Is getting a Computer Science Degree Worth it?

If you’ve spent enough time in the field of computer science, you must have understood the secret to ace this discipline which lies in technical skills rather than theoretical knowledge. This puts a big question mark on the value of higher education in computer science if it is really worth it? From a conventional viewpoint, one needs to obtain a degree to be successful in any field, no degree nullifies the chances of getting a job. However, this principle does not apply to the IT sector. BS or MS degrees in computer science are just a dime a dozen, countless people have them yet not able to stand out in the job market.

In fact, IT employers often look for those people who have excellent tech skills regardless of whether they possess a higher degree in computer science or other tech-related fields. Over the years, the number of students enrolling for a master’s degree in computer science has fallen drastically. Since a majority of people have realized that it is a huge waste of investment in terms of money, efforts, and time.

Moreover, many engineering and computer science graduates found themselves adrift as they hunt for jobs. One can determine that a higher degree in computer science won’t necessarily guarantee a good job, it requires the right skill set in programming and coding to land a sustainable career opportunity.

Let’s assess and evaluate the worth of higher education in computer science to build an IT career.

Why you should avoid enrolling for MS in Computer Science?

While a C.S. degree gives comprehensive education on topics like computer language theory, software development & advanced algorithms, there are some major downsides of pursuing this degree that cannot be avoided.

  • Firstly, getting a C.S degree is a long-term commitment for beginners who seek to learn coding from scratch. It takes around 2 to 4 years to finish this degree and the rest depends on how much time you dedicate on studies.
  • Another obstacle that students face when applying for a C.S degree in the U.S. is the amount of money it demands. The average tuitions and fees to earn a C.S degree is $34,740 for private colleges, $10,822 for in-state residents (public colleges), and $25,620 for out-of-state residents (public universities). So, the entire four-year computer science degree will cost you around $ 40,000.

Once you are done with your BS in computer science you will have 2 options, either to go for a master’s degree or enroll in a technical up-skill program. Most of the students believe that the former option is the best for better career opportunities. However, it is the biggest misconception.

Basically, a master’s in computer science degree covers the following topics:

  • Algorithms;
  • Java, Python, C, or Swift;
  • Product Management, UX, IoS, basics of Software Engineering, Android Dev, Advanced C++, OOP, Web Dev;
  • Networking, Databases, Comp Arch, Compilers, Distributed Systems & Functional Programming OS.

Since half of the above list is already covered in bachelor’s degree and rest can be pick up with a book and basic experience in coding there is no point wasting 2 years for obtaining a master’s degree. The degree program does not give any technical training to the students, also the professors only provide theoretical knowledge that hardly helps in getting jobs at tech companies.

Master’s in Computer Science is Overrated

Having a higher level of education might not necessarily help you meet your career goals, specifically when it comes to the IT sector. After all, it is just a piece of paper that proves your qualification. Though a C.S degree in beneficial for foreign students for Visa approval and filing, but no more than that.

Many IT companies look beyond the CS degree when hiring programmers and developers. Employers today are more interested to know how well you can handle real-world projects.

So, it is of utmost essential to stay up to date on the latest web standards, learn modern frameworks, and adapt practices to enrich user experience in the technical domain. Consistent learning is enough to grab the right opportunity.

You don’t need a 4-year education in computer science to learn a bunch of theoretical stuff which is not applicable for the jobs that require technical expertise like coding. Instead go for practical IT skill enhancement courses that will give the right training in few months.

Costs involved in enrolling MS degree in Computer Science

MS in computer science is a 1 to 2-year course offered by around 400 universities across the United States.

  • International Students who want to pursue this program need to have a 4 years bachelor’s degree in the related field of study.
  • The total tuition fees for MS in computer science ranges between 13,500 USD to 141,000 USD (excluding the room & board cost).
  • Some computer science & IT programs can even cost over 55,000 USD/year.

Considering the duration of this course that is a lot of money but there is another cost which you will be incurring by getting this degree i.e., opportunity cost. With an increasing demand for tech jobs, you will have a good chance of getting a job at an average starting salary of 64,111 USD/annum, if you can become a viable candidate in the market.
However, there is no guarantee of securing a job with just a degree. Surely, you can do a master’s in computer science but after four years you will end up under $100,000 debt with a vague knowledge of coding.

Some Ultra-Successful Tech Genius without a College Degree

If you still think that skipping a master’s degree is not right from a career outlook, consider these living examples of tech giants that proved degree is not important to become successful and skills really matter the most.

  • Bill Gates– The name which needs no introduction is a Harvest University dropped out. Soon after dropping off the college, this tech whiz focuses on building Microsoft and the rest is history. Today, Gates stands tall at the second position in the list of world richest man with a net worth of $98 billion.
  • Mark Zuckerberg– Another tech-savvy that created the largest social networking platform, Facebook, left Harvard University in his sophomore year. Zuckerberg is the seventh richest person in the world having a net worth of $88.2 billion.
  • Paul Allen– The co-founder of Microsoft is also a college dropped out. The famous duo of Bill Gates and Paul Allen made $20,000 out of their first venture Traf-O-Data, a tool to measure the traffic flow in the Seattle area.
  • Michael Dell– The founder of Dell left the University of Texas in his very first year. Dell started his first company at a young age of 19 years and named it PCs Ltd which later become popular as Dell Computer Corp. In 1992, the Fortune 500 list featured him as the youngest CEO.  
  • Jan Koum- Having moved to the US from Ukraine with his mother at the age of 16, Jan set off a journey from rags to riches. While he was a student at San Jose State University, he found employment at Yahoo on the position of infrastructure engineer. Two weeks later, he quit college and after serving Yahoo for over a decade, he co-founded WhatsApp.
  • Larry Ellison- Founder of one the largest technology companies in the world, Oracle, once said that he couldn’t force himself to study something that didn’t serve his interest, and after few years of difficulty in premed college, he decided to drop out. Today, Larry is known as a software billionaire.
  • Steve Jobs- Apple CEO was a rebel in so many ways. Having an early interest in computing, Steve went to Reed College but dropped out soon after one semester to start Apple in his garage back in 1974. At the time of his death, Jobs estimated net worth was approx. $7 billion.

Most startups are hesitant to hire fresh graduates, instead, they want people who have had some training outside of the college. Modern employers aren’t looking for people with a degree in coding, rather they evaluate the practical skills of candidates by taking coding tests.

IT Companies today have different expectations and hiring processes than they had earlier. As tech skills are in high demand, many employers are willing to overlook a lack of higher education. Even the top tech companies like Facebook, Google are looking past degrees and qualifications.

If you can start the job from day one without any need for training and have some soft skills, then you can easily land a good job. Thus, instead of wasting 2 years on an MS degree, you should join some tech-braincamp to acquire coding skills that will streamline your IT career.

A decline in the number of International Students in U.S. Graduate Level Programs

Recently, the Trump administration has imposed a new set of rules against the admission of Chinese grads and is considering eliminating (OPT) Optional Practical Training for international students.

The stringent immigration policies in the U.S. have shifted the flow of international students, which can majorly impact the tech future of America. Also, the companies are hiring US citizens more than the master’s degree foreign students due to the H1B visa issues.

Decreased enrollments were seen at every level of programs. In the undergraduate programs, the international students get declined by 2.4% to 431,930 whereas, the numbers were down by 1.3% to 377,943 in the graduation program.

The below table represents the percentage changes in the number of international enrollments from the academic year (2017-18) to (2018-2019).

SourceOpen Doors

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that there will be approx. 1 million job openings in computer occupations from 2014 to 2024. Despite that, a growing number of students in the U.S. doing a BS in computer science, are struggling to keep pace with the number of available jobs. They have realized that this field, may no longer offer the same number of opportunities by the time their course of study gets completed.

Many programming language-related jobs are being created on a daily basis, so why there is no simultaneous increase in students pursuing a C.S. degree? It is because people have learned that you don’t need a master’s degree in coding to start software or programming developer career.

Not Everyone Who Works in IT has a Computer Science Degree

As per the reports of a reliable source, less than half or only 43% of IT support workers have a bachelor’s degree. They acquire the needed skills to perform their duties at work, thus prefer to skip through the hoop of a 4-year degree program.

IT environment evolves consistently and offers a plethora of job opportunities for the ones who ace practical skills. Whether you’re into infrastructure, coding, or analysis there is likely a tech job for you that befits your unique interests.

The modern Americans don’t see the need for an advanced degree in coding when they can hop onto an array of professional opportunities with the technical skills. So, don’t hold back from pursuing IT if you lack a computer science degree, you have other options that will lead you to the job of your choice.

As the US economy progressed, the percentage of graduates in programs has dropped, and going to grad school has become the least priority for several students.

Why choose Technology Up Skill Program Over Higher Education Degree in Computer Science?

Many students deliberate whether to learn coding at a tech organization or enroll in a computer science degree at university.

CS degrees take around a time-frame of 4 years to give in-depth theoretical knowledge and programming practices, but in a technical interview you still need to prove your skills as a degree won’t sail through. To kickstart your career as a software developer or programmer, it is better to connect with a renowned Tech-Braincamp like SynergisticIT. We teach you practically applicable and up-to-date skills and provide the right career coaching within a period of 5 to 6 months. Let’s compare C.S degree and Technology up-skill program on different factors:

  • Cost- As mentioned before, you need to loosen your pockets when applying for a CS degree. The average tuition fee of $13500 at top CS programs can get triple quarterly in just one academic year. Even if you find cheaper in-state colleges under $20,000/year, you have to bear additional expenditures like living costs without having a full-time job. To fix the tight budget you may take loans that ultimately put you in debt. On the other hand, you can develop programming skills at SynergisticIT with a fee less than the cost of one semester in a CS program.
  • Return on Investment (ROI)- Though most coding graduates tend to secure a job within 3 months of completing their degree, yet one cannot ignore the time and financial investment it demands. When it comes to ROI, technical up-skill programs win. It requires lesser time and money to complete an IT skill development course and offer nearly equal earnings when compared to a CS degree.
  • Curriculum– The computer science degree curriculum is outdated and confines the knowledge of students by providing a general foundation for programming that includes Java, C++, Computer Science Theory, Advanced Mathematics, and algorithms. Each year professors teach the same curriculum to students without any up-gradation in the course. In contrast, our up-skill program trainers go beyond the command line. We cover extensive coding languages and tools such as Java, DevOps, AWS, Python, Machine Learning, Data Science, Big Data, etc.
  • Lack of job placement assistance- It is a well-informed & calculated risk that students take when pursuing a master’s degree in CS. As no US university promises or guarantees a job placement when you enroll in the program. Getting a job in the country is more related to experience and networking of students that’s why we at SynergisticIT not only enhance your tech skills but also provide suitable job placements.


For a well-rounded theoretical understanding of coding and computer systems, a CS degree is the best option but to immerse into the coding language and its practical implications, you should go for our up-skill program.

Now you must have understood that the only key to enter the IT industry is having exceptional programming and technical skills, while the degree is just a superficial piece of paper that proves your qualification.

So, if you really want to grasp some lucrative opportunities in the job market of IT sector work on your practical skills. Take assistance from our tech-trainers who will fine-tune your programming expertise and get you ready to handle real projects. Let us help you achieve your career goals. SynergisticIT – The Best Programmers in the Bay area…Period!