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I am a software developer by profession and was wondering what a professional doctorate (PdEng) would add to my career if I plan to work in the industry.

EDIT: I am not talking about a Phd rather a Professional Doctorate program (PDEng).It is a 2 year program and used for getting a job in a very specific sub discipline of a field.

  • Can you be more specific about what type of work ou are considering? If you want to wark as programmer, there are nearly no benefits. If you wnat to do project management or work in research and development, it is a plus. – OBu Jan 28 '14 at 9:45
  • I want to work as a Programmer – zzzzz Jan 28 '14 at 9:48
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    There is a similar question Can a Ph.D. have a negative impact on your career in the software industry? on Workplace SE. Your question is about Professional Doctorate program(PDEng). I was going to suggest you to ask the question there. But, I am afraid it's likely going to be closed as a duplicate there. – scaaahu Jan 28 '14 at 12:15
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    Have you contacted the school? They should have some idea about the success of previous students. Alternatively, have you contacted some of the companies you might want to work for and see if this impacts the hiring manager's decision? – earthling Jan 28 '14 at 13:36
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    @earthling's comment reminds me of an answer of his question academia.stackexchange.com/a/15811/546, you may want to take a look at it. – scaaahu Jan 28 '14 at 13:54
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TLDR: It trains you in both technical and soft skills (technical writing, meeting management, etc.), and lets you gain experience with small and large industry projects, using different technologies. It essentially compresses multiple years of industry experience into two.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about what the program actually is. The Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng) programs offered at Dutch universities have more in common with industry traineeships than with a traditional academic doctorate. As such, most of the negative effects of a PhD on job propspects (trouble actually writing code, far less job experience, etc.) simply do not apply.

For example, Eindhoven University of Technology describes their Software Technology PDEng program as follows.

The Software Technology program is designed to prepare you for an industrial career as a technological designer, and later on as a software or system architect. It starts with 15 months of advanced training and education, including 4 small, industry driven training projects, followed by a major design project of nine months in a company.

The program is specifically designed to teach MSc students with a good grasp of the theory how to efficiently apply that theory to practical applications. It is presented as a way to "fast-track" your career by gaining a lot of cross-disciplinary experience in only two years.

They write the following about their graduates:

The Software Technology program has been around for more than 25 years and to date trained more than 370 technological designers. Most designers have joined the companies where they carried out their design assignments and many now fulfill a management position.

Their alumni association XOOTIC released a detailed survey (pages 25-28), stating

Having a job as an XOOTIC is still easy: only 1% of the XOOTIC’s is unemployed. [...] By far the most XOOTIC’s have an indefinite contract (82.6%).

The OOTI program is known in the industry according to 80% of the answers and is rewarded according to 44% of the respondents. [...] XOOTIC’s, considering what they know now, would still do the OOTI program (96.7%).

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You might get different answers for different countries. This answer is for the US.

Speaking as a person who has hired many programmers (both for my own company and for other companies) I feel quite confident that having a doctorate of any kind will not help you land a job as a programmer. The simple fact is, people care about what you can produce. What frameworks, models, patterns, languages, etc. are you effective in? This is what people generally care about from a technical perspective. They will care about other things like how committed you are, how many hours you can work, etc. but what you would gain from a doctorate will not be of value to people who hire in industry.

That said, it can be useful for career mobility. For example, I have see people chose one person over another for an IT management position because one had a doctorate. That turned out to be a terrible choice for the company, but I don't think the problems were connected to his doctorate (he simply had no experience managing people). Some people might see the value in the doctorate but only at a higher level (not entry level).

  • what you would gain from a doctorate will not be of value to people who hire in industry - Not true. These programs are specifically designed to prepare you for a job in industry and include working with industry partners on actual projects. – Mangara May 28 '14 at 15:07
  • Disagree. It will not help you land certain kind of jobs, but can help you land others. – einpoklum - reinstate Monica Aug 24 '18 at 17:49
  • @Mangara There are some kinds of jobs, as einpoklum mentioned, for which a doctorate can help. For example, a data scientist. As for being a programmer (the Op's question) I would love to hear any concrete examples of how it would be of value. I am always happy to learn. – earthling Sep 15 '18 at 11:02
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In general, for software engineering (in the UK), it will not help a lot in my experience - PhDs,PDEngs and EngDs will add to your initial salary over a masters. But probably no more than the extra experience that working in industry would get you.

The main exception is start-ups - if your tech guy(s) have post-graduate degrees then it can help with the early sales (proves you are smarter). Plus there is a valid argument that when you are limited in the number of heads you can get, it is worth getting the smartest ones you can.

The other exception is if it is for a very specific field and you want to go into that, it may help you beat out candidates with more experience in nearby fields (or satisfy a requirement of having experience in that field).

  • proves you are smarter - can you explain that one to me, please? – ff524 May 28 '14 at 14:40
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    It's a sales/appearance thing. If you tell people that all of your tech team have phds/equivs, the customers will more easily believe that your super-startup-tech is as good as you claim as you have more credibility in their eyes. Whether you are smarter or not is entirely unrelated. – Oliver Matthews May 28 '14 at 14:51

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