Another semi-major milestone in life complete – another graduate degree. As of today, I’m a graduate of University of Colorado Boulder with a Masters of Engineering in Computer Science. I should probably be a little more excited about this, but after 6 years of slugging through the course work in my precious-little spare time, I’m just glad to have the darn thing done.
This is my second master’s degree, I already had a B.S. and M.S. in Aero Engineering (U.S. Naval Academy and Naval Postgraduate School Monterey).
So why did I bother with a second masters? Great question, but the truth is if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t bother. I decided to pursue it 6 years ago when I was transitioning out of the Navy into a full time job as a developer, and wanted to have a sheepskin to back up the knowledge that I thought I already had from self study over many years, and working on software development projects within the Navy. Within a year of starting it, I had already realized that knowledge and ability is what matters in this industry, not academics, and so I really didn’t need the degree to get the kinds of jobs I wanted. And after six years of study, I found that I was pretty much right – I already knew most of the useful information that was contained in my course of study. Sure I learned a few things along the way and refined some knowledge I already had, but for the most part, it was just an awful lot of work. And I can say with convinction that if I had spent that same amount of time doing my normal course of self study, I would have acquired vastly more knowledge.
The other thing I found challenging (in a bad way) and frustrating about the degree was that it is really difficult to go from having an engineering degree and being a practicing engineer for many years to studying a science degree. Way too much time was spent covering things that may have been “academically interesting” but in reality have no practical value in industry.
Don’t get me wrong, CU Boulder is a great school, and their distance learning program CAETE through which I did the degree is top notch. If you don’t already have a masters and want or need one, this is a great place to look. But for me it was mostly just a large waste of time.
So that is at least one major distraction that won’t be on my plate anymore! Good timing since I havea major and much more importantdistraction these days: