Growth in Data Science after Masters ( non PhD)

New vxFX54
Sep 20 23 Comments

I have recently been told that PhD peeps have to concur an opportunity cost of $ 400-500K ( assuming 50% savings of $200 TC of fresh Masters grads).

Losing $500K dollars for the first five years seems alright if a PhD guarantees, from what I heard starting at 250K TC and unbounded growth, while the MSc guys(even with all their work-ex) are stuck at a 300K TC doing menial data analyst/BI jobs.

Is it better to have Masters or PhD if the long term career goal is to succeed in the core(ML DL)/ applied data science roles and generate the Big Bucks? (Especially at FAAANG companies)
Does the lack of a PhD restrict one's growth into senior/lead roles?
Will the Masters grad ever find work which is not the trivial BI roles ?

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TOP 23 Comments
  • Axtria unicorn101
    I don't agree with Microsoft's comment. It's getting increasingly hard to get interview calls for real data science/ML jobs without a PhD, even if you have experience.
    Sep 20 5
    • New vxFX54
      OP
      Yeah true.
      The huge bet that you'd be gambling on is that PhD peeps would still be in demand 5 years down the lane. Personally, I'm not very much interested in the highly research oriented academic work but rather something along the lines of a machine learning engineer is the sweet spot.
      Sep 20
    • Axtria unicorn101
      Yeah same. I don't want to go for a PhD, it's a huge investment in terms of time/effort and I don't want to do research. I want to be industry oriented but I can see a shift where the industry is keen on phDs

      What's your skillset?
      Sep 20
    • Microsoft EjSq85
      Sure its getting hard to get calls, because everyone claims to be a ds. Op questioned about growth and in a corp firm, once you are in one. Your growth will depend on the impact your work has, not on what degree you have.
      Sep 20
    • Axtria unicorn101
      Sure. But it's tough to get in in the first place, recruiters don't even consider resumes without phDs. A few recruiters mentioned that upfront, especially with tier 1 companies.
      Sep 20
    • Microsoft EjSq85
      In that case, i d say start with a non tier 1 company and switch to tier 1 after YOE..
      Sep 20
  • Walmart crentist
    Yes, it appears PhDs are more in demand for super technical ML positions. Perhaps, Masters students doing BI work who have good SWE skills can pivot into ML Engineering roles?
    Sep 20 11
    • Axtria unicorn101
      Lot of non CS phDs are good with maths and stats, like physics, economics, biostatistics.
      Sep 20
    • New mLDS69
      Do experimental PhD having a disadvantage? Or are many of non CS PhD from experimental backgrounds?
      Sep 20
    • Axtria unicorn101
      Wat do you mean by experimental phDs? Like survey analysis and ab testing?
      Sep 20
    • New mLDS69
      Like performing lab work (growing cells or materials) the characterizing them (spectroscopy, imaging). Characterization part involves acquiring data, cleaning them and doing some analysis which is in turn used to guide the next set of lab work.
      Sep 20
    • Axtria unicorn101
      No disadvantage. Tons of people with those backgrounds at DS. I personally know phDs from environment engineering, immunology etc who are DS. So long as you can prove your work involved data collection and analysis, you are golden
      Sep 20
  • Zynga parott
    lol if your getting 300k with a masters doing BI stuff most people would gladly take it.
    Sep 20 3
    • New vxFX54
      OP
      Seriously?
      Earning 300k after 6-7 years of experience.... is a bit less.
      Sep 20
    • Zynga parott
      Your in a bubble
      Sep 20
    • New vxFX54
      OP
      *bursts* 💢
      Sep 20
  • Microsoft EjSq85
    Phd may land u a good initial offer, however, once u are at a firm, ur bonus and promo depends only and only on your perf
    Sep 20 0