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I am very torn about whether to take the plunge to do a Master's degree. I graduated a few years ago with BSc in Maths which I didn't particularly enjoy, only the statistics and programming courses. I then got a job at a big technology company in their R&D department doing research and applications of data science. I thoroughly enjoy the work I do but I am also interested in developing my skills further. I want to gain a deeper understanding of artificial intelligence and am also interested in spatial data science. I am not sure whether I should continue in this role or at a different company and learn on the job or invest some time and money into full-time education. I am also not sure whether in the future with only an undergraduate degree I would be able to progress in my field. I am also concerned about age, whether it's wise to go back to university at 25.

EDIT: I work in the UK and have opportunity to do a Master's part-time if I seek out university collaboration opportunities.

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    Hey! We're the same age :) I've been thinking about going back to school for a Master's as well. I've thought about asking my manager to see 1) if it's possible to have a flexible work schedule for both work and school. 2) if there would there be any career advancement opportunities if I do get a Master's, i.e. promotions, salary increase, leadership, etc. 3) if the company pays for people to go back to school. My father was 28 when he went back to school to get his Master's. He went to school at night, worked overtime, and had three kids (not including me yet) at the time.
    – user82352
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 22:00
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    "I want to gain a deeper understanding of artificial intelligence and am also interested in spatial data science." - you need to take a really good look at the syllabus. Not many masters degrees will give you anything more than a shallow introduction to the subject (although they may cover some relevant statistics expertise that would be hard to pick up in a work situation). Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 22:48
  • " I am also concerned about age, whether it's wise to go back to university at 25" - One is never to old to learn new things. Don't worry about any age-gap between you and other students since there will be always a couple of people even older than you trying to gain new knowledge or taking a second career-path.
    – iLuvLogix
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 9:59
  • Worth mentioning that a lot of companies will let you do a masters degree apprenticeship, where they essentially pay you part of your salary in uni fees (I think they get good tax breaks and government help with it)
    – Gamora
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 11:01
  • "One is never to old to learn new things." - I was 35 when I got my Masters. My mother was 45 when she got her BS in Education. My boss was 40+ when he earned his BS & Masters in Engineering.
    – Donald
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 18:19

2 Answers 2

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Anyone can do a masters full time, but to be able to do it while you're employed seems a great opportunity which you may not have later on.

A Masters is a definite advantage and would put you well ahead of others with Masters because you also have work experience.

I went to university as an adult and careerwise it's been very positive. Prior to that I was a school dropkick forestry worker and a bunch of other things.

In general you should invest in yourself as much as you can. Every certification and bit of knowledge gives you an edge in life and career.

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    It can't be emphasized enough how rare it is to have an employer that will work with you to help you earn an advanced degree. It will cost extra time and effort while studying, but the chance to earn a living while simultaneously enhancing your employability is huge. I took advantage of an opportunity like this, around the same age, and my life is much better for it.
    – Upper_Case
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 17:00
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There is no general answer, it depends on your specific situation. But some aspects you should consider are:

  • Choose a solution that you can afford, i.e. if you go to university full time, you should be able to afford it.
  • Studying part time may be an option. In some countries there are degrees where paid work at a company that cooperates with the university is explicitly part of the degree, that might be an option.
  • In the long term usually higher education pays off in some sense, e.g. because you can choose from more interesting jobs / get higher salaries etc.
  • With 25 you are not particularly old to start a masters. Your age is nothing that should hold you back.
  • Follow your interests: If you want to deepen your theoretical understanding of some subjects and think that this will be possible at a university rather than while working at a company, then go for it.
  • If you decide to go to university, the courses / exams may be tough. Don't give up easily.

Anyway, good luck with your decision :-)

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