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Robotics Developer
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re: Masters and PhD degrees worth it?
Robotics Developer   12/8/2010 3:13:52 AM
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One advantage of getting the masters up front is that you would be in a position to teach at a number of colleges/universities and could then either continue on your PhD (aided by the school) or look into grants/research while teaching. It gives you another option..

old account Frank Eory
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re: Masters and PhD degrees worth it?
old account Frank Eory   12/7/2010 10:19:44 PM
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DF, just as every individual is different, I suspect that the situation also varies from one company to another, and it wouldn't surprise me if my experiences were quite different from those of other people in other companies and/or countries. The product development teams I have worked on have always consisted of BSEEs and MSEEs. When PhDs have gotten involved in those developments, it was usually on a temporary consulting basis to help solve a problem, and then they go back to their regular duties, which mostly involve research and writing patent applications. From some of the other comments, it is clear that there are PhDs out there that work on design & development teams, writing & debugging RTL or software, or designing analog circuits, running simulations, etc. and trying to meet product rollout schedules. uzkw mentioned that he does D&D work -- what some might say is "BSEE or MSEE work" -- but his PhD gives him a unique role on the team, like the ability to develop new algorithms. That is refreshing to hear, and I suspect his team is glad he brings that extra capability to the table...and gets his hands dirty too.

DF0
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re: Masters and PhD degrees worth it?
DF0   12/7/2010 9:23:35 PM
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Hi Frank, As a student almost done with his Ph.D., I find your comments interesting -- are Ph.D.'s really that "prima donna"? I always enjoy getting my hands dirty, and I know a fair number of Ph.D.'s who also do.

jjdraw
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re: Masters and PhD degrees worth it?
jjdraw   12/7/2010 5:31:13 PM
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yup, seems the less you do for humanity, the more you can make. Sports, entertainers, movie stars, or a totally brain-dead TV political talking head, all make lots of cash, While anything in science, physics, or math gets you barley above average middle-class pay. a county road worker gets more in salary/benefits than an engineer after your working years.

Erik32
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re: Masters and PhD degrees worth it?
Erik32   12/7/2010 12:55:00 AM
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I am a Ph.D. currently working in development, so I feel the need to add my two cents. If you want to do research, either in academia or industry, then you want to get a Ph.D. So the big question is do you want to make a career out of research? The biggest benefits I see are the high degree of autonomy and the opportunity you get to make a permanent mark on your field. The downside is that research is stressful, because you never know how things are going to turn out, and it requires a lot of self-discipline to keep at it every day. You also have to spend a considerable amount of time justifying your work, in order to keep your funding. Furthermore, it is good if you like writing because you're going to have to do a lot of it. For me, I ultimately decided not to stay in research (at least for now), because I enjoy development more. Financially I'm probably at least as well off though as I would have been without the Ph.D., because my company started me off at a pretty high salary level. I would have been very unlikely to have obtained this salary after six years at the company, rather than getting a Ph.D. On the question of whether to go into industry first: The upside to going into industry is that it may make you a better researcher, because you will be more grounded in reality and it can help you build the discipline needed to work with a high degree of autonomy. The downside is that once you have a Ph.D., no one is going to give you any extra money or perks because of your earlier industrial experience.

old account Frank Eory
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re: Masters and PhD degrees worth it?
old account Frank Eory   12/5/2010 11:17:18 PM
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ukzw, from my expericence, you are a rare individual. Despite having been educated by many PhD-degreed professors, my experience with PhDs in the workplace has been mostly limited to "consultants" -- experts who tell the rest of us what needs to be done, in case we didn't already know, but who generally don't get their hands dirty with running tools, debugging errors and getting working products out the door on schedule. I only bring this up because DLaa in another thread mentioned that his interest is in designing the next generation of medical electronics devices, and my experience as a key member of teams designing many electronics products is that the engineers doing that actual work rarely have more than a MSEE and in many cases just a BSEE, and I can't think of a single project where we said, "wow, that guy with the PhD really saved us on this project." Most likely that is because the guys with the PhDs tend to work mostly in the research labs, developing technolgies we may or may not need in a few years, whereas the product development teams are more focused on "this chip has to tape out before the end of the year, and it has to be right the first time." It should be no surprise that among us working EEs down in the trenches, the P in PhD often stands for "prima donna." Now let the flames begin :)

Electrical Engineer
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re: Masters and PhD degrees worth it?
Electrical Engineer   12/5/2010 6:13:59 PM
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I mean it is very difficult to get a professor position! About MS degree, I think it is good idea to get one. It is not because most jobs require it. It is just because everybody has BS nowaday. MS degree at least can make you standout when you look for an job. MS degree does not take long to get it anyway!

Electrical Engineer
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re: Masters and PhD degrees worth it?
Electrical Engineer   12/5/2010 6:06:50 PM
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Unless you are doing research job in big companies, there are no need PhD degree. PhD degree will be see as overquality. If you want to be an University Professor, PhD is required. But it is very different to get a talent! I worked with some PhD and they are overquality for the jobs. Some of them are doing BS jobs. I would say unless you really love school, what you study or you are exceptional smart you know you are going to change the world and/or get Nobel prize. You don't care much about money since most PhD don't make much more than MS. Tt may not worth the time and effort to get the PhD. Nowaday many EE jobs are moving to Asia, by the time you graduate from PhD, I am worried ..... So, it is better to think about "alternative" career path. But this is different subject.

_hm
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re: Masters and PhD degrees worth it?
_hm   12/4/2010 1:20:26 AM
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Master's degree is time bound. It does not take that much amount of effort and its reward are clear. You should do it after your UG study. However, once you do your Master, you get one year or little more to decide for PhD. You may be able to answer to yourself. My suggestion is, after Master's, work for four to five years in industry in field of your interest. Also search and communicate for suitable Professor as your guide. Talk to him for doing PhD under his able guidance. Selecting professor and area of reseaarch is the most important aspect in doing PhD. Also, your Prof. should have current interest and knowledge in same field and should also have facility to conduct your experiment along with other expenses. Once you get all this, again take final decision and plung into it. PhD is not time bound program and its result depends on your interest, interest and guidance of you professor along with peers in your depratment and university. You should be ready for three to seven years of work. PhDjustiYou sohuld

zeeglen
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re: Masters and PhD degrees worth it?
zeeglen   12/3/2010 6:46:31 PM
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Good observation, JJ. But a 2nd degree in a different field in addition to a BSEE can make one more employable in today's economy. Having EE along with Biology/Chemistry or similar gets you into the medical devices field, your design efforts will benefit humanity. You will not get rich. Having EE along with an MBA gets you into engineering business management, your efforts will pay a higher salary. You will probably not actually design anything useful to humanity, your underlings will do the real work. Having EE along with a law degree gets you into engineering litigation, you can sue big corporations over engineering patents and you will become incredibly wealthy. You will be of no use whatsoever to humanity.

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