If you have enjoyed this thread you may also be interested in reading Simon Barker, who is a PhD student who is also running a business (see Student Entrepreneur: Fives reasons why PhDs are made for business).
I have a slightly different perspective having a BSEE degree and a few decades of experience. I am currently working on a MS in Robotic Engineering part time and have found a few things to be true.
1) Waiting a long time before returning to school is very difficult due to the loss of higher math skills due to non-use. 2) It takes a LONGGGG time part time for a masters degree. 3)It is expensive as many employers do not fully pay for advanced degrees for their workers (and often require the employee to put up the money up front).
Consider the masters while looking for work right post BS degree. If you find a company that you are interested in that pays for advanced degrees then by all means, go to work and continue the degree. If you can't find work (given the economy) consider staying in school and getting the masters. If at all possible, strive to get into internships at companies of interest every summer / winter break. Good luck!
Yo DLaa, you're becoming what is commonly called a "professional student". Get outta that classroom and into the workplace. Experience trumps diplomas/degrees anytime, anywhere. Learning to deal with idiots on the job is an acquired skill that no college can teach.
I don't agree with Frank's comment, I'm a PhD doing product design and development in a company.
It's true many companies won't hire people to do pure research. So my position is embedded software enginner and my main duties are D&D. However, my PhD degree does make me a unique role in the team to do some "Research", such as new algorithm design ...
My suggestion is get some industrial experience first, then you will understand which field you are going to pursue higher degree, and a higher degree in the right field will help your EE career a step higher.
Second rate people tend to hire third and fourth rate employees due to their own insecurity. First rate engineers/managers tend to want to surround themselves with the best and brightest, even if that means they are not the smartest in the room. Advice from small-minded people is spoken from insecurity rather than the benefit of the advised. Pursue/don't pursue your education based upon what you love to do. The money and the happiness will follow.
DLaa, my observation is that most EEs who do product design & development start working after they get their BSEE, then some percentage of them go on to get an MSEE one class at a time and have their employer pay for it. It is almost unheard of to find a PhD doing product design & development -- the PhD degree clearly identifies you as a researcher with a specialized area of expertise, and there aren't nearly as many industry job openings for pure research as there are for product design.
Here is a disadvantage: many companies will consider you to be overqualified for entry-level jobs, especially if the area of specialization of your degree isn't an exact match with what the company needs.
Unless you want to go into pure research or teach, I suggest you work first, then let the company pay for your advanced degree, if you even really need it. Personally, and as an EE Manager, I haven't found that advanced engineering degrees are necessary - it's better to be a generalist. In the few cases where I did hire an MSEE, they would stay for a year or two then leave to try to find a position that fit their specialization.
I would suggest you consider an MBA or MS in Management instead since that will make you more employable in the long run.
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used on the Mars on EE Times Radio. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.