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Masters Discussion Forum

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This Category:   PostgraduateForum.com > PhD Advice / Support


Teaching/Academy vs Industry

User: mcanhisares - 13 September 2016 15:58

Hello guys,

(Please excuse my english skills, been a while since I last had to write in proper english :P)
I do realize this is a very recurrent topic, but still I had to ask :D

I am currently an undergrad 19 yr old single student at Brazil, studying at the top research university in my country, working full time during my studies, in order to pay/help paying my bills.
I have relatives living on Canada and I plan to move to Canada at the end of my studies, but I am having second thoughts on WHEN I should effectively END my studies here...

I've always been so sure about working at the industry until my older days, mostly because of my parents and siblings influence. However, lately, I've been thinking and having second thoughts about this, mostly because I'm getting closer to my uni professors.
Here in Brazil, most uni professors are teachers and researchers at the same time, and, because of that, they have a pretty flexible schedule, mostly no pressure from their "managers"; a pretty good weekday life, compared to the one I saw my parents have.

So, I have been thinking, when I get older and want to have a family and all that kind of stuff, I am pretty sure I would like to have an professor-kind-of-life... And after lots of thoughts, I'm sure I want to get a Master's and a PhD so I can be able to pursue that Professor job (also, I'm pretty aware of the challenges of an researcher life and I'm sure I would enjoy it).

My main dilemma lies on whether I should do the full chain of studies while I'm young or if I'm better off spending my time on Masters, working on the industry and (hopefuly) getting loads of money (I enjoy it aswell) and getting my PhD later, on my 30's.

Anyone has experienced this? What are your guys thoughts on my situation?
Thanks in advance!

User: kikothedog - 13 September 2016 16:28

If you feel able to continue with your studies through phd then get an industry job before returning to academia or simply stay and work your way to Professor if possible (job availability) good luck!

User: fallenonion - 14 September 2016 21:40

As someone in their thirties currently looking to embark on a phd, I would say do one when you're younger. There's more to consider when you're older - partner, kids, mortgage, aged parents. The danger with working is, you get used to the money. Time moves pretty fast. I did my degree, lived abroad, tried one career, then another, found a job I liked and stayed in that whilst doing my masters part time etc. That's a lot of years gone when really, I think I should have done it sooner. Everyone's different though.

User: Ghost_Town - 16 September 2016 21:41

It all depends.
I believe you should have passion for teaching if you want to work in academia. It's not only research, but a lot of teaching as well.
In my case I knew for sure that this is not my thing and never wanted to work in academia.

Industry: it depends a lot on a particular company and your field. I work in chemical industry and this field is declining, really hard to find new industrial job in the US. Not so easy to change company. I wish I could jump from one company to another that will be better fit, but these jobs are scarce and it is luxury changing jobs in this field, especially for PhD.

Yes, industry gives better pay in general. But it also depends on a company. Bigger companies pay better, but salary for entry level PhD in smaller companies is pretty much the same as for assistant professor in academia.

The main disadvantage in academia: long career growth. It takes many years to grow from assistant professor to full professor. In industry you can become R&D manager much faster. It also depends on a company and your personality though. Another advantage of industry: better choice of geography. In academia chances are high that you will have to work in a middle of nowhere. At least this is reality in the US (most campuses are located outside of popular cities).

User: DrJeckyll - 17 September 2016 00:36

Hi Ghost town,

Here is how it usually goes:
-finish undergraduate
-finish a Master (just search online how much it costs for international and home students, I don't want to spoil the surprise)
- apply for a PhD scholarship and hope you get one, again without a scholarship estimate your living expenses plus fees for four years, and you probably won't have time to work to earn some money
- hope you get a postdoc position, of course there are less jobs than applicants. By that time you are at least 25 (if everything went according to plan). Of course you are happy to relocate where there is an available job. Your wage after taxes/ pension contribution is £10/h, but you will work more hours than your contract, so it will be actually less than that. If you want to hire a cleaner, they will ask £12/h. You are on a contract so you can't get a mortgage from the bank
- you spend a few years working as a postdoc, maybe change a couple of universities. Game over for most women at that point, because their wage is less than childcare. As for a female professor, I have yet to see one at my department ....
- some few people survive their way to a lectureship (this is another funny story on who gets the job). These lucky few now have to bring £100k/ year to justify their position in the uni. It takes at least five years to move to senior lectureship and another five to professorship minimum. By that time, you make what a medium experience skilled employee would get. And you need to keep bringing the money in to keep your post docs and the university overheads. Congrats

Yes, I don't get invited to parties much and people avoid me, but this is the truth. Maybe things are different in Brazil, but I don't know for how long, and I promise you, who-gets-the-job game is straightforward: someone's relative.

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