Yesterday I graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Masters in Information Technology (Computer Networks/Network Security). Check it out here: CSU Masters of IT (with specialisations) It was great experience and yes…. there is something wrong with me because I really enjoyed the degree – even with the pressure of exams and assignments – it was like a chunk of my brain was engaged in activity it would otherwise spend on Facebook and Instagram and the outcomes were excellent. While I missed out on graduating with distinction (with one lousy credit!) I was very pleased with the overall result and with what I learned in the coursework.
Several of the courses were relatively straightforward – I could have taught a couple of them straight out of experience, but the formalisation of processes I learnt in those subjects has been invaluable now going forward. ICT Risk Management and Project Management (my stupid credit) were great subjects and worth gold. Ethics is always horrible but I nonetheless found it interesting and fun to argue from both points of view on each position.
From a top down perspective it was a challenge I enjoyed – especially with some of the security and reporting requirements of the course. The capstone subject was excellent and blended the project management course into it brilliantly. I really enjoyed studying again – to the point I’m thinking of signing up for a Doctor of IT next year! The cost is high – it’s around $84000 for the Doctorate and I’ve just spent $36000 on the Masters. The value of the degree though is not just in what it does for the career. At the end of my life, I think I’ll look back and say “Did I do the stuff I was interested in doing? Did I get through the experiences I wanted to have?” Spending the time working on a doctorate is an opportunity to work on so many things (remember my post on systems thinking?!) – writing, organised thought, research and maybe coming out with something that will be of real value to people in my industry or others. While postgraduate study is not for everyone, I think there is great value in it if you are interested in extending your knowledge and skills.
I remember back to when I chose my first degree straight out of school – Psychology looked interesting so I thought I’d have a crack at it. Not much has changed even now – the IT degree looked interesting too and so does the Doctorate. I’ve had such surprising results out of both so far that I’m looking forward to seeing what happens should I attempt another degree.
If I think about it as a system of learning then I’ve definitely improved on strategic skills, project management skills, understanding risk better and improving my writing and research skills. And I learned and executed on discipline around my study, work and home life – finding that balance was very tricky but it also forced me to be all the more present in whatever it was I am doing. That has stayed with me and the ability to push away distractions has worked well too. So if you take on more study, or are starting in an undergraduate degree, then consider that there is more to learn than just the subject matter. It could change your life…