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what can I do with PhD in computing science?

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#1 JD



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Posted 28 February 2010 - 05:45 AM

I am about to finish my MSc in computing science, and I am doubting whether I should take PhD. I want to finish PhD because I love the subject and also because it will help me immigrate to Canada (I am a foreign student at my university).

However at the same time I'm little worried that having PhD will lower my job options after the grauation (due to overqualification).

I know that there are lots of computer jobs out there that specifies their minimum requirement as BSc in computer science...What are the chance for a person with PhD to get those BSc jobs?

If I tell my employer that I will be satifsfied with a (relatively) low wage and that I will not run away even if some academic position comes up, will they hire me?

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#2 Pangloss


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Posted 28 February 2010 - 09:35 PM

I'm afraid I have no idea what the situation is like in Canada. I can talk about what it's like for myself and students in my state (Florida), and generally in the US business environment.

The PhD does have that potential pitfall. I've seen them get looked at as potential hires in the business environment, and there's a big question mark that goes over their heads. Managers question why they're there and whether they'll depart when an appropriate teaching/research position comes up. Or they'll wonder why you're not out there creating the next Google.

But your MSc will open a lot of doors for you, including some that won't be entry-level -- a big advantage over a Bachelors-only candidate. A familiar pattern is: Bachelors call recruiters and beg. Recruiters call Masters and beg. I saw this myself -- after 15 years in the industry and never a whole lot of interest from recruiters, I got my Masters and suddenly my phone would not stop ringing.

Certifications can compliment a masters nicely and look very good in the interview process. But the best advice I can give you is to learn how to interview well. Make it a priority.

Not sure why you said low wage. If you know your programming, especially client-server business apps, you should be making six figures within 5-10 years of graduation. Depending on your programming skills and luck with employers it could be a lot less, though of course it could end up taking longer. HOWEVER, the current economic meltdown HAS adversely affected employment in the computer industry, so take that into consideration. Today I see about half the job postings I saw 3-4 years ago. But programming is still the fastest growing and highest-paid job in my state, and the industry routinely owns 4-6 of the top 20 jobs in the state (according to the state employment agency). And it seems likely that the recession is on the way out.

If your goal is teaching, you really need a combination of work experience and education anyway. Going back for the PhD later will also allow you to freshen up your understanding of subjects that have changed since you were last in school (real-world work tends to focus people on one or two specific areas, and they lose track of what's happening in other areas).

Not an easy call, certainly -- I know about the allure of the PhD. But you need to think about what it is that you want, both short term and long term, and carefully weigh your options. For what it's worth, I can tell you that all of these things are only trends, and that everyone I've ever met in this industry is unique, and everyone's path varies from the standard trend in SOME way. Having a good attitude and strong motivation and work ethic is worth a great deal to any manager.

Good luck!
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#3 lina



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Posted 18 March 2010 - 07:59 AM

Hi yes up course you will do because you will be make a best programmer and technical engineer here is more opportunity have a for you so i think you should do this.I hope you will make software engineer.

Good luck


Edited by lina, 18 March 2010 - 01:28 PM.

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#4 CharonY


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Posted 18 March 2010 - 04:45 PM

A PhD tends to lock you into a more academic career. A PhD willing to do a master's or bachelor's job does not look like a good fit to most employers. If the goal is to score a job in the private sector a PhD in computer science is really not beneficial.
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#5 Icefire



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Posted 19 March 2010 - 05:57 PM

It'd problably be best to check what the official immigration requirements are.
For a long time the system has put an emphasis on skilled labour and such, but it can be a bit tricky if you don't fully understand the system.
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#6 bascule



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Posted 20 March 2010 - 08:42 PM

It really depends what you're interested in working on. Jobs that demand an extremely high degree of technical expertise will benefit from a PhD. As an example, one of the people I'm working with who has two PhDs is working on semantic search and natural language processing. Heading up a project that complex, you probably want an academic type.

On the flip side are people like me, with no degree and a high paying system architecture job.
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#7 Ncurtisbrown



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Posted 4 August 2010 - 12:11 AM

I would stick with the Mcs unless you plan on teaching or research, you can always go back later and get your PHD, some employers may even pay for the tuition.
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#8 eleven



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Posted 4 August 2010 - 12:20 AM

Create an OS in your spare time, design software along with a few websites gaining some traffic - look for a Job. The best science to pick at the moment, if you use the knowledge correctly. If you understand how a computer works then you can start fighting for control over the internet + systems. Make something that people want, they buy/download it, then make it something they need - example, flash player. At first it was just something people wanted, now most things require it. Work on net-income ($ per second) rather than annual. Build it up as you go along. You can do a lot with that man.
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#9 D H


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Posted 4 August 2010 - 12:42 AM

It is very, very hard to go back to school to obtain a PhD after leaving get a PhD. Heck, its hard to go back and get a Masters. Things like a decent salary, a mortgage, kids, and just having a life just get in the way. If you want a PhD the time to get it is while you are young.

What people said above about PhDs closing some doors is true. What they didn't say is what those doors are, and more importantly, that a PhD opens other doors. A bachelor's degree closes some doors, too. It is tough for people with a technical degree, even if it is just a bachelor's degree, to obtain a job that requires one to ask "do you want fries with that order, sir?" The doors that a PhD closes are the technical equivalents of those McJobs.

If you like hard problems, the doors that a PhD opens are very, very nice doors. The academic industry churns out a lot more PhDs in technical fields than the number of PhDs needed by academia itself because of demand outside of academia. If industry and government had their druthers they would only have PhDs lead their really hard problems. Thankfully there aren't enough PhDs to fill all those spots; they have to hire people like me.
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This is modern software; there's no useful manual. After all, changing how everything works every six months or so is more important than helping people use the features you have.

#10 jcarlson



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Posted 4 August 2010 - 02:32 AM

I think you will find that there are plenty of positions outside of academia for someone with a PhD in CS without having to work below your qualifications. Larger tech companies like IBM, AT&T, Intel, Oracle, Microsoft, etc. all have very robust research divisions where the expertise that comes with a PhD is not just welcome but required for many projects. As D H said there is far greater demand for PhDs outside academia in technical degrees than non-technical simply because research in these fields more often produces knowledge that is profitable, rather than just knowledge for knowledge's sake.
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#11 Guest_Girish_*

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 07:39 AM

Most state universities offer PhDs in various areas, including computer science. Most of the UCs will.

Edited by Girish, 11 August 2010 - 07:49 AM.

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#12 dragonstar57



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Posted 11 August 2010 - 06:31 PM

what about someone looking for a position in a governmental security/intelligence agency
would the PhD be a good or bad thing?
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please feel free to point out my grammatical errors. I would rather have them pointed out and be able to perhaps learn from them than continue make the same mistake.

It is not closed-minded to reject claims that make no sense. If you can’t accept the possibility that an idea might be false, then you are the closed minded one. An open minded person will critically examine all claims but will not accept them if there is no reason to believe they are true or if there is reason to believe they are false.

however one must realize that every thing starts in a default belief and requires a burden of proof for the default belief to be abandoned. it would not make sense for believing in positive statements' validity so the only remaining is to not believe a positive statement until proof evidence is presented.

#13 Cap'n Refsmmat

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 07:09 PM

what about someone looking for a position in a governmental security/intelligence agency
would the PhD be a good or bad thing?

Depends on the type of job you want in the intelligence agency. Here's the NSA's careers site, for example:

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