PhD Careers: What is the difference between a Ph.D. and a Master's degree with 5-year experience from an industry perspective?

Updated on : January 17, 2022 by Joe Black



PhD Careers: What is the difference between a Ph.D. and a Master's degree with 5-year experience from an industry perspective?

When I left my old job in Singapore to move to the US, I was in the group of people who interviewed my replacement. We interviewed a mix of masters and PhDs and ended up hiring a master's degree because they had relevant experience. It really depends on the particular job and the particular person.

Sometimes people who spent their entire lives in academia from kindergarten to PhD might have absorbed the attitude that jobs in industry are dumb and boring (I see this a lot in biology, maybe more in Asia and Europe compared to the US). They are actually quite challenging, but the nature of the cha

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When I left my old job in Singapore to move to the US, I was in the group of people who interviewed my replacement. We interviewed a mix of masters and PhDs and ended up hiring a master's degree because they had relevant experience. It really depends on the particular job and the particular person.

Sometimes people who spent their entire lives in academia from kindergarten to PhD might have absorbed the attitude that jobs in industry are dumb and boring (I see this a lot in biology, maybe more in Asia and Europe compared to the US). They are actually quite challenging, but the nature of the challenges is not all that "fun" and "cool" to talk to at the bar with your non-scientist friends. A new PhD with no experience may have trouble understanding what is required.

A person can be really smart and hard-working, but it's a HUGE culture shift and learning curve from working in a small lab and largely on your own project, to working in a company and even a relatively small company where you have to coordinate your project. with a lot of other people. Also the whole QA / QC concept. In academia, the quality of a result is almost 100% confident, there is little or no verification system in routine circumstances. At first, the amount of paperwork you have to do seems like a lot of crap if the purpose is not properly explained to you.

Therefore, the new doctors would require a lot of training. Whereas a new hire who "only" has a master's degree, but has held a job in the industry for a few years, could start working on a project faster, and if you're creative and good at freelancing, you could. do just as well even on a new project.

Here the question is Experience V / s Degree

Industrial experience after the master's degree will give you an edge over a fresh PhD, so you have work experience related to industrial operations.
Industrial research is different from academic research.

Industrial research is product oriented and involves a lot of customization in terms of

  • resource availability
  • time to buy
  • product cost
  • competitive advantage
  • Manufacturing capacity
  • Easy implementation
  • Commercialization

While academic research is more concerned with prototype-based research where your research ends up in the lab. It is proactive in terms of

  • pub
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Here the question is Experience V / s Degree

Industrial experience after the master's degree will give you an edge over a fresh PhD, so you have work experience related to industrial operations.
Industrial research is different from academic research.

Industrial research is product oriented and involves a lot of customization in terms of

  • resource availability
  • time to buy
  • product cost
  • competitive advantage
  • Manufacturing capacity
  • Easy implementation
  • Commercialization

While academic research is more concerned with prototype-based research where your research ends up in the lab. It is proactive in terms of

  • Publications
  • Novelty
  • Cost is not a concern
  • The reproducibility of research results is subject to conditions
  • it does not have to be a positive result
  • it's good even if it doesn't conclude

When a person is recruiting for a research leader position, why MS + 5 years = Ph.D?
Because they care about innovating in new technologies,
recruiters believe that
a 5-year experience with EM will bring the industry expertise that will help develop innovative solutions based on the problems they face in the industry.
A new PhD will bring the latest technological expertise to He has achieved this by studying literature, attending conferences, and writing new research papers.

So I would say that the industry will hire both types of people only if they want to innovate. They don't hire for the daily routine manufacturing work.

No, the original research is the difference.

Five years of work experience does not equal five years of original research, which is equivalent to five years of training. Every professional spends some time on training, usually between 20% and 25% of the time. A PhD student spends 100% of the time even working as a TA.

The PhD process includes mastering a series of concentrations up to the research level, and actually conducting original research at one of these concentrations, thus becoming an expert in the field. There is no guarantee that the work experience of a person with a master's degree

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No, the original research is the difference.

Five years of work experience does not equal five years of original research, which is equivalent to five years of training. Every professional spends some time on training, usually between 20% and 25% of the time. A PhD student spends 100% of the time even working as a TA.

The PhD process includes mastering a series of concentrations up to the research level, and actually conducting original research at one of these concentrations, thus becoming an expert in the field. There is no guarantee that the work experience of a person with a master's degree will make him the expert in the field; in most cases, it is not.

What this means is that if I need an expert in a particular area, I would hire a PhD. However, for the most part, I don't need this level of experience, so I would hire someone who could do the job for a lower salary.

In the US, it is what you can do that matters, not the title next to your name. If your PhD research has industry relevance, you will find an employer who is looking to build something practical from your research. For example, Google grew out of research being done by Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

If your research is too esoteric for the industry, you may find a job that requires your research skills. For example, big data companies are looking for people who can perform statistical analysis and research on data.)

However, you don't have an edge in every industry job. Other employers my

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In the US, it is what you can do that matters, not the title next to your name. If your PhD research has industry relevance, you will find an employer who is looking to build something practical from your research. For example, Google grew out of research being done by Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

If your research is too esoteric for the industry, you may find a job that requires your research skills. For example, big data companies are looking for people who can perform statistical analysis and research on data.)

However, you don't have an edge in every industry job. Other employers may respect your research, but will not value it.

People with a Ph.D. generally have a higher tolerance for frustration, which means they don't give up when something doesn't work after some initial testing. They are more likely to keep looking even if it seems impossible to find a solution.

In finance it is more or less the same. The reason for this is that the time spent in graduate school is counted as "work experience."

I have been successful advising both types of PhDs. students.

  • Younger people may have extra energy and idealism that serve them well. Plus, they haven't softened up - they're still in the college pace of constantly working and thinking hard about 4 challenging topics at once, with fewer family commitments. Some of my most intense and motivated students have been in this category.
  • The (slightly) older ones who have been working in the field have often been exposed to a broader set of ideas, technical methods, best practices, and applications. So they have a better sense of intellectual territory
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I have been successful advising both types of PhDs. students.

  • Younger people may have extra energy and idealism that serve them well. Plus, they haven't softened up - they're still in the college pace of constantly working and thinking hard about 4 challenging topics at once, with fewer family commitments. Some of my most intense and motivated students have been in this category.
  • The (slightly) older ones who have been working in the field have often been exposed to a broader set of ideas, technical methods, best practices, and applications. So they have a better sense of intellectual territory and where they would like to fit into it. (Some of them are so thankful to be back in the ivory tower where it's all about having the right ideas rather than delivering a product tomorrow ... but they also know what those products are and what ideas are important.) Better developed organizational habits and skills for independent living.

Some of these effects may be stronger or weaker for you - know yourself!

Usually, I tell students to take a few years off to see the world outside of academia. Anything from applied research to the Peace Corps. They deserve to know what the outside world is like. Once they step on that Ph.D. conveyor belt, it is difficult to take a break without professional consequences. Now, seeing the world will not necessarily make you more effective on your PhD. students. But it helps them decide if the academy is the best place for them, and if they choose it, they won't regret missing other life experiences.

There are some students who are so passionate about research that they "know" that they will be frustrated doing anything else and shouldn't bother trying. It may be okay for these students to go straight to graduate school. But be careful: in my experience, a lot of really strong American students go straight to the Ph.D. he has a medium doctorate. existential crisis where they consider abandoning. They usually bounce back and stay, and are finally happy that they did ... but I think they must be wondering about missed opportunities (easy to do when frustrated for other reasons).

Personally, I applied to graduate schools in my final year, but then spent 3 years taking travel scholarships (in areas only loosely related to my PhD plans). I have always been grateful for those extremely interesting and culturally engaged years abroad. Afterwards, I was able to reapply and say "You accepted me last time and now my application is even stronger!"

I joined an R&D lab after a postdoc. My postdoc time was added as work experience, my doctorate time was not (which makes sense, considering all the researchers there had a doctorate anyway).

Some of my friends entered more application-oriented positions after their PhD. For them, in general, half or less of their doctorate time was counted as work experience. Therefore, most 5-6 year PhDs were counted as 2-3 years of work experience. Note that I am counting pure real time PhD, not the preparatory phase where you only take graduate classes. The additional 1-2 years of graduate-level classes are simply counted

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I joined an R&D lab after a postdoc. My postdoc time was added as work experience, my doctorate time was not (which makes sense, considering all the researchers there had a doctorate anyway).

Some of my friends entered more application-oriented positions after their PhD. For them, in general, half or less of their doctorate time was counted as work experience. Therefore, most 5-6 year PhDs were counted as 2-3 years of work experience. Note that I am counting pure real time PhD, not the preparatory phase where you only take graduate classes. The additional 1-2 years of graduate-level classes are simply counted as a master's degree.

Sometimes you will be hired at the entry level, especially if your PhD does not have a direct link to your area of ​​work.

My suggestion is that you only do a PhD if you love to do research and then get a research job. Otherwise, you will be 3-4 years behind your peers on the wage curve. Of course, the knowledge and experience you gained from being individually trained by your supervisor could help you get up to speed, but financially, it almost certainly won't be worth it. (Of course, if you were scammed into paying for an online PhD, you won't get the individual training that is the main benefit of a PhD, so not even that.)


Another thing: if you get a research job, you will work almost exclusively with other doctors, so no one is called “dr. so-and-so. "It will feel quite strange to hear someone call you" Dr. ". My former boss (also in research) only called me by that title if he thought I was wrong, as a way of saying" can I remind you that you have a Ph.D. and therefore are you not supposed to make that kind of rookie mistake? ? "

Corollary: if you know someone who introduces himself as “dr. so and so ”, you can be pretty sure you are a doctor or that you had to settle for a company where doctors generally don't want to work. All good doctors went to work in research labs where using that title is rare.


Final note: some German humor, with English subtitles:

My experience may vary a bit, as I do not work at the academy. Instead, I have worked at the same large Fortune 500 company for over 35 years (and counting).

My observation has been that being hired for a job, a PhD (whatever you spell, be it PhD, EdD, DBA, DM or whatever) is not really an advantage to being hired. However, it can be a discriminator when it comes to promotion.

Certainly, there is a prejudice about those with PhD degrees: that they are too theoretical, too arrogant, that they are not willing to do the hard work, and so on. I haven't heard them all, but I do

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My experience may vary a bit, as I do not work at the academy. Instead, I have worked at the same large Fortune 500 company for over 35 years (and counting).

My observation has been that being hired for a job, a PhD (whatever you spell, be it PhD, EdD, DBA, DM or whatever) is not really an advantage to being hired. However, it can be a discriminator when it comes to promotion.

Certainly, there is a prejudice about those with PhD degrees: that they are too theoretical, too arrogant, that they are not willing to do the hard work, and so on. I have not listened to all of them, but to most of them.

On the other hand…

Many of our clients represent the US government and other countries. Their representatives often turn to us for research and development (R&D) and will pay us to work closely with them. In these projects / programs, a Ph.D. degree in physical science or engineering is an advantage. I have also seen that in some R&D work and new product development someone with a doctorate in business (DBA, PhD) often understands how to deal with the complexities of program management, fuzzy requirements in a contract and herding all the cats. they are engineers, accountants, scientists and machinists.

If you are looking for an entry-level job, then a bachelor's degree is your best option. If you are looking for a position of responsibility, and have some practical experience in the field, then a master's degree will be very strong in your favor. A Ph.D. will require you to demonstrate in an interview that you have the intellectual and personal humility to simply buckle up and do the work that is needed, be it research or review of technical documents.

It's not so much about years of experience as it is about publishing and establishing a track record of leadership in your own research. If you were hiring for a position that would normally require a PhD, you would be weighing your CV against that of applicants with PhDs in terms of the number and quality of first-time papers written, evidence that you took thought leadership in the research work, and what else do you bring to the table.

As a government research scientist, I am somewhere between academia and industry (my organization is considered "industry" in some grant schemes, but is considered part of academia by some stakeholders

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It's not so much about years of experience as it is about publishing and establishing a track record of leadership in your own research. If you were hiring for a position that would normally require a PhD, you would be weighing your CV against that of applicants with PhDs in terms of the number and quality of first-time papers written, evidence that you took thought leadership in the research work, and what else do you bring to the table.

As a government research scientist, I am somewhere between academia and industry (my organization is considered "industry" in some grant schemes, but is considered part of academia by some stakeholders).

You would need a pretty compelling reason to hire someone without a Ph.D. rather than an applicant with a Ph.D. for a research scientist position. Depending on the position and their background, that reason could be that it brought with it very strong relationships with key stakeholders, deep insight into a strategic development area for my organization (for example, for some organizations, which could be things like how the science informs policy or how to develop a reliable stream of research consulting income), or a long and reliable track record of impressive research productivity and management.

If you are less than ten years away from earning your bachelor's degree, it is highly unlikely that you will bring any of that. In that case, the only reason you might consider hiring someone without a Ph.D. for a research scientist position would be if it was for a short-term position (like filling a gap while someone was taking maternity leave) and we needed someone. with a set of specific technical skills.

If the job title says a PhD or a Masters or PhD is preferred, they are looking for an applicant who has graduated from a PhD program. That applies to all the coursework, faculty advice, research, and formal rites that the university is authorized to impart to holders of a degree. It is an academically more difficult degree than a master's or master's degree, requires more years and faculty involvement, and is the highest degree any university can offer. The job poster looks for the ideal candidate and person to apply for your position, and can reward that person with a higher starting salary, benefits, and company share.

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If the job title says a PhD or a Masters or PhD is preferred, they are looking for an applicant who has graduated from a PhD program. That applies to all the coursework, faculty advice, research, and formal rites that the university is authorized to impart to holders of a degree. It is an academically more difficult degree than a master's or master's degree, requires more years and faculty involvement, and is the highest degree any university can offer. The job poster looks for the ideal candidate and person to apply for your position, and can reward that person with a higher starting salary, benefits, and company share of the position and formal duties. Although the poster is also willing to screen and interview applicants who have a master's or master's degree, expecting that person will require more years of experience or comparable competence to qualify for the job as a functional position. They can compensate that person with a lower starting salary and benefits, and they can assign tasks that are less difficult and require less responsibility when starting out. For any degree, in addition to the substance learned in the field, the social relationships formed, and the enabling degree for graduates, it is institutional affiliation that companies seek. They want to see graduates with the desired degree from accredited universities, with known programs and expected results for graduation, and from famous schools where that applies to applicants' non-personal credibility. After receiving and interviewing these credentials, it is the individual performance of the person, the experience in the position and the workplace, and the decisions he makes as an employee that defines his contributions. That is different in the institutional context and the policies of a university that has awarded a degree, as every company, business or agency has such policies and expectations of employees written in their manuals or guides for employees. That's a different place of record and credit overall, and it will be combined into any cumulative record of experience, such as on a resume or resume. It is the individual performance of the person, the experience in the position and the workplace, and the decisions he makes as an employee that defines his contributions. That is different in the institutional context and the policies of a university that has awarded a degree, as every company, business or agency has such policies and expectations of employees written in their manuals or guides for employees. That's a different place of record and credit overall, and it will be combined into any cumulative record of experience, such as on a resume or resume. It is the individual performance of the person, the experience in the position and the workplace, and the decisions he makes as an employee that defines his contributions. That is different in the institutional context and the policies of a university that has awarded a degree, as every company, business or agency has such policies and expectations of employees written in their manuals or guides for employees. That's a different place of record and credit overall, and it will be combined into any cumulative record of experience, such as on a resume or resume. business or agency has such employee policies and expectations written in its employee handbooks or guides. That's a different place of record and credit overall, and it will be combined into any cumulative record of experience, such as on a resume or resume. business or agency has such employee policies and expectations written in its employee handbooks or guides. That's a different place of record and credit overall, and it will be combined into any cumulative record of experience, such as on a resume or resume.

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