Is it unrealistic to think that a MSc in computer science will lead to a new career/job in London?(20 Posts)
DS1 has been working for 18 months as a civil engineer in London. He left RG Uni nearly two years ago now with a first in his civil engineering degree and a first in his Masters. Part of the unhappiness is that he has to write many many reports in his current job and he is dyslexic. The current employers however like him and he has had two substantial rises since he started. He is now 24.
He is researching into taking a 1 year full time MSc in Computer Science at a top London University. There are a couple of Unis in London (he lives in London) that offer these courses and they are designed for those who have no previous formal experience of the field.
He aims to work for a smaller company that is doing creative stuff (not the big corporates). He is both logical and wacky as a person and amazing at maths. Has instant recall of cricket scores for example.
Is it realistic to think he can get a job after such an MSc?
I think that your ds needs to think about what area of IT/ programming he wants to work in. Has he done any programming as part of his degrees? I am sure that a MSc in Computer science could lead to a good job, but I wonder if its necessary. It is possible to be over qualififed. The problem with programming is that experience counts for more than qualifications.
Rather than launching into a further masters I feel he would better to do a programming course at his local college of further education in the evening. City lit offer various courses. It is better to waste a couple of £100 on something you don't like than to commit thousands and give up your job. If your son feels that a college of further education course is beneath him then he could conside the OU.
I think the idea of a programming course to see if IT is for him (locally) is a brilliant one! I will suggest it.
Is it just the reports that are a problem? He can get help via the job centre (yes you read that right) to make things easier, a scribe or voice software.
Access to Work should be able to help with voice software or similar. My partner is a severely dyslexic engineer turned programmer and still has to do some reports, but often dyslexics write very good reports because they are straight to the point and just give the facts without any flowery language.
Can he have a chat with his bosses about the amount of report writing he is doing versus other stuff? Could the reports be replaced by meetings that someone else minutes, for example? Thing is, most jobs beyond lower levels involve writing reports, deciding what should be done, and programming is no different.
An MSc in Comp Sci is not easy - neither is a job in "pure programming" - work is being increasingly off-shored to the sub-continent - so he can say goodbye to "good wages".
An MSc will however get him a route in to management - managing these off-shore workers - and filling in reports...
If he wants money, creativity and respect - and, presumably he's a very intelligent young man given his background - then he should cast his eyes in the direction of Cambridge to the tech start-ups there.
He might be better off taking other qualifications, such as project management, or programming skills at the local adult education center. Many has interesting stuff such as application programming, dreamweaver, etc. Or he could do something really interesting and embark on a white hat hacker course. There is lots of money in ethical hacking, as a network penetration consultant. The going fee is around £800 per day.
Thanks for all your great suggestions. I will pass them on.
Does he write any code?
Can he do anything in any of existing operating systems?
I think it's important to try first either self teaching or going for a short course to see if he can cope with the frustration level beginner IT professionals have
I did my Msc in Comp Science in the Birkbeck College in the late 90's, it was very good choice, lots of graduate jobs then.
I think he should look v.closely into what those courses teach.
There's much greater choice now than then.
Can he share links?
You could PM me and I'll have look at them for you.
DolomitesDonkey - I disagree with your comments. A few years ago, this was the general sentiment yet there are still plenty of well paid programming jobs in London.
OP - has your son done any programming before to see if he likes it? Even if you like maths, it is not for everyone. If he is not interested in working for a corporate, it is harder to find well paid work so I would try to find out why he says that. It's less likely that he will walk into a start-up without good experience for a decent wage.
It is a great industry though.
yes, start ups need people with experience who can work with minimal supervision
My DH did computer science at university and struggled because of his dyslexia, programming is very mathmatical but it is also like another language and getting things the right way round etc matters!
He works with data now which is less programming based.
Friends of his work in computer forensics which is a growing industry (I think) and pays well.
There are lots of writing to do as a developer. I assume your DS doesn't want to be forever a code monkey and work solely on someone's specification. To be systems of any size you need processes and documentation. It is an engineering discipline. Unless ofc you are just thinking of a lone hacker. There might be less documentation than civil engineering, this ofc I won't know. But just to give an example. Once we get an high level architectural design from the architect, we have to write a design document for the component. There is also a requirements doc that lists the testable requirements we are writing against. You might have performance reports if it is a performant component. On release ae have to write a configuration guide and a release note. With bugs, we have bug reports and root cause analysis. They aren't all formal, but you do have to write and communicate.
It's not to put your DS off. But not liking to write reports is not a reason to get into software. It should be a passion on software engineering.
But I do work for a big corporate so we might just have more formal design, test, release and fault processes. It is one of the big silicone valley companies.
We write much less, we are very agile. We are small>medium silicon valley software houses.
However I write a lot small notes etc as I work in Support and respond to customer queries all the time.
He may be good in Networking and Data communication, has he considered it?
At the end of Msc he will have to pass exams which were all written.
there's no need to do a course in person to become a programmer, in fact the courses you can take online for free are of far higher quality than anything you would do at a local college.
http://www.codecademy.com is great
once you have the basics, one can take advanced programming and computer science courses at http://www.udacity.com and http://coursera.org - these are Stanford and MIT computer sciences courses. I wouldn't waste a year on a degree when you can learn everything for free online and do only what you want, rather than ticking boxes and collecting credits.
there are also programs such as Maker's Academy and General Assembly that provide hands-on courses that lead to developer jobs straight away.
in long run lack of grounding would backfire, unless of course you fill in missing gaps
after all this is engineering degree - so it;s a mixture of theory and hands on/slog in front of your PC
with the rise of the cloud computing I would love to take a couple of months off to study networking and the likes to learn more about it, as I can;t I have to do with self study which is at the expense of my leisure time and sleep ;)
Birkbeck MScs can be done part time (in fact, most students are part time). If they still do the conversion MS, it would be worth looking at.
I would have thought your son would have done some programming as part of his Engineering degree? If not Code Academy has been highly recommended to me. I would also suggest he access some of the free online University level courses from the likes of itunesU or eDX or Stanford online.
It would also be worth while talking to some recruitment agents. He should also still be able to get some careers advice from his old University.
I wouldn't pay for a Masters until he know it is what he wants to do and that it will really help him. Lots of people are still programming in the City without a specialist degree in computer science.
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