Career Direction (Research or Software development)

New o_of_n
Jun 27, 2019 3 Comments

I am fresh out of grad school (MS) and I am trying to know which career direction is better in the long run. I will be starting at an applied research job at FAANG company.

I am at the beginning of my career and less interested in purely software development kind of jobs and more towards research oriented work or applied research work.
As I see, there are the following options.
How do these options stack against each other in terms of compensation, career growth, and your demand in the market?

1. Software developer - develop software and systems but not in any particular field. (100% software development)
pros - you can work in any company and team, hence no shortage of jobs
cons - you don't have your own field of expertise(like ML/OS/dist systems/etc) so not so much value??

2. Applied researcher - use research to apply in your problems (50% research + 50% software development)
pros - you can always switch to a more research-oriented job, your mixed skill set is rare to have, you can work both as sde and researcher.
cons - you are bits and pieces kind(is it??)

3. Researcher - research and find new solutions to problems (70-80% research + 20-30% software development)
pros - you are unique and skill set is rare, high in demand and thus highly paid
cons - you can only work in specific teams and in your own field, generally require PhD


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TOP 3 Comments
  • Veritas randomhand
    Depends if you have a passion in a particular field
    Jun 27, 2019 2
    • New o_of_n
      I am passionate about a particular field, but I just wanted to know which profiles would be better. Maybe this will give me an idea if I need to push myself more towards research work
      Jun 28, 2019
    • Veritas randomhand
      There are no better profiles. The one you’re passionate about the most is gonna push you to become so good that you’ll be well off.
      Jun 28, 2019


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