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Best Degree to Pair w/ a B.Sc. in Computer Science? 1054

VeryCleverHandle asks: "I have held a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science for about two years now, and I want to further my education, and increase my marketability. I am wondering what kind of degree makes a good pair for my existing one. At first, I thought of a Master's, but in my searches for a job, I've rarely (read: never) seen a Masters degree required. I am also researching what kind of degrees others, who have obtained their Bachelor's, received to help complement their education. So I ask you, Slashdot: Which degree(s) do YOU think will go well with a Computer Science Bachelors?"
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Best Degree to Pair w/ a B.Sc. in Computer Science?

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  • Three Letters: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Maradine ( 194191 ) * on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:46PM (#11869970) Homepage
    MBA. You've learned how. Now learn why. The resultant doubling of your earnings potential is just a sad side-effect you're going to have to learn to cope with.
    • Re:Three Letters: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Pick your school carefully. Some MBAs aren't worth the paper they're printed on and others are excellent.
      • Re:Three Letters: (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ndtechnologies ( 814381 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:55PM (#11870148)
        Well, Dexter Holland (singer of Offspring) was majoring in Bionuclear Engineering at USC, and then decided to start a punk band...seems to me that the options are limitless as far as what degree goes well with another...
      • Most people that hold MBA's aren't worth the paper their MBA's are printed on...
        • Re:Three Letters: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 )
          Most people that hold MBA's aren't worth the paper their MBA's are printed on...

          As opposed to those with a CS degree?

          You've wasted enough of your life in school. Go DO stuff. How many years did you spend not making shit income in school and how much money did you spend to be there? Imagine what you could have done with that time if you'd gotten a computer, some books, and gone about making shit happen?

          Education is what employers settle for when they can't get their hands on someone with experien
          • Re:Three Letters: (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Doomdark ( 136619 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @07:58PM (#11871706) Homepage Journal
            Education is what employers settle for when they can't get their hands on someone with experience.

            Actually, while experience is very valuable, I'd rather not hire a programmer that has no college education. Although it is possible to learn everything CS degrees teach without attending actual school, very few people do that. It's just more efficient to learn that as part of a degree -- although you have to learn quite a bit more than what you will eventually need, you never know which parts are things you do NOT need. Without knowing at least something about compiler theory, relational model, discrete maths, data structure basics, algorithms etc., you aren't much of a software developer; no matter how much experience you have doing more trivial programming.

            At least in CS it's simple: like they say, simple problems were all solved in 60s (if not 50s). If you do not learn what the great minds learnt/invented/solved (but rather go and solve them by trial and error... or worse, never learn them!), you are just colossaly wasting your time. Either you are ignorant of useful techniques, or you have used awfully lots of time reinventing the wheel.

            However, after learning enough (B.Sc, or maybe M.Sc... depends on kinds of things you are working on), I certainly agree one has to go out and use the knowledge. Going for higher degrees without intervening real-world experience is as silly as ignoring 'formal' CS theory altogether.

          • Re:Three Letters: (Score:5, Insightful)

            by boodaman ( 791877 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @09:00PM (#11872324)
            School is a waste? That's just wrong.

            If you want to work in the same position all your life, then great. Stay out of school, and just get experience.

            If, however, you don't want to stay in the same position all your life, go to school. It is a must.

            If you have 20 yrs experience in a job (or 5, or 10), all that says about you is that you can do that job. Period. It says nothing about your potential, it says nothing about your willingness (and ability) to extend yourself, it says nothing about what you CAN do or MIGHT do given the chance, it only describes what you've DONE.

            I'm speaking firsthand...I used to think like you...who needed college? I've been coding since I was 12 (over 25 yrs). I was writing business apps in COBOL before I could drive a car. And yep, I got some good jobs as a developer and sys-admin. But those were the ONLY jobs I got, and I only got those jobs in small companies (less than 100 people). Why? Because I didn't have a degree.

            The year after I went back and completed my degree, I was hired into a Fortune 10 company at a 60% increase in salary, one annual review from management. This is after continually being rejected by that company and similar companies.

            What changed? Did I learn a new language? Nope. Get certified in some new technology? Nope. Get another year, or 5, or 10 years of experience? Nope. The ONLY thing that changed was getting my degree.

            Does not having a degree mean you can't do a particular job? Probably not. But I can tell you firsthand that without the degree, your options for growth, variety, and additional responsibility are severely limited. The game might suck, but in most cases, you still have to play it, and that means "punching your ticket" at the undergrad level, and eventually the grad level.

            School isn't for everyone, and I totally agree that you should have a plan for getting a return on your investment. I know people getting their MBA who have no plan for how having their MBA degree will make a difference in their careers, or what kind of job they will need afterwards to make getting the degree worth it from an expense perspective. I think that's lame. However, I think getting the degree is an excellent idea, provided you have a plan for working it to your advantage.

            To the original question: don't get a another year, MBAs will be a dime a dozen, like MCSEs. If it were me, I'd specialize: MS in Library Science, or MS in Information Systems, or MS in Technology Management, or MS in Information Assurance, etc.
      • by rs79 ( 71822 ) <> on Monday March 07, 2005 @10:21PM (#11872878) Homepage
        Get a plumbing degree. You're gonna be putting up with people's shit either way; you may as well get paid decently for it for a change.

    • by stupidfoo ( 836212 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:49PM (#11870041)
      You've learned how. Now learn why managers are such a bunch of idiotic fools!
    • Indeed (Score:5, Informative)

      by dsginter ( 104154 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:50PM (#11870053)
      Carly [] had a Bachelors in medieval history but was able to become the CEO of a once impressive company because of her MBA. Not that she was any good at it but she did get a hefty severance package [].
      • Ooh that why ! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MPHellwig ( 847067 ) *
        Surely explains her medieval management style.
    • Re:Three Letters: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dr. Evil ( 3501 )

      An MBA with no management work experience is worthless... monitarily speaking.

      Many universities won't even accept you into their program you unless you're in a management role.

    • Re:Three Letters: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EnronHaliburton2004 ( 815366 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:51PM (#11870080) Homepage Journal
      The resultant doubling of your earnings potential is just a sad side-effect you're going to have to learn to cope with.

      You'll also have to cope with the huge influx with people graduating with MBAs over the next few years. I have to wonder if the market is going to be flooded with too many MBAs soon.

      Don't get me wrong. Education is a good thing, but it really seems like everyone and his sister are enrolling in an MBA program.
      • Re:Three Letters: (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ocbwilg ( 259828 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:32PM (#11870705)
        The differentiating factor is going to be whether or not you know anything else. Having an MBA is great, but if you haven't worked for large companies or in management before then your degree is largely theoretical. I liken today's overabundance of MBA programs to the overabundance of MCSE boot camps from 4 or 5 years ago. They'll churn out candidates by the thousands, but unless the candidates have the practical experience to back up their diplomas, they're going to begin to find that those MBAs aren't worth much at all.

        This is not to say that having an MBA with no experience means that you're useless. It just means that you're going to have a harder time competing.
    • Re:Three Letters: (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:56PM (#11870161)
      CPA! I had the same issue about a year ago. I went back to school but wanted to make sure I came out of class with something that will always hold its value. I deceided to load up on accounting courses and sit for the CPA exam. The opportunities for a CPA are limitless. A CPA with CS in an audit position are tremendous. Its worth looking into.
      • Except now you are an accountant. Gah i'd rather jab pointy objects into my eyes than have to be an accountant. Or even worse - program accounting software.
        • by drix ( 4602 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:35PM (#11870777) Homepage
          And I'd rather use a well-designed accounting package than have to deal with pointers to objects. :)
        • Re:Three Letters: (Score:5, Interesting)

          by renehollan ( 138013 ) <rhollan AT clearwire DOT net> on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:55PM (#11871035) Homepage Journal
          Except now you are an accountant. Gah i'd rather jab pointy objects into my eyes than have to be an accountant. Or even worse - program accounting software.

          You sir, have never experienced the joy of using not one, but two international tax treaties, to make income from a foreign assignment by a non-U.S. citizen that would otherwise not be taxable in the U.S. intentionally so taxable (and, *poof*, completely offset by foreign tax credits, ta da!), so the eligible moving expenses associated with the assignment, but paid in the following year, when a U.S. tax resident, are deductable against U.S. income in that following year.

          Accounting has the potential for some interesting hacks. When was the last time you got to (figuratively), go "Nyeah, nyeah, nyeah, nyeah, nyeah!" to the IRS, and the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency)?

    • Re:Three Letters: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by acherrington ( 465776 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <notgnirrehca>> on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:27PM (#11870627)
      Be very careful about when you get your MBA.. Don't get trapped where I am. Currently I have a BS in Networking Technology (kinda a rare degree), and an MBA.

      I worked for two years while doing my masters at night. Where do I stand now? Overqualified a computer posistion and under qualified as a manager of any sort. No companies have been interested. Wait a couple years on the MBA if you are fresh outa college.
    • MBA. You've learned how. Now learn why.

      This story has come at a good time for me, as I was pondering the exact same issue, I am considering studying an MBA with the Open University [], and the course starts in May so I need to move fast...

      They have two MBAs that I'd consider as options though - and I'm somewhat undecided about which to go for:

      I am a process engineer and process manager, involved in process control and improvement, pa

  • by Jhon ( 241832 ) * on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:46PM (#11869982) Homepage Journal
    A Business degree. After your 40th birthday, you may find it difficult to find new employment if the need arrises. If you've got a business degree and have moved in to managment, you'll probably find it easier. The pay will be better, too.

    A Mathematics degree "plays" nicely with a CS degree, too.
    • A Business degree

      I second that.

      Not to mention, when you get a business degree, you will be able to more easily understand why management does as they do, and get along better with your managers. Then you're likely to get promoted in-house, in which case your "underlings" will know you as a programmer and you'll likely get respect. You'll also be able to understand them, and make informed decisions. A bridge between management and IT. Just don't try to micromanage.

      Of course, that's in-house. G
    • Agreed. Also math, physics, EE, bio, chem... Any of the "big sciences" all tie in nicely with CS. It depends on what your interests are. Pair it with something you enjoy so that classes won't feel like a waste of time and any job resulting won't bore you to tears. None of these sciences would have made it to where they are now without computer technology and they'll openly admit it.
  • Hindi (Score:5, Funny)

    by lecithin ( 745575 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:46PM (#11869984)
    I don't know about a degree, but I would recommend taking Hindi.
  • by Gilmoure ( 18428 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:46PM (#11869989) Journal
    Entertain your users.
  • Biochemistry (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dso ( 9793 ) * on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:46PM (#11869990) Homepage
    I would have to say the Biochemistry is your best bet. That whole area of research is becoming dependent of computer technology. Datamining is a large part of genetic research along with molecular modeling (proteins) and distributed computer systems. Also, take a look at SGI ( and see what they are doing. Their core business is focusing on areas where computers and science converge.
    • Re:Biochemistry (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:57PM (#11870196) Homepage Journal
      It really depends upon what he wants to do. A Masters or doctorate in bioinformatics combined with a bachelors in CS will get you a job very quickly and would be a much better choice than biochemistry if he really wanted to do that kind of work. Look at any one of these programs [] for bioinformatics training.

      Chemistry, economics, business, biology, genetics, physics, computer science, neuroscience are all fields that could use folks with some training in computer science to help with modeling and other problems related to their work.

      SGI is one possibility, but most folks doing this sort of work are looking at more inexpensive hardware and building clusters of commodity hardware to do their work. Also Apple's Xserves are proving to be quite cost effective and screaming performers for genetics work.

    • I was looking into this a little while ago. The big thing that people are REALLY looking for here is some one with a PHD in BIO or MED type field, with CS abilities. I mean, I'm sure you could find something, and I'm sure they really need people who actually know how to properly code, but most of the postings I saw were more shortsided and seemed to want a person who was in their field already, but could hack some code together.

    • by Seoulstriker ( 748895 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @08:26PM (#11872024)
      Unlike what is suggested by the parent, you don't "pick up" a little bit of molecular biology, or bioinformatics, or computational biology. The focus of your studies should be in studying the biology and then dabbling in a little bit of CS. Hell, I'm doing computational biology research and datamining bacterial genomes, and you hardly even need to know how to develop applications. I've primarily been doing scripting in PERL, and I'm trying to pick up a little python. If you know the fundamentals of programming, you don't even need to take a CS course.

      If you're not motivated to do the biology coursework behind bioinformatics, you will not get anywhere in your career. Labs want people who can code a bit, not people who understand the fundamentals of designing operating systems. Mathematics, statistics, and scripting will get you farther than CS and a bit of bio will ever get you. Choose wisely.
  • by DataPath ( 1111 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:47PM (#11869993)
    Experience. Nothing even compares.
    • Oh, definitely. Especially broad experience. Specialists are paid the best but are only needed until the PHB's mood shifts. A generalist gets less to start with, but is needed forever and therefore gains stability and respect. Too generalized, though, and you'll start way too low to get anywhere.

      After experience, membership of a professional society (eg: IEEE, or whatever) is better than most certifications, costs less, and is more exclusive.

      Certifications are third on the list. They're OK but most peop

    • I'll second that (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vlad_petric ( 94134 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:24PM (#11870592) Homepage
      While not directly saying it, what most employers appreciate is the ability to deliver. Best way to achieve this in college? An opensource project.
  • Depends.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:47PM (#11869997) Homepage Journal
    What area would you like to employ your Computer Science skillz in? It's actually a great companion degree for Business, Bio-Sciences, Engineering, etc. as it give you greater insight into how you may either create tools to aide your work or be well informed when selecting vendors. This of course assumes you don't just want to be a code or systems jockey.

    I find even discussions with a friend in a branch of advertising is hardly served by some of the applications available to him and after an hour talking about what he does and, seeing what he really needs to get through a day, could probably whip together something simple that would do it, rather than the garbage in MS Office he has to wrestle with.

    Consider the pros of taking a respectable understanding of technology into a career in law or politics, even.

    .. all base of the party of the first part will become property of the party of the second part ..

  • Mathematics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jnapalm ( 749376 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:48PM (#11870002)
    Most pairable degree with Computer Science: Mathematics. Affinity for math tells employers you're capable of high level, abstract thought.
    • Re:Mathematics (Score:5, Informative)

      by scovetta ( 632629 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:00PM (#11870240) Homepage
      Most pairable degree with Computer Science: Mathematics. Affinity for math tells employers you're capable of high level, abstract thought. I agree-- I've got a dual BS (comp sci/math), and then a masters in comp sci. It's good if you want to stay technical for a while. If you're intent is to manage, you might as well go for an MBA or a communications degree. I've heard from people in similar positions that MBA programs are a joke compared to the hardcore science classes (but I'm sure some /.ers will mod me down for that.
  • Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BoomerSooner ( 308737 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:48PM (#11870005) Homepage Journal
    MBA. You're exactly who it was invented for, not the alreay have a BBA and don't want to get a job types that I see in business school. Or you could go EE which is a good pairing as well, I have friends who did that and have done very well for themselves.
  • by aquarian ( 134728 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:48PM (#11870006)
    ...where you can learn manners, grooming, and human interaction.
  • Depends... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nozomiyume ( 863494 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:48PM (#11870014) Homepage
    I would think it would depend on what parts of CS appeal to you - for example, a degree in Math tends to be a good augmentation to a CS degree if you were going into Data Analysis, or databases. But if you were writing a physics engine, a Physics degree would be useful. Generally, I would say that a Math or Business degree would be a good augmentation.
  • by DanielMarkham ( 765899 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:49PM (#11870026) Homepage
    This wasn't another one of those posts where you had to read some long article and make comments. This is one of those "Do you like ice cream?" questions.

    Go for the business degree, kid. Whatever you do in this world, there will always be a business manager over you (or working for you)

    And yes, I do like ice cream.
  • A Language (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Oen_Seneg ( 673357 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:49PM (#11870030)
    Not stricly a degree, but learn a real language (French/German/Japanese) and you can actually get some quite interesting jobs. Worst case scenario, you'd be translating software or giving foreign language tech support, but employers quite like people with language skills for some unknown reason.
    • Re:A Language (Score:4, Informative)

      by Neo-Rio-101 ( 700494 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:02PM (#11870265)
      employers quite like people with language skills for some unknown reason.

      They like us because we not only know computer languages, but human languages as well. It shows you also have social skills and the ability to understand people from otherwise completely different ways of thinking. The ability to communicate effectively with other people is important in tricky situations with users, and when working as a sysadmin in a team of engineers as well.

      Actually I work in a Japanese research institute which has a lot of foreign researchers, so they need me to make all the bilingual "System maintenance" notice emails.... and to politely deal with foreign researchers when they have problems, and when they've been naughty and tried to use BitTorrent on our network.
    • by PakProtector ( 115173 ) <(cevkiv) (at) (> on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:23PM (#11870580) Journal
      Nien! Iie! Baka! Leib, Mien Leib! You let the damn secret out of the bag! Computer Science ga oshiete kureta ka... ne
  • by delcielo ( 217760 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:49PM (#11870032) Journal
    If you're looking at eventually rising through the ranks into management and executive positions, an MBA would be a good idea.

    If you want to be a tech for the long haul, perhaps a degree in mathematics.

    Whatever you do, remember also that communication skills are important. You're not typically taught them in college (at least not very well); but your advancement will to some degree depend on them.

  • Art...? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RootsLINUX ( 854452 ) <rootslinux@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:49PM (#11870038) Homepage
    Well if programming is what you love and what you want to do for the rest of your life, why not focus on getting a degree in artwork? Sure we can all write hard-core programs and scripts that run from a command line, but what about our less-enlightened users who require a GUI and colorful buttons to do anything with their computer? To those users, appearance is VERY important, maybe even moreso than performance to some people. I wish I had time to focus on developing my art skills right now for personal reasons/projects, but I'm too busy writing esoteric Perl scripts...>_>
  • Law (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ajakk ( 29927 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:49PM (#11870040) Homepage
    With a Comp Sci. degree and a Law degree, you can become a patent lawyer and make tons of cash (and be a pariah among nerds).
  • MARKETING!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gonar ( 78767 ) <sparkalicious.verizon@net> on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:50PM (#11870049) Homepage
    then you'd be EVERY engineer's worst nightmare, a marketroid with an engineering degree but no engineering experience!

    seriously. work in the industry for 5 years, then go back to school, experience is more valuable than any piece of paper.
  • Psychology. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by k96822 ( 838564 ) * on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:50PM (#11870058) Journal

    Psychology. Don't laugh, my Psychology minor has been extremely useful, particularly the classes that dealt with cognitive Psychology, which is directly applicable to human-computer interfaces. I intend to turn that into a full Bachelor's someday.

  • seriously (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MagicM ( 85041 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:51PM (#11870070)
    1) Get a degree in a field that interests you.

    2) Don't Get a degree to increase your "marketability", unless it increases your "marketability" in a field that you would want a job in. In which case, see (1).

    • Re:seriously (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Joe the Lesser ( 533425 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:07PM (#11870351) Homepage Journal
      I agree. Stop powergaming your career. Study what you like, and let opportunities come to you. If you're serious and professional minded, someone will find you whatever path you choose, and if you want the highest salary, then you won't be happy regardless.
    • Re:seriously (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:26PM (#11870616) Homepage
      This is by far the best answer in this thread. Perhaps it's the only good answer I've read. I've talked to a couple 19 year olds recently who've asked me what they should major in if they want to get a good job. Like there's a "right answer". Kids starting out always want to know how to get "a good job"-- just abstractly, "a good job". As in, you take specific classes, get "a good job", and live happily ever after.

      If you're thinking about going back to school, just look into a lot of different subjects, and when you find something that you're really interested in, and the idea of taking classes on that subject is sort of exciting, take some classes in that.

      If your real concern is that you're looking for is a token degree to give your resume a superficial bump, than it sounds like the job you're well-suited for is that of a PHB, in which case go ahead and get your MBA. You'll learn all the market-speak necessary to synergize best-business-practices in order to get the greatest possible ROI.

      Otherwise, take some interesting classes and see where it leads you.

  • For me one choice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Mutant ( 167716 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:51PM (#11870075) Homepage
    A Masters degree in Quantitative Finance.

    YMMV. Pick a degree that compliments what you are interested in. Not what the consensus on /. suggests.

    After all, you're gonna be the one stuck with the job that it leads you to. The degree could be a marketing MBA, or in Biochemistry or Astronomy, etc, etc.

    But you've gotta be happy with it.
  • by Gil-galad55 ( 707960 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:51PM (#11870085)
    It all depends on where you want to go with your career. If you really enjoy computer science, I'd recommend a maths degree, as this will take you a long way with theoretical computer science. That having been said, a PhD in compsci would probably be even better.

    I myself have CS and physics bachelors, but my primary aim is at physics. I found the compsci degree helpful when I was doing work in particle physics, as I was writing tons of analytical code. Also, if you planned on doing development for government labs, an ability to create accurate models is a good thing, and physics will help with that.

    Management, obviously MBA. I'd also consider a humanities (particularly English) degree; we always complain about the plight of the illiterate programmer/engineer/scientist. Well-spoken and clear-writing employees look good and go a long way. 3-4 years is a major commitment to polish up your writing, though! That having been said, I find I need the humanities to stay sane, so it's probably time well spent...

  • J.D. Patent Lawyer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by darkmeridian ( 119044 ) <> on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:53PM (#11870107) Homepage
    If you can get into a top ten law school, then you can become a patent lawyer and make a few hundred thousand dollars right out of school. Big firms pay $125K base (not counting bonuses) for patent attorneys from top ten schools--no legal experience (aside from law school) necessary.
    • by EZmagz ( 538905 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:51PM (#11870984) Homepage
      That's a big IF, mi amigo. Getting into a top-10 law school is very, very hard. Even top-25 is more selective that most can deal with.

      Besides, most CS grads would make horrible lawyers in general for one significant reason: they have horrible communication skills. Lawyers have to be intelligent and very analytical (a trait many with CS degrees have), but also be able to effectively communicate ideas with others (a trait very few CS holders have in my experience).

      Keep in mind this is coming from someone who has a CS degree from undergrad, and a few of my friends (and one of my siblings) have attended the top law schools in the US. Let me tell you this, you'd be hard-pressed to find a group of more rabid alphas that people in competitive law schools. And somehow "CS geek" and "rabid alpha male/female" rarely refer to the same person.

    • by Anthony Liguori ( 820979 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @07:55PM (#11871678) Homepage
      A good patent lawyer doesn't simply tell their client whether something is patentable. A good patent lawyer finds a way to make whatever their client brings them patentable in the broadest way possible.

      If you have any doubts about how well the patent system works, this job is not for you. It's very much like a typically defense lawyer. Your job is to get the person the lightest sentence possible regardless of crime with faith in the fact that the system in general will work regardless of your abilities.

      I'm not making a judgement about how well the system works or doesn't work. Just pointing out that you should consider this before you pursue this path.

      And for what it's worth, dealing with IP lawyers has been the most pleasant lawyer-related experience I've had. Extremely bright people.
  • by nvrrobx ( 71970 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:53PM (#11870122) Homepage
    I'd reccommend getting some experience to increase your marketability as opposed to another degree.

    I know when I interview possible engineer candidates, I'm looking more for experience than education.

    What are you wanting to do? Your write up was very vague.
  • I think the more important question is, what else are you interested in? If all you are looking for is resume padding, then another Bachelor's is a pretty expensive way to go. Indeed you would likely be better off with an MBA (which, based solely on the few MBA's I've met, is little more than resume window dressing anyway).

    On the other hand, if there are areas of learning which you really would like to know more about (be it History, Physics, English Lit, etc) then get a degree in that. It will be far more interesting for you and will make you a much more interesting candidate.

    But that's just my $.02...

  • by Psiren ( 6145 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:54PM (#11870133)
    While I respect you for wanting to further your education, I would argue obtaining another degree is the wrong way to do it. It's been said a million times, but there really is absolutely no substitute for experience, and 3 years of it is worth far more than another piece of paper. Knowing the theory, and being able to put it to use in real life situations are two different things. I suspect you already know this as you obtained your degree two years ago, and hopefully have been employed for at least some of that time.

    Unless of course you are looking to learn something totally unrelated to Computer Science in order to provide an additional route for employment. If that's the case, only you can make that choice, and asking people here is silly. If you're not interested in the subject, you're highly unlikey to be motivated enough to do the best you can at it.
  • Depends (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stargoat ( 658863 ) <> on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:55PM (#11870151) Journal
    Depends if it is for personal use, or if it is for business. History will teach you to write intelligently, and to think with a broader scope. A second language will prepare you for what could prove to be a more interesting career. An MBA will make you more hireable.

    Personally, if you have unlimited time and funds, I recommend a law degree. Fight the good fight against the SCO. What's more, there will be a deluge of criminal computer cases over the next decade. You would be in a perfect situation to take advantage of this.

  • JD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by theMerovingian ( 722983 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @05:55PM (#11870152) Journal

    I'm going to go to law school starting in August. You can work in the field of high-tech law, intellectual property, and patents... I personally am more interested in the software business than I am in writing code, so take that with a grain of salt.

    And, you can also diversify into numerous other legal specializations if you get bored or need a change of pace.

    The average starting salary varies wildly depending on the type of entity you work for and your geographic location. But, it is my suspicion that you could pretty readily get a decent management job at a software company with 1) technical experience; 2) a BS in CS; and 3) a JD.

    There's always the option of going into private practice, or you could work for the FBI/CIA/NSA if you have a penchant for government work (and a clean background).

    There's lots more to say on the subject of techno-lawyers, so I'm interested to see what else people have to say Re: law school.

    • Re:JD (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cfulmer ( 3166 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:55PM (#11871033) Homepage Journal
      As a 2d year law student with a long engineering background, I think I have some input here...

      (1) Patent lawyers are occasionally referred to as the "Dermatologists of the legal profession" -- they work semi-normal hours and get paid well.

      (2) Patent is also hard to branch back out of if you don't like it -- you tend to pigeonhole yourself.

      (3) Don't make your decision based on salary -- better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable. Also, while lawyers coming out of the top 12 or so law schools will typically start at $125-135/yr, those salary figures drop dramatically in the next tier. You don't want to rack on a bunch of debt only to find out that you're working more hours but making about what you were before.

      I don't think that a JD would give you any help in management -- the only management skill you learn in law school is time management.

      On the other hand, lawyers are the grease of the economy -- nothing much happens without them. When things go well, you need lawyers. And, when things go poorly, you need lawyers. Not too many legal jobs being outsourced to Bangalore.
      • Re:JD (Score:3, Informative)

        by Chibi ( 232518 )

        On the other hand, lawyers are the grease of the economy -- nothing much happens without them. When things go well, you need lawyers. And, when things go poorly, you need lawyers. Not too many legal jobs being outsourced to Bangalore.

        I was going to mod you up until I got to the last line of your comment. Legal work is actually starting to get outsourced in this country (the US, since this is a US site, blah, blah...): r_outsourcing/?cnn=yes []

        A numb

  • Not a Master's (Score:3, Interesting)

    by khendron ( 225184 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:00PM (#11870232) Homepage
    You are right about a Master's.

    In all my experience I have yet to meet anybody who feels their Master's degrees helped them in their job.

    This includes MBAs, which I find quite surprising. But I have never met an MBA who thinks her or his MBA helped them get and do the job. I do know one person who thinks her MBA helped her find a husband :-)

    I have a Master's degree myself. I had a blast getting it. I'd do it again. But for job advancement it is worth less than nothing.
  • Kung-Fu (Score:3, Funny)

    by TiggertheMad ( 556308 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:02PM (#11870263) Homepage Journal
    Learn Kung-Fu. It lets you fight off agent Smith, and you can avenger your master after he is slain by ninjas. Plus, I have yet to see someon who holds a MBA or Math degree with those cool Shaolin dragon and lion brands on their wrists.
  • by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <> on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:02PM (#11870270) Homepage Journal
    That's what you should get a master's in. At this point in your career, I would offer to you that relevant experience in your field is going to do more to increase your marketability much more than a master's.
  • Economics (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dr. Transparent ( 77005 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:04PM (#11870298) Homepage Journal
    An MBA isn't a *bad* idea, but personally I think that in economics you learn more of the why of general business principles than your mba counterparts.

    I would say the biggest caveat is that economics programs really depend on the professors. Spending 1 or 2 years in an econ program with cruddy profs will be rather painful.

    The biggest gain with an econ background (or even MBA or the other general business degress people are throwing around here) is that you can make decisions in your programmer box that will positively affect the business as a whole. Too many programmers are idealogues with no sense of why implementing feature X is a bad idea when it will cost Y but only increase sales by Y - $20,000. The ability to make suggestions about how development can better help the business as a whole will make you more valuable, and probably make for a better working environment.

  • by Pollux ( 102520 ) <speter&tedata,net,eg> on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:12PM (#11870417) Journal
    Which degree(s) do YOU think will go well with a Computer Science Bachelors?

    When I read this, my first response would be to pit the question on the submitter. Why ask ./? We don't know who you are, your personality, or what you really want to do with your life five years down the road. Sure, you ask what would be helpful to increase your marketability, but marketability in what? My field is education, and I double majored in CS and Math Ed. An Ed degree would be great for any company looking for communication and management skills, but it won't get you very far if you're looking for marketability for anything to do with, say, software engineering.

    I don't know if ./ will be able to help you with this type of personal decision. I've already seen a few friends drop out of college at some point because the only advice they followed was everybody elses, never their own.

    Sure, you can get as much advice as you can take on what might "look good" on a resume, but I also knew a few classmates who tried for a minor that they thought would give them a one-up. In the end, they didn't like what they were studying, were too mentally exhausted to try harder, and just detested the class material so much that they then detested the work that came with it. And no employer's going to want to hire someone who isn't motivated to do their job, that's for sure.

    Figure out what you would really like to do first. If you don't know, try out market yourself with what you have. If you then find something that you'd really like to go for but don't have what the education / experience, THEN you'll find the motivation to take more classes, and you'll know what you need to take.
  • by dduck ( 10970 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:12PM (#11870424) Homepage
    It has worked very well for me. There is a renewed interest in devices that work well both technically and UI-wise, but very few people are trained in both diciplines. You will be /in/ the interface... a good place to be, if you want to have real influence on the final product.

    Oh, and it's also a good starting point for striking out on your own as an innovator.

  • by wintermute42 ( 710554 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:23PM (#11870590) Homepage

    There is no magic degree bullet. I went to school with a lot of pre-meds (my undergrad degree is in biology). A number of the premeds wanted to go into medicine because they thought that the degree would be the magic carpet to a high income and job security.

    As it turned out, things were not so simple. HMOs put pressure on doctor's fees and medicine is a field where there is more burnout than people want to admit. For people who are not good at relationships with other people (most of the premeds I knew) seeing people for the same kind of thing year after year becomes a huge bore. By the time they hit their forties some doctors would like to do something else, but it is too late to easily change professions and they are used to making a lot of money.

    Since there is no degree that I know of that will guarantee a good income, job security AND interesting work, you might was well go for a degree in something that interests you and might improve your job prospects.

    If I were to get another degree I'd get a degree in quantitative finance. That is, the application of mathematical techniques to financial modeling and trading of stocks, bonds, foreign exchange and so on. Having a solid software background and the ability to handle the math is a big asset. Of course for some of us the downside is that you may have to live in or around New York city (but this is a feature for other people).

  • English! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by saintp ( 595331 ) <stpierre@nebrwes ... minus pi> on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:26PM (#11870618) Homepage
    Seriously. You'll stand out among a bunch of other CS weenies who probably barely even speak the language -- not to mention all of the H-1 visa holders. (Ever read /.? Case in point.) An English degree tells potential employers that you can a) communicate effectively, and b) research thoroughly; both are highly valued by the people who do the hiring. You'll be much more appealing than the hordes of MBA grads, whose major marketable skill is that they can say "ROI" a lot.

    If English doesn't appeal to you, any degree in the humanities will look great, since most require language and research skills, and present you as a well-rounded renaissance person, not a single-minded code zombie. (Read: as someone who makes decisions, not as someone who is subject to them.) History is also particularly good.

    Remember: CS majors stereotypically are introverted nerds who can't communicate with anyone who doesn't speak LISP. CS majors with MBAs are stereotypically suit-wearing nerd-wannabes who can't communicate with anyone who doesn't speak Marketroid. Anything you can do to prove that you're not either of those will help a lot.

  • The passion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by charvolant ( 224858 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:29PM (#11870667) Homepage
    Only do a postgraduate degree if you have a passion for the subject matter. If you do have that passion, you'll have a great time, a really interesting life and meet lots of clever, deranged and interesting people.

    You will also never be rich -- unless you are extremely lucky.

    But that is a judgement call on your part. It is, however, worth remembering that "quality of life" and "standard of living" are not equivalent.
  • Tough one (Score:3, Funny)

    by Proc6 ( 518858 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:34PM (#11870746)
    The obvious ones come to mind, "invisibility", "telekenisis" and "flight". While "superhuman strength" might have some use, it will likely be less so in the future as computers get smaller and lighter. You might also look into "shape shifting" and "teleportation", the latter being helpful if your employment requires long commutes.
  • by RPI Geek ( 640282 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:35PM (#11870776) Journal
    I'd say that your second degree should really reflect your interests. If you're looking to do something that you have a passion for, and you don't care about the marketability, just study something that you love. If you're looking for marketability alone, get a business degree. If you're trying to break into a certain field, study the area most closely related to it.

    I'm studying for a dual bachelor's in MechE / CS at RPI []. Combining these majors was one of the best things I did at RPI. I love working with computers and I love learning about the mechanical world; I didn't choose my majors solely because that's what I wanted to do for a job.

    I didn't think a dual degree would be very marketable, but now that I'm looking for a job, I'm finding that not only are the employers from both fields contacting me, but when I talk to them, they love the fact that I'm able to talk as comfortably about program stacks as grar trains.

    Just one poor student's opinion.
  • Biology (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FleaPlus ( 6935 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @06:49PM (#11870957) Journal
    There's a huge demand for computational/quantitative folks in the biological sciences. Plus, the work you do there is freakin' cool (speaking as a theoretical neurobiologist).

    You may find the following article in PLoS Biology interesting:

    Mathematics Is Biology's Next Microscope, Only Better; Biology Is Mathematics' Next Physics, Only Better []
  • Biology (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spin2cool ( 651536 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @07:01PM (#11871100)

    If you're interested in computational biology or bioinformatics, you'll have it made in either academia or industry. With the genomic revolution looming, people who can apply their knowledge of CS and algorithms to biological/biomedical problems are in HUGE demand.

    Feel free to replace biology with biochemistry, molecular biology, or biomedical engineering degrees, as your particular tastes warrant.

  • by MerlynEmrys67 ( 583469 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @07:04PM (#11871123)
    You will be working there soon enough anyway - might as well speak the language
  • by ediron2 ( 246908 ) * on Monday March 07, 2005 @07:05PM (#11871142) Journal
    For a while after finishing college, you feel drawn back to the college life. Be sure you're not going back just because it's comfortable. If you don't even care if you're gonna become a manager, head-geek, marketdroid, tech-writer, tech-law guru or whatever (what *Degree* depends on your answer to that question), you're seriously not prime for grad school.

    One friend's dad offered to pay for her grad school completely after she'd worked 5 years. Wise man: she's never looked back.

    Another friend, the smartest science/tech student in years at my high school, stopped with a BS, moved to Silicon Valley, and says she'd literally *fall behind* in her field if she left work for 1-3 years. I kind of doubt this, since she could nail additional courses in her area as they paralleled her work until the degree sorta just plopped in her lap one day. She publishes enough. She studies and learns new stuff enough. But the degree also stopped mattering to anyone she knows *years* ago.

    Another friend nailed a triple major, which took him longer than the rest of us. It didn't gain him any of the cash or glamour he bragged he'd get. That's some serious money wasted.

    My own take is that graduate work should wait until you start finding something really compelling to become gods-own-expert in. Let me say it again: if you don't even care if you're gonna become a manager, head-geek, marketdroid, tech-writer, tech-law guru or whatever (what *Degree* depends on your answer to that question), you're seriously not prime for grad school. Take a class or two. Or just dive into some side project to gain some focus: pick a subset from that list of career paths and find a way to get experience in it.

    I did some grad courses, and exited because it was clear that I wasn't sure what I wanted to do yet, and figured if I was going to become a PhD, it had better be in something I gave a rat's-ass about.

    Ten years later, I'm fairly certain what that might be. If I weren't having so much fun with work, wife, kids, life in general, I'd probably go back. Once the kids aren't a delightful distraction, I'll start picking an ideal college/mentor or three to contact and apply to.

    Caveat: grad degrees are candy: I approve, but I don't preach 'em. OTOH, Bachelor's degrees are not optional IMHO: they're a 2-way vaccine: at some point not having one can kill your career advancement; and they're used by employers as a yardstick. Doesn't apply to you, doesn't matter here, but it's a big deal to me: I've seen a few friends really hurt by not having BS behind their name (usually happens pretty late in life). Mileage may vary and that's my humble opinion and the value-of-a-degree subject has been hammered to death on /.
  • by AndyGasman ( 695277 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @07:12PM (#11871213) Homepage Journal
    Where i work [] our dream softie is someone with a ComSci and an ElecEng degree, though we do more embeded software. I recon ComSci and pure maths would be a good one for high brow software ;) or an ComSci and MBA for business systems.
  • by mertzman ( 87638 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @07:16PM (#11871269) Homepage
    I know a few people here at my university who are dual majors in CS and Political Science. At first it seemed like an odd combination, but it works quite well both in terms of academics and employment prospects.

    Political Science classes tend to be pretty flexible in terms of managing writing and reading assignments, so they mesh good with the more deadline-intensive CS projects. Since Poli Sci tends to emphasize writing, its also a good major to build your language skills with. (Not to mention, a political theory class with a unit on Machiavelli has priceless potential when its lessons are applied in the workplace!)

    In terms of employment, there are a ton of opportunities in academia, business, and government. There's a surprisingly large demand for techies in political research, as things like polls often require lots of customized code to carry out statistical analyses. Then there's the government potential... a Poli Sci degree is a ticket into many government agencies, and combined with Comp Sci, you bring useful and much needed tech skills... (you'd be especially well suited if you wanted to go down that whole secret agent CIA/NSA/FBI sort of route).

    Similarly, Sociology or Psychology also work well with CS from what I've heard, for many of the same reasons. So definitely don't overlook the social sciences as an option.

"Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love." -- Albert Einstein