I am a fourth year PhD student. My advisor told me I was a bad researcher, and as I understand, I would need his letter of reference if I wanted to do any research in the future.

He advised me to pursue a career in data science when I graduate. However, I think if I wanted to, I could get a data science job right now, and wouldn't have to bother finishing.

Is there any advantage to finishing a PhD if I can get the same kinds of jobs either way?


  • Stackexchange isn't designed to be used for personal advice. Questions on SE are supposed to be of broad enough interest that other people can benefit from the answers. – user1482 Jul 30 '16 at 0:32
  • I think the following questions may be useful for you and your situation: 1) What types of industry positions favor PhD over a masters?; 2) What are the goals and benefits of doing a PhD? – Mad Jack Jul 30 '16 at 0:53
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    "I think if I wanted to, I could get a data science job". You do not know that, unless you have already applied (and offered) such a job. A PhD will give you more chances for such a job. Also, proving people wrong (your advisor) can be a very strong motivator for many people. The true questions are: a) What do you really want to do? and b) Do you believe you are a good researcher? – Alexandros Jul 30 '16 at 10:07

I am very, VERY reluctant to tell anyone to scrap what they've worked so hard for. I don't have a doctorate and I can tell you that I'm always impressed when I find out someone has one. To me, it means they contributed something new and significant to their chosen field. That's impressive. Think of it this way. Let's say you are NOT a good researcher. That means you broke through that hurdle and achieved it anyway. You had drive and stamina others might not. Let me show you how impressive it is to achieve a doctorate. I Googled on "what percentage of Americans have a doctorate".

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