Why should you get a Master’s degree?
Is it for better Money?
Is it because you want to upgrade your skills?
Is it because you think a Master’s degree is a one stop solution for all your professional and personal desires?
If your answer is amongst the reasons mentioned above, I am sorry, in the long run you will be disappointed. If you want to earn a decent salary you ought to have skills. For developing skills you don’t have to go to university, you’re better off doing bootcamps or online courses. Your Return on Investment will be great and you can save a lot of time. Average shelf life of IT-skills is three years. So, upgrading is no longer an option. You are up or out.
So What is Master’s degree for?
1.To develop niche-skills: Let me give a specific example. If you are an electronics engineer, I hope you will relate to this. In order to design a normal Power amplifier all you have to use is the knowledge gained in the second year of your degree. Quite frankly, someone with a decent understanding of circuits can design it without a degree. But, if you want to design the same amplifier with restrictions on parameters such as noise ratio, high unity gain bandwidth, low input resistance, then maybe you will require some more knowledge. This too can be done without much assistance. Let me up the game a little. Now, if you want to design an Amplifier at nanoscale (used in computers) with hundreds of technical parameters, do you think you can do it without simulators and guidance from your professors? I guess the answer will be a no for many. Now, that’s where a Master’s degree comes in. For niche fields such as Quantum computing, Nanotechnology,ASIC design, Computer Vision etc., masters is not an option, it’s mandatory.
2. For guidance: Those of you who are thinking that Einstein has come up with the Theory of Special relativity on his own, wake up. He had phenomenal insights but insights won’t transform themselves into equations, you need guidance. Albert Einstein got the best education of his day and built upon work done by Graduate school professors. In fact he was a faculty member at Princeton University.
3.To observe and exploit patterns: Do you know that many of the best engineers and physicists who get the top dollar, work in hedge funds? What do you think is common amongst them? Math. Now just doing a master’s degree doesn’t give you a good understanding of Finance. What it does is give you is better tools(than that you used in your bachelors) to gauge odds.
4. To network with peers : When it comes to Management education, it is no secret that professionals do an MBA for networking, not curriculum. The advantages of networking are too obvious to discuss here. Also, the more diverse, distinct and talented the peer group is the better. Hence, the competition for top MBAs is insanely high.
5. To change domains: After four years of engineering if you realised that it is not for you, no worries. Master’s degree is the best way to break into the field you want. We have seen core-engineering students opt for fields such as – Operations Research, Quantitative Finance, Engineering Management, Data Analytics etc.. which all have great scope for employability.
6. Career growth – With a master’s degree you’ll have a kickstart in your career. For example, with a Master’s in Finance degree, you can start as an associate instead of starting as an analyst(In Investment Banking roles) or post your Master’s in Computer Science, you will be qualified to work for FAANG and many other such reputed IT firms .
7. Research – If you want to break into academia, you’ll have to publish high index research papers. Your index depends on the quality of your research. Mostly, bachelor’s degree is about testing different waters, but in master’s you actually get to immerse yourself completely in a stream. Generally, universities in the USA, Europe, UK, Canada etc.. receive a high amount of funding from Government and MNCs for research. This will enable you to be part of cutting edge research in advanced labs, where you can collaborate with your Graduate school faculty and colleagues from different streams. Remember, almost all Noble laureates have a Master’s degree and have done their research in Universities.
8. International Immersion– At graduate school, you will be meeting people from different cultural backgrounds and diverse academic fields. You also get to explore a very different environment and study curriculum, which will help you broaden your perspectives.
In conclusion, a Master’s degree is for you if you want to acquire advanced skills and/or want to dig deeper into the field you’re passionate about. It’s not just another degree to have on your checklist but it will be a very influential step in your career, if you make the right use of it.