My question is about the extent to which one's employment experience can enhance or detract from a PhD application.
I received a BSc in Biochem in 2010, worked for 3 years in software sales and just now received an MSc in Synthetic Biology.
My BSc score was not great, but my MSc grade was the highest possible (distinction).
A professor has agreed to supervise me for a PhD in the area of synthetic biology - we are going to apply for funding together. I may not win funding when applying with that professor, so I am also applying for other funded PhDs. If I succeed in winning a funded PhD, it will start roughly one year from now.
In the meantime, I have been offered two jobs: junior software developer, and software salesperson. The developer job will provide useful knowledge and experience but has a very low salary. On the other hand, the sales job will offer almost no useful knowledge or experience (over what I already have) but pays a salary three times higher.
The sales role is attractive because I am in a fair amount of debt, having been studying full-time for the past 12 months. The developer job requires skills which are used in a PhD, so might support my application. However, I don't think that it will furnish me with any extra computing knowledge over that which I could learn myself during the PhD.
To what extent do funding bodies and academic departments look at one's employment experience when considering a PhD application?
This is all set in the UK.