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 To go to go grad school right after undergrad or not?
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 1:36 pm   Post subject: To go to go grad school right after undergrad or not?

Hello all,

I am in a bit of a dilemma and hoping for some input, especially from people that are working or have worked in the industry, or people with CS degrees that have experience with AIESEC global internship program.

A bit of background about me: I'm in my last semester of undergrad at Carleton studying CS (Software Engineering stream), I will be graduating in May. I have no relevant work experience (only worked at Harvey's, student market researcher, 4 years as a volunteer at Bluesfest serving alcohol) and I am not in co-op, but I have decent grades (around an A- average at Carleton). I finished the degree relatively fast (8 consecutive semesters, i.e. 32 months straight, i.e. 3 years minus 4 months), but did not partake in any substantial CS related personal-interest/side projects other than a few Udacity courses.

Here are the options before me, ranked in order of most preferred to least preferred:

- pay $500 to AIESEC and do an AIESEC IT professional internship. What happens is that I pay this (student) organisation $500 so I can browse their job board, which consists of job listing only located out of the country. This seems to be the easiest way to work abroad, which I've always wanted to do before I turn senile/have responsibilities. How much I wanted to do this is reflected by the fact that this is number 1 on my list of preferred options. Do bear in mind that one is only eligible for this program within at most 2 years of graduating from school, and you must be younger than 30 (I will hit 25 once I get my undergrad diploma). This is also the most risky option but with the most potential payoff (in terms of life goals, satisfaction, things learned, maybe career, etc. NOT money though because I probably make more money here).

- do a Master of Applied Computing at U of T: I'm interested in this degree because I like the prospect of applying CS research into industry (and make money off of it), and I'm not interested in obtaining a PhD (this degree is not meant for you to be able to get a PhD in). Also, this place has 8 months of co-op, which obviously helps with work experience and money. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I have no work experience and my average is not ridiculous (I'm sitting between B+ and A- right now), and seeing how selective it is (1000 applicants for 30 positions?) I probably won't be able to get in.

- do a MS in CS at Carleton. I can almost certainly get in, and maybe have the prof that I wanted as my supervisor (I got an A- and an A+ from him, one a third year course and one a fourth year). The good news is that Carleton MS does have co-op as well for 8 months, which obviously helps with the experience and money situation. And it seems that the time commitment for this degree is about 20 months: 8 months of school, followed by 8 months of co-op, followed by 4 months of wrap-up, so it's not too bad. This is my fall option if I cannot find a decent AIESEC position in time (need to apply before March for funding consideration).

- sign up to a contracting agency (like Adecco) and get a contract job for a few months - a year. The only reason I am interested in this right now is because I wanted to make some quick money and experience, then do some traveling for a bit and wrap up some family business, before "settling down" on a more permanent position

- Get local (Ottawa or Montreal) job.

The biggest worry I have is whether or not it is harder for me to find a job if I get a MS with only 8 months of experience vs BS with no experience. If I do a Masters, employers will have to pay me more, which is riskier for them, especially since I have less than 1 year of work experience. However, if I only have a BS with 0 work experience, I will probably be more employable since it is less risky to employ me (pay is less).

One worry I have is that if I started working soon, then it is less likely for me to want to go back to school.

Greatly appreciate any thoughts on this, especially regarding how much harder it is to get a job as MS with 8 months of experience than BS with no experience.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:42 am   Post subject: RE:To go to go grad school right after undergrad or not?

What you should do relay depends on what kind of job you want. If you just want to be a coder/programmer you should try apply to a few jobs (locally or not) and see what kind of results you get before trying a masters or an internship. If you are more interested in an industry research type job you should look in to masters with co-op opportunities. If you want an academic research or teaching type job prepare for a lot of pain and 5 to 8 more years of school (masters + PhD).

I don't know anything about AIESEC, but spending $500 for a job board sounds like a scam to me.

In the short term you can also try doing some things to make your resume more appealing like contributing to open source projects and becoming proficient in some of the common industry tools and programming languages/APIs.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:40 pm   Post subject: Re: To go to go grad school right after undergrad or not?

If you have no work experience and no personal projects, how do you know that this is even the industry that you want to be in?
ttliu @ Tue Dec 31, 2013 1:36 pm wrote:
If I do a Masters, employers will have to pay me more

They most certainly don't "have to".
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