In software at least (I speak from the perspective of someone working in the private sector in Silicon Valley) experience is king
. It will be very hard to get a job with a master's in Software Engineering and a BS in history unless you have some work experience that makes it look like you've actually built some software.
If all other things were equal, we'd pick a guy with a BS and two years experience writing software at a company we'd heard of over a guy with an MS and no experience. There is a fairly widely held (but not universal) belief that the reason people get master's degrees in this field is either A) they would let you into the US to go to school and you could start your job search much easier that way, or B) you weren't good enough to find a job with just your BS.
I'm not saying you definitely shouldn't do this, but in software at least, you're going to want internships and published papers (we will read them if we're considering you) and real work for real companies
if you want to compete. We've turned down lots of job applicants who's work experience amounted to building "simulated networks" for proof-of-concept stuff in advanced degree programs. Only one person on my team has a masters degree, and he also worked for Microsoft Research and had a strong recommendation from a faculty member who happened to be connected with the company.
posted by tylerkaraszewski
I'd take the engineering degrees off the table, if I were you. If you aren't totally and completely into them, in love with problem solving (and math), you're not going to do very well. These are programs designed to wash out the unenthusiastic and incompetent.
I did compsci for my bachelors. There were a huge number of kids in the program only because somebody had once told them that computers were where the money is. I was in the program because programming was really easy for me, and because I spent lots of time tinkering with my computer anyway. I ran fucking rings around the computers-are-cash kids, because while they did the assignments and passed the courses, I did the assignments, then did about 30-50 hours a week of extra "work" just because I was that into it.
I set the curves in every class--except for the couple where there was an even more obsessive geek in attendance. And the cash-kids would ask me what book I read to get so good. Hah.
I have similar stories from my engineering buddies.
posted by Netzapper
Source: http://ask.metafilter.com/176681/Is-ret ... -good-idea