My understanding the reason people get college degrees is that it's like an investment: you put time and money in to go to school, then in theory you are able to get a better paying job. I know some people feal that going to school is to learn, but you can learn without paying a ton of money and going to college (and in college I find I mainly teach myself).

I'm finishing my bachelor in computer science. While I've learned some areas I like and dislike, I'm not sure of my career path. How does one decide to go back to school? For example what makes people get their master degree, is it because they want a job that requires it?

I had a theoretical computer science class that I really didn't like and I struggled in. I got a tutor who has her master degree in computer science. She now works at a retail store for sporting goods. Good for her that she works a job she's happy at, but I'm curious how does it happen someone gets a master degree for a job that only requires a high school certificate?

In summary I'm asking:
1) How do you find out which doors are opened by getting a higher or another degree?
2) How do you prevent getting a degree that isn't useful?
*When I say degree, I really mean any certificate like diploma etc.

For example I like working with people so I think I'd enjoy the business side more so I'm thinking of eventually getting my MBA. Is my reasoning valid?

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    There are simply too many factors, for anyone to make a blanket answer. – Adel Dec 6 '15 at 22:55
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    "I got a tutor who has her master degree in computer science. She now works at a retail store for sporting goods..." - If you want to know why this is, you've really got to ask her. Besides, who's to say that a retail store has no need for a theoretical computer scientist? – Brandin Dec 7 '15 at 6:49
  • What reasoning did you have for getting your Bachelor's? – JB King Dec 7 '15 at 16:19

It's a very broad question. But in general a degree shows two things to an employer within or without the field of expertise. And even this depends on the employer, some think more highly of a degree, others not so much.

Firstly it shows they have the staying power and basic intelligence to work for three or four years so they obviously can be committed.

Secondly they have a pretty piece of paper, and therefore might not like getting their hands dirty and expect high pay.

From an individuals point of view in terms of the job search, there are numerous factors at play.

If it's in the hard sciences you have a better chance of breaking in to that field. Soft science degrees are a dime a dozen and a LOT of people I know end up in totally different fields. In saying that I know a chap who is a scientist now but he spent twenty years in Australia with two science degrees working as a bouncer and furniture mover.

It's all supply and demand on what sort of jobs are available, and what university you attended. If you came to me with a Masters degree from the National University of Samoa for example I'd be unlikely to give you a high paying job without making sure you can actually read and write first. Other Universities are a bit more prestigious.

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