217

Let me answer as a theoretical computer scientist with former PhD students in tenure-track academic positions and many years of experience on faculty hiring committees. (However, my understanding is that the selection process at industrial research labs like IBM T.J. Watson, Microsoft Research, Google Research, AT&T Research, etc., is really not that ...


199

The issue is that the frame of your question is wrong. You’re assuming that the purpose of a PhD is to get an academic job, when that is not the case: Many people who get PhD’s have no desire for an academic job, even from the time they apply! The number of academic positions is indeed insufficient to absorb all the PhD’s. But there are lots of other “...


175

The short answer to your question is that you are vastly overestimating your, and other engineer's, ability to judge what techniques will ever have practical relevance. I think it was Michael Stonebraker, a Turing award winning computer scientist with no lack of practical impact, who said that the sweet spot for academic applied research are techniques that ...


151

Some of my observations: They don't know what they're going into. Most PhD students have some idea of how hard it is to get a job afterwards, but don't actually know. It's similar to how one can imagine what skydiving is like, but don't actually know until after trying it. They're confident they can succeed. PhD students are some of the smartest of their ...


120

Because it's fun! No, really. I went to do a PhD because I thought it was fun. It allowed me to live in an awesome location, travel around the world to conferences and summer schools, to spend years doing exciting research with nice colleagues, and even getting paid for all of it (and in Sweden, the pay is not bad at slightly above the national median ...


111

I don’t have experience in industry myself, but know several people who do (and have made the transition from industry to academia and vice versa). Broadly speaking, getting a CS PhD in the USA with the intent of switching to industry after will result in about $500k in lost wages. This is accounting for about 5 years of PhD salary vs programming salary, ...


107

Though a Ph.D is not necessarily a disadvantage, depending on the field and the nature of the Ph.D, it may also not be as competitive as the equivalent number of years in industry. Think from a perspective of a hiring dev team leader who needs a good systems engineer yesterday to help integrate some obscure API from a vendor into their product. You're ...


107

Legally, you can't be made to sign a retrospective, retroactive contract. Professionally, if your supervisor or the university person responsible for the CASE studentships decided to be obnoxious about it, they could make the completion of your PhD uncomfortable. As long as you don't need the CASE money or the on-site experience, this looks like a useless ...


105

Getting a PhD is not financially irresponsible¹. Your career earnings may be less, or may be more, than without a PhD. Whether this is the case depends on too many factors to be answerable without details. It shouldn't matter too much. If you earn enough to finance the present and future life of yourself and your dependents, then you are not being ...


104

I don't understand most of the current answers, which mostly assume you want technical advice without paying for it, but requiring an NDA. If this is indeed what you want, I agree it's a bad idea. However. You write that this professor has already gone into business. This implies that he has a certain basic understanding of how business works. He probably ...


90

I certainly don't see anything immoral about asking questions. You may want to mention your affiliation, which will clarify the issue and perhaps also help the author give a more useful response. The author doesn't have any particular obligation to respond to your questions or anyone else's, but probably will if they are interesting and well thought out. ...


90

In CS field, an entry-level software engineer in top-tier tech companies (e.g. Google, Facebook, etc.) could earn as much as a 20-year experience professor....Why do so many PhDs still choose to be a professor while they have the choice to go to the industry? First, your assumption is wrong. Most PhDs end up in industry. I don't have any source but I ...


71

The person who wants to go into industry is a different sort of person than one who wants a PhD. That isn't a universal, as some people want to do one to enable or enhance the other, but it is pretty generally true. You are likely a pretty good example yourself, so look at how you differ from those among your peers who chose as you did or otherwise. ...


64

Oh man, where does one begin... I am half-way in to my second postdoc at what I consider to be the best research facility in Northern Europe in my field. So take my advice as such, although where you work does not say so much about you, as one might think. How do I gain back my faith in my PhD degree? Short answer: you don't, as long as you are in ...


60

Let's see: you want the professor to freely give out their trade secrets on their real device, so that you can build a potentially competing device; and you want the professor to sign an NDA on your non-existent device, so that they can give you free technical advice on it? I think that's going to get you a "ha ha ha ... no". I also think you need to ...


59

A personal anecdote. Your mileage may vary. For me, entering the PhD program meant: Stay in the same city as my girlfriend Continue the sport I loved, with my team Sufficient funding to become financially independent of my parents (just...) Automatic deferment from military service (draft) Work with smart people, a camera that could shoot 10M frames per ...


58

This is not a moral grey area - asking is totally okay. In my country (Germany) researchers at public research institutions are even expected to answer. It's called "third mission" (the first two being research and teaching respectively). Besides this "third mission" I shall pursue (helping to bring their research to industry), I would be pleased to learn ...


45

The short answer is that it can matter fairly significantly in where you get your post-doctoral fellowship and eventual professorship, and it will matter very significantly if you choose to follow a career outside of academia. When looking for a job in academia, potential employers will look at many factors, including publication record, research success, ...


44

The current structure of your CV looks like an academic CV to me. You put too much emphasis on the academic credentials. You definitely need to rewrite it. What the industry (not industry research) companies are looking for are your skills and experience. They are not interested in how many publications you have or how many conference talks you gave. They ...


44

You should ask the company where you do your internship. Perhaps they are fine with whatever you want to do. Perhaps they will allow you to use their data but only release summaries, not the raw data. Perhaps they will require you to anonymize it. In addition, how will you do the analysis? Will you take the company's data and transfer it to your own ...


43

First things first - this question is very region- and field-specific, as cultural norms and views of academia differ a lot in different places. Further, this will naturally also be highly employer-specific, as not every recruiter or employer has the same sort of requirements, views and prejudices. Everybody who tells you that there is a hard and fast rule ...


41

I think your question is best rephrased as follows: If someone wants to use my dissertation, would it be ethical for me to ask for a payment? Assuming you are asking about using the intellectual content of your dissertation, the answer is NO. Whether or not that someone is your employer is irrelevant. However, your actual presentation is protected by ...


40

This question seems to be based on a misconception, namely that professors start companies substantially less frequently than they could or should. The vast majority of professors, even in fairly applied areas like computer science (compared with literature, say), are simply not in a position to start companies based on their research. You need a viable ...


40

I think that your best bet is to contact the IP department at the academic institution where you did your PhD: They can inform you about your rights concerning the work you did there as a student Potentially it's also in their interest to get credited for the work done by their PhD students, so they might be your ally in case there is a legal case. Edit (...


39

Yes, some professors are available for consultancy work. Find one or two in your specialty, and approach them: some universities have directories of experts listed by subject, to help you identify suitable researchers. You'll find they're typically lower-priced than the equivalent grade of management consultant, as well as doing better work. However. ...


37

Because we're having too much fun doing research to waste our time making mere money. Lots of professors do start companies based on their research. Especially in engineering, entrepreneurship is one of the signs of a healthy department. But starting and running a company is a tremendous amount of work, requiring a very different set of skills than being ...


37

My interpretation of the situation is this: This is not an academic issue since you are approaching somebody who leads some business with some business-related issue. The fact that that somebody is also a professor and that somebody who you know has a class with this professor seems unrelated. So my advice would be: Handle this as if it were a business ...


37

Things with "no practical relevance" are not necessarily useless. They may just be "waiting for their time." For instance, the phenomenon of ionic liquids was first discovered in the early 1900's, but they didn't catch on economically or industrially until the early 2000's when they were "rediscovered" and brought to prominence as "green solvents." So it's ...


37

Remember that a PhD is intended to be a training position, not a job. Unfortunately, too many supervisors see PhD students as workers rather than as trainees in education. To get excellent PhD students, you need to convince undergrads that they personally will benefit from the training you will provide (rather than just that they will have the 'opportunity' ...


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