How Do you Choose the Right Degree?
College is such tough time when it comes to choosing education paths. For most folks College makes the first time they are making huge decision about their futures. So it’s easy to get analysis paralysis because the decision means so much. Or does it? At the end of the day it feels bigger than the decision really is over the long term.
The difference between a Data Science Degree and Computer Science degree might impact career outlook in the short term. The long term impacts of which degree you chose are minimal. Look around at the number of position where degrees aren’t even a requirement. When I was working on my first Big Data project our Data Scientist didn’t have a degree in Data Science but he was great in that role. Now I will say that Data Science degrees haven’t been around that long so it kinda of make sense.
Find out my thoughts of the differences between a Data Science Degree and Computer Science Degree in the video below.
Video Data Science vs. Computer Science Degree
Transcript – Data Science vs. Computer Science Degree
Hi folks! Thomas Henson here with thomashenson.com. Today is another episode of Big Data Big Questions. Today’s question comes in from a user, and it’s all about, what specific Master’s degree should I get? Find out how I answer this question and what Master’s degree you should get or should not get if you’re going into data engineering.
Today’s question. If you have a question, make sure you put it in the comments section here below. Reach out to me on thomashenson.com/bigquestions. Find me on Twitter, whatever you want to do, and I’ll do my best to answer your questions right here.
Today’s question. I’m looking for a career as a data engineer, but I’ve got a Bachelor’s in IT, and I’m looking to get into a Master’s degree. Awesome! Congratulations. It’s a pretty cool thing to go through. I went through a Master’s program as well. Which is better for data engineering career? Thinking about that specifically. A Master’s degree in data science or a Master’s degree in computer science.
This question, for me, really keys. I remember what it was like going through, when I’m trying to figure out which kind of Master’s I wanted to go to. I had a similar situation. Specifically wasn’t in the data engineering from that perspective, but I was looking in, to see, what do I want to do to take the next level in my engineering career? I looked at an MBA with an emphasis in information systems versus a Master in Science Computer Science. I ended up choosing to continue on down the business path and getting my MBA in information systems. Pretty excited to have gone through that, and really happy with my decision. I feel like it’s been fortunate with my career. I understand where you’re coming from. I’m not telling you to get an MBA. That’s not what I’m saying. I understand how much you look, going back and forth, and you’re like, man! What do I do here? I appreciate you asking for my opinion, as well. Which one should you get if you’re going into a data engineering? It’s an easy guess for me, here, just to say, “I think computer science and the skills that are involved in computer science are going to help.” If I were in your shoes, I would look, and pivot more towards the computer science. I would look into, though, there are new universities and other programs that are starting to emerge that actually have a data engineering track. Just like you were asking about, should I do the data science? In my opinion, if you’re not trying to go down the data science path, you maybe don’t go into that. If they do have a tack specific for data engineers, so data science in a newer program, a lot of universities and colleges are having around the globe, so if they have a specific data engineering path, I’d look into that. Specifically, I’d probably stay with the computer science track. However, like I said, there are some universities that are putting out a specific, “This is not data science,” but a specific data engineering path, where you’re going to go through more systems administration stuff, where you’re going to be building out programs that are going to analyze data, and being able to really focus on distributed systems, whether it be from Kubernetes, and containers, to different clouds. No one had to do it in AWS. Building out good data pipelines and really understanding what you’re doing from that perspective. I think I’d look into that, and also make sure you’re looking at some of those degrees.
One more bonus tip around as you’re going through that. I would definitely, at the university that you’re looking at, have a conversation with some advisors, and even some of the professors in the data science world or in the computer engineering world, and see if you can cross over. Maybe there’s an opportunity there to do something inter-disciplinarian. Maybe you can take a couple of the data science courses, because they would be really good for you to get exposure to it, not become a data scientist, but exposure to what goes on, on the data science side, and have those packaged together, and go through some of those courses while you’re going through the computer science course. Maybe they, not asking you to take double load. Hopefully there’s a crossover there, where it’s like, “Hey, I can pick and choose some of these.” With data engineering and just the boom that’s going on with that as far as careers and, if you look at just globally, we need more data engineers. The universities will be pretty excited for, especially somebody standing out to do that. Worst case scenario, what are they going to do? Your professors may tell you no, but they see that you’re engaged, and that you’re interested in data engineering, so they’re going to be able to look out for, maybe there’s new classes that are coming up. What about internships, right? Some of these universities have really good relationships with corporations. Your name is already at the top of the list, and it’s shown that you’re showing initiative, that hey, I’m excited about the data engineering world, so any opportunities to learn more or any opportunities for future career growth, might be a good thing. Something as simple as taking an hour to reach out and talk to a professor may be investing in yourself and in your career for further on down the future. Definitely try that out. Should you get a Master’s degree to become a data engineer? You don’t have to, but like I said, I’ve got a Master’s degree, and I went through that for my own purposes. If you’re watching this video, you’ve made it all the way to the end, which I hope you’ve made it to the end. Everybody that starts watching it, this was a specific question where we were talking about different degree options for your career. We’re not saying that you have to get the Master in Computer Science to become a data engineer. Heck, you can even go through, you can do the Master in Data Science and become a data engineer. This is just my advice for what we’re trying to do. There are other data engineers that don’t have degrees. We’ve covered that quite a few bit on this channel, and so I just want to be specific to that. I don’t want people watching this course, especially if you’re in college, or if you’re in high school and you’re starting to think about your data engineering path, like, “Aw, man! I’ve got to go get a Master’s degree to do this. Be in it for the long haul. That’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re just talking about options. Let me know if you have any questions about degrees, certifications, anything data engineering or technology-specific, and I will answer it on the next episode of Big Data Big Questions.