Hello Wild Biologists!
As a statement I would like to mention, that this article is not only directed to people in biology field but any scientific or academic field.
A master degree is often needed to secure some job positions, get greater responsibilities or even in some countries, it might also benefit you from an increase in your salary (that happens frequently in the UK, where higher qualification means you would benefit usually from slightly better salary). Obviously, I think, far from the theory, this is not always the case. If you want to work in industry and you have done a less specific degree (Say, general biology, general chemistry, physics, etc.) you might need a master degree to get a deeper knowledge in certain aspect of your degree; so for example, if you studied biology, you might need to study a Master degree in biotechnology or molecular biology to work in a BioTech or BioPharma company. Besides, in some countries such as Spain, it is compulsory to study a Master degree if you want to get into academia or research.
From my personal experience, I studied a Master degree in Biomedical Sciences, from a molecular point of view, because I wanted to get eventually into research. However, after my graduation, I secured a job in industry, in an antibody manufacturing company (BioTech/BioPharma) and that is what I have done for more than one year. While it was a very important experience in my career, I was still focused in my academic career. My master degree helped me to start from a higher salary than some people who did not have it and also helped me while I was applying for Ph.Ds and founding. So, if you have the will to get a deeper knowledge in some field and eventually want to get higher responsibilities, I would strongly recommend you a master degree in the field you love.
I think it also helps to build on the skills you get through your undergraduate degree. You would notice a higher capability of managing your time, better writing and analytical skills and more self-descipline. This would be really important when you would start a job. Finally, It is clear that continuing education is important, but the value of your degree is really dependent on what you want from it.
“This is an era of specialists, each of whom sees his own problem and is unaware of or intolerant of the larger frame into which it fits.” – Rachel Carson, Marine Biologist.