Why not do a PhD

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These slides are excerpted from a talk I gave at my alma mater in Feb 2010 to the CS and EE department. I uploaded this excerpt to share with the Edulix community for the thread entitled "What reasons prevent you from pursuing a Ph.D.?" (http://www.edulix.com/forum/polls.php?action=showresults&pid=485)

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Why not do a PhD

  1. Tales & Lessons from a Nomadic Academic Life[Excerpt]<br />NitinMadnani<br />Research Scientist (Text, Language and Computation)<br />Educational Testing Service<br />Princeton, NJ<br />http://www.desilinguist.org<br />
  2. Why NOT do a PhD?<br />Reason #1: Time<br />Reason #2: Employment<br />Reason #3: Salaries<br />Reason #4: Research<br />
  3. Why NOT do a PhD?<br />Reason #1: TIME<br />Source: National Science Foundation Survey of Earned Doctorates for 2003<br />http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf06312/<br />
  4. Why NOT do a PhD?<br />Reason #1: TIME<br />Median CS PhD awardee age is 31.4<br />and Engg. PhD awardee age is 30.5<br />Source: National Science Foundation Survey of Earned Doctorates for 2008<br />http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf10309/<br />
  5. Why NOT do a PhD?<br />Reason #2: Employment<br />Source: PhD Comics, http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=1056<br />
  6. Why NOT do a PhD?<br />Reason #2: Employment<br />Source: PhD Comics, http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=679<br />
  7. Why NOT do a PhD?<br />Reason #3: Salaries<br />Source: National Science Foundation Survey of Earned Doctorates for 2008<br />http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf10309/<br />
  8. Why NOT do a PhD?<br />Reason #3: Salaries<br />+6 years<br />+6 years<br />+9 years (also starting salary cap for most industry jobs)<br />+7 years<br />+8 years<br />Sources: College and University Professional Association for Human Resources Survey, American Association <br />of University Professors Survey, Chronicle of Higher Education Surveyof Graduate Assistants<br />
  9. Why NOT do a PhD?<br />Reason #3: Salaries<br />Do an MBA if you just want to earn money!<br />+6 years<br />+9 years<br />+7 years<br />+8 years<br />PhD = Comfort [+Contentment + Happiness]<br />Sources: College and University Professional Association for Human Resources Survey, American Association <br />of University Professors Survey, Chronicle of Higher Education Surveyof Graduate Assistants<br />
  10. Why NOT do a PhD?<br />Reason #4: Research<br />while (funding == true) {<br /> thesis_topic = find_original_idea();<br /> GOOD_ENOUGH = query(advisor);<br /> if (thesis_topic > GOOD_ENOUGH) {<br /> graduate();<br /> break;<br /> }<br /> else {<br /> years_in_gradschool += 1;<br /> continue;<br /> }<br />}<br />Adapted from PhD Comics, http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=626<br />
  11. Why NOT do a PhD?<br />Reason #4: Research<br />while (funding == true) {<br /> thesis_topic = find_original_idea();<br /> GOOD_ENOUGH = query(advisor);<br /> if (thesis_topic > GOOD_ENOUGH) {<br /> graduate();<br /> break;<br /> }<br /> else {<br /> years_in_gradschool += 1;<br /> continue;<br /> }<br />}<br />Adapted from PhD Comics, http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=626<br />
  12. Why NOT do a PhD?<br />Reason #4: Research<br />while (funding == true) {<br /> thesis_topic = find_original_idea();<br /> GOOD_ENOUGH = query(advisor);<br /> if (thesis_topic > GOOD_ENOUGH) {<br /> graduate();<br /> break;<br /> }<br /> else {<br /> years_in_gradschool += 1;<br /> continue;<br /> }<br />}<br />Adapted from PhD Comics, http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=626<br />
  13. Why NOT do a PhD?<br />Reason #4: Research<br />while (funding == true) {<br /> thesis_topic = find_original_idea();<br /> GOOD_ENOUGH = query(advisor);<br /> if (thesis_topic > GOOD_ENOUGH) {<br /> graduate();<br /> break;<br /> }<br /> else {<br /> years_in_gradschool += 1;<br /> continue;<br /> }<br />}<br />Adapted from PhD Comics, http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=626<br />
  14. Why NOT do a PhD?<br />Reason #4: Research<br />while (funding == true) {<br /> thesis_topic = find_original_idea();<br /> GOOD_ENOUGH = query(advisor);<br /> if (thesis_topic > GOOD_ENOUGH) {<br /> graduate();<br /> break;<br /> }<br /> else {<br /> years_in_gradschool += 1;<br /> continue;<br /> }<br />}<br />Adapted from PhD Comics, http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=626<br />
  15. Why NOT do a PhD?<br />Reason #4: Research<br />while (funding == true) {<br /> thesis_topic = find_original_idea();<br /> GOOD_ENOUGH = query(advisor);<br /> if (thesis_topic > GOOD_ENOUGH) {<br /> graduate();<br /> break;<br /> }<br /> else {<br /> years_in_gradschool += 1;<br /> continue;<br /> }<br />}<br />Adapted from PhD Comics, http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=626<br />
  16. Why NOT do a PhD?<br />Reason #4: Research<br />while (funding == true) {<br /> thesis_topic = find_original_idea();<br /> GOOD_ENOUGH = query(advisor);<br /> if (thesis_topic > GOOD_ENOUGH) {<br /> graduate();<br /> break;<br /> }<br /> else {<br /> years_in_gradschool += 1;<br /> continue;<br /> }<br />}<br />Adapted from PhD Comics, http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=626<br />
  17. Why NOT do a PhD?<br />Reason #4: Research<br />while (funding == true) {<br /> thesis_topic = find_original_idea();<br /> GOOD_ENOUGH = query(advisor);<br /> if (thesis_topic > GOOD_ENOUGH) {<br /> graduate();<br /> break;<br /> }<br /> else {<br /> years_in_gradschool += 1;<br /> continue;<br /> }<br />}<br />Adapted from PhD Comics, http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=626<br />
  18. Why NOT do a PhD?<br />Reason #4: Research<br />while (funding == true) {<br /> thesis_topic = find_original_idea();<br /> GOOD_ENOUGH = query(advisor);<br /> if (thesis_topic > GOOD_ENOUGH) {<br /> graduate();<br /> break;<br /> }<br /> else {<br /> years_in_gradschool += 1;<br /> continue;<br /> }<br />}<br />“THE BIG UNKNOWN”<br />Adapted from PhD Comics, http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=626<br />
  19. On a more serious note …<br />The point of the last few slides was to present the pros and cons of choosing to do a PhD<br />They should inspire thought, not fear<br />Consider all aspects before you decide whether to embark on a PhD<br />All of the reasons not to do a PhD can be overcome (Exhibit A: ME!)<br />Conclusion: A PhD from the US is one of the best learning and rewarding experiences in the world if you make an informed choice to pursue it!<br />

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