Peanut butter and jelly. Love and marriage. Bacon and eggs. Software engineers and an MBA? Seems like an odd couple pairing, right? Read on and we’ll tell you why getting a Master of Business Administration in Information Technology might be the best thing you can do for your software engineering career.
There was a time when the IT world and the business world existed in separate stratospheres. Those days are long gone. Now, technology and business have become so intertwined that they’re often indistinguishable. Business managers now have extensive training (and even degrees) in technology and IT leaders now need to know the business world to survive. To better understand how these worlds have meshed — and how it can help grow your career — let’s look at some tangible examples.
An MBA Will Probably Increase Your Salary
The average cost of an MBA in this country is $60,000. An MBA at a prestigious university can set you back around $100,000. So, MBAs are expensive, but their financial rewards are well-documented. In fact, according to the Financial Times, the average salary for MBA holders went up to $142,000 in 2017, which represents a 12-percent increase over the period of 2014 to 2017. In 2017 alone, average salaries increased by $7,000. And, when you factor in pre-MBA salaries, the difference is even more drastic. Nearly 66% of alumni cohorts more than doubled their salaries in 2018.
And, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for software developers is expected to rise by 21% between 2018 and 2028 (the average for all occupations is just 5% during that period). An MBA in IT can only add rocket fuel to this equation.
An MBA Can Make You into a Leader
You may be able to advance your IT or business career mightily based solely on your talent; there are software engineers who have raced through the ranks holding nothing but talent, a high school diploma and no small amount of charisma. However, these days, many organizations that are recruiting for high-level positions want engineers with proven leadership skills. A graduate-level degree might be a prerequisite just to get a callback.
That’s where an MBA can be invaluable. MBA programs emphasize leadership in the classroom and often ask students to develop leadership skills through internships, and this helps software engineers evolve their broader skill sets.
An MBA Might Help You Forge Your Own Path
Ever dreamed of starting your own business and calling the shots for once? Aside from all-important leadership skills, an MBA will teach you the analytical and business skills you’d need to take a holistic view of your operations. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll foster soft skills in an MBA program — teamwork, communication, adaptability — that are often the real drivers behind a successful business.
Getting an MBA while holding a full-time job is certainly a challenge, and finding a way to pay for a master’s degree is, too. However, keep in mind that many programs will allow you to take classes online, part-time and at your convenience. And, you don’t necessarily need a pricey MBA from Yale to succeed. In fact, MBAs are pretty ubiquitous. There are plenty of programs that cost less, fit nicely into your schedule and still offer the training and degree you’ll need to advance your career.