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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 24-10-2012, 04:42 PM
Donny
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Just to add my comments after reading this thread while taking a break from deciding on whether I should use circular dependency for the design of my next program. (yes, I am in a computer science related field)

I have a feel that the OP does know what research at a graduate level is like. For all the others who comment on how it would be a time of drudgery, non-productive work and a less linear pursuit of knowledge, I feel they themselves are only passing what others told them post-graduate work is like.

While those who commented are probably only educated to a bachelors level, there is some truth to their words. What I see is that the OP probably already knows this, further evident from how he is already contemplating about this prior to undergrad, and is simply questioning the salary of a job as a professor while he endures the journey in unraveling the wonders of computer science.

My take: Do a PhD only if you are interested in research. While you right now do seem to have PhD as a goal, reassess this after say two years in undergraduate. The difference in undergradate and PhD is glazed by few of the viewers. I'll add some detail with which I am confident will paint a more vivid picture of what PhD students do.

Simply put, you need to conceptualize, develop and produce something original. What I mean by that is something which is not covered in the textbooks, let alone the publications were written by other professors.

Many students fall into the trap where they think they know for sure that they want to do a PhD because they can get A's and A+'s in their first and second year. Great grades could be an indicator of whether you want to do a PhD but it is more of an indicator of whether you can do a PhD. You wanting to do a PhD may be more accurately assessed by the following:

1. Do you attempt to ask more questions once you found a solution to a hard problem. I.e., consider another data structure of solving an algorithmic problem but reduces the run time.

2. Do you subconsciously think of computer science problems amidst your usual routine in life. This sounds a little lame but I'm quite sure that every CMU, MIT and Stanford bound person wouldn't mind having a discussion of Java vs C++ whenever wherever.

3. Do you view programming as fun or as a chore. Put differently, would you skip LAN sessions to go home and run Visual Studio 2010.

These are some questions that when answered truthfully will give you a better idea on your pursuit of a PhD.

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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 25-10-2012, 07:27 AM
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Still using VS2010?

What you describe as prerequisites also apply to computer programmers aka "softer ware developers", but these are the grunts.

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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 25-10-2012, 10:30 AM
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Fhe firm I work for uses computer science for the analysis and development of a greater objective, not so much on the forefront of developing the next consumer operating system or product. Thus the 2010 C++ and Java IDEs work just fine. Also, the next build of VS is 2012, just released. Unless I am creating Windows 8 products, which I'm not, there isn't a need to upgrade.

I digress.

So, indeed there is some validity in you saying the prerequisites seem to also apply to software developers. The application, though, is very limited.

The way I see it, which I feel is the view for most in software development, is that you got the people, the grunts like you said, who grind out the code and you got the people who design and have a better overall view of the design of the program. The former have bachelors and I would think the latter have PhD or the potential to get a PhD.

There are those who can code and those who love to code. Grunts or not, they get the job done. Seeing just a software developer code doesn't say much about his potential to get a PhD. Those prerequisites I mentioned, might.

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  #34 (permalink)  
Old 26-10-2012, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
whoa! first, you must get IN. maybe you should concentrate more on your field of research, instead of worry about pay!
Without trying to be too harsh, I think this is a very naive post.

I think the op is being perfectly justified and responsible in asking about the salary prospects of a professor befor jumping into it.

Too many times, we are brainwashed into thinking that we should go into a job because we like it or because we are good at it. Or because (the ultimate fallacy) we have passion for it.

Too often talented people put their head down and work very very hard towards a goal, finally achieve it, and then are utterly disillusioned by the lack of financial prospects in their chosen endeavour while seeing their other less accomplished friends exceed them multiple fold in income.

So it's only responsible to try to find out what a professor gets paid before jumping head first into that route. Then, whatever happens down the road, at least you are assured that you have no regrets because it is a route you picked with your eyes open.

And if you find out that a professor gets paid $5k a month, and that's not enough, at least you have time to rethink your plans and readjust your route in life. If you just focus on getting in first, as the poster above has suggested, then find out after the fact, and 10 yrs of work, that's way way way too late.

Passion is good to have. But I rather get paid $500k doing something I have less passion about rather than being paid $30k doing something I'm very passionate about.
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old 26-10-2012, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny View Post
Just to add my comments after reading this thread while taking a break from deciding on whether I should use circular dependency for the design of my next program. (yes, I am in a computer science related field)

I have a feel that the OP does know what research at a graduate level is like. For all the others who comment on how it would be a time of drudgery, non-productive work and a less linear pursuit of knowledge, I feel they themselves are only passing what others told them post-graduate work is like.

While those who commented are probably only educated to a bachelors level, there is some truth to their words. What I see is that the OP probably already knows this, further evident from how he is already contemplating about this prior to undergrad, and is simply questioning the salary of a job as a professor while he endures the journey in unraveling the wonders of computer science.

My take: Do a PhD only if you are interested in research. While you right now do seem to have PhD as a goal, reassess this after say two years in undergraduate. The difference in undergradate and PhD is glazed by few of the viewers. I'll add some detail with which I am confident will paint a more vivid picture of what PhD students do.

Simply put, you need to conceptualize, develop and produce something original. What I mean by that is something which is not covered in the textbooks, let alone the publications were written by other professors.

Many students fall into the trap where they think they know for sure that they want to do a PhD because they can get A's and A+'s in their first and second year. Great grades could be an indicator of whether you want to do a PhD but it is more of an indicator of whether you can do a PhD. You wanting to do a PhD may be more accurately assessed by the following:

1. Do you attempt to ask more questions once you found a solution to a hard problem. I.e., consider another data structure of solving an algorithmic problem but reduces the run time.

2. Do you subconsciously think of computer science problems amidst your usual routine in life. This sounds a little lame but I'm quite sure that every CMU, MIT and Stanford bound person wouldn't mind having a discussion of Java vs C++ whenever wherever.

3. Do you view programming as fun or as a chore. Put differently, would you skip LAN sessions to go home and run Visual Studio 2010.

These are some questions that when answered truthfully will give you a better idea on your pursuit of a PhD.
sorry, doing a phD is more than just programming. especially in singapore one needs to be looking at practical problems. Suggest you talk to your NUS profs, esp those who are famous or have published a lot, and ask them what their current research projects are, and do some reading up.
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 26-10-2012, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny View Post
Fhe firm I work for uses computer science for the analysis and development of a greater objective, not so much on the forefront of developing the next consumer operating system or product. Thus the 2010 C++ and Java IDEs work just fine. Also, the next build of VS is 2012, just released. Unless I am creating Windows 8 products, which I'm not, there isn't a need to upgrade.

I digress.

So, indeed there is some validity in you saying the prerequisites seem to also apply to software developers. The application, though, is very limited.

The way I see it, which I feel is the view for most in software development, is that you got the people, the grunts like you said, who grind out the code and you got the people who design and have a better overall view of the design of the program. The former have bachelors and I would think the latter have PhD or the potential to get a PhD.

There are those who can code and those who love to code. Grunts or not, they get the job done. Seeing just a software developer code doesn't say much about his potential to get a PhD. Those prerequisites I mentioned, might.
dunno what you talking about. there are software developers, really good ones. they get the job done. i hired a lot of vietnamese programmers, pay only 2.5k pm. Then there are the more higher paid architects who design the architecture of the solution.

Don't need phD to be a system solution architect. mostly degree holders with experience.
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old 26-10-2012, 01:18 PM
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Passion is good to have. But I rather get paid $500k doing something I have less passion about rather than being paid $30k doing something I'm very passionate about.
agreed. But getting a phD is not confirmed get tenured prof with 150k p.a . So, if one have passion, somehow one will find a way. if just target money, one may suddenly fall down with no net. Because there are a lot of phD out there who are overqualified and jobless.
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old 26-10-2012, 03:13 PM
Donny
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
dunno what you talking about. there are software developers, really good ones. they get the job done. i hired a lot of vietnamese programmers, pay only 2.5k pm. Then there are the more higher paid architects who design the architecture of the solution.

Don't need phD to be a system solution architect. mostly degree holders with experience.
All right, fair enough. Somewhat do agree with what you said.

I guess it goes down to the level of understanding each candidate can bring to the job. I don't deny that those Vietnamese programmers you hire can get some jobs yet.

Yet, I feel that a Stanford PhD (since that is what the OP is aiming at) can bring in new knowledge that produces a about a better solution viz-a-viz those done by the programmers you mentioned.

Right of the top of my head and I'm not trying to show off or be verbose here:

1. Parallel programming on a GPU (undergrad would at best take a single course on GPU programming. PhDs develop and understand better the theory)

2. Machine Learning for signal detection (a PhD would throughout the course of his thesis applied machine learning to numerous problems. An undergrad probably just learnt PCM* and did a two week project on it)

3. Use of appropriate algorithms (perhaps here the PhD and undergrad can be on par. Nonetheless, doing and using algorithms for two years compared to two semesters inevitably suggest more familiarity with it for the PhD than the undergrad)

My point is that a bachelors degree equips one with fundamental knowledge, a PhD with specific knowledge in a specific area. Depending on the job, sometimes both the bachelors and PhD survive, sometimes only the PhD survives. I can trust a Vietnamese programmer to write a multithreaded console program to read and display text from a server to a screen. I won't trust a Vietnamese programmer with at most one year of experience, to tear up a Linux kernel and write a customer memory manager taken from some IBM publication written in the 1980s. (I've seen some of those, they scare the freak out of me.)

*Principle Component Analysis
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old 26-10-2012, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
agreed. But getting a phD is not confirmed get tenured prof with 150k p.a . So, if one have passion, somehow one will find a way. if just target money, one may suddenly fall down with no net. Because there are a lot of phD out there who are overqualified and jobless.
My main point is to go in with eyes open.

If you are ok with doing something you love, and are good at, and are ok with the fact that the job that gives you both is likely to pay $2.5k a month, then good for you.

But don't stmble into it because you are brainwashed by everyone else into thinking passion and aptitude are the only things that are important, and then be disillusioned when you land your dream job and find that it doesn't pay... just because you were too naive or lazy to ask about the payscale before you got in.

And of course, knowing how stable the job is, and how likely you are to land that dream job are relevant considerations you should research before you go in i.e. if you jump into banking and finance as a major, put all your hopes into getting into investment banking, and do not make it, well, I say you should have known the odds. Or if you get in, and get retrenched, then it should be no surprise to the person who did the necessary research.
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old 01-11-2012, 01:43 AM
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There are so many post grads enrolling in every year and how many profs are there in a school?

To get into CMU or MIT etc, you will need more than just a 1st class. FYI, each university has a different entry requirement for other university grads. For instance, you might need a minimum of 70% if you graduated from uni A and 80% if you graduated from uni B. This is dependent on the ranking of the uni too. For some scholarships, a 2nd upper class will suffice but some may require a GPA/CAP of 4.8. The point is, it is not difficult to get into a PhD program as 2nd upper will suffice.

However, being a prof is more than just academic results. You have to churn out papers, quality ones every year. That is the main criteria in determining if a faculty staff is suitable for tenure-track. You will also require recommendations from other profs too...

As others have pointed out, you need to have the passion and determination in research. A phd is more than a paper. It reflects an individual's way of thinking. The ability to come up with something innovative and original. The assurance that he or she is committed to the field of study and expertise in it.

In my opinion, a phd certainly adds value to an individual be it on paper or to character. Yet, it also opens doors to many places. Merely looking at salary of prof shows that one have not thought through enough.
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