Doing a Masters in Computer Science was ideal for me to increase my career options in the area and get a degree at the same time. The University’s academic record and location in such a great city made it a perfect place for me as it’s easy to get to on weeks where I'm also working
My first degree was a Bachelors in Systems Engineering but since I started working I've done programming as a day job more often and I'm now in a full time development role. Doing a Masters in Computer Science was ideal for me to increase my career options in the area and get a degree at the same time. The University’s academic record and location in such a great city made it a perfect place for me as it’s easy to get to on weeks where I'm also working. That, and the fact that one of the best coder I know did his undergraduate CS degree at Manchester, made it stand above the rest.
Coming back to university 5 years after graduating was a strange experience. I did my undergraduate degree at Loughborough which is a very different university to Manchester. Loughborough is all one campus located away from the rest of the town so having lectures just outside the heart of a big city is a big change. I wish I had time on the days I'm at Manchester to get into the city a bit; I've heard there is a brilliant grilled cheese place!
The aspect of the course I’m enjoying most is definitely the subject matter. Doing a degree in my spare time is hard work, but it's worth every bit of it to learn new things without having to worry about whether it'll be useful at work or not. I'm one module into Computer Science with an AI specialism. I’m yet to do any AI but at work everyone I talk to about the degree treats me like an expert, which is lovely! The support from the staff has been brilliant, allowing me to plan my studies around work commitments years in advance. I'm only 4 months in so far and I'm sure there's a bunch more benefits to come!
Balancing studies with full-time work is tough, I've basically given up socialising in the weeks before an exam; working 9-5 and spending a couple of hours revising each night really takes it out of you. But the block-taught structure works really well for me; I can really concentrate on the course for a day and still take care of my work responsibilities with the rest of the week. If you're working part time or full time make sure to plan out what provisions you'll have to make to get to lectures, revise and do your coursework and exams. You'll need at least an extra free day per week in addition to a day of lectures to keep up with the coursework and brush up on things you didn't fully understand from the week before. Be prepared to say no to the things your friends and family are doing for a few weeks before your exams. It might be tough, but why would you put yourself through the pain of another degree's worth of exams if you're not going to ace them!