80,000 Hours recommends a few different flavors of Master's as entry points into working on US-oriented AI policy: security studies, international relations, public policy, and machine learning.
Does anyone have opinions on which of these types of programs is the best to focus on?
(Clearly a large part of this revolves around personal fit, but perhaps some of these are much more relevant than others in a way that dominates personal fit considerations.)
My first question: did you end up doing something after the program that you wouldn't have been able to do w/o having done the program first?
I'm happy with the route I chose. I love education, so the Master's was very pleasant and a real confidence boost. I also learned a lot about research methods, both quantitative and qualitative, which was one of the goals I had - I don't think I could have taught myself those skills. I also think it's useful to know the theoretical literature even if I don't use it every day because it's changed some of the assumptions I hold.
I also like having more options. It turns out that I really like the Civil Service and plan to stay in it for a few years, but it was good to test my fit in research and know that I could work in a think tank or do a PhD if I wanted to.
That said, I didn't previously know that the Civil Service will pay for employees to do a Master's if they have a reasonable business case. It probably would have been more rational for me to do this on the Civil Service's dime than my own. But overall, I think I made the best decision with the information I had available.