Presentation on theme: "Master’s vs. Ph.D.: Which one to choose? How far to go?"— Presentation transcript:
1 Master’s vs. Ph.D.: Which one to choose? How far to go? Kathleen Fisher, Tufts UniversityLinda Apsley, Microsoft
2 Revisiting ChoicesGiven that you are at the end of your first year in either a Ph.D. or MS program, the questions are:Am I in the “right” program for me, based on a better understanding ofWhat I want (what I love / what I dislike) in the graduate school experience?What I want as a future career path?If not, then how do I get onto the “right” track?Carla will talk about the grad school experienceLaura will talk about career considerations in your choice of degree
3 Kathleen’s Story Education B.S. and Ph.D. Stanford University (1991, 1996)PositionsAT&T Labs Research ( )Tufts University ( present)ResearchProgramming Language Theory, Domain-specific languages, ad hoc data managementServiceCRA-W, CRA, SIGPLAN, ACM SGB, JFP,…FamilyMarried to Steve ( )Elaine born (1992)Married to Bob ( present)FunBallroom dancing, studying Italian, traveling, cooking, watching hockeyBut first…introductions of ourselves
4 Linda’s Story Education B.A., Organizational Behavior, BYU (1982) MBA, City Univ. of Seattle (2008)PositionsComm. College CS Part-Time Faculty ( )Tester, Technical Writer, Microsoft ( )Technical Program Manager, Microsoft ( )Group Program Manager, Microsoft ( )Director of Program Management, Microsoft (2008-now)SpecialtiesEnterprise computing: design and deploymentBusiness and technical strategyIncubating new technology and teamsServiceHopper’s, Women of Windows, Boy ScoutsFamilyMarried to Richard ( )Married to John ( now)Three sons (Allan, Patrick, John)Three daughters (Arwyn, Julianna, Suzye)FunBallet, bicycling, cooking, reading
5 Grad School Paths Job industry / startup Reapply -based MS course MS thesis projectSwitchYou are at the end of your 1st year in grad school whether you are in a PhD or MS program at the moment.The first year experience is very similar among most programs – taking grad level coursesDegree programs are about to diverge.PhDFirst yearJob lab / academiacoursework to dissertation
6 Experience of Course-Based Master’s Degree Your educational goal: to acquire more knowledge (breadth & some depth) in the field via coursework.Specialize in CSE courses more than in undergrad programSelect courses to match your interests (and, do well in your courses)Short time to get what you need:Job-hunting soon after starting the programCultivate & extend professional networkReference letters? Future PhD advisers?
7 Experience of Research-Based Master’s Degree Your educational goals:To acquire depth and project skills via Master’s thesis under supervision of advisorTo 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 researchMay result in 0-1 published papers, rather than 3 or moreChoices (of adviser, project, etc.) have lower stakes: You’re committing to 1-2 years, rather than ~5.
8 Experience of Ph.D. Degree Your educational goal:To do original high-impact researchTo learn the skills needed to be a contributing member of the research communityTechnical, soft skills, and cultureLong process (4-6 years), multiple phasesPredictable challenges and stress pointsI Research
9 Grad School Paths Choose advisor Qualifying exams Thesis proposal Submit papersWrite dissertationJob hunt-basedMS courseMS thesis projectThe PhD experience consists of a sequence of hurdles during the years.PhDFirst yearJob lab / academiacoursework to dissertation
10 Experience of the Ph.D. Write & defend thesis Pick advisor, move from coursework to researchReviewer commentsFirst submissionAdvisor stressPick a TopicQualsJob interview invitationsIt’s really more like this.CRA-W Grad Cohort Workshop 2005
11 Lessons from the Roller Coaster The ride is similar for most peopleYou are qualified for the ride. It’s scary for everyone.You aren’t alone. Share your experiences.It takes externally applied energy for the uphillsYour advisor will be a key person (later session on this).Seek support from many sources (technical, emotional)There are a lot of downhill sectionsFrustration & doubt are guaranteed. Things can go wrong.Momentum is importantKeep moving forward. No side trips to distract.
12 Setting Research Goals PhD Research requires redefining successClass performance is not as important as beforeIn research, nobody knows the answer!And half the challenge is in asking good questions!You’re in the pilot seatnot yet sure of your destinationneed a capable crew to help you flyNetwork, mentors, friends.Discourse in graduate school very different from discourse in an undergraduate class. Then, you learnedthe cannon, the wisdom passed down from the sages. Now, it’s normal to pick apart conventional wisdom; indeed it is oftenby working to fix weaknesses in current knowledge that you can make new contributions
13 Career Paths -based MS course MS thesis project PhD First year Development jobs in industry; Create a startup;Project managerResearch in industry or government labs;Project leadership in industry;Create a startup;University research/ teaching-basedMS courseMS thesis projectContext switch to LindaMaybe what you want to do as a career will be a determining factor in your degree choice.PhDFirst yearcoursework to dissertation
14 Career Opportunities with Master’s Degree Types of jobs you can do in industry with a Master’sOperationsConsultingInstall and administer softwareTechnical support/troubleshootingWeb site managementProduct or application developmentDesign, code and/or test new softwareUser interface design, human factors analysis and testWrite technical documentationProgram or product management, marketingProject managementResearch support (very similar to product development)Contribute to prototyping new software ideas and to publicationsList from Hristova/Schultz GC 07
15 Types of Employers of Master’s Degree Holders Information Technology (IT) companiesSoftware or hardware or services companiesStart-upsSpectrum of established companies (small to big)Companies in other industriesBanking, insurance, telecommunications, healthcare, environmental engineering, manufacturing, travel, …EVERY industry needs software engineers todayUniversitiesTypically in support rolesActually, these are employers of MS and PhDs, in general. Sequence isn’t perfect here. But I think we can have it here and refer back to it later.
16 Course vs. Research Master’s Course Master’sBreadth of knowledge may qualify you for marketing, project management, product management rolesBut if that’s what you want, take some business classes!Lack of major project may be a handicap for development rolesResearch Master’sDeep project may qualify you for more interesting development rolesPotentially channeled more into developmentMuch more attractive for a research lab positionThesis will help with publicationsNot sure there’s enough difference to be worth a chart?
17 Career Ladders in Industry TechnicalEntry level: implement parts of products designed by othersMid-level: lead design of product componentsSenior: lead product design and implementationManagement1st line: Direct single project/component to successful conclusionMid-level: oversee several related projectsExecutive: oversee product and corporate strategy
18 One View of the Technical Ladder in Industry LevelContribution and ImpactScope and OwnershipWho Knows You Are a LeaderFellowMajor industry or market impactMajor corporate initiativeCEO knows youDistinguished EngineerMajor group impactMajor group initiativeMany VPs know youSenior Tech. Staff MemberMajor division impactMajor division initiativeYour Sr. VP knows youSeniorMajor line of business (LOB) impactMajor LOB initiativeYour LOB director knows youAdvisoryMajor product impact (or research area)Major product initiativeYour department head knows youStaffMajor department impactMajor department initiativeYour manager knows youEntryMajor team impactMajor team initiativeYour team knows youNeeded? Haven’t addressed the ladder for industry until now… and we do for academia. This is not necessarily part of PhD, though. I’m not sure what is particular for PhD except Research staff roles.
19 Career Opportunities with Ph.D. Degree I Research & Teaching (?)Research or advanced development in industrial research labsDevelopment leadership roles in industryTechnical project management / leadershipAcademic research and teaching in a university as a professor
20 Industry Career: Research and Industry Impact Engage in scientific discovery, collaborate with peers, fund research (but typically later in career, possibly internal funding)May involve university faculty and studentsDevelop creative thinking around technical solutions to problemsTechnology TransferContribute to company’s products, client engagements, open source…Demonstrate strong problem-solving skillsPublish work and engage with academiaServiceDepartmental (hiring committee, e.g)Company-wide (promotion review board)ProfessionalExpected to do all three well!
21 What can I do now to prepare for a job in industry? Complete a project(s)Will make you a more interesting candidateGet an internship(s)Try out a corporate culture, job type, industryExperience counts a lot!Acquire key skillsBuilding your professional network, communication, negotiation, making yourself visibleFind a mentor(s)Provides a useful perspectiveHristova/Schultz GC 07Same argument as for slide #18, but some of this is good to know before the job hunt... And we have the analogous chart for academia, same reasoning.
22 Finding Industry JobsIdentify organizations of interest and do internships – real world and specific organization experience is valuedKnow what positions are within your scope and focus on the right type of position for youPlug into on-campus recruiting at your schoolApply through formal methods, but try to make contact with people who will get your resume into the right handsConferences, conferences, conferences – employers attend conferences specifically to find youNetwork with friends, colleagues, and friends of friends to make contacts and get a foot in the doorConsider startup organizations – higher risk, but greater potential for increasing the scope of your responsibilitiesDemonstrate good communication skills in addition to technical savvyAsk for what you want!Hristova/Schultz GC 07We have too much material – while this is a good chart it’s somewhat off topic, and more pertinent for 3rd years – where, in fact, there is a session. I’d omit this.
23 Academic Career: Research, Teaching and Service engage in scientific discovery, involve graduate and undergraduate students, fund researchTeachingactive teaching, mentoring, advisingServiceDepartmentalUniversityProfessionalNo matter what type of educational instuition you chose to work in, there are 3 functions you must provideExpected to do all three well!
24 Different Types of Colleges Research universities: Ph.D. program - emphasize research – but teaching, service importantColleges/universities: M.S. program- emphasize teaching – but research & service also importantSelective liberal arts colleges: B.S. program – emphasize teaching with research a close second, but service importantTeaching-oriented colleges: B.S. program – emphasize teaching & service but research can be expected
25 Academic Career Ladder Professorial RanksAssistantAssociateFullChaired Professor – endowedAdministrative RanksDepartment Chair, Dean, Provost, PresidentInstructor – teaching & servicePostdoctoral positions - research
26 What can I do now to prepare for an academic job? ResearchApprenticeship: learn from adviser, doing it, and othersHow do ideas come?How to organize research?TeachingTeaching experience, teach some even if don’t have toServiceOrganizing student organizations/support groups – Women in CSWorking on department committeesVolunteering at conferences
27 Moving Between Research Lab and Academia From University to IndustryMust build real systemsEstablish visibility and knowledge in industryFrom Industry to UniversityMust continue publishingEstablish visibility in research community
29 Progressing in Research How to choose good problemsHow to make progressRelax: your adviser often gives you first research problem.Balance: concrete enough to make progress ↔ far-reaching enough to be research.Read: In other papers, think of what the authors didn’t do.Notice: challenges that make your research hard. These may be future research opportunities.Break the big problem into stepsThen break the first few steps into even more stepsEventually: a to-do list becomes a roadmap for what to accomplish each day.Use meetings with your adviser effectively: listen, take notes, follow-up.Extra/hidden slide borrowed from old talk
30 Progressing in Research How to choose good problemsHow to make progressThe real research challenge:Remaining confident, effective and happy while walking along an unmarked path to an unknown destination of unknown payoff !Relax: your adviser often gives you first research problem.Balance: concrete enough to make progress ↔ far-reaching enough to be research.Read: In other papers, think of what the authors didn’t do.Notice: challenges that make your research hard. These may be future research opportunities.Break the big problem into stepsThen break the first few steps into even more stepsEventually: a to-do list becomes a roadmap for what to accomplish each day.Use meetings with your adviser effectively: listen, take notes, follow-up.Extra/hidden slide borrowed from old talk
31 Example of Different Expectations Research Institution:60% - 80% Research10% - 35% Teaching5% - 10% ServiceTeaching-oriented College:% Teaching% Professional Development% ServiceExtra/hidden slide borrowed from old talk
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