Looking at @striker28 's rant made me think of my time I did my MSc and I think it needs it's own separate rant so here it goes:

So I did an MSc at one of the big league unis in London. First clue was during week 1 where in one of the class a mature student asked whether there would be actual coding during the course. There was an audible gasp from everyone else! Once the lecturer said the unfortunatly they wouldn't be you could hear the sigh of relief from the students...

Next up was all the lectures being placed in the freakin' basement of the university in crap, smelly rooms with annoying ticking A/Cs whereas all the social siences, business and other subjects had lecture halls and classrooms above ground. The contempt for CS from the university's direction was palpable.

Then there was the relegation to the theory-only (i.e. abstract with pen/paper) "tutorial" to the hand of T/As with bugger-all teaching experience. In short most were terrible and should've found a way to abscond themselved from this obligation which was part of the terms of their phd grants unfortunatly.

Further into the course there was the "group project". Oh boy! Out of the 5 in the group my now mature student friend and I were the only one commiting to the repo. There was either no code and a lot of bullshit from the others or crap code that didn't even compile despite their assurances it was all good.. Someone clearly never actually coded and pressed "run" in their lives which is fucking surprising since they've managed to graduate with a BSc and get into a MSc somehow. None of the code "made" by the other 3 persons made it into the master branch for release.
The attitude was that of "We (hahahah) wrote loads of code. We'll get a great mark!". At that stage the core wasn't even complete and the software didn't work yet.

Some of the courses where teaching things already 10 years out of date and when lecturer where pressed on that the few mature students that happen to be there the answer was always "yes, we are planning to update it for next year". Complete bullshit. Didn't help that some of the code on the lecture slides was not even correct! I mean these guy are touted as "experts" in their field...

None of the teory during the entire year was linked to any coding. Everything was abstract with no ties to applied software engineering. I.e. nothing like the real world.

The worst is that none of the youger students realised they were being screwed over and getting very little value for their money. Perhaps one reason why these evaluation forms have such high scores given on them. If you haven't had a job and haven't lived outside academia yet there is nothing to compare it to. It tends to also fall into confirmation bias (hey it's a top UK university, it must be worth it afterall! Look how much they ask for).

By the end of the year I couldn't wait to get the hell out. One of the other mature student sumed it quite well: "I will never send my children here."
Keep in mind that the guy had just over a decade of software engineering experience in the industry and was doing this for fun.

In the end universities are not teaching institutions. The lecturers's primary job is research and their priorities match that. Lectures tend to be the most time efficient teaching format for the ones giving them but, on their own, are not for the consumer.

To those contemplating university for CS: Do the BSc. Get your algo/datastructure chops and learn the basic theory. It is interesting. Don't get discouraged by the subject just because it is taught badly.
Avoid the MSc unless you want to do a phd and go for an academic carrer. You are better off using that year and the money to learn more on your own and get into colaborative projects (open source) on top of some personal ones. Build up your portfolio. It will be cheaper and more interesting!

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    My 2 cents: I've decided to get into ptogramming only after i've finished my 3 year BSc in electronics. Did a few mandatory exams so i could get into the other (computer science) college, so i could hop right in without losing 3 years. Now i'm in MSc studies and i think it was a mistake. The good thing about it that it is a 1 person per project so i'm forced to learn a lot of things in order to do it properly. The bad thing is that it's 85% engineering and 15% coding. Bottom line is that i agree with your statement about avoiding the MSc unless you are going for phd
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