Is the World Ready for Online Masters Degrees to Be Taken Seriously?

Illustration for article titled Is the World Ready for Online Masters Degrees to Be Taken Seriously?

It's sort of a utopian nerd dream, using the internet to be educated by the best universities in the world. We have online universities now, but they've become more targets of mean jokes than legitimate means to further education. But increasingly, that's beginning to change.

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Georgia Tech announced the very first online master's degree in computer science last month. It's notable because it is a full degree in a field begging for new blood, but even more so because it's available at a quarter of the cost of an on-campus degree.

There's naturally a lot of trepidation about online offerings, from faculty who see the beginnings of being replaced by cheaper online resources, and by traditional students who see their online counterparts pass at a higher rate while incurring a less expense. Online education eventually, pr even precipitously, taking precedence over traditional college education would be a bum deal for them, sure.

But student debt has ballooned over a billion dollars. College graduates often can't afford to take jobs in their fields at low starting salaries, and overall entrepreneurship is down for young people. And maybe affordable online degrees are a way forward, no matter how many Vince Vaughn movies we have to suffer through. Which, fitting enough, might be the time to stop laughing at online education. [WSJ]

[Photo of debt-ridden college graduate: Getty]

Illustration for article titled Is the World Ready for Online Masters Degrees to Be Taken Seriously?
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DISCUSSION

It really depends on what you are going for. For instance, I can become certified Project Manager and command up to $125 an hour. Fresh Project Manager's get a start at around $25 an hour, but after a year or two, if you are any good, you will easily be at $60 to $75 an hour. After around 10 years, again if you are good, you will be getting a great deal of money simply making sure work is progressing. PM's are highly sought after. Same with other tech related certifications in the world, it is better to have a very focused training, then a broad spectrum.

That requires no university at all. I have a bunch of Project Managers I manage as a team, and I can tell you that I would take a certified PM over a Masters any day of the week.

Universities are in trouble. Specialized trade schools are slowly/quickly becoming much more desirable because of the hyperfocused work that they teach.

Ask yourself this: Do I want to spend 4-6 years getting a masters only to work at McDonalds? Or would I rather spend 6 months to 2 years getting a very specialized certificate that translates to real decent money, really fast.

I know a lot of college grads that are seeing their tech centered counterparts outpace them financially day in and day out. Yes, it can be stressful, but it is much more rewarding than an Art History Masters, and slinging fries.