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It's always good to keep things in perspective. Many of my friends in the liberal arts are doing PhDs with the same (or less) 7% tenure track position rate. The difference is that they don't have the choice to go into industry afterward. Our "worst case scenario" of going to work for Google for $150k-$200k is a dream for most PhD candidates.

To get those positions such as your example of Google you don’t even need a PhD. A master would do it as long as you are graduated from one of those famous Californian Universities. Apparently the graduates of those Universities are celebrities. Of course with a good connection you can do it too.

Moreover, don’t believe those numbers. It is just buzz. If Google pays you 200K, it is not for your PhD, neither for your genius research. It is only about business.

>The difference is that they don't have the choice to go into industry afterward.

I'm doing this (a PhD in English), but I wouldn't have started if I weren't able to work in my family's consulting business at the same time. Most of my peers in grad school appear to be afraid of the real world and/or diligently putting their head in the sand; now I sent prospective grad students here: http://jseliger.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/what-you-should-kno... and to similar literature on why academia in the liberal arts is an incredibly bad investment.

I'm pretty sure working for google for 200K is NOT the worst case scenario for a computer science PhD.

Indeed. Your prospects are probably significantly worse if you have a PhD in theoretical computer science and are not very good at programming. Google may not have much use for someone whose thesis was about proving that some historically interesting but practically useless problem is NP-complete.

To clarify: the average Google offer to new Phds is not between 150 and 200k... it's more likely between 100 and 150k.

Even your worst case scenario in IT is pretty unheard of anywhere else in the world. In Germany, no engineer (in an engineering position) will earn more than 150K USD before he is 30. I bet the percentile who will ever reach that in an engineering position is really really small. (love to be proven differently!) Dont think its much different in the UK/France or anywhere else in Europe. So yeah, its always good to keep things in perspective :)

Well, console yourself knowing that 100K of that will go to renting a studio apartment. :)

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