There is a common misconception that getting a job for a few years before attending graduate school is a good move for your career. Many people believe that they can still get a higher degree after being in the industry for a few years. They think that it’ll be even more valuable when combined with work experience. But for as a software engineer, this might not be the case.
Getting Your Degree Now
You may have heard about geniuses who have been successful in engineering without any degree. But the reality is that this is extremely rare. For most people, a better approach is to gain design skills and foundational knowledge to sustain your career. A bachelor’s degree may allow you to work in an entry-level position. But you might lack the detailed knowledge to work on more challenging assignments that would advance your job prospects. That’s because an undergraduate degree has a wider variety of general studies compared to a higher-level program.
If your goal is to have a long, rewarding career in software engineering, getting your master’s right after college can make success more likely. But there’s still an obstacle we touched on just a few moments ago. Right after college, you likely don’t have much in savings. Paying for your degree can be harder now than if you waited. But because of the benefits of not waiting to get your master’s, you might want to consider taking out student loans for graduate school. That way, you can afford to get your master’s while kickstarting your career.
The Importance of a Degree
If you need income right away or don’t plan on ever getting your master’s, you might want to start working right away. But if you want to make software engineering your career, you’ll likely benefit from a one-year master’s program. A degree can give you more opportunities, higher compensation, and more career growth. It’s not always possible to return to school after a few years of working, either. Many engineers intend to go to graduate school. But the reality is that not many do.
Don’t Fall into the Trap of Quick Money
If you have already graduated from school, having student loans might be enough to make an entry-level job be tempting. Even with a bachelor’s degree, there are many opportunities. Companies want employees with a strong background in software. They’ll give young talent a salary that seems generous to someone who was recently living on ramen noodles. But in reality, you might be getting a bad deal. While living as a student, you most likely had to get used to financial limits. When you get a full-time job, you’ll be able to afford a nicer apartment, fancy restaurants, a new car, and fancy toys. As an undergrad, they were out of reach. But once you have them, it’s often hard to give them up to return to being a student. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to have unexpected life events. Maybe you’ll get married and have kids. Then it’s impractical to go back to school, even if it’ll boost your career.