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I have a BS in computer science and have been working as a developer for the last 6 months after my graduation. I am interested in pursuing a master's degree and I'm not sure which program, computer science or information technology, would open more academic and professional doors.

I will have ~3 years of relevant experience after completing any program and my job will pay for ~80% of my education.

What program have you taken, what doors has it opened? Has it gotten you interviews, or moved you up the ladder faster?

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Take a look at the courses in the two programs at your selected institution. You will likely find that the CS master's is more theoretical and the IT master's is more applied.

Then decide your own path. Do you want to continue as a developer, do systems integration, or something else. Map your proposed path to the program.

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I haven't had a job in IT for long, but I do have a good knowledge of academia. Simple answer is in the program names. One is science, the other is technology. If you want to do more research (or, at least, have the option to do more research) go with Comp Sci. Otherwise go with IT. From what I know, IT has fewer academic options than Comp Sci does.

  • As far as being a professor (something I might be interested in later in the future), I know for most things a master's is the minimum. In your experience, does it matter which path? Or would it be more dependent on the courses you teach? – CS2020 Aug 2 '17 at 12:18
  • Just to teach, no, doesn't matter. To do research, yes. And, yes, entirely dependent on courses. Like Rob said, look at the courses. If you have not taken it, probably you will not teach it :). – jamesson Aug 2 '17 at 14:53
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Short answer : Stick to MCS.

I have a BS CIS degree from over a decade ago and always worked in tech field. While many employers consider Information Systems / Information Technology (these 2 are quite different but let's group 'em together vs CS degree for this arg's sake), as CS equivalent, but also, many will still favor CS over other tech degrees - because CS degree holders are the past/current/future senior & mgmt position engineers and leads at-large.

Plus, those petty no-name for-profit low-quality schools have damaged the reputation of these fairly new IT degrees and even well-known schools are still not 100% sure about the degree (constantly changing the degree name and curriculum like mine).

Adding to the damage, non-IT people (eg HR managers) think of CS as core engineers vs IT as some sort of secondary engineers. Unfortunately, other people's perceptions do matter in your life.

Back when I was working on getting CIS, I had high hopes in seeking a position that will promote both business and science mind (money and knowledge), but in real world, there are only a few ideal openings for such. World doesn't seem ready still.

You'll likely shoot for project/product managers or business/data analysts, heavily relying on engineers for information and outcomes. And yes, most PMs make less than engineers (unless you work at top tech companies), and PMs cannot exist without engineers but not vice-versa.

If you want business-side of things, perhaps MBA is the better option.

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