I have completed my BSc in Computer Science from a local university in my home country. Universities in my home country are not that great! For example, the university ranked first locally was ranked recently in the 801-1000 range by QS and the degrees offered are not ABET-accredited.
I finished my degree with a 3.0+ GPA. The only thing that went wrong during my undergraduate studies, is that I got very bad grades (lack of studying) in all the subjects of an area that, I'm currently, after 8 years of experience as a Software Engineer, very interested to do research in.
However, following graduation, I was able to get a job with an American firm and I've been working with them for the past 8 years on cutting-edge technologies as a Senior Full Stack Developer. After a couple of years in the industry, I got highly interested in ML and Artificial Intelligence.
Please keep in mind that my long term objective is to go into academia (not now ofc). Recently I was admitted to a very respected university in the US to study MCS part-time (not MSCS). I heard that PhD admissions usually look at your undergraduate course work and you research capabilities. So what I'm planning to do is to take this MCS as a chance to strengthen my understanding and grades in AI, ML & NLP and then pursue another MSCS (with research from a local university). Would this make me a good candidate for a PhD program later on? Would MCS be worth the two years of my time? Or should I just join an MSCS right away, even if it was from a lower ranked university?
For the difference between MCS and MSCS, please refer to: https://mcs.ics.uci.edu/about/mcs-vs-mscs/ (Thanks go to @user2768 for the link)