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I'm currently entering my third year of undergrad at a state university in the United States. I originally went to school for computer engineering but halfway through the past year I realized I was very interested in math. My school offers a program for a math major with an "emphasis in another field", so in conjunction with my engineering degree it will only require me to take a few extra courses I otherwise wouldn't have taken to get my BS in mathematics. The engineering/math double major was my plan up until a few weeks ago.

I've spent the summer interning as a software engineer and have really enjoyed the work I've been doing. The college of engineering at my university requires us to pick an "elective focus area" and the area I've picked is software engineering. I was looking at the requirements for a computer science degree and realized that between my math major and careful selection of electives, it is very feasible that I could satisfy all of the requirements for a degree in engineering, math, AND computer science while still finishing school in four years.

My question: how will having three undergraduate majors affect my chances at future job prospects? I've been warned that pursuing a Masters without any work experience can be potentially detrimental because employers believe they have to pay you more.

I should mention that I believe my actual engineering degree will be an electrical engineering degree that may have some notation about a computer track of study (to be honest, I'm not exactly sure; I need to speak with my adviser about this). Having the computer science degree would help ensure that I'm able to find work in the field I want, but I don't want employers to discredit my education.

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    If the OP does go ahead with multiple majors, a Master's degree after picking a field could be a good way of doing more advanced work in that field. – Patricia Shanahan Jul 21 '16 at 1:28
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    Make sure that you can really earn 3 degrees. Sometimes you can't apply certain courses to multiple degrees. A friend who got two degrees (math, computer science) had to spend an extra year to fulfill all requirements. – mkennedy Jul 21 '16 at 21:12
  • Vote to keep open. Not seeing how this is a personal advice question. It may be too broad or hazy of a topic but the current close reasons don't seem to match. – Lilienthal Jul 24 '16 at 18:10
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I am not sure whether the multiple degrees will have any direct effect, but the choices you are making to get them may.

For example, if you want to go to graduate school, you should be taking the most advanced classes you can get in your chosen field. Ideally, you will be trying to get into research in that area. You would need to impress professors in your field as either a student researcher or a student who is doing really well in their more difficult classes. That is what leads to good recommendation letters for graduate school.

If you want to be a software engineer, you need to be giving a lot of time, attention, and thought to the computer science final year courses and related programming projects.

The combination of mathematics, computer engineering, and computer science gives a lot of flexibility, but the lack of focus may prevent you from being as outstanding as you could be in any one area.

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So I have 2 master's degrees and 2 bachelor's degrees and I can tell you that the thing about a master's simply isn't true. Employers will pay you based on budget and experience regardless of how many degrees you have. While it's good to get work experience while you're doing a master's degree I would caution against taking time off to get work experience unless you know with absolute certainty that you're going to come back. Most people, once they're in the work force, can't imagine leaving.

It sounds to me like regardless of whether or not you get a master's degree you'll be perfectly employable - as long as you do well with the (honestly) really heavy schedule you've set for yourself.

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The academic world, unfortunately, knows absolutely nothing(!) about a thing that is intrinsic to business: "competition!"

In the academic world, "your mission is to acquire accolades," namely "college degrees." Then, if you have acquired the necessary set, "future doors open 'automagically'."

In the business world, however, none of these ivory-tower comfort zones exist.

Basically, you have a choice now:   either you must “ascend one more step, get a PhD, and thence disappear into Academia as your profession,” or you must stop spending more money on Degrees!

Frankly, the only academic-world value of "Master," is that: "you, poor schlep, are not yet a Doctor."

  • "The academic world, unfortunately, knows absolutely nothing(!) about ... "competition!"" - this alone says enough about your comparative knowledge, but your whole answer is offbase by miles. -1. – user53718 Jul 22 '16 at 9:45

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