Author Topic: Anyone else still in school?  (Read 10959 times)

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Offline Falcon

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Anyone else still in school?
« on: January 09, 2013, 06:34:43 PM »
Or just me?

Offline Sidoh

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Re: Anyone else still in school?
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2013, 12:50:26 AM »
I just finished my last semester in an M.S. program last month. I don't have the patience to continue. I'm tired of not making decent money.

Offline deadly7

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Re: Anyone else still in school?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2013, 06:34:09 PM »
1 sem for sure, possibly another 4 years after.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2013, 11:32:37 PM by deadly7 »
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Offline AntiVirus

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Re: Anyone else still in school?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2013, 11:52:41 PM »
I'm still in school.
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Offline Newby

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Re: Anyone else still in school?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2013, 01:42:32 PM »
I just finished my last semester in an M.S.B.S. program last month. I don't have the patience to continue. I'm tired of not making decent money.

^ This. And now I do. :)
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I'd bet that you're currently bloated like a water ballon on a hot summer's day.

That analogy doesn't even make sense.  Why would a water balloon be especially bloated on a hot summer's day? For your sake, I hope there wasn't too much logic testing on your LSAT. 

Offline Falcon

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Re: Anyone else still in school?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 08:30:39 PM »
I just finished my last semester in an M.S. program last month. I don't have the patience to continue. I'm tired of not making decent money.
Nice congrats! I assume you are now working? Did you find that there were more opportunities for M.S, than B.S.? And how do the salaries compare?

I'm in my 2nd semester of an M.S. right now so just curious.

Offline Sidoh

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Re: Anyone else still in school?
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2013, 04:48:37 AM »
Yep, I start in a few weeks.

I didn't do much job hunting. For the last two summers, I've interned for a company I really enjoyed working for, so I decided to stay on with them.

There are probably more opportunities for people with a M.S., but not many that I'm interested in. I really enjoy silicon valley (startups in particular), and they don't care much about degrees. They're more interested in performance, so they'll hire anyone they're convinced will thrive. Pay tends to be slightly higher for people with a master's, but not nearly enough to make up for the opportunity cost you incur by not working for several years while attending grad school. Many companies will start you at a higher pay grade, but most competent employees with a bachelor's are at or higher than that pay grade in less time it takes to earn a M.S. This is not categorically true, I'm sure, but it's the case with most companies/orgs I'm aware of.

As an aside, I've been told it's easier to get a green card when you have an M.S. Companies might not see much value in a master's degree, but the government apparently does. Employers have an easier time arguing that it's important to them that their employees stick around if they have lots of education.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2013, 04:50:22 AM by Sidoh »

Offline CrAz3D

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Re: Anyone else still in school?
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2013, 11:41:28 PM »
I have a friend finishing his phd in CS that constantly turns down jobs that pay cash I'd currently drool all over......but he wants jobs security (prof-ship). *shakeshead*

I graduate in May with a law degree and a master's of financial planning. Basically, I've managed to set myself up to be one of VERY few people in Southern New Mexico that can help the wealthy people with tax issues. From there, I also plan to open a few businesses w/my law practice (rental properties + maybe restaurants).

Offline Sidoh

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Re: Anyone else still in school?
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2013, 04:15:45 AM »
For what it's worth: "job security" in software jobs is a non-issue if you're even reasonably good. There are some positions that tend to only hire Ph.D.s or pay a little more based on degrees, but generally they're pretty rare these days. I'd say he's either confused/misinformed, wants to get tenure and slack off for the rest of his life, or is uncomfortable with the idea of leaving academia (most likely).

I'm pretty well convinced that graduate school in CS is a waste of time and money unless you enjoy doing it for what it is, or you intend to be involved with academic research. It doesn't do much for your starting salary, and whatever it does do is completely offset (and then some) by the opportunity cost of not working. If you're decent, you can pretty easily get 80-100k starting with a bachelors.

congrats on graduating!

Offline Rule

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Re: Anyone else still in school?
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2013, 11:31:36 AM »
For what it's worth: "job security" in software jobs is a non-issue if you're even reasonably good. There are some positions that tend to only hire Ph.D.s or pay a little more based on degrees, but generally they're pretty rare these days. I'd say he's either confused/misinformed, wants to get tenure and slack off for the rest of his life, or is uncomfortable with the idea of leaving academia (most likely).

Getting tenure-track is hard, especially at a half decent university, much harder than getting a secure high paying job.  Once you're on tenure track, it's still a long road to a full tenured position, typically up to 15 more years of intensely stressful and relatively low paid work.  No sane person would go through that pain just to slack off once tenured.

I have seen rare cases of professors getting tenure and seemingly doing very little, but it's more a case of luck than anything.  You'd be better off buying lottery tickets.

On the topic of PhD-level jobs, they are actually quite plentiful, but you have to be in the "right" field.  If your PhD has a good mix of computer science and statistics, and it's from a prestigious university* (it's stupid but sometimes necessary, unfortunately), you're eligible for all sorts of high paying PhD-only jobs, particularly quant jobs at hedge funds, but also full-time "researcher" positions at Google, MSR, Amazon, Facebook, and startups.

*or you have a well known supervisor, or collaborator.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2013, 11:51:14 AM by Rule »

Offline Sidoh

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Re: Anyone else still in school?
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2013, 02:08:22 PM »
For what it's worth: "job security" in software jobs is a non-issue if you're even reasonably good. There are some positions that tend to only hire Ph.D.s or pay a little more based on degrees, but generally they're pretty rare these days. I'd say he's either confused/misinformed, wants to get tenure and slack off for the rest of his life, or is uncomfortable with the idea of leaving academia (most likely).

Getting tenure-track is hard, especially at a half decent university, much harder than getting a secure high paying job.  Once you're on tenure track, it's still a long road to a full tenured position, typically up to 15 more years of intensely stressful and relatively low paid work.  No sane person would go through that pain just to slack off once tenured.


I have seen rare cases of professors getting tenure and seemingly doing very little, but it's more a case of luck than anything.  You'd be better off buying lottery tickets.

I dunno. It is, of course, very stressful, but I'm quite sure there are people who'd pay that cost to avoid having to work hard afterwards. This is especially true if they're willing to work at a university that isn't  "half decent". :)


On the topic of PhD-level jobs, they are actually quite plentiful, but you have to be in the "right" field.  If your PhD has a good mix of computer science and statistics, and it's from a prestigious university* (it's stupid but sometimes necessary, unfortunately), you're eligible for all sorts of high paying PhD-only jobs, particularly quant jobs at hedge funds, but also full-time "researcher" positions at Google, MSR, Amazon, Facebook, and startups.

*or you have a well known supervisor, or collaborator.

Right, sure. I didn't mean to say they didn't exist, just that the job market as a whole doesn't seem to favor Ph.D.s very much. I'm sure the average Ph.D. starts with a higher salary than the average person with a B.S., but the Ph.D. probably had to wait 5-7 years to start. In that time, the person who's already started has been making good money and has probably gotten raises that make their salary competitive with what the average Ph.D. starts at.

Of course if you're interested in research, you'll have to do one.

Not that this counts for much, but: as for startups, I have a friend who recently finished a PhD at an ivy league school. Her thesis was on machine learning (I don't remember the exact topic), and she took a research-oriented job at a startup. Her salary is higher than the average straight-from-undergrad newhire, but she's making about the same (a little less) than many of my friends who only have B.S. degrees and have been working for under two years.

I think my point is: if you're doing it for money, you probably shouldn't.

Offline Rule

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Re: Anyone else still in school?
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2013, 02:33:08 PM »
I think it's really hard to tell.  There are so many factors to consider.  I'm inclined to agree that on average, a PhD (even in CS/Stats) isn't going to help someone make more money -- they'd probably make a bit less, especially over 5-10 years, than someone without.  But at the very least, there will be a huge variance on that average. 

These comparisons can be quite subtle.  A PhD, and what one does during a PhD, could help someone who would not stand out from their undergraduate record/CV get a job that typically hires bachelors recipients.  He or she may make the same as  bachelors degree holders in that position, but they have a job they wouldn't have otherwise gotten.  Factoring these sorts of scenarios together makes it hard to say, even on average, what monetary gain a PhD will bring.  I know of someone who would have really struggled to get jobs with his CV after undergrad, but now has a PhD and a good publication record, and would really stand out on the job market.

In general, the connections can open a surprising number of doors in the long run. And after a few years, good quants can make $800,000/year.  But I wouldn't encourage a PhD to someone who wouldn't at least enjoy the process.

« Last Edit: March 17, 2013, 03:21:25 PM by Rule »

Offline nslay

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Re: Anyone else still in school?
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2013, 02:13:35 PM »
If you're asking about salary, then you shouldn't get a Ph.D. Wrong degree for you.

If you want to do research, then get a Ph.D.

Market not favoring the Ph.D.? I'm seeing loads of them shipping off to Google. I personally know 3 people who went to Google. I know of maybe 20 more who all went to Google, Netflix and Amazon. All of them have Ph.D.s. Just my bit of anecdotal evidence.

Oh, and as far as salary goes, I think I heard figures of about $180k to work at Netflix with a Ph.D. I heard similar salaries for Google and Amazon.

But yeah, in my opinion, you should only get a Ph.D. if you want to do research. Otherwise the training is a complete waste of time.
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Offline Sidoh

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Re: Anyone else still in school?
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2013, 02:37:15 PM »
I'd never say that people with PhDs have a hard time getting a job. I'm sure their task is no more difficult than someone without the extra training. I only meant to say it's very likely not a good financial investment. I know lots of people at those companies, some with PhDs, most without. I don't really think they generally care very much about the PhD.

Offline Rule

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Re: Anyone else still in school?
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2013, 02:44:09 PM »
Here's a well-written well-sourced article weighing in on the general "is it worth getting a PhD?" discussion.