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I have left university on July 2010 where I studied web design (as we all know you learn more by your self but that’s not the issue at the moment). Since then I have not managed to find a job (apart from a one month work experience), from the way things are going, and by taking into account the fact that all my university friends are in the same situation, I don’t think that I am going to find a job soon (within the industry)

Now as we all do, even though I don’t have a job, I am still working on personal projects and try to keep up to date (I don’t need a job or uni to do this) – but I am thinking, because there is not work available, would it be worth going back to uni for a master degree?

I know I don’t need it and I know that is unlikely that I will learn anything important, as I believe in self learning, and in most cases it is a lot more effective (but I have to say I don’t mind going back to school)

The only reason I am thinking of doing the master is, (and this is where I need your help): If it takes me a year to get a job, then on the interview, would the employer think “what the hell did this guy do since he left university” – now if I go to university that would solve this problem. Or I’m I making up a problem that does not exist

Plus, I know that employers need examples of sites that I have been working on, at the moment I only have 3 (as when working on personal projects, where their is not time limit I tend drag things in order to get them perfect, and they never get perfect) – so by going back to uni, then this problem maybe solved

I said all this as I have read a lot about the fact that you don’t need to have a masters degree to work on web design market (and I totally agree) but considering my concern, the question is should I do a masters course to avoid just spending hours in my room working and learning in my own (but that it would be hard to convince employers that I was really learning in my room)

Maybe because I’m still young age 22 not that old anyway :), but I don’t have the “dream” of being rich, so if I were to tell the truth I don’t really care of the fact that I don’t have a job (at the moment), because regardless, I am working on what I love every day, but I know that in the future when I will need the job I may find it harder to get one, if I neglect doing so now

Every time I ask a question that I’m not sure about, I keep going on and on, but I really hope you get what I am trying to get across.

By the way the course that I am looking at for a masters says that it would teach me how to do these: e-commerce e-government e-science e-learning I don’t know any of them, a part from e-commerce



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I think you're mistaken if you believe that potential employers will not realize the missing year if you go back to one year. –  apoorv020 Apr 11 '11 at 11:55
I wouldn't even bother to ask a UI/web dev/web designer about a missing year if they had the experience/know-how that I wanted. We don't have time for bad logic in UI. Decent candidates are rare. It's a matching process. Not a filtering process. Get good fast. Focus on having work you can demonstrate. Every time somebody asks you something at an interview you can't answer, learn the bejeezus out of it. –  Erik Reppen Aug 29 '13 at 4:49

8 Answers 8

up vote 16 down vote accepted

Do not go back to university just so you can say you were doing something. Continue with your self-directed study, find work, try new things.

You need to get involved in some 'real' projects with 'real' teams.

Continue to apply for jobs. Graduate and junior jobs, not experienced jobs - you are not going to get those. Demonstrate to employers that you are hungry, but not desperate.

If you can't find a job, see if you can find further work experience. Note that work experience doesn't mean "I'll turn up, and you teach me things", it means "I'll turn up and work - for free - on those simple things that you need done but don't have the time to do". You need to explain this to the boss. Every IT team has these tasks that should get done but are put on the never-never; you just need to (a) get in the door to talk to someone, and (b) be capable of doing whatever it is that they need done.

This might only be a few hours a week. You're working for free, so if they find you at all useful then they will appreciate the help. You're getting experience. Your arrangement with them should be understood: if you get a job offer, you'll wrap things up as soon as possible.

If you are unable to make this happen, find an open source project that interests you and involve yourself. Contribute and learn, make sure that the project meets a target (e.g. there's actually a release) and put this on your resume.

Eventually you'll have enough experience that you'll be able to get a basic, entry level job. Unfortunately everyone has to start somewhere, and most (?) of us have to start at the bottom...

+1 for "will work for experience". –  gablin Apr 11 '11 at 10:47

I would think very carefully. Getting a masters can make sense if you have a good reason to do so, but don't just do it because "Its whats next" and end up with a pile of debt.

Assuming employer is not willing to assist with tuition cost. Otherwise agree entirely. –  Chris Mar 7 '11 at 22:44
@Chris in this case there is no employer. –  Kirk Broadhurst Mar 8 '11 at 3:34
@Kirk: The point is that master's is well worth pursuing if you graduate, find an employer who supports further education and is willing to financially assist. I do not agree with people going back for masters just because they cannot find a job. –  Chris Mar 9 '11 at 13:44
Crazy American system where getting a degree costs a fortune. Master degrees don't cost a fortune everywhere. Here's it's mostly free to get one. But it's a year without income living of your parents. –  Carra Apr 11 '11 at 12:46
I would still ask some questions along the lines of what do I expect to get out of this before I started. –  Zachary K Apr 11 '11 at 13:09

Below is an exerpt from an article I wrote on the subject of getting a Master's Degree VS working in the real world. To read my for reasons, visit there. Here are the reasons to not get a degree.

Note: I did both - I worked full time while getting my Master's in SE full time....yes, it was a lot of work. Yes, it was worth it for me. YMMV.

  • It costs money.
    • This, however is usually taken care of by an employer that cares about the people that work for them. If they don’t offer some kind of repayment plan in exchange for a few years of service to them, then they probably have a high turnover rate and don’t expect you to stay anyway.
  • You could be spending that time making money.

    • The time you would put into classes, you could have a second job as a freelance developer, or work on an open source project to gain experience.
  • You don’t really need a degree to “do” software.

    • I’ve seen people from all walks of life just hop into software. I’ve seen former teachers, cognitive science majors, chemists, CPAs, lawyers, english majors, artists, musicians – you name it. Lack of formal education can always be made up by experience and hard work.
    • Formal education can always be substituted by more and more focused hard work, since formal education typically has a very structured goal and plan for achieving that goal, combined with projects that help you practice concepts. The same can be achieved on your own with you inputting the time to do research of material instead of the professors. (which, in the long run is only more practice to help you get better.
  • You don’t get large team experience

    • Five people is not a “large team”. Try working with 7 developers, a whole testing department (who doesn’t speak your language), the ops guys who don’t want to give you access, the security guy that believes developers should know everything and don’t use Google to code (so the block it). Classroom projects can be more fun and motivate you, but the social dynamic is just different.

If I were to:

a) build up my portfolio with personal projects with lots of different types of "fake" sites

b) freelance with real clients

Which one is better A or B; or could you say that these are equally good approaches. As I tried to find clients (freelance) and very few that I spoke to stated that they would want fully functioning site (e-commerce for example) in few months. So due to the fact that I'm not yet a professional, it would take me more than a few months to create the e-commerce, as I would be working on everything from front end to back end.

thanis to all the asweres, very useful, i like @Kirk Broadhurst coment. I heard a lot about the opensource projects but never really investigated on how to get started. as I said I am truly happy to work for free in exchange of the AMAZING experience, though unfortunately nothing is coming up at the moment, –  user19523 Mar 9 '11 at 5:56

Definately don't go back for that reason, You are better of freelancing, I graduated in 2010 in Architecture part one but have got a permanent job as a 3D Visualiser because of some self teaching I did whilst in Highschool and college. Although I got a 2:1 from UNI, this didnt contribute a lot as I competed with a mate who received a First class Honours and still got the offer. experience mattered more as I had over 5 years experience although still youngish "22". So, word of advice, build your folio and do as many different sites as you possibly can because that is what your employer wants.

Hope all goes well for you, and don't worry about how others are doing. Take your time and you will be fine.


I really only have one reason you should not get a Master's Degree, you most likely stop looking for a job until you finished the degree, and you would end up in the same situation you are in now 2 years from now.

If you want a Master's Degree get one just understand that it will only expand your possabilities of jobs you are eligible for doesn't guarantee you will get a job.


I will have to echo what most other people are saying. It is sad that many people do a Masters degree only to get a higher Degree (and a better job) than to really learn anything. And there are these whole stream of people who do correspondence MBAs simply because it is in fashion. I am working with one such joker. As a Bachelor degree holder, I expected this Masters guy to be better than me. Nope, Instead I have to spoon feed him. And like any baby he pukes out more than he swallows.

Look at something like a certification or do a course in some niche web designing skills which have good demand. That will be more helpful


With no work experience a Master's degree will make it even harder to find that first job. Don't go into debt to get a degree because you can't find work. A BS or BA is the entry level qualification, employers expect that you will want a higher salary if you have a higher degree and they won't pay that for entry level work.

Get a Masters if you are going into a field where the Masters is the entry level ifyou want one just out of college. But for web development, you are wasting your time and money.


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