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I've been looking into in state online degree programs 'to fit my busy lifestyle' (i.e. three children, wife and hour and a half commute).

One interesting one I've found is that Master of Engineering in Professional Practice. It looks more useful and practical than a MBA in project management. I'll contact the admission dept there about the specifics. But here I'm just asking in general.

Do the courses in this degree apply to software engineering/development in even an abstract sense. The university I'm looking at does not have a Software Engineering major in the school of engineering. I'm not interested in architecture astronomy, but I am interested in helping my company succeed and being able to communicate technical information at a high and effective level as well as being able to lead my co-programmers toward a more robust end product.

So my multipart question is:

  1. What might be the real benefit to me and my brain and
  2. How do I convince my boss (the owner of the company, who does do some tuition reimbursement) that just because it doesn't say anything about software that it might still do us some good?

  3. Oh, and how do I get past the fact that a masters degree would make me more qualified to be the project manager than... the project manager? (who is my supervisor)

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closed as off-topic by gnat, Bart van Ingen Schenau, GlenH7, MichaelT, Dan Pichelman Oct 30 '14 at 20:14

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With three kids and a 1.5 hour commute, it is no wonder you are sleeping in your avatar. To answer point number 1, the best benefit to your brain would be to de-stress and catch up on sleep, and possibly find another job or move closer to your office. Any real benefit that an MS of SE or a PMI certification probably won't help much in your career unless your current job allows you to take that role and actually get real experience in it. –  maple_shaft Nov 30 '11 at 19:44
The Things I Wish I Learned in Engineering School "...good technology is only 10% of success. If your management doesn't know how to manage a successful engineering project, or your marketing department doesn't know how to access the customers, or doesn't tell you what the customer wants, or if your lawyers don't handle your intellectual property correctly, or if the chief architect doesn't have the ability to create a consistent and simple architecture, then your work can be for naught..." –  gnat Dec 26 '11 at 13:57

4 Answers 4

Even software Engineering is questionable at best in its usefulness to software development, and a non software focused engineering degree is going to of marginal use at best. It sounds like you want a technical writing/management type of degree based on what you said you are interested in. If you are interested in a management track go with a PM degree, if you want to be a developer get a dedicated software engineering or computer science degree.

Simply having a masters degree doesn't make you more qualified than your PM to be a PM, unless you get a management degree, and even then you are likely only equally qualified depending on his experience. management is completely different that development or engineering.

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RE: software engineering's usefulness. Now that I am a professional programmer I think I'd know what to look for in a MS in Software Engineering and would be able to make it more useful than I would if I had pursued after getting my BS in CompSci. The one real question I have is whether a PM degree has anything to do with the specific problems found in software development (SDLC etc...) –  Peter Turner Nov 30 '11 at 16:49
@Peter That question would have a different answer at every university, and likely with every professor –  Ryathal Nov 30 '11 at 17:58

To me, this looks like a program that will help you be a better engineer and technical lead. And if that's the case, do you already have your PE? I didn't see where this would be helpful in getting your PMP, and the PMP would probably be a better fit in order to help you get your company's goal of on-time, on-spec and on-budget for projects.

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To me this program looks much focused on managing things downstream or let me say in the field. MBAs tend to control things more at the back end not at the main

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This looks like it will make you a better engineer, and help you take the first steps up into management.

If it were completely free, and guaranteed to deliver what it promises in terms of learning, I would say go for it.

What we can't tell you is how good this programme is at teaching you the things it promises to teach you; we can't tell you if this is a good financial investment either; and perhaps none of the people here can tell you whether or not this will actually help your career.

In short: I see no red flags, this will probably not be a complete waste of time, beyond that, no-one here who hasn't taken the course has the insight you need.

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