Mark Phinney

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since Aug 04, 2003
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Recent posts by Mark Phinney

Vlad,

If you are planning to work in a European or Canadian employer for European or Canadian customers, I think the Master of Science (MSCS) degree may make you more employable ... depending upon your area of concentration. If you are planning to continue your studies for a PhD in Computer Science, I think the MSCS would provide better preparation than the MCS. Only consider a second Master's degree if you plan to earn an MSEE with a computer engineering or digital signal processing emphasis or an MS in Computer Engineering, something very practical.

If you are planning to work for an American employer for American customers, I think the MCS degree with as much business or project management coursework as possible. Make the degree as immediately practical as possible.

Too many advanced degrees, as well as industry certifications, can be detrimental to your professional advancement. If you have to choose between and advanced degree and spending time as part of an open source development effort, choose the open source development effort -- keeping a portfolio of the code you wrote. You can count the time you spend on the open source effort towards your years of experience.
16 years ago
Maria,

Lotus Notes is an important platform used by a number of the agencies in the Intelligence Community. The combination of Lotus Notes development experience with some serious Java development experience might open some doors in the Washington, DC, area, if you are interested in moving to the Mid-Atlantic region.

Pluses:
-- the work is fascinating
-- the salaries seem astoundingly high

Minuses:
-- the cost of living is astoundingly high
-- potentially lots of unpaid overtime
-- normally requires active high-level security clearances
-- traffic is for the most part abysmal

If you have access to a public or college library that subscribes to the Washington Post newspaper, the Sunday issues for 12 Sept 2004 and 19 Sept 2004 contain special employment sections. Check the position ads to get an idea of who is looking for people with what type of qualifications.

If you prefer the Rocky Mountain West, you might consider metro Denver and Colorado Springs. Again, there's a significant amount of intel work being doone in Java; there may be some need for Lotus Notes experience.

Pluses:
-- fascinating work
-- beautiful country

Minuses:
-- relatively high cost of living
-- lousy traffic that's getting worse (primarily Denver)
-- potential for lots of unpaid overtime
16 years ago