Have you finished your undergraduate degree? Are you half-way-through your internship and wondering if you should get another application form ready for a masters degree? Well, think again....
1. Take on a few years of experience before heading to graduate school:
There are very few degrees at this moment that require further education without the simultaneous need to put it into practice, therefore if this isn't your niche, resort to building up your experience.
Hint: Maybe think of taking on a master's once you have moved from a junior role to more of a mid-level position.
2. Go specific:
When deciding between a general or technical degree, it’s usually best to go for a more specific path. Niche markets pay better, they are more condensed in terms of their overall choice in applicants, and allow you to become an expert as opposed to another junior candidate with little experience.
Hint: If you find something that you are passionate about, follow it and don't worry about whether or not it is too specific a field.
3. What does the market say?
Analyse the job market in your chosen field of study before you sign that tuition check. Has technology caused it to become obsolete or is there an imminent threat that this could occur in the coming years? You may have also found a great program you are excited about that will give you the training you need to pursue the career of your dreams. But before you invest money and time, make sure there will actually be opportunities on the other side. Ask the school for statistics on job placements and look to see where recent graduates were placed. Talk to seasoned professionals with the same degree and ask them what prospects they see for recent graduates. Scan the job boards and see what vacancies are — or aren’t — out there.
Hint: Look, ask and reach out on Glassdoor and other websites, alongside social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
4. Really think twice about online degrees:
Most employers are sceptical of online degrees. Pursuing an online degree makes sense logistically and makes graduate education more accessible to people based outside of some of the educational centres in big cities, it is also a cost-effective alternative to most graduate degree options. However, most employers are still very sceptical of online degrees and do not give them as much weight as those obtained from a brick and mortar institution. Before pursuing an online degree, make sure you do due diligence on the program, its reputation and success rates. It’s probably worth talking to a few recruiters from organisations you hope to work at to see how they would view a degree from the online university you are considering.
Hint: Adding skills to your resume through online courses on websites such as Lynda would be the best option in terms of cost vs. outcome.
5. Try to work and study at the same time:
If possible, try to work on a graduate degree part-time while working. There are a lot of degrees that have this schedule implemented for its students, with classes in the evenings and flexibility in the overall timetable. The impact of studying and then placing it into practice within the same timespan is priceless, you will grasp the theories and concepts further and adopt them as your own at a much quicker pace. Sometimes, there is also the option that employers will provide you with educational benefits that may help defray the cost, under the premise that you continue to work for them for a certain amount of years post-degree. Additionally, you won’t be taking yourself out of the workforce, making it so much easier to get a job when you graduate.
Hint: If the above option isn't something within your grasp, look into freelancing. Work in-between courses and create your own schedules by creating a profile on a freelance website like Upwork.