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cs masters thesis and work as developer

I was doing my masters full time before I found a full time job as a developer  for a J2EE based product. My work involves developing, doing specs and unit tests, as well as using 3rd party libraries for data mining  application functionality. I already have around 3 years of dev experience.
I have to finish my ms with a thesis.I am thinking of going with  a professor who is into I/O efficient algorithms, so hardcore algorithms work, which actually really interests me. The work involves implementing code for tricky algorithms in graphs etc.. It would be in C++.
I have roughly equal C++/Java development experience.
The thesis work involves rigerously understanding the algos to be coded, some of which is bleeding edge.
I think this will help me later on, if I ever work on anything related to this domain.
I would be doing java at work and C++ in the evening/weekends for my thesis.Not much of a life really, but has anybody have experience doing this -
coding java 9-5 , C++ in the evening, possibly weekends.
How have people coped? Is there a real chance being burned out doing this?

Anon
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

You think coding java in the morning and C++ at night is bad? Talk about progress! They both are OO languages and not that different as you might think. 

I did C++ in the morning and Perl/Forth/Javascript in the evening and I did not keel over and die

Ultimately it is you who has to decide whether having a social life other than programming is important or not

Code Monkey
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Doing a masters and full time work at the same time is very hard. But that is how most people do it. Yes, burn out is a possibility.

Old Master
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Burn out is probable. Your thesis and work will both suffer. I tried it for a few short months, but it was too much for me.

Fortunately work was flexible enough for me, and I could survive on the pay cut.

I wouldn't worry about the Java/C++ thing. In fact, I think it will only help you (disregarding the 70+ hour weeks you're facing).

Tim
Tuesday, August 03, 2004


I did my MS at night while working.  The first year and a half I coded C/C++/Perl at night while coding VisualC++ in the day time.  Yes, it gets to be a bit much, yes, burnout is a possibility.  Don't work overtime and take classes, and, if you much, do MILD overtime with one class at night for ONE semester. :-)

Then I started taking "IS"-type courses - Management of Software Development, Project Management, IS Policy, where I started writing ENGLISH at night and coding during the day.  It worked well.

Last fall and spring I took two courses each semester, worked full time, and commuted an hour each way.  Yes, it was a bit much, but I'm DONE!!!  The spring all I took was writing courses with very little in-class time:  A directed studies in CS (writing about quality) and a "capstone" course, which is essentially my school's collaborative, thesis-light class.

It can be done, but If you have any interest, I would recommend shifting you thesis toward the people side of IS or Software Engineering and away from algorithmns. 

SE can be interesting.  Change Management, Methodologies, test coverage, project management, reducing cycle times, workload balancing ... there's some cool stuff in there, if you school understands and fits that into CS.  We have a combined IS/CS department, so it was a good fit for me.  My degree is in "Computer INFORMATION Science", or CIS, not pure CS.

good luck,

www.xndev.com (Matt H.)
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

I'm half way through my evening MS -- will be starting back in October.

I have to pick a thesis topic soon -- am half thinking of something related to work, e.g. a new product or service (some tricky IP issues to overcome first, but the university have had this sort of arrangement with other companies before.), or perhaps an internal tool that we wouldn't ever plan to commercialise. Could be the best of both worlds if it works out, since I can justifiably do some work on the thesis during the working day!

MugsGame
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Budget your time. X hours for work. Y hours for thesis. Also budget time to get away from both to keep you from burning out. Some days work will be more productive than research. Some days the other way around. Keep a week-at-a-glance diary/planner and write the numbers down. If they start to drift out of line, sit down and figure out what is going on.

Peter
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

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