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MBA Vs M.S. in Computer Science: Salary & Benefits

Many jobs in computer science accept applicants with either an MBA in Computer Science or an MS in Computer Science. This article explains the differences between the two programs and compares the employment prospects for each.

Increased technological innovation and digital dependence have resulted in great demand for individuals with knowledge and expertise in computer science. There are two very valid options for graduate-level education in computer science, a Master of Science (MS) in Computer Science and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a specialization in computer science. Both provide advanced training and qualifications geared toward upper-level careers with high-paying salaries.

Computer Science Careers for Master's Degree Program Graduates

There are a great number of lucrative technological careers to choose from once you have completed either an MS in Computer Science or an MBA program. Usually, a person with an MS in Computer Science receives a greater average salary, with the exception being in cases where a position is more management-oriented and less technical. A sampling of job titles available to program graduates and the corresponding salaries are listed below.

Job Title MBA - Average Annual Salary (2018)* M.S. - Average Annual Salary (2018)*
Senior Software Developer $88,574 $102,339
IT Project Manager $78,312 $94,916
IT Business Systems Analyst $77,849 $81,752
Senior Java Developer $97,308 $98,011

Source: PayScale.com

Computer Science Career Descriptions

Senior Software Developer

Software developers and programmers assess client needs and use this information to design software, applications, and digital models that fit an organization's business profile. They are generally also tasked with monitoring software, maintaining programs, and strategic planning. While a bachelor's degree is generally all that's required to enter this profession, some employers prefer their software developers to have a master's degree.

IT Project Manager

IT project managers provide oversight of entire projects from start to finish, including planning, design, execution, and monitoring. They are responsible for the ongoing maintenance and supervision of a project, including controlling the budget, setting deadlines, and controlling quality. While many of these professionals hold a bachelor's degree, a master's degree could also be useful for landing a position as a project manager.

Senior JAVA Developer

Senior Java developers might perform many of the same tasks as senior software developers; however, these professionals specialize in using the JAVA programming language to develop a website's user interface design. They may develop application programming interfaces and work with other software developers and end users to ensure a site functions properly. The minimum education needed for this position is usually a bachelor's degree in computer science. In some cases, however, a master's degree can be used to fulfill a position's experience requirements.

Information Technology IT Business Systems Analyst

IT business analysts are tasked with maximizing the efficiency of a company or institution through an analysis of its computer systems. They examine all technological aspects of an organization to determine its needs and propose upgrades or the installation of new systems with an eye toward increasing profits. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement, but some employers prefer applicants with a computer science master's degree, especially for more technical positions.

Graduate Degree Comparison

The range of content is the main difference between these two computer science degrees. MBA programs typically cover a wide variety of topics, providing a broad base of business and financial knowledge, although students can narrow their focus by specializing in particular areas. MS in Computer Science programs, on the other hand, provide more specific knowledge and skills in this field. Also, MS in Computer Science programs are generally more technical than an MBA curriculum, which is more strategic in nature.

MBA in Computer Science

Although relatively rare, there are MBA programs out there with specialization options in computer science as well as programs that allow you to customize your degree with computer science electives or a minor in computer science. MBA programs can be completed in 2-3 years and cover a very diverse set of financial topics, featuring courses such as finance, accounting, and marketing. For admission into an MBA program, a bachelor's degree that meets minimum GPA requirements is generally necessary. You will need to provide transcripts, acceptable GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) results, proof of relevant work experience, and letters of recommendation.

MS in Computer Science

Programs awarding a master's degree in computer science also typically require 2-3 years of coursework. The focus is entirely on advanced technological concepts, with common courses including programming, computer systems, and algorithms. The admission requirements are roughly the same as those for an MBA program, with small details varying from school to school.

Completion of either an MS in Computer Science or an MBA with a specialization in computer science can open up a vast array of technology career options. The MS in Computer Science is particularly beneficial for technological positions, such as programming and software development. The MBA, on the other hand, is a much broader qualification that enhances your expertise in technological areas while better preparing you for a variety of business careers management positions.


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