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[D] C.S Bachelor’s degree holder seeking ML career advice

I recently completed my bachelor’s in Computer Science and have been working as a Machine Learning Engineer for the past 5 months. Now I’m looking to transition into a bigger company in a similar role.

Background:

I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from a mid-tier public university in the United States. During college, I participated in a summer REU in ML. I have co-authored 3 publications (two as second author) and published them at top AI conferences.

My initial plan was to go straight for a PhD in Machine Learning, but I was too ambitious with the schools I picked, and I ended up being rejected by all of them.

Luckily, in the meantime, I landed a job as a ML Engineer and I’ve been working in this position for the past 5 months. In the time that I’ve worked, I have realized that I like writing code and putting things into production slightly more than hardcore research. I like my job, but I’d like to transition into a bigger company with a more established Data Science/ML team.

Here’s where I’d like to hear my fellow redditors’ thoughts.

I’m debating whether I should consider doing a Master’s in Machine Learning, get that degree, and then target the big companies? Or can I make up for the lack of an advanced degree through work experience?

As you all probably know, most of the job postings that I see expect the candidate to have a Master’s degree as a minimum, or a PhD. I understand where they come from, as I’m aware that nothing can substitute the knowledge depth you gain by going through the rigor of grad school.

I was in the fast track master’s program during my bachelor’s, and I’m only 2 semesters away from getting my master’s in C.S with a concentration in Data Science. The reason I didn’t continue is because I knew for a fact that 1) I could learn more by working and 2) the quality of the coursework is not great. On the plus side of doing the master’s, I have a good relationship with a few professors who are pretty involved in ML research, and I could do a research based master’s with a thesis and boost my profile.

What are your thoughts?

submitted by /u/optimizedEater
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Toronto AI is a social and collaborative hub to unite AI innovators of Toronto and surrounding areas. We explore AI technologies in digital art and music, healthcare, marketing, fintech, vr, robotics and more. Toronto AI was founded by Dave MacDonald and Patrick O'Mara.