Is having a PhD useful?

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Architect at Self6 months ago

Does having a PhD in an engineering field such as electrical engineering give you an advantage in terms of salary or level in big tech companies?

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  • Alex Chiou
    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    6 months ago

    Is having a PhD useful?

    Yes, these people aren't spending 6-10 years of their lives accomplishing nothing 😛

    Tactically speaking, for software engineers with a relevant PhD (i.e. some branch of Computer Science), they will join at the mid-level at FAANG/Big Tech, skipping the junior level. I know several ML PhDs who joined Meta as E4s (mid-level at Meta).

    I don't know about electrical engineering, but I imagine at pretty much every tech company, you will get a 1-2 level bump if you have a PhD in whatever engineering pillar you are going into.

    1 Like
  • Rahul Pandey
    Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    6 months ago

    Having a Phd does give you a bump when you start working, but it's almost never worth it in terms of opportunity cost.

    i.e. if you're doing the PhD in order to come in at a higher level, you are making a mistake. You'll make way more money (and you'll advance your career faster) if you just start working after your undergrad or Masters degree.

    The reason to do a PhD:

    • You really, really enjoy the field of research, and you want to be on the cutting edge
    • The work you want to do in the industry requires PhD-level expertise
    • You might want to do academia
  • Architect
    Architect [OP]
    6 months ago

    Thanks. I thought that they would consider a PhD overqualified or irrelevant!