Career Direction (Research or Software development)
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