Are Master's Degrees just a dumb idea if you want to program?
Alright ... that will have gotten some people's hackles up. Let me defend my premise.
After four years of study at a college or university, you will have learned the basics of development and the syntax of a few languages you are likely never going to use again for the rest of your life (Pascal, C, Fortran, etc). Having engaged in this, you are more prepared than you were leaving high school to work in a real development shop, but your still completely unskilled in practical development experience which is the most important skill any developer brings to his employer. For these four years of your life, you get a Bachelor's degree (B.A. or B.S. depending)
At this point, if you intend to work as a developer and not go on to “greater things” within academia, what would make anyone agree to spend another several years of their life (2+) pursuing a Master's Degree? Will you actually be more prepared for the workplace when you're done? Or rather, would 2 years experience coding prepare you much better for the rest of your career?
Don't get me wrong, I've met some brilliant M.S. carrying individuals in my life, but I'm just not convinced that the effort they put in to get that degree is worth two years of their life. Either way, two years later they have 0 experience to the 2 years of someone who stopped at the Bachelor's degree. And down the road from there, they will always remain behind that eight ball.
Now, this argument might break down a bit once you start encountering people who worked as they pursued their Master's degree, and certainly is not a commentary on anything outside of programming as other higher degrees certainly carry considerably more worth (i.e. an MBA even if that's just inflated a bit due to popularity right now).
What do you think?