Is A Master’s In Software Engineering Worth It?

A master’s in Software Engineering is an expensive way to study software engineering further. If you are looking to have a higher-paying job after studying, then the added salary you may earn will likely not make up for the added education cost.

If your goal is to broaden your skill set or to specialise in a particular subject, and you can afford the costs, then getting a master’s in software engineering is most likely worth it. From technical investigation to academic networking, there are several non-monetary benefits you can get from a master’s.

Do some jobs require a Master’s in Software Engineering?

Some very specialised jobs require a master’s to qualify for the role. For example, data science jobs often require masters due to the technical nature of the role. If the role doesn’t technically require a master’s degree, having one might increase your chances of landing a role.

Having a master’s degree under your belt shows that you are well-educated and see things through to completion. Both of these attributes are highly sought after by employers, especially in technical roles.

Does having a master’s help working overseas?

When you try to break into an industry in a foreign country of which you are not a citizen, it can be difficult to land a job. By having a master’s degree in your education history, you will most certainly attract more employers than you may have with only an undergraduate degree.

With a master’s degree, you are showing employers your work ethic, but also you are showing why you might be more valuable to a team than local talent with only an undergraduate degree. Employers may not know that the college or university that you attended was a reputable school. If they offer a master’s degree, then this might change their minds. In these cases, it can’t hurt to have a master’s degree.

Using a Master’s degree for architect roles

Not all software engineering relates directly to coding. A lot of what goes on is about planning and designing systems. Coding is just a means to an end once you know how you want to achieve your goal.

For example, along with the complex topics in a Master’s of Software Engineering, some subjects focus on requirements analysis, process and management and design and architecture.

These subjects focus on the bigger picture within software engineering, and they are the key topics for what a software architect’s role would entail. 

What subjects are included in a Master’s of Sofware Engineering

Most software engineering master’s courses focus on core subjects that all students complete and then various specialised topics for the students to choose from. Along with these subjects, there is usually some research project that will relate directly to the student’s chosen specialisation.

Project planning, risk analysis, process and management are common core subjects offered by major colleges and universities.

For specialist elective subjects, the range is quite broad. Students can study networking, web development, computer and network security, AI, machine learning, databases, cloud computing, robotics and more.

As you can see from the above list, there is a broad range of topics that students can specialise in.

Using a Master’s in Software Engineering for management

A software engineering master’s degree can certainly propel you into a highly specialised field with a great starting level of detail. But what about using the master’s degree to help bolster a career in management?

Real-world subjects in software engineering come back to some of the core subjects offered, but also in any of the specialised topics. By completing a master’s, you are showing prospective employers (or current employers) that you can think about problems in the software engineering space differently than your co-workers without a master’s, as you will have spent more time in detailed research of software engineering topics.

This kind of practical thinking is required to be a good planner when formulating strategies to complete software solutions. It may not help the people management side, but it certainly is a big foot forward in terms of being able to grok complex requirements quickly.

How long does it take to complete a Master’s in Software Engineering?

The length of study is tied to the number of units you need to complete and the number of units you can complete per semester. For example, if you were to study full-time at Berkeley University of California, the master’s program would take one year.

Overall, the average master’s degree takes approximately one and a half to two years to complete. You can spread this out over an extended period if required. This is especially helpful to anyone wanting to study for a master’s degree whilst working full-time.

Do I need a master’s degree to do a PhD?

You don’t necessarily need a master’s degree to do a PhD. In many cases, there are four-year PhD engagements that will include one year of a master’s program. You may also have the option, if you are currently doing your master’s degree, to upgrade to a PhD instead of getting your master’s.


There are a lot of pros to getting a master’s degree, provided that you are financially secure and that you are aware that a master’s won’t necessarily mean you get a higher-paying job than someone with an undergraduate degree.

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