Internship vs. Master's Degree - Ticket to Success?

Written on 4:27 PM by Robert

I've been working as an intern now for about 6 months, and I have to say that it's been the best career choice I've ever made.  I would not have been here if it wasn't for the fact that I decided to go back to school for a Master's degree.  In 6 to 9 months, I should have my degree in hand.  I will also have a solid year of C# experience under my belt.  Which one of these two are most valuable?  I suppose it's a matter of debate.

In one of my previous posts, "Is a Bachelor's Degree Enough Nowadays?", I explored the possibility of higher education being more valuable than work experience based on what I was seeing as a job hunter at that time.  That article ignited some debate about the validity of that statement.  I have to clarify my position and stating that a combination of both "upgrades" are important when looking for new opportunities.

A computer professional (whether they specialize in hardware or software) searching for a lucrative position should look at his or her situation objectively.  You need to ask the following questions:
  • Have I learned something new this year?
  • Will another degree benefit me?
  • Am I focusing on the right things in this field?
Learning the latest and greatest technologies (hardware or software) will give you an edge in the job pool.  Mentioning these skills in your resume will get you noticed above all others.

If you don't have a degree, think about getting one.  Applying for an available position is a very competitive process and you need whatever edge you can get above the other applicants.

If you like what you do but are getting bored, then maybe you need to learn a new programming language (for example) and try coding with that for a while.  You are still doing what you love to do, but adding a new twist and breathing new life into your skillset. 

A degree, as well as experience, are just tools - means to an end.  The same can be said about certifications.  We can debate about which one is more valuable than the other, but the bottom line is getting THAT JOB by any means necessary.  Go into that interview room with added confidence knowing that you added that little extra something to your resume.

I've mentioned internships, degrees, certifications, and new skills as ways to enhance your situation in the job market.
 
So what other things can an unemployed computer professional do to help them with their job search situation? Edit

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