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This is quite an unfortunate article. Author goes on to list several folks who don’t have PhD but have “made it” and asserts that many people can do fascinating and cutting-edge work without PhDs. There are always outliers in stuff like this but ask yourself: How many people you know who don’t have PhD and have freedom to explore at work full time what truely interests them? Author has rather twisted view of the selection bias.

People should do PhD if they are genuinely interested in doing scientific research. If you are doing PhD under pressure or in hope of getting better paying jobs you will be dissopointed. It is an arduous process and taking up your precious years but it gives you opportunity to have freedom to explore and work on your interests for rest of your life. You won’t be coming to office everyday doing assigned task on your backlog and reporting your status in scrum meeting. Instead you will be reading about new creative work that was literally published yesterday, mulling over that in lunch with colleagues and apply your original ideas to actually get published under your name. The downside could be lower pay and/or no stock bonuses for many outside of hot areas like AI. But in general, you have much better chance of doing cutting edge work that you are truely passionate about if you have PhD in that area.




> How many people you know who don’t have PhD and have freedom to explore at work full time what truely interests them? Author has rather twisted view of the selection bias.

I don't have a degree and I have that. Also I know a lot of people with a PhD who do not have anything remotely resembling freedom.

The author might be biased but it's good to hear it from that side once in awhile, rather than be deluged with "you can't do science without a PhD" and similar sentiments (I work parallel to academia and get plenty of shit from their ivory towerism, hence my comment).


> The author might be biased but it's good to hear it from that side once in awhile,

In what way is the author "biased" exactly? She did this course, was in both a PHD and tech, and tells people why she thinks it's worth considering not getting a PHD, listing various (valid IMO) reasons.

Where does bias come in exactly?


It's selection bias at the very least.


I have a PhD, worked as a post doc and found I never had the freedom at work to explore full time what truly interests me. I had to spend a significant portion of my time seeking funding or jobs. I had to work on what my advisor wanted me working on. A job focused on teaching college level physics, which is what I got into it to do, seemed to stretch further and further away as I moved forward. That said, I'm still glad I got a PhD. I just think your experience might be a bit closer to the ideal than what many experience.


You won’t be coming to office everyday doing assigned task on your backlog and reporting your status in scrum meeting

Including former colleagues I probably know a couple of hundred PhDs who do this exactly the same as mere Bachelors. Outside of a few niches a PhD is barely recognised in industry. Sorry, but that’s the truth.


I think they're referring to life doing a PhD, not day-to-day industry (although they do earlier say 'rest of your life' - which I assume means continuing into an academic career)


> People should do PhD if they are genuinely interested in doing scientific research.

This condition is necessary, but not sufficient.

After finishing my PhD in quantum information, I turned to data science. I couldn’t be happier about this transition! Compared with academia, data science world looks to me like a wonderland.

tl;dr: faster pace, more freedom (sic!), way less bureaucracy and politics, etc

Longer version: https://p.migdal.pl/2015/12/14/sci-to-data-sci.html


Your second paragraph sums everything up perfectly. I am a tenure-track lecturer, and love my job for all the reasons you mention, despite the relatively poor pay. I essentially have the freedom to work on whatever the hell I want; and that to me is priceless.

I would also mention teaching: some academic staff hate it because it takes time away from research. This is true but my experience is that if you put time into being a good teacher then you get to take your pick of the brightest students to help you with your research, which can lead to interesting Masters projects which lead on to PhDs.




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