Changing CS Career (Pure Software Engineering to Robotics) – Do a Masters?

Hi all,

I wanted to get the opinion of the CS Career Questions community. I am a 29 year old individual who has worked for 4 years in the industry as a software engineer. I didn’t come from a great college or anything, and I was not making alot of money. My job was your typical, generic software engineering job for a bank/firm. It was fun, but I’ve always enjoyed tinkering with robots, and developing vision/AI solutions for robots, which I did on my free time.

I tried to switch to a Robotics or Computer Vision related job, and I was struggling for years to get accepted into the industry. It seems that such jobs only go to those with experience in the field, or with a Master’s degree or higher.

So I tried to apply for colleges in the last few years. This time, I have gotten lucky and have gotten an admit and a world re-known university for robotics. The only catch: its not funded and it’s going to cost me over 120,000 dollars (150000 likely with expenses), and at least 1.5 years of my full time (without work). I have only managed to save slightly less than half of that (50,000). I cleared my other debts. Let’s just say I didn’t make the best financial decisions in those 4 years.

I could blow this entire sum and go to this university, and likely get a job, but then I’d be 30 years old, (possibily with a job in an industry i finally want to be in), and be 100k in debt.

I really don’t know if I should do this. Thankfully I dont have any other debts, but it took 3 years to pay off my undergraduate debt, and I don’t know if I should be taking on 100k of debt at my age to change industry, and I’ll be 30 by the time I graduate. If I take another 3 years to clear that debt with a good job, my net worth will be 0 at age 33. But it really pisses me off to see many people working at cool robotics technologies like self-driving cars, and autonomous drones, but I can’t get access to those jobs. I now finally have this chance. Do you think this is worth it to accept the masters program?

TLDR: Worked for years as a software engineer in bank. Got sick of it, likes robotics, tried to apply for robotics jobs for 3 years, rejected. Go back to very good grad school and finish at age 31. Probably get a nice robotics job (if), but be 100k in debt. What do?

submitted by /u/soulslicer0
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