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I am a physicist specialized in developing algorithms for microscopy techniques and after a postdoc I am applying for data scientist / engineer positions at various startups. To estimate what would be a fair salary range, how should I consider my phd and postdoc years? My research work was related to data and image crunching, but the tools I used were more primitive than what is used in the industry.

closed as off-topic by Thomas, Scientist, Solar Mike, user3209815, corey979 Nov 23 '18 at 18:02

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  • There is no way of telling an estimate since we do not even know where you live or which country you want to work in – Amazonasmann Nov 23 '18 at 10:24
  • I see your point. But my question is about the years of experience I have: should I count every year of research work as relevant? – albus_c Nov 23 '18 at 10:26
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    Ah sorry I did misread the question then. I think that the most common thing is to count every month/year of work after you got your degree. I live in germany where doing a Ph.D is actually considered having a full-time job with salary, so I would count each day after I got my M.Sc. as work experience. So to conclude, I would count each year of doing your Ph.D as well. But this also depends on your country I suppose – Amazonasmann Nov 23 '18 at 10:34
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    It depends on whether or not you can convince a potential employer that your PhD and postdoc is relevant experience, which depends on how similar the work is. I don't think there is any way to answer this question until you try it. – Thomas Nov 23 '18 at 10:36
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    Ahh, the old chestnut : Teacher X has 10 years of experience, is that 10 years of varied experience or 1 year repeated 10 times.... – Solar Mike Nov 23 '18 at 11:35
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Ok, let's see: First of all, Data Science is a relatively new field, Data Scientists are in high demand in many places, so estimations on salary are difficult to make, statistics found online are mostly not representative as there is not yet enough data.
Next, the fact that you have a PhD should count stronger than the mere years you spend on obtaining it.
And as a third point, the work experience always depends on what you did and what you plan on doing. Imagine you worked five years as a baker. While this is job experience, it might not be very relevant for a job (and salary) as a Data Scientist.
If you think that your years should count as experience, then make that clear, argue your case, show that you actually have experience. Salaries in the industry are usually not computed by a fixed formula taking your degree and years of experience as input but are up to negotiation (inside certain bounds), so if you can convince your future employer that what you did counts as experience towards the job you are applying for you can of course ask for a higher salary; if you yourself are not convinced then maybe you can't; but then again, having a PhD and the basic requirements to become a Data Scientist already means a rather high salary in many countries and areas.

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    I agree with this answer. The main thing I want to emphasize is: During application you should consider all working experiences as relevant. Even before graduating. Your work as reserach assistant (if you were one) is also relevant. Most people will see it as a plus in the minimum. While you should carefully think about what you were doing. A long time ago I was working in logistics and packed stuff to get money for college. While applying to a physics job I would probably not mention this. But to a job where logistics is important it's a different story – Amazonasmann Nov 23 '18 at 11:08

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