File APIs for Java Developers
Manipulate DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF and many others from your application.
http://aspose.com/file-tools
The moose likes Jobs Discussion and the fly likes Anyone considering a PhD in computer sciences any more? Big Moose Saloon
  Search | Java FAQ | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login


Win a copy of Android Security Essentials Live Lessons this week in the Android forum!
JavaRanch » Java Forums » Careers » Jobs Discussion
Bookmark "Anyone considering a PhD in computer sciences any more?" Watch "Anyone considering a PhD in computer sciences any more?" New topic
Author

Anyone considering a PhD in computer sciences any more?

Aruna Raghavan
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 14, 2002
Posts: 194
Hi,
That is the question. Some how, I am having a hardtime believing that IT industry is so bad that there is no hope left. I think that companies will always need leader, experts and architects that can help them through major decisions and projects. This is true regardless of where the project is actually being implemented.
What do you think?


Aruna A. Raghavan<br />SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD
Pradip Bhat
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 04, 2002
Posts: 149
I think Phd/research in science/Computers/Engg. is independent of market condition/wall street.Ofcourse I see the reduction in the people applying for BS/MS in computer science.


Yeshwantpur
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
It is true. But understand that the difference between a PhD and MS and far far greater then the difference between a MS and BS.
A masters degree just gives you more experience/knowledge/trainging in a broad sense. A PhD gives you extremely detailed knowledge in a very limited area. You get hired for more specialized work, and the work is usually of a different nature then that of most software developers.
--Mark
Vasudha Deepak
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 15, 2002
Posts: 86
I am considering an MS in Computer Science.Is an online MS as valuable as attending classes?
Any opinions about MS in Computer and Information Systems?
Need some suggestions before taking major decisions.
Thanks,
Vasudha


IBM Certified Developer -XML and Related Technologies(141)<br />SCJP2 SCWCD
Aruna Raghavan
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 14, 2002
Posts: 194
Vasudha,
I assume that you live in US. I personally am not a big fan of online degrees. If I have to spend 18 months doing a masters, I would go for a real university.
Aruna.
jayanti Chakravarthi
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 20, 2002
Posts: 3
Vasudha,
It really depends on your present situation. If you have experience and want to complement your experience with MS degree then you can go for Online/distance education. If you dont have professional experience, I would suggest you to go for full time MS.
I have done Masters in CS through distance education ( school in US). I had to write some programs ( in C) for some of the subjects and thats it.

Hope this helps.
Good Luck
Jayanti
Vasudha Deepak
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 15, 2002
Posts: 86
Thanks Aruna and Jayanti.
I have 4+ yrs of IT experience,but since I am not working right now and really need to add on to my career profile,so I decided to go for MS.
Jayanti,which university did you choose to pursue your MS?
Vasudha Deepak
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 15, 2002
Posts: 86
Do you think it would be a good idea to go for MS in Computer and Information Systems since it has few business courses or just continue with CS?
Thanks,
Vasudha
John Coxey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 24, 2000
Posts: 503
Aruna Raghavan:
- I have been debating whether or not to continue with my PhD-Computer Science studies. I already have a year under my belt back in 1999.
- However, as I look back. I don't think monetarily, that the PhD Comp Sci degree will benefit me as much as 3 to 5 yrs of work experience.
- I think the PhD degree would help me land a research position with a univerity - but this is not the path I wish to take.
-------
- That being said. Rather than go to work and come home to the TV, I am instead pursuing an associates degree in nursing.
- I work full-time 40-50 hours/week - so will be a challenge to get nursing degree while maintaining employment. In addition, I have to take my clinicals (hospital experience) in Syracuse, NY.
This means that I fly from Evansville, IN to Syracuse, NY every other weekend. No hopsitals or colleges in my area offer weekend clinical/hospital training experience.
-----
This will take about 3 to 5 yrs to complete. I will take the non-nursing classes here at a community college, which makes life a little easier than all the traveling.
-----
I am just getting into the nursing field, and one of the first priorities is to get CPR certification. So I am taking CPR classes on Mar 2nd.
-----
My goal is to eventually work full-time computer science with part time nursing.
Someday - I would like to get BS in nursing then go for Nurse Anesthesiologist. Then I would leave compsci and go into nursing full-time.
My overall goal is to be a Nurse Anesthesiologist for 6 months out of the year - and then fish the other 6 months.
-----
John Coxey
(jpcoxey@aol.com)


John Coxey
Evansville, Indiana, USA
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 15958
    
  19

I'd say it depends on which country you will be working in. Outside a few "elite" areas, I don't think it ever made a difference in the US (except maybe as a liability).
However, in India, that's another story. After all, we're constantly being bombarded in the US of how wonderful Indian talent is, that you get all those people with advanced degrees for peanuts (etc. etc. etc.). If there's any truth to the rumor, that would imply that the more education the better over there.
Now of course, in absolute dollar terms, I doubt you could do as well with a PhD working in Bangalore as you could with a BS (or even less) in the US. But then again, that supposes that one can even get a job in the US. I'm still trying to replace the one I lost 2 years ago, and it's not like I am considered mediocre or overpriced.


Customer surveys are for companies who didn't pay proper attention to begin with.
Fred Grott
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 05, 2002
Posts: 346
Originally posted by John Coxey:
Aruna Raghavan:
- I have been debating whether or not to continue with my PhD-Computer Science studies. I already have a year under my belt back in 1999.
- However, as I look back. I don't think monetarily, that the PhD Comp Sci degree will benefit me as much as 3 to 5 yrs of work experience.
- I think the PhD degree would help me land a research position with a univerity - but this is not the path I wish to take.
-------
- That being said. Rather than go to work and come home to the TV, I am instead pursuing an associates degree in nursing.
- I work full-time 40-50 hours/week - so will be a challenge to get nursing degree while maintaining employment. In addition, I have to take my clinicals (hospital experience) in Syracuse, NY.
This means that I fly from Evansville, IN to Syracuse, NY every other weekend. No hopsitals or colleges in my area offer weekend clinical/hospital training experience.
-----
This will take about 3 to 5 yrs to complete. I will take the non-nursing classes here at a community college, which makes life a little easier than all the traveling.
-----
I am just getting into the nursing field, and one of the first priorities is to get CPR certification. So I am taking CPR classes on Mar 2nd.
-----
My goal is to eventually work full-time computer science with part time nursing.
Someday - I would like to get BS in nursing then go for Nurse Anesthesiologist. Then I would leave compsci and go into nursing full-time.
My overall goal is to be a Nurse Anesthesiologist for 6 months out of the year - and then fish the other 6 months.
-----
John Coxey
(jpcoxey@aol.com)

John, I am in Indian and one point was purusuing both undergrad and grad degrees at Purudue in Molecular Science..
Have you tired the Hospitals in Indianapolis..I know five years aog they offering clinical training..My cousing jsut finished her training in Radiology not too long ago na dhad to attend wekend clinical traingin inn the same area..


MobileBytes blog - Sharing Technology - My Programming Knols
Pradip Bhat
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 04, 2002
Posts: 149
This institute from Hyderabad offers Phd program where you do research in this Inst and some universities like CMU,Harvard etc at the same time.Only the 'problem' is selection crireria.AFAI remember, last year for BS course, there were 12,000 people competing for 60 seats. :roll:
Jon McDonald
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 02, 2001
Posts: 167
I have read in this thread and others about people posting concerning the monetary value (or lack there of) of a PhD as opposed to a Masters Degree. I think most people are missing a crucial aspect to this.
In my opinion the real monetary value of a PhD isn't in the comercial world, it is in the academic world. Let me explain. In most of the universities I've seen having a PhD or at least being in a PhD program is a requirement if one wants to teach.
Now many people (especially college professors) complain about how little money they make. This may be true when one compares the annual salary of a university CS teacher with a senior level software engineer who was working in the real world while the professor was in school getting his PhD.
What most people fail to compare is the HOURLY salary of a college professor compared to someone working in the commercial field. Think about this: A college professor usually only has to teach about 4 classes per semester (at the university my mother teaches at they dropped it down to 3!). Thats 12 hours per week. They have to have office hours for about 4-5 hours per week. Lets say they have a 2 hour meeting every week. That totals to 18-19 hours. Lets just say
20 hours per week. Also they get a week off for spring break, and at least 2 off for christmas break. Plus they get over 2 months off for the summer.
My CS professor at the university I went to told me that the department required that he attend 1 conference a year and either publish 1 or 2 articles or give a presenation at a conference.
After he created an answer key for test and assignments, most of the grading of homework and exams were done by the teaching assistants.
My mother has been a college professor for over 25 years. In that time she often lamented about how much more money than her my father (who is a surgeon) and her sister (who is a corporate attorney) make. When we did the math of comparing how much she makes an hour considering how much she works and how much my dad and my aunt made, my mother (the lowly college professor) beat both of their hourly salaries easily.
Most important to me, the research she does and the articles she writes always concern topics that she is really interested in. When was the last time any of our project managers came up to us and said "Hey, why don't you tell me what you are interested in and just work on that."
So if making the most money possible is your main concern, you probably still want to stay in the commercial sector. But if maximizing your cash return on work hours invested while having more free time and a more flexible lifestyle is more important you may wish to look into an academic career and the PhD that is necessary for it.
Just Some Thoughts,
Jon
[ February 05, 2003: Message edited by: Jon McDonald ]
[ February 05, 2003: Message edited by: Jon McDonald ]

SCJP<br/>
"I study politics and war that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy in order to give their children a right to study painting poetry and music."<br />--John Adams
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Good points Jon, but there's another point implicit in your comments. An academic career is very different then one in industry.
--Mark
John Coxey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 24, 2000
Posts: 503
Jon McDonald:
- You forgot about the hours you devote to research. This is the killer.
- The professors at both Univ of Pgh and Lehigh University (where I went), put in 60+ hour weeks with research.
- In addition to the course load and regular office hours, these folks act as dept. chairs, or committee members --- even more meetings. They also attend PhD dissertations.
- You don't just walk into a PhD dissertation without doing some background reading on the material.
- Being a college prof. is NOT a 20-25 hour a week job.
John Coxey
(jpcoxey@aol.com)
Aruna Raghavan
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 14, 2002
Posts: 194
Hi All,
Thanks for your thoughts. I am a US citizen and live in Minneapolis. I went to University of Minnesota for my masters.
I have been debating for a while if more formal education is really necessary for me. I decided to do certifications in stead for the time being.
Jason Kretzer
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2001
Posts: 280
Jon,
You must also realize that you are talking about professors at large(ish) universities. If you teach at one of the smaller schools, you will only need to put in 25-30 hours per week since they are not big enough to get research grants or even offer degrees higher than a BS/BA.
[ February 06, 2003: Message edited by: Jason Kretzer ]

Jason R. Kretzer<br />Software Engineer<br />System Administrator<br /><a href="http://alia.iwarp.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://alia.iwarp.com</a>
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Well prof hours vary. You can work at a small school and get an easy job. Once you get tenure, you can get an easy job anywhere. But getting tenure, especially at a big school, is tough.
At MIT (which granted, is on the extreme end of the spectrum), I have heard they hire 3 prof's for every tenure position. Most jr prof's work 60 hours a week (it's not unusual to find them in their office very late at night). There's a business school up the river from me where I see professors put in less then 40 a week.
There's also a question of where you want to place your emphasis: teaching, research/publishing, administration. Each has differing amounts of hours and each lend themselves to different committments over time (e.g. the 5th time you teach a class, you don't have to do much preparation for it).
--Mark
Abadula Joshi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 01, 2002
Posts: 126
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
It is true. But understand that the difference between a PhD and MS and far far greater then the difference between a MS and BS.
A masters degree just gives you more experience/knowledge/trainging in a broad sense. A PhD gives you extremely detailed knowledge in a very limited area. You get hired for more specialized work, and the work is usually of a different nature then that of most software developers.
--Mark

That's true. But, don't think the job is guaranteed even if you have a PhD degree in CS. If your thesis topic is related to NP complete, mathematical work on some God-know weird graph algorithm, then you better be REALLY sharp to secure a research job in some famous lab or university; otherwise you may end up with going to industry and you may feel uncomfortable because that's not what you really enjoy doing.
In many cases, people think the more education you get, the more you will contribute to society. That's a yes and no answer. Academy and Industry utilize different ways in thinking and doing things. Even engineering is different from science. A brilliant scientist/professor can be mediocre if he is wrongly put in industry field, but an experienced IT architect may not have any spark of science imagination or creativity.
Jon McDonald
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 02, 2001
Posts: 167
Good points all around!
Admittedly, most of my experience has been in either small (non-research oriented) state and private schools and High caliber schools with very small CS departments.
The school I went to had a killer international relations program and I know that those teachers were presured to publish constantly. However, the CS department (at the time I went there) was terribly small, so it seems like the research presure wasn't put on them as intensely yet. Wait, I don't think even that statement is correct when I think about some of my CS profs who were leaders in their field. These folks published like mad.
Well, looking at it that way, teaching probabably isn't as easy as I made it out to be in my previous post. I guess I was just showing my bias as far as work enviornments. In the next 2 or 3 years, if I don't go the entreprenuer route, I will probably get on a professorship career track.
Speaking of that, have any of you thought of, or actually done, some part time university teaching. I notice in a lot of the university evening programs that the folks teaching the CS courses don't necessarily have PhDs. Many just have Masters degrees (I've even seen a few with only BS/BAs). Might be an interesting way to see if teaching is right for me.
Thanks for the responses,
Jon
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Jon McDonald:
Speaking of that, have any of you thought of, or actually done, some part time university teaching. I notice in a lot of the university evening programs that the folks teaching the CS courses don't necessarily have PhDs. Many just have Masters degrees (I've even seen a few with only BS/BAs). Might be an interesting way to see if teaching is right for me.

I haven't (aside from TAing in grad school, and helping to teach a small week-long course at MIT), but I have many friends who have. Community colleges definately take people with just a masters degree. So do some small schools. They are also happy to take people from industry to teach class with more practical focus, e.g. building e-commerce sites.

--Mark
Abadula Joshi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 01, 2002
Posts: 126
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:

I haven't (aside from TAing in grad school, and helping to teach a small week-long course at MIT), but I have many friends who have. Community colleges definately take people with just a masters degree. So do some small schools. They are also happy to take people from industry to teach class with more practical focus, e.g. building e-commerce sites.

--Mark

That's absoultely true. Actually many professors can't teach such "building e-commerce site" courses... We had a professor teaching automata and algorithm for 30 years and his research doesn't really require him to use any computer physically. I am serious. All he needs is pen and paper, of course he uses computer to edit file and send emails. On the other hand he is so smart that almost nobodys understands what he writes.. Once I saw he got frustrated for half an hour when he used Microsoft Word and eventually the secretary saved him...
Jane Somerfield
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 20, 2002
Posts: 193
"Computer Science" should be renamed to
"Computer Art". What we are talking about
in this site (javaranch, or maybe others)
is no science at all.
I think all the software subjects are arts
with some logic. You will always find people
with a math Ph.D are much better than
those only have a Computer "Science" background
in Universities. Rules of science are created by GOD so they are never changed.
Rules of software (j2ee, .net, C/C++, ...)
are created by human so they are changed every six months. There should be no Ph.D in Computer
Science. People want a Ph.D in software area should do a Math or Physics Ph.D. because thees
are the degrees that train the way of logic
thinking.
Pradip Bhat
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 04, 2002
Posts: 149
Doing Phd in Math/Physics for the sake of doing work in software doesn't make much usage to me.If you see the some of the pioneers ,very few have Phd in Math/Physics/CS(with exception of ACM medals ,many of the recievers have CS Phds).As you have rightly stated,Computer Science is man made unlike other sciences and is more of art/creativity rather than Laws/Theorems.Conversation with Virtual Reality guru:
Jaron Lanier
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Jane Smith:
"Computer Science" should be renamed to
"Computer Art". What we are talking about
in this site (javaranch, or maybe others)
is no science at all.
I think all the software subjects are arts
with some logic. You will always find people
with a math Ph.D are much better than
those only have a Computer "Science" background
in Universities. Rules of science are created by GOD so they are never changed.

Actually, rule sof computer science are also fairly immutable (Godel's imcompleteness theorem aside). If you study computer science, you'll find everything is done using mathematical proofs.

Originally posted by Jane Smith:
Rules of software (j2ee, .net, C/C++, ...)
are created by human so they are changed every six months. There should be no Ph.D in Computer Science

As I repeatedly say:
Computer Science != Software Engineering
There should most certainly be degrees in computer science; but both academia and industry must recognize that a different degree program is necessary to produce good software engineers.

--Mark
Jim Baiter
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 05, 2001
Posts: 532
But why not just go with (Applied) Mathematics when it is more established and has more versatility? A good analyst/topologist/algebraist can be useful in any science.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Jim Baiter:
But why not just go with (Applied) Mathematics when it is more established and has more versatility? A good analyst/topologist/algebraist can be useful in any science.

You can say the same thing of physicists. If you're doing theory it's pure math anyway. (Walking into the Center for Theoretical Physics at MIT was always kinda eerie; it was very quite, and there were no fancy pieces of lab equiptment, just a bunch of black boards everywhere.) So why don't they get math degress? Why? because they like physics. They like being "grounded" in the physics domain with physics problems. The same is true for CS. Sure, you can just look at raw graph theory, but perhaps you find it more interesting to consider graph theory as applied to network topologies.

--Mark
 
Consider Paul's rocket mass heater.
 
subject: Anyone considering a PhD in computer sciences any more?
 
Similar Threads
Has-A doubt
Are calculators allowed on the exam?
AWT Doubt
JSP doubt
any problems with the upgrade?