Contemplating a Master's Degree

Amazon / Eng MeatCrayon
Feb 22 18 Comments

Hi Blind,

I am contemplating a master's degree and am unable to decide on how to move further.

I am currently working at Amazon as an SDE1, joined as a fresh grad. Looking to get promoted in Q2.

What is the kind of ROI I can expect by going for a master's degree? Is it worth it? I will either be pursuing an MS or an MBA. Super confused which one of either. I am definitely interested in tech, but have heard that an MBA can give you a greater boost in your career a couple years down the line.

Or is my time better spent leetcoding and getting into Google/FB and the like by the end of this year?

Appreciate any experiences/inputs. Thanks a lot!

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TOP 18 Comments
  • Google euBx84
    What do you actually want? Ask yourself seriously. I have a masters, and it was pretty damn fun and all, but learning about Pumping lemma most likely won't take my career to the next level. The perception that you need a masters or MBA to go into management (either eng or PM) is completely false. If anything the masters ROI could likely be negative for your career (unless you pivot fields or something). It's okay to take some time off, and find yourself during masters degree, but don't expect the world to change for you just because you have masters. If you really want to switch out of swe then masters is perfect. If you're staying in swe then masters is foolish unless you're trying hard to switch company/domain or something or you've accepted that your career may stall for 2 years.
    Feb 22 5
    • Amazon / Eng MeatCrayon
      OP
      That's where I'm so uncertain. I do not want to move out of SWE, or pivot drastically at this point. I'm pretty content being here and solving fun problems.

      The dilemma is that I might hit a glass ceiling in another 10 years (I hear this from CEOs) and it might be too late to pursue a Master's degree then.
      Feb 22
    • Wayfair / Eng
      jwxs26

      Wayfair Eng

      PRE
      Microsoft
      jwxs26more
      **If** that happens that’s why an EMBA was created and by then your company will likely pay for it.
      Feb 22
    • Amazon / Eng MeatCrayon
      OP
      Is an EMBA comparable to a full time program in terms of the opportunities, prestige in your opinion?
      Feb 22
    • Wayfair / Eng
      jwxs26

      Wayfair Eng

      PRE
      Microsoft
      jwxs26more
      At that level yes. Wharton has a weekend Bay Area program just for that actually. It’s almost a checkbox. Duke doesn’t differentiate their degrees by program either. Full-time or weekend you still get an MBA.
      Feb 22
    • Amazon / Eng MeatCrayon
      OP
      That does sound like a very viable alternative. I'll look into it more and attempt to reach a conclusion soon.

      Thanks a lot, this really helped :)
      Feb 22
  • Amazon ♡♡
    You should definitely go for Master degree, one you will learn at a much faster rate, two you will have a master degree forever.
    Feb 22 0
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • Amazon / Eng MeatCrayon
      OP
      What level and role do you play at Amazon, if you don't mind me asking
      Feb 22
  • Amazon Powerful
    I doing both in 2 years after 3 YoE and pivoting into PM. DM me if this interests you.
    Feb 22 0
  • Wayfair / Eng
    jwxs26

    Wayfair Eng

    PRE
    Microsoft
    jwxs26more
    Best write up I have seen if you are thinking about getting a business masters...long story short, experience > “education”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/05/29/do-i-need-an-mba-to-be-a-product-manager-in-tech/
    Feb 22 0
  • Microsoft CXDd84
    I'm in the middle of an MS in CS (night classes) after 10 yoe. Best decision I've made. I disagree with the popular notion that it's all about job experience. After 10+ years of specialization it's awesome to step back into academia for a broader survey of the field and formally study new developments that aren't directly in my professional domain.
    My $0.02

    Edit: you said you're a new grad. Honestly, I would focus on career and go back for MS after 5+ years...or MBA for that matter.
    Feb 22 3
    • Apple I’m a PC
      Just general CS or some focus?
      Feb 22
    • Microsoft CXDd84
      General..self-directed focus. I'm doing ai/ml courses...vastly different space than it was on mid 2000's!
      Feb 22
    • Amazon / Eng MeatCrayon
      OP
      It's great that it's working out well for you. How do you handle both work and school together? Does Microsoft have some sort of a program that facilitates this?
      Feb 22
  • Broadcom Ltd. rFkd21
    Either one good, but you need to know your career path; mgmt or ic.
    Feb 22 1
    • Amazon / Eng MeatCrayon
      OP
      That's where my dilemma lies mostly.

      I want to be an IC, but feel there is more scope for influence and growth being in management.
      Feb 22
  • Amazon CiJN18
    As an SDE1 I would focus more on job experience and skills you can learn outside a formal program. After a couple promotions you’re going to get exposed to more of the business side and skills like understanding marketing or finance will start to matter. Having an MBA is no ticket to upper management, you need the network. Build part of that now, and part in school if you still want to do it.
    Feb 22 1
    • Amazon / Eng MeatCrayon
      OP
      I completely agree. But what in your opinion is that sweet spot where you don't lose all motivation to go back to school and have gained enough experience to use an MBA well.

      What about an MS? Does that help at all when trying to apply to FANG companies?
      Feb 22

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