, I always suggest that the student take a really close look at why they want the advanced degree.
I think as a fresh BS at age 30, you might stand out a little in an applicant pool of other BS's, with employers seeing you as a little more mature than the rest of the pool -- especially if you write the right sort of cover letter. There is also the risk that they view you as indecisive, so make sure you have a good story about why your career path is just launching now.
Whether or not the above gives you as much boost as a Masters might, or whether the practical experience you'd get as a working engineer would offset this, or whether your career clock is ticking too fast right now to justify the Masters is a lot harder to pin down, and your own personal goals will have much to do with the decision.
I would suggest you get a foot in the door experience-wise and get into the workforce now, if you are able - and pursue the MSEE part- time. Note that this also starts the clock on work experience for the PE qualification, if you want to become one of the two or three licensed PEs in your state.
Even if you graduate with an MSEE you will, by and large, still only be eligible for entry-level positions because of your inexperience.
Without any solid reason i want to say to grab some commercial opportunity and consider your further education as a part time thing, perhaps life is itself a learning process. Yes, having a Master degree does help to get certain jobs but some advertisers do prompt for age factor as well. Like, Should be having master with below age 26 to or so;)
Getting BSEE over 30 years does exhibit your passion for particular profession. So, why not giving a chance to some commercial world? worth a shot , BTW you can get to school at anytime for your Master.