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advanced degrees outside the U.S.

firstly, i want to point out that i'm not here to debate the merits of an advanced degree...

Assuming that one would find it beneficial to pursue an advanced degree in a field RELATED to computer science, does anyone have any observations/experiences on obtaining such degrees outside the US....

in my case, i'm young (23 years old) and i'd like to get involved in software with an international scope--basically, my ideal job would be as an engineer at a company where i'm designing and developing software and travelling accordingly, doing projects in different countries and so forth.  i'm a software engineer now in NYC, but i'm considering getting a master's in an engineering or mathematics discipline (such as statistics) in a year or two...  i'd really like to go to Berlin or Barcelona, but i'm just curious of a few things....

(1) would the advanced degree be taken seriously in the
US? 

(2) are there jobs in software that find people with international experience useful?  i'm good with languages, how can i apply this w/ software?  or am i pursuing a pipe dream?  is this just a stupid ambition....?

(3) any schools or programs that anyone would specifically recommend?  should i consider any countries over others? 

thanks a lot!

leavin' on a jet plane
Monday, December 09, 2002

Well I am currently doing an advanced degree in computer science the US.

My suggestion would be to get a degree in a country where you would like to work primarily. If you want to work in Spain most of the time, get a degree from Spain.

Sounds like you want to do some kind of consulting gig! There are not many reasons, that I can come up with for a software engineer (specially one with less than 5 years experience - I am guessing you have less than that) to travel the world on any company's account.

IF your ideal job is travelling + working in software you should look at an MBA and then joining one of the consultanting firms like BCG, Bain.

You coul get an MBA from any of the top insititutes in US, Europe, Asia.

Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, INSEAD, LBS, IIM, etc.

If you are thinking about an MBA - do the read Businees Week online journals about students currently doing their MBA.

Here is the link: http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/mbajournal/index.htm

All the luck!

Prakash S
Monday, December 09, 2002

Prakash, i appreciate the advice... however, i want to clarify that i'm not interested in an MBA or management/business consulting.  i have a personal desire to live and study abroad, but i'm trying to determine the practicality of such a decision. 

ideally, i'd like to live and study abroad for a year or two, and then possibly work abroad. 

in the long-term, i want to live in the U.S, and hopefully continue to apply my international experience, in the context of building/designing/managing software projects on a global scale. 

my question to all is whether there's a path to take me there? 

leavin' on a jet plane
Monday, December 09, 2002

Most Americans don't value school that they haven't heard of.  I know several people from outside the US that got a degree locally (in the US) because their foreign degrees did very little to help the get a job.

Bottom Line:  If you predict you'll be working in the US, get a US degree.

vanguard
Monday, December 09, 2002

Mind if you have the opportunity to go to Cambridge (that's the real Cambridge in Cambridgeshire), then bite their arms off.

I assume by advanced degree (other than burns), you mean some kind of post graduate thing.  Unless you have some need or itch to scratch about research, don't bother.  There are enough meaningless second degrees around in the world already.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, December 10, 2002

"There are enough meaningless second degrees around in the world already."

hahahaha - almost fell out of my chair reading this.

This reminds me, this is the Full form of PhD & MBA, lest anyone forget!

PhD: Permanent Head Damage.

MBA: Mentally Below Average.

:-)

Prakash S
Tuesday, December 10, 2002

"(2) are there jobs in software that find people with international experience useful?  i'm good with languages, how can i apply this w/ software?  "

I know personaly many people doing software consulting in Europe and travelling all the time in Europe. They work usually for big software editors (as pre-sale or expert) or consulting firms: IBM Global Service, Microsoft, Borland, ...

I would hate myself doing that (never being home, and I have kids), but they do love it. Pay is usually good too (for Europe)

Robert Chevallier
Tuesday, December 10, 2002

I used to do it.

Spin round the globe delicately fertilising development wherever I went, picking up new things along the way.  I enjoyed it.  Not all the time, more than three days in Seoul was usually enough  kimchi and drinking wheat beer flavoured with eel gall for me.

But I'd do it again, even though I do have a daughter now.

You may consider this a begging letter.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Try this look for company to work abroad. See if you can work out a CO-OP or intership while you get the degree. Sometimes it is easier to get into a company under that kind of program, than normal employment. Plus, you graduate with experience and possible a full time job, if you perform well. I got out of the Navy in the mid 90's with an Aerospace Engineering degree. The aerospace industry was not doing well, so I went for Mechanical Masters and did an internship with Sandia National Labs. They were in hiring freeze about the time I was ready finish, but my contacts and experience gained there got me full a time position with a start up doing 3d scientific visualization. When industry is down, sometimes picking up additional skills will help. Broadening your educational base will help, too. Remember it is the skills that count.

David Hickerson
Tuesday, December 10, 2002

brain fart, append this to the beginning instead of the first two sentences, should've reread and revised:
Try this, look for a company to work for abroad. Then, see if you can work out a CO-OP or intership while you get the degree.

David Hickerson
Tuesday, December 10, 2002

>>(1) would the advanced degree be taken seriously in the
US? 

No.


>>>(2) are there jobs in software that find people with international experience useful? 

Yes, but they are usually management (manage overseas programmers) or sales (sell overseas people software), or law (international IP protection). There aren't that many engineering positions which require international experience. Another thing to consider is training/teaching.


>>i'm good with languages, how can i apply this w/ software?  or am i pursuing a pipe dream? 

One issue with languages, is that there are usually a huge glut of unemployed native speakers in any given country. Spain might not be so bad, but right now Berlin has 17% unemployment.

>>is this just a stupid ambition....?

not particularly. I've worked in Japan and it was sort of fun, but in reality the "work" part was not so much fun. The ideal situation is to just be really rich, so you can travel around and not have to work. ;-)

(3) any schools or programs that anyone would specifically recommend?  should i consider any countries over others? 

As far as I can tell, there aren't any good schools for foreigners in Asia. Most of the better schools abroad are in english speaking countries (UK in particular).  Paris also has well respected universities. I don't really know anything about Spain. I do know that education in other countries is generally much cheaper than it is in the US. In germany, if you can read and write german (and pass a fluency exam) you can study at universities for about $800USD per year.

If the real goal is to just spend an extended amount of time overseas, you could view graduate school as a way to get a visa to hang around in the country, vs. worrying if a foreign master's degree really has any intrinsic worth.

rePatriated
Tuesday, December 10, 2002

A year or two spent living abroad will be an education in many more ways than any computing you learn. You will understand your own culture better, get fresh perspectives on almost everything, and if you ever end up interacting with foreigners (almost certain unless you plan to spen the rest of your career in a cubicle) you will be much better placed to work with them. Plus, depending on where you go, you get the chance to see some interesting parts of the world at close quarters.

If you were British and did a Masters abroad that would be looked on as a plus point, since it takes initiative and a little guts, and getting a degree while adjusting to a foreign environment takes more work. I can't imagine Americans would be less appreciative.

David Clayworth
Wednesday, December 11, 2002

If you want to travel, travel. I travelled for ten years with nothing (made my first $1000 at 26!), and had a blast. 'The world' is no different than 'the world' you live in, so it is relativly easy for another human to get by in pretty much any part of it.

Eventually it can lead to a career if that is what you want, but if you are asking, 'how can I travel in a way that is good for my career', or 'what career is good for travel' you should think about what you really want a bit. One is jarring freedom the other comfortable security, it is a tough call. Of course the best way I know of figuring out what you really want is to travel around a bit ; ).

Maybe you are just wondering if there are jobs to be had elsewhere, the answer is most certainly yes. Sometimes the pay is shit, sometimes great, but really if you thinking of doing it for the pay, then stay home. People often say you have to be rich or working for some big company to travel, which is bull. You can just find the nearest exit to the building you are in, and set off. That is all there is too it...

Robin Debreuil
Thursday, December 12, 2002

(1) would the advanced degree be taken seriously in the
US? 
Your having some out of country experience might be seen by some as positive, but the foreign degree will not be taken serious at all.

(2) are there jobs in software that find people with international experience useful?
In a lott of countries having a native English speaker on the team is considered a "good thing". You will however also need to master the local language to "fit in" with the team.


(3) any schools or programs that anyone would specifically recommend?  should i consider any countries over others?
I would say Prakash got it right when he mentioned getting the degree in the country where you plan to base yourself. 

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, December 13, 2002

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