Masters vs. Ph.D.: Which one to choose? How far to go? Kathleen Fisher, Tufts University Linda...
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Masters vs. Ph.D.: Which one to choose? How far to go? Kathleen Fisher, Tufts University Linda Apsley, Microsoft Slide 2 Revisiting Choices Given that you are at the end of your first year in either a Ph.D. or MS program, the questions are: 1.Am I in the right program for me, based on a better understanding of What I want (what I love / what I dislike) in the graduate school experience? What I want as a future career path? 2.If not, then how do I get onto the right track? Slide 3 Kathleens Story EducationB.S. and Ph.D. Stanford University (1991, 1996) PositionsAT&T Labs Research (1996 - 2011) Tufts University (2011 - present) ResearchProgramming Language Theory, Domain-specific languages, ad hoc data management ServiceCRA-W, CRA, SIGPLAN, ACM SGB, JFP, FamilyMarried to Steve (1990-2000) Elaine born (1992) Married to Bob (2002 - present) FunBallroom dancing, studying Italian, traveling, cooking, watching hockey Slide 4 Lindas Story EducationB.A., Organizational Behavior, BYU (1982) MBA, City Univ. of Seattle (2008) PositionsComm. College CS Part-Time Faculty (1985-1996) Tester, Technical Writer, Microsoft (1997-2000) Technical Program Manager, Microsoft (2000-2002) Group Program Manager, Microsoft (2003-2007) Director of Program Management, Microsoft (2008-now) SpecialtiesEnterprise computing: design and deployment Business and technical strategy Incubating new technology and teams ServiceHoppers, Women of Windows, Boy Scouts FamilyMarried to Richard (1981-1996) Married to John (1997 - now) Three sons (Allan, Patrick, John) Three daughters (Arwyn, Julianna, Suzye) FunBallet, bicycling, cooking, reading Slide 5 Switch Grad School Paths First year MS course MS thesis project PhD -based Job industry / startup Job lab / academia coursework to dissertation Reapply Slide 6 Experience of Course-Based Masters Degree Your educational goal: to acquire more knowledge (breadth & some depth) in the field via coursework. Specialize in CSE courses more than in undergrad program Select courses to match your interests (a nd, do well in your courses) Short time to get what you need: Job-hunting soon after starting the program Cultivate & extend professional network Reference letters? Future PhD advisers? Slide 7 Experience of Research-Based Masters Degree Your educational goals: To acquire depth and project skills via Masters thesis under supervision of advisor To get a taste of research (to decide about eventually pursuing PhD) Research component is similar to Ph.D., but May be more development rather than innovative & deep independent research May result in 0-1 published papers, rather than 3 or more Choices (of adviser, project, etc.) have lower stakes: Youre committing to 1-2 years, rather than ~5. Slide 8 Experience of Ph.D. Degree Your educational goal: To do original high-impact research To learn the skills needed to be a contributing member of the research community Technical, soft skills, and culture Long process (4-6 years), multiple phases Predictable challenges and stress points I Research Slide 9 Grad School Paths First year MS course MS thesis project PhD -based Job lab / academia coursework to dissertation Choose advisor Qualifying exams Thesis proposal Submit papers Write dissertation Job hunt Slide 10 CRA-W Grad Cohort Workshop 2005 Pick advisor, move from coursework to research Pick a TopicFirst submissionReviewer commentsWrite & defend thesisAdvisor stress Job interview invitations Experience of the Ph.D. Quals Slide 11 Lessons from the Roller Coaster The ride is similar for most people You are qualified for the ride. Its scary for everyone. You arent alone. Share your experiences. It takes externally applied energy for the uphills Your advisor will be a key person (later session on this). Seek support from many sources (technical, emotional) There are a lot of downhill sections Frustration & doubt are guaranteed. Things can go wrong. Momentum is important Keep moving forward. No side trips to distract. Slide 12 Setting Research Goals Youre in the pilot seat not yet sure of your destination need a capable crew to help you fly Network, mentors, friends. PhD Research requires redefining success Class performance is not as important as before In research, nobody knows the answer! And half the challenge is in asking good questions! Slide 13 Career Paths First year MS course MS thesis project PhD -based coursework to dissertation Development jobs in industry; Create a startup; Project manager Research in industry or government labs; Project leadership in industry; Create a startup; University research/ teaching Slide 14 Career Opportunities with Masters Degree Types of jobs you can do in industry with a Masters Operations Consulting Install and administer software Technical support/troubleshooting Web site management Product or application development Design, code and/or test new software User interface design, human factors analysis and test Write technical documentation Program or product management, marketing Project management Research support (very similar to product development) Contribute to prototyping new software ideas and to publications Slide 15 Types of Employers of Masters Degree Holders Information Technology (IT) companies Software or hardware or services companies Start-ups Spectrum of established companies (small to big) Companies in other industries Banking, insurance, telecommunications, healthcare, environmental engineering, manufacturing, travel, EVERY industry needs software engineers today Universities Typically in support roles Slide 16 Course vs. Research Masters Course Masters Breadth of knowledge may qualify you for marketing, project management, product management roles But if thats what you want, take some business classes! Lack of major project may be a handicap for development roles Research Masters Deep project may qualify you for more interesting development roles Potentially channeled more into development Much more attractive for a research lab position Thesis will help with publications Slide 17 Career Ladders in Industry Technical Entry level: implement parts of products designed by others Mid-level: lead design of product components Senior: lead product design and implementation Management 1 st line: Direct single project/component to successful conclusion Mid-level: oversee several related projects Executive: oversee product and corporate strategy Slide 18 One View of the Technical Ladder in Industry LevelContribution and ImpactScope and OwnershipWho Knows You Are a Leader FellowMajor industry or market impact Major corporate initiative CEO knows you Distinguished Engineer Major group impactMajor group initiativeMany VPs know you Senior Tech. Staff Member Major division impactMajor division initiativeYour Sr. VP knows you SeniorMajor line of business (LOB) impact Major LOB initiativeYour LOB director knows you AdvisoryMajor product impact (or research area) Major product initiativeYour department head knows you StaffMajor department impactMajor department initiative Your manager knows you EntryMajor team impactMajor team initiativeYour team knows you Slide 19 Career Opportunities with Ph.D. Degree Research or advanced development in industrial research labs Development leadership roles in industry Technical project management / leadership Academic research and teaching in a university as a professor I Research & Teaching (?) Slide 20 Industry Career: Research and Industry Impact Research Engage in scientific discovery, collaborate with peers, fund research (but typically later in career, possibly internal funding) May involve university faculty and students Develop creative thinking around technical solutions to problems Technology Transfer Contribute to companys products, client engagements, open source Demonstrate strong problem-solving skills Publish work and engage with academia Service Departmental (hiring committee, e.g) Company-wide (promotion review board) Professional Expected to do all three well! Slide 21 What can I do now to prepare for a job in industry? Complete a project(s) Will make you a more interesting candidate Get an internship(s) Try out a corporate culture, job type, industry Experience counts a lot! Acquire key skills Building your professional network, communication, negotiation, making yourself visible Find a mentor(s) Provides a useful perspective Slide 22 Finding Industry Jobs Identify organizations of interest and do internships real world and specific organization experience is valued Know what positions are within your scope and focus on the right type of position for you Plug into on-campus recruiting at your school Apply through formal methods, but try to make contact with people who will get your resume into the right hands Conferences, conferences, conferences employers attend conferences specifically to find you Network with friends, colleagues, and friends of friends to make contacts and get a foot in the door Consider startup organizations higher risk, but greater potential for increasing the scope of your responsibilities Demonstrate good communication skills in addition to technical savvy Ask for what you want! Slide 23 Academic Career: Research, Teaching and Service Research engage in scientific discovery, involve graduate and undergraduate students, fund research Teaching active teaching, mentoring, advising Service Departmental University Professional Expected to do all three well! Slide 24 Different Types of Colleges Research universities: Ph.D. program - emphasize research but teaching, service important Colleges/universities: M.S. program- emphasize teaching but research & service also important Selective liberal arts colleges: B.S. program emphasize teaching with research a close second, but service important Teaching-oriented colleges: B.S. program emphasize teaching & service but