johhnyryanzย inย ย 
Software Engineerย 6 months ago

Thoughts on studying a Master's in ML part-time whilst working FT as a SWE?

Hi guys, I would like to hear some opinions on studying a two year part-time Master's in Machine Learning, whilst maintaining a career as a full-time Software Engineer, with the aim of making a career shift to a more data analyst or quantitative oriented role in London.

To give some personal context: I have been working as a SWE since graduating from university (where I studied Physics) and I am approaching a total of 3 years experience. Throughout that time I have been working in Tech/IT roles in the London Financial Services (FS) sector. Lately I have been feeling that the work in FS on the IT side isn't challenging enough, which has driven me to consider other opportunities. I have applied to a couple of part-time and online, Machine Learning MSc courses, and my employer has offered to fund half of my tuition and provide study time to complete this course.

I have spoken to London based recruiters who specialise in Banking/Asset Management/Hedge Fund Tech roles and they advise that those with degrees in ML, are much more likely to get interviewed than those who are self-taught. They also mention that so far, demand for ML skills in London's FS sector has been niche but that is starting to change.

Based on my position and goals, is the time and money investment in a ML course worthwhile?

JandySecurity Analystย 6 months ago
Speaking from across the pond in the US, I have a hard time envisioning any of the major Wall Street banks (Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, etc.) reducing your workload to allow for your enrollment in school on a 2-year Master's program. Over here, getting a Master's done in 2 years would require you to be a full-time student in most of our universities. I'm not familiar with any ML/AI programs that would require less time. I would also imagine you can make more money post-graduation from another job than you would save by sticking with your employer in exchange for them covering some of the costs of attending graduate school. So, if you were in the U.S., I would recommend quitting your job and just going to do the M.S. full time (maybe do some part-time contract work if you need the cash, but prioritize school). Get the degree and then get back out into the market. You'd probably get paid well for a graduate student internship during your time as a student, too. However, not being familiar with the U.K. education system, this advice might not be the most applicable to your situation.
johhnyryanzSoftware Engineerย 6 months ago
Thanks for the insights, I appreciate it. You're right, my workload won't be reduced but I can expect some study leave and perhaps some off the books leeway at the very least. I wholly agree that changing jobs would be the quickest route to pay progression. I am hoping that an AI/ML degrees will open doors to program more interesting and challenging things. Correct me if I'm wrong, but outside of high frequency trading systems, most IT roles in FS involve just getting data from one place to the other, with a few hurdles along the way - I am finding dissatisfaction in this.



Software Engineer