Daniel Lemire's blog

, 3 min read

Is research sick?

4 thoughts on “Is research sick?”

  1. jld says:

    It looks like your underlying assumption is that a PHD is only good for doing basic research or teaching.
    If so, yes, there are too many.

    1. PhDs are people who spent 4, 5, 6, 7 or even 9 years training to do research. Not programming, not engineering… research.

      1. Jonathan Taylor says:

        That’s interesting. As a long-time non-degreed self-educated software engineer, I always imagined having a PhD gave someone the advantage of having studied theory at a high level, which might be of real value in a practical engineering world. I have always respected the doctorate-holders I’ve worked with for their wider understanding of systems, underlying principles, and so on – it’s like they’ve been up to the mountain top and seen the Big View, while I’ve been clambering around in the underbrush learning what I can from the things right around me. In a certain sense, every software engineering shop is engaged in a kind of research, so having been involved in formal academic research isn’t a bad experience to have had. But that’s only me limited view!

        1. You can measure these things.

          What is the pay difference between someone who got a simple degree and someone who has a PhD?

          What I have read is that on an age-corrected basis (so comparing people who have the same age), PhD holders do not earn more. They may even earn less because they have less work experience.

          That is, who earns more… a 30-year-old engineer with 7 years of experience in industry… or a 30-year-old with no industry experience whatsoever but a freshly minted PhD?

          To this you must add that during their PhD, the PhD holders earned substantially less.

          Of course, there are benefits to having a PhD. But I submit to you that it is easy to overestimate the benefits outside academic jobs.