Does it make sense to leave Amazon to pursue a masters degree?

Amazon / Eng amznxyz
Oct 5, 2017 34 Comments

I'm an SDE 1 at Amazon. I'm planning to pursue my masters degree in CS at a top 15 ranked college in America. Do you think it makes sense to do so? What are the pros and cons of leaving your job to pursue a masters degree? What is the long term benefit one gets from this?

College list:
U Washington
UC Berkeley
Michigan Ann-Arbor

Thanks in advance.


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TOP 34 Comments
  • Oracle SmileSmile
    I don't see the value really. Why spend that money when you are already in the field.

    No one cares what you have studied. All that matters is how well you can interview and then how well you can do your job.

    If you re interested in studying then do microcourses on udemy or coursera
    Oct 5, 2017 0
  • Amazon MyAdvice
    Masters is not a path to a promotion or more money. If you are thinking you'll be a better programmer and be better at your job, you're wrong.
    Oct 5, 2017 0
  • Microsoft Predisent
    In short - follow your heart. In the short term it might not make economic sense to go back to school, but in the long term you might it easier to get promoted because of your advanced degree. No guarantees dude. If I were you, I will likely go back to school. Also consider doing the online masters program (e.g. georgia tech) so that you get the best of both worlds.
    Oct 5, 2017 0
  • Yahoo / Eng Damore.J
    If you are about the money then stay at Amazon. If you really want to specialize into a certain area or are interested in research then goto uni
    Oct 5, 2017 0
  • VMware / Eng nonamehere
    I would disagree completely. It had zero to do with money and everything to do with what you want out of life. Do not get a masters to get a masters, have a plan. What is your end goal? What does your 5 year future look like today?

    In regards to money, you'll walk out of standford making 2x what a SDE1 makes.
    Oct 5, 2017 0
  • Zulily FQVE38
    Masters is required these days as 2/3rds of tech people have one. Move to a company with tuition benefits, then do online. You won't get into a top 15 unless you want to do years of research for no money. Obviously you want it for career not research. Blood sucking profs will see that immediately and say no way.
    Oct 6, 2017 3
    • Amazon / Mgmt Usn57js
      This is so not true. I don’t see a masters as a benefit at all. In fact, most of the real coding is taught in undergraduate. Masters degrees could be all theory and slower to ramp up at Amazon. Apples to apples, I’ll take a college grad with a bachelors in computer science compared to a college grad with a masters in computer science.

      Get the masters id you want to learn more. But not because it’s required. Practice in the field is what makes you valuable. Throw yourself at hard problems at work.
      Oct 6, 2017
    • Zulily FQVE38
      Most companies do care about their employee's skills and intelligence. Amazon, OTOH, is the new Walmart and needs thousands of interns to burn through.
      Oct 7, 2017
    • Facebook Yre
      Masters is not a sign that a candidate is any better. TBH its more of a sign that the candidates is theoretical and not hands on. Some candidates go to masters because they fail to find a good job after undergrad or they were not motivated on building systems. If they have a masters in a sub field they are clearly not interested in or doesn’t fit with what they are applying again that’s not a positive.

      A masters does not help a candidate one bit when applying unless it made them a better engineer. But then You have to consider the opportunity cost of those years. Masters is not a good way to practice hands on engineering. That time would have been better spent working hard at an entry position.
      Nov 5, 2017
  • Amazon blind420
    Don’t think a CS masters is worth it especially full time. I’m also an sde1 and planning to go to MBA school in 2 years. MBAs from top schools join as L7 PMs. Masters in CS doesn’t mean much. The only people that have them these days are those that come here for an h1 internationally. I’ve seen most masters new grads joining as L4’s anyway.
    Oct 5, 2017 2
    • Amazon genkee
      Where do you work that mbas join as l7? I have only ever seen mbas join as l6
      Oct 5, 2017
    • Amazon / Mgmt Usn57js
      Top MBAs join as L6s, not L7. Honestly though: you’ll earn more as an engineer than a PM.

      Go to college if it’s your passion. Not if it’s for the money. The *only* field I know of that earns more than engineering is machine learning research. If you get a PhD in that froma top school: then you will make better bank.
      Oct 6, 2017
  • Amazon WPAN48
    You need to calculate how much money you are going to loose in two years. Average $150k each year so $300k of income for two year then you will spend at-least $100k for two year degree.
    You will still join back as SDE even after doing master. I would suggest to do online or part time masters if you are not doing any fancy masters like AI, Deep learning and ML.
    Oct 5, 2017 0
  • Amazon / Eng vhBf25
    No. There is not a single branch of CS that does not have an application in Amazon. Just search for the field of interest and look in Amazon which team is working on it.
    Oct 5, 2017 0
  • Cisco mouse#3
    Wouldn't Amazon reimburse tuition on a degree program of study? I would stay put and let employer pay.
    Oct 5, 2017 1
    • Amazon / Mgmt Usn57js
      No. Amazon will not.
      Oct 6, 2017
  • Amazon S5280ft
    Do one online? That way you can maybe do both. Not much networking though.
    Oct 5, 2017 0
  • Apple / Design

    Apple Design

    Oct 5, 2017 0
  • Amazon / Design baezos
    Don't waste your money on masters at one of those schools. I did mine from a European country and just the fact that it's foreign experience, it counts a lot more. Spent 10k on it. Make multiples of pre-masters money.
    Oct 5, 2017 3
    • Amazon blind420
      What and where was your undergrad?
      Oct 5, 2017
    • Epic / Eng

      Epic Eng

      looking for a software developer role
      Why did it boost your income so much?
      Oct 5, 2017
    • Amazon / Design baezos
      Because it's foreign experience with languages other than English. I can even speak the language of the country well. It may not seem like the biggest tech skills but it definitely gets people wet in their pants. Never had an interview where they didn't make me an offer since and I've had many that I have turned down. And yes a big part of it is I'm good at what I do but the foreign masters is definitely a better talking point than any local one no matter what school. They have a few of those every day in interviews.
      Oct 6, 2017
  • Akamai Technologies / Product Geekychick
    Why can’t you do both? You don’t need to go to a top five to do your masters if you are already in the field. I did my masters in one year while working full time. It’s so able. I just had no life for a year. Worth it. :)
    Nov 5, 2017 0
  • Facebook El Camino
    Put that energy to making SDE2 quickly.
    Oct 9, 2017 0
  • Amazon / Sales AmzzSeattl
    No. I have my masters, standard protocol now and does not have any benefits for having it. (Old career was Engineer and crossed over to Sales.) neither career needed it.
    Oct 8, 2017 0
  • Microsoft Predisent
    please don’t do an MBA.
    Oct 6, 2017 0
  • Agero / Other kurious-ca
    Do your math on loss if income for one to two years (you may be able to get scholarships or assistantships) and tuition costs vs potential gains through higher levels of pay. If you want to change fields, masters or an MBA is the way to go.
    Oct 6, 2017 0
  • Amazon / Eng amznxyz
    Won't an MS degree help in the long term? I want to do a specialization in ML. I agree it's expensive but isn't it worth it 20 years down the line?
    Oct 6, 2017 0