A master’s degree, like any other postgraduate degree, demands a serious level of commitment. Large amounts of your time, concentration, and money will be required if you are going to complete the course and walk away with this coveted qualification. While you may feel sure that you will get plenty of value out of your degree in terms of learning and personal growth, you may still be wondering if you can justify so many hours out of your life, as well as the financial cost.
Can a master’s degree boost your career enough to make these sacrifices worthwhile? Broadly speaking, the answer is undoubted yes.
The better qualified you are, the further up the career ladder you will be able to progress, accessing higher salaries as you go. Of course, the sector you are employed in, the type of job you have, and the subject of your master’s will all need to be taken into account when considering the exact advantages you will receive. Nevertheless, any kind of postgraduate degree will look impressive on your resumé, including MSc, MA, and MBA.
Knowledge is power
So, will a master’s degree be worth the commitment and expense? As with most things in life, what you get out of it is likely to be commensurate with what you put in. Certainly, with a little leverage and a lot of hard work, the career benefits of a master’s degree will more than justify the initial outlay.
For a start, you will gain both technical and theoretical knowledge that will make you notably better and more employable in your field. This knowledge will open doors and will allow you to gain a wider range of practical firsthand experience faster than you would otherwise be able to. You will gain a wider perspective on your area of interest, which is invaluable, and you will also make contacts who will prove equally helpful once your course is completed.
It is fair to assume that the people you will be studying alongside will also make use of their master’s degree in their future careers. Many of them will already be working in the same sector that you are in, or that you hope to break into. Some of them may also be considerably ahead of you, professionally.
As you work on projects alongside your fellow students, tutors and instructors, you will inevitably get to know them. Whether you are able to ask them for informal advice, learn from their experience, or get in touch with them after the course for a professional reference, the contacts you make during a master’s degree can be almost as useful as the qualification itself.
Connecting with your fellow students while taking an online degree is just as valuable as face-to-face meetings on campus. In our digital world, internet relationships may be even more meaningful than those made in person, as they enable you to have contact with students from all over the world, not just those living in a particular area.
Experience and wisdom
While doing a master’s, you will benefit from the experience and wisdom of your tutors and instructors. In most cases they will be high-level professionals themselves, either still practicing or recently retired. In both cases, they will have a wealth of relevant background knowledge to share and will potentially be able to give you some personal career guidance alongside academic mentoring. Whether you’re pursuing a masters in public health or a masters in mathematics, you are sure to gain invaluable insights from your instructors.
In some cases, obtaining a master’s degree is the best way to learn how to use the state-of-the-art technology and software currently employed in your sector, and have direct experience with it in a variety of settings. A Master’s in Applied Statistics will introduce you to industry-standard statistical and data analysis tools that you will use to analyze real-world data sets for practical purposes. Academic excellence dovetails with professional expertise in a technology-driven culture, giving you the confidence and ability to secure above entry-level employment in a range of careers, from computer science to financial analysis.
Alongside learning hard skills and deepening your subject knowledge, undertaking a master’s degree will also give you the opportunity to further develop personal or ‘soft’ skills, such as leadership, project management, communication, self-confidence and motivation. These qualities can be just as valuable as the formal theory you will learn and the practical experience you will acquire. When potential employers see that you have a master’s, they will appreciate the level of self-discipline and other attributes needed to achieve this.
A way forward
While a master’s can certainly be seen as an end in itself, or a key to career advancement, it can also be a stepping stone to further academic achievement. After completing a master’s, you might want to progress on to a PhD, representing the highest level of student qualification. Whether you choose to stay in higher education or commit to full-time employment, a master’s opens doors and massively increases the number of options available to you.
There are myriad ways that time spent in higher education can improve your business skills. Aside from the obvious benefits of a qualification, you will learn how to manage your time and to cope with stress, deadlines, and more. As a student, you will also qualify for discounts on events, products and services that will improve your prospects within your chosen industry.
Studying for a master’s degree that is relevant to your chosen career will undoubtedly boost your prospects if you work hard and are focused on your goals. No qualification is a free ticket to success and financial security, and you should approach your master’s as part of a broader long-term career plan. Understood in this way, your postgraduate degree will provide you with a competitive edge in the job market, alongside a depth of knowledge for which you will forever be grateful.