Dennis Raddle | 3 Dec 20:43 2013
Picon

PhD at age 45?

A more specific question than my last post. I guess I'm wondering if it's a good idea to begin a PhD in CS at age 45 (currently having a BS in CS). My goal is to obtain work that interests me, work that really draws on the skills one develops in a PhD program. Work in academia is hard to obtain, I understand, but I could take an industry job. I'm wondering if I'll just be postponing a job with no financial gain afterward and poor prospects for work. Or if there is ageism that will work against a guy coming out of school at age 52.

Or, if it will truly lead to an interesting job with good pay.

Dennis

_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
Jason Dagit | 3 Dec 20:54 2013
Picon

Re: PhD at age 45?

"Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't..." -- Erica Jong

As I understand it, the reasons to get a PhD don't have much to do with getting a promotion or changing jobs. It's more about following a passion, doing something for yourself, and apprenticing in an area of research. I'm sure it varies from person to person.

At any rate, I don't think I can give you an answer. At the company I work at we're always on the look out for folks with PhDs and I don't think we care about age. We do care a lot about other things though, such as expertise and presentation skills.

I hope that helps,
Jason


On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 11:43 AM, Dennis Raddle <dennis.raddle <at> gmail.com> wrote:
A more specific question than my last post. I guess I'm wondering if it's a good idea to begin a PhD in CS at age 45 (currently having a BS in CS). My goal is to obtain work that interests me, work that really draws on the skills one develops in a PhD program. Work in academia is hard to obtain, I understand, but I could take an industry job. I'm wondering if I'll just be postponing a job with no financial gain afterward and poor prospects for work. Or if there is ageism that will work against a guy coming out of school at age 52.

Or, if it will truly lead to an interesting job with good pay.

Dennis


_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe


_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
MigMit | 3 Dec 21:06 2013
Picon

Re: PhD at age 45?

Don't worry, you don't need PhD to understand monads.

Отправлено с iPhone

> 03 дек. 2013 г., в 23:43, Dennis Raddle <dennis.raddle <at> gmail.com> написал(а):
> 
> A more specific question than my last post. I guess I'm wondering if it's a good idea to begin a PhD in CS at age
45 (currently having a BS in CS). My goal is to obtain work that interests me, work that really draws on the
skills one develops in a PhD program. Work in academia is hard to obtain, I understand, but I could take an
industry job. I'm wondering if I'll just be postponing a job with no financial gain afterward and poor
prospects for work. Or if there is ageism that will work against a guy coming out of school at age 52. 
> 
> Or, if it will truly lead to an interesting job with good pay.
> 
> Dennis
> 
> _______________________________________________
> Haskell-Cafe mailing list
> Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
> http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
AntC | 3 Dec 21:23 2013
Picon

Re: PhD at age 45?

> MigMit <miguelimo38 <at> yandex.ru> writes:
> 
> Don't worry, you don't need PhD to understand monads.
> 

Good one! So what is it that you do need? And how do I get it? ;-)

AntC
AntC | 3 Dec 21:20 2013
Picon

Re: PhD at age 45?

> Dennis Raddle <dennis.raddle <at> gmail.com> writes:
> 
> ... I guess I'm wondering if it's a good idea to begin a PhD in CS at
> age 45 

Dennis, if you have a passion or even an 'interest', follow it.

Beware that a PhD is 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration.
I have, sadly, seen many PhDs stifling the passion with which they were 
started.

> My goal is to obtain work that interests me, ...

Re work: curiously, I recently received an unsolicited email from Google 
inviting me to 'have a conversation' [managementspeak yeuch!].
This was apparently based on my volume of postings on the forum. (I 
suspect not on their quality ;-) I suggested that first they look at my 
LinkedIn page, which would have roughly revealed my age -- already greater 
than yours will be when you 'come out of school'.

Since then, nothing. Nada. Not even an acknowledgement. Rude, I call it.

I think you'll find ageism is still rife in the industry.

AntC
Brandon Allbery | 3 Dec 21:31 2013
Picon

Re: PhD at age 45?

On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 3:20 PM, AntC <anthony_clayden <at> clear.net.nz> wrote:
Re work: curiously, I recently received an unsolicited email from Google
inviting me to 'have a conversation' [managementspeak yeuch!].
This was apparently based on my volume of postings on the forum. (I
suspect not on their quality ;-) I suggested that first they look at my
LinkedIn page, which would have roughly revealed my age -- already greater
than yours will be when you 'come out of school'.

Since then, nothing. Nada. Not even an acknowledgement. Rude, I call it.

Interesting. They're still pinging me every few months, and it is not that hard to find out my age (or even get a good rough estimate by checking usenet archives).

--
brandon s allbery kf8nh                               sine nomine associates
allbery.b <at> gmail.com                                  ballbery <at> sinenomine.net
unix, openafs, kerberos, infrastructure, xmonad        http://sinenomine.net
_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
Steffen Schuldenzucker | 3 Dec 22:48 2013
Picon

Google headhunters (was: Re: PhD at age 45?)


On Tue, 3 Dec 2013 20:20:37 +0000 (UTC)
AntC <anthony_clayden <at> clear.net.nz> wrote:
> [...]
> Re work: curiously, I recently received an unsolicited email from Google 
> inviting me to 'have a conversation' [managementspeak yeuch!].
> This was apparently based on my volume of postings on the forum. (I 
> suspect not on their quality ;-) I suggested that first they look at my 
> LinkedIn page, which would have roughly revealed my age -- already greater 
> than yours will be when you 'come out of school'.
> 
> Since then, nothing. Nada. Not even an acknowledgement. Rude, I call it.
> 
> I think you'll find ageism is still rife in the industry.

Sorry for totally leaving the original topic here, but:

Same for me: Got an e-mail from some "technical sourcer", replied (I'll actually be looking for a job soon),
never got anything back. - Twice!

I imagine they do a
> forM_ (users haskell_cafe) $ \u ->
>   when ("functional" `elem` words (linkedin_page u)) $ send (std_email u) u
, but with several agents which don't sync back their results.

Doesn't seem to be age-related, though. (I'm 25)

-- Steffen

--

-- 
Steffen Schuldenzucker <sschuldenzucker <at> uni-bonn.de>
Joe Quinn | 3 Dec 23:05 2013
Picon

Re: Google headhunters

I got the same thing, but based on my github account. The person who 
contacted me has a consistent LinkedIn account, and his email passed 
SPF, DKIM, and rPTR.

On 12/3/2013 4:48 PM, Steffen Schuldenzucker wrote:
> On Tue, 3 Dec 2013 20:20:37 +0000 (UTC)
> AntC <anthony_clayden <at> clear.net.nz> wrote:
>> [...]
>> Re work: curiously, I recently received an unsolicited email from Google
>> inviting me to 'have a conversation' [managementspeak yeuch!].
>> This was apparently based on my volume of postings on the forum. (I
>> suspect not on their quality ;-) I suggested that first they look at my
>> LinkedIn page, which would have roughly revealed my age -- already greater
>> than yours will be when you 'come out of school'.
>>
>> Since then, nothing. Nada. Not even an acknowledgement. Rude, I call it.
>>
>> I think you'll find ageism is still rife in the industry.
> Sorry for totally leaving the original topic here, but:
>
> Same for me: Got an e-mail from some "technical sourcer", replied (I'll actually be looking for a job
soon), never got anything back. - Twice!
>
> I imagine they do a
>> forM_ (users haskell_cafe) $ \u ->
>>    when ("functional" `elem` words (linkedin_page u)) $ send (std_email u) u
> , but with several agents which don't sync back their results.
>
> Doesn't seem to be age-related, though. (I'm 25)
>
> -- Steffen
>
Alp Mestanogullari | 4 Dec 00:50 2013
Picon

Re: Google headhunters

I have been hit by a few since the beginning of the summer too. All of them were actual recruiters, I exchanged a few emails with some of them and had one on the phone. I think they are expanding a few teams in Europe and are just looking for "more new googlers than usual".


On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 11:05 PM, Joe Quinn <headprogrammingczar <at> gmail.com> wrote:
I got the same thing, but based on my github account. The person who contacted me has a consistent LinkedIn account, and his email passed SPF, DKIM, and rPTR.

On 12/3/2013 4:48 PM, Steffen Schuldenzucker wrote:
On Tue, 3 Dec 2013 20:20:37 +0000 (UTC)
AntC <anthony_clayden <at> clear.net.nz> wrote:
[...]
Re work: curiously, I recently received an unsolicited email from Google
inviting me to 'have a conversation' [managementspeak yeuch!].
This was apparently based on my volume of postings on the forum. (I
suspect not on their quality ;-) I suggested that first they look at my
LinkedIn page, which would have roughly revealed my age -- already greater
than yours will be when you 'come out of school'.

Since then, nothing. Nada. Not even an acknowledgement. Rude, I call it.

I think you'll find ageism is still rife in the industry.
Sorry for totally leaving the original topic here, but:

Same for me: Got an e-mail from some "technical sourcer", replied (I'll actually be looking for a job soon), never got anything back. - Twice!

I imagine they do a
forM_ (users haskell_cafe) $ \u ->
   when ("functional" `elem` words (linkedin_page u)) $ send (std_email u) u
, but with several agents which don't sync back their results.

Doesn't seem to be age-related, though. (I'm 25)

-- Steffen


_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe



--
Alp Mestanogullari
_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
Jan Stolarek | 4 Dec 09:45 2013
Picon

Re: Google headhunters

Same here, except that I got a reply to my reply :-)

Janek

Dnia środa, 4 grudnia 2013, Alp Mestanogullari napisał:
> I have been hit by a few since the beginning of the summer too. All of them
> were actual recruiters, I exchanged a few emails with some of them and had
> one on the phone. I think they are expanding a few teams in Europe and are
> just looking for "more new googlers than usual".
>
> On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 11:05 PM, Joe Quinn <headprogrammingczar <at> gmail.com>wrote:
> > I got the same thing, but based on my github account. The person who
> > contacted me has a consistent LinkedIn account, and his email passed SPF,
> > DKIM, and rPTR.
> >
> > On 12/3/2013 4:48 PM, Steffen Schuldenzucker wrote:
> >> On Tue, 3 Dec 2013 20:20:37 +0000 (UTC)
> >>
> >> AntC <anthony_clayden <at> clear.net.nz> wrote:
> >>> [...]
> >>> Re work: curiously, I recently received an unsolicited email from
> >>> Google inviting me to 'have a conversation' [managementspeak yeuch!].
> >>> This was apparently based on my volume of postings on the forum. (I
> >>> suspect not on their quality ;-) I suggested that first they look at my
> >>> LinkedIn page, which would have roughly revealed my age -- already
> >>> greater
> >>> than yours will be when you 'come out of school'.
> >>>
> >>> Since then, nothing. Nada. Not even an acknowledgement. Rude, I call
> >>> it.
> >>>
> >>> I think you'll find ageism is still rife in the industry.
> >>
> >> Sorry for totally leaving the original topic here, but:
> >>
> >> Same for me: Got an e-mail from some "technical sourcer", replied (I'll
> >> actually be looking for a job soon), never got anything back. - Twice!
> >>
> >> I imagine they do a
> >>
> >>> forM_ (users haskell_cafe) $ \u ->
> >>>    when ("functional" `elem` words (linkedin_page u)) $ send (std_email
> >>> u) u
> >>
> >> , but with several agents which don't sync back their results.
> >>
> >> Doesn't seem to be age-related, though. (I'm 25)
> >>
> >> -- Steffen
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Haskell-Cafe mailing list
> > Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
> > http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe

_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
Miguel Mitrofanov | 4 Dec 09:59 2013
Picon

Re: Google headhunters

OK, seems like there are a lot of people interested in this, so I think I'll share my own experience.

I've got the same invitation, from a guy called "Robert Campbell". He asked me for my resume, which I've sent
him, but, mistakenly, omitting my Skype id. He then called me on my cell, from GB, judging by the phone
prefix. The connection was poor, I had to ask him to repeat his questions several times. He tried to
convince me that there is only one flavor of quicksort and didn't understand me when I mentioned different
approaches at choosing pivots. Then he asked something else about quicksort that I didn't understand,
but before I managed to even understand what he wants we got disconnected. He called me again, but this time
I couldn't hear him at all and we've got disconnected again. Then he called again, but hung up before I even
managed to take his call. That ended our "conversation". I didn't try to contact him again.

04.12.2013, 12:46, "Jan Stolarek" <jan.stolarek <at> p.lodz.pl>:
> Same here, except that I got a reply to my reply :-)
>
> Janek
>
> Dnia środa, 4 grudnia 2013, Alp Mestanogullari napisał:
>
>>  I have been hit by a few since the beginning of the summer too. All of them
>>  were actual recruiters, I exchanged a few emails with some of them and had
>>  one on the phone. I think they are expanding a few teams in Europe and are
>>  just looking for "more new googlers than usual".
>>
>>  On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 11:05 PM, Joe Quinn <headprogrammingczar <at> gmail.com>wrote:
>>>  I got the same thing, but based on my github account. The person who
>>>  contacted me has a consistent LinkedIn account, and his email passed SPF,
>>>  DKIM, and rPTR.
>>>
>>>  On 12/3/2013 4:48 PM, Steffen Schuldenzucker wrote:
>>>>  On Tue, 3 Dec 2013 20:20:37 +0000 (UTC)
>>>>
>>>>  AntC <anthony_clayden <at> clear.net.nz> wrote:
>>>>>  [...]
>>>>>  Re work: curiously, I recently received an unsolicited email from
>>>>>  Google inviting me to 'have a conversation' [managementspeak yeuch!].
>>>>>  This was apparently based on my volume of postings on the forum. (I
>>>>>  suspect not on their quality ;-) I suggested that first they look at my
>>>>>  LinkedIn page, which would have roughly revealed my age -- already
>>>>>  greater
>>>>>  than yours will be when you 'come out of school'.
>>>>>
>>>>>  Since then, nothing. Nada. Not even an acknowledgement. Rude, I call
>>>>>  it.
>>>>>
>>>>>  I think you'll find ageism is still rife in the industry.
>>>>  Sorry for totally leaving the original topic here, but:
>>>>
>>>>  Same for me: Got an e-mail from some "technical sourcer", replied (I'll
>>>>  actually be looking for a job soon), never got anything back. - Twice!
>>>>
>>>>  I imagine they do a
>>>>>  forM_ (users haskell_cafe) $ \u ->
>>>>>     when ("functional" `elem` words (linkedin_page u)) $ send (std_email
>>>>>  u) u
>>>>  , but with several agents which don't sync back their results.
>>>>
>>>>  Doesn't seem to be age-related, though. (I'm 25)
>>>>
>>>>  -- Steffen
>>>  _______________________________________________
>>>  Haskell-Cafe mailing list
>>>  Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
>>>  http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
>
> _______________________________________________
> Haskell-Cafe mailing list
> Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
> http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
Gábor Lehel | 4 Dec 11:13 2013
Picon

Re: Google headhunters

The surprising thing to me about all this is that I thought Google only hires Ph. D.s who solve difficult mathematical problems displayed on billboards.


On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 11:05 PM, Joe Quinn <headprogrammingczar <at> gmail.com> wrote:
I got the same thing, but based on my github account. The person who contacted me has a consistent LinkedIn account, and his email passed SPF, DKIM, and rPTR.

On 12/3/2013 4:48 PM, Steffen Schuldenzucker wrote:
On Tue, 3 Dec 2013 20:20:37 +0000 (UTC)
AntC <anthony_clayden <at> clear.net.nz> wrote:
[...]
Re work: curiously, I recently received an unsolicited email from Google
inviting me to 'have a conversation' [managementspeak yeuch!].
This was apparently based on my volume of postings on the forum. (I
suspect not on their quality ;-) I suggested that first they look at my
LinkedIn page, which would have roughly revealed my age -- already greater
than yours will be when you 'come out of school'.

Since then, nothing. Nada. Not even an acknowledgement. Rude, I call it.

I think you'll find ageism is still rife in the industry.
Sorry for totally leaving the original topic here, but:

Same for me: Got an e-mail from some "technical sourcer", replied (I'll actually be looking for a job soon), never got anything back. - Twice!

I imagine they do a
forM_ (users haskell_cafe) $ \u ->
   when ("functional" `elem` words (linkedin_page u)) $ send (std_email u) u
, but with several agents which don't sync back their results.

Doesn't seem to be age-related, though. (I'm 25)

-- Steffen


_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe



--
Your ship was destroyed in a monadic eruption.
_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
Jan Stolarek | 4 Dec 12:09 2013
Picon

Re: Google headhunters

> The surprising thing to me about all this is that I thought Google only
> hires Ph. D.s who solve difficult mathematical problems displayed on
> billboards.
Haha :-) And I - being a PhD and working at the university - was really surprised to be offered 
an "engineering position".

Janek
Corey O'Connor | 3 Dec 22:29 2013
Picon

Re: PhD at age 45?

Related: Paths to becoming a professor of CS at age 45 (or so)?

I don't have much interest in getting a PhD, but have plenty for teaching CS. Seems like a nice thing to pursue once I'm tired of industry. haha

Cheers,
Corey



On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 11:43 AM, Dennis Raddle <dennis.raddle <at> gmail.com> wrote:
A more specific question than my last post. I guess I'm wondering if it's a good idea to begin a PhD in CS at age 45 (currently having a BS in CS). My goal is to obtain work that interests me, work that really draws on the skills one develops in a PhD program. Work in academia is hard to obtain, I understand, but I could take an industry job. I'm wondering if I'll just be postponing a job with no financial gain afterward and poor prospects for work. Or if there is ageism that will work against a guy coming out of school at age 52.

Or, if it will truly lead to an interesting job with good pay.

Dennis


_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe


_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
Albert Y. C. Lai | 3 Dec 22:49 2013
Picon

Re: PhD at age 45?

I take a tangent to talk not about what age, but about what minds.

Many smart people can solve all kinds of problems but still do poorly in 
PhD, most dropping out. Why? Because part of PhD is to find your 
problem, and cut it from open-ended to specifically scoped. Many smart 
people can solve all kinds of problems, but the problems have to be 
given to them.

(Of course, finding your problem is not enough, you still have to solve 
it. But you already know this.)

Some thesis advisors can suggest pretty specific problems; some schools 
sometimes actually advertise "PhD position: such-and-such specific 
project". If you run into one of those, good for you, someone is giving 
the problem to you, you're like half-done. But this is the minority. The 
majority is more like: the thesis advisor is too helpful and too open, 
he/she suggests too many problems and too many variations, so you're 
none the wiser. :)
Andrey Chudnov | 3 Dec 22:51 2013
Picon

Re: PhD at age 45?

Dennis,
I think it would make sense for you to try and flesh out the details of 
the kind of "work that interests" you. I'm sorry, but what you have 
right now seems to be quite vague. I remember you mentioning that you 
wanted to teach in your previous post. So if that's really what you 
want, you don't have to have a PhD (although, of course, it's better to 
have one). I know several teaching professors (yeah, that's the term we 
use for the professors that don't engage in research) that don't have a 
PhD (only MSc) and are great at what they do. So, if I were you, I would 
try and look for adjunct professor positions: if you are good at 
teaching, the absence of a PhD probably wouldn't matter; if you are not, 
it's not like you would have a lot of time in grad school to work on 
that anyway.

Also, "good pay" is generally not an attribute of academic jobs.

On 12/03/2013 02:43 PM, Dennis Raddle wrote:
> A more specific question than my last post. I guess I'm wondering if 
> it's a good idea to begin a PhD in CS at age 45 (currently having a BS 
> in CS). My goal is to obtain work that interests me, work that really 
> draws on the skills one develops in a PhD program. Work in academia is 
> hard to obtain, I understand, but I could take an industry job. I'm 
> wondering if I'll just be postponing a job with no financial gain 
> afterward and poor prospects for work. Or if there is ageism that will 
> work against a guy coming out of school at age 52.
>
> Or, if it will truly lead to an interesting job with good pay.
Dennis Raddle | 3 Dec 23:26 2013
Picon

Re: PhD at age 45?

Hi Andrey and list,

All replies have been helpful. I realize my question is vague, and that's partly because I don't know what area within CS interests me. I may have to do at least an MS to find out.

I've been struggling with health problems for many years, so my work in programming has been part-time, minimal, and not very interesting to me. I'm not in a good position right now to determine what I would really like to do.

I can say that my favorite class in college was discrete mathematics. And I can say that I enjoyed learning Haskell, which I am in the process of teaching to myself for personal projects.

Oh yeah--I do have some personal projects. One of them is making animated videos to teach algebra, which I am doing in Haskell.

And I can say that I enjoy teaching a lot. Maybe I should become a high school teacher!

Right now I have a small gig teaching Python and numpy to a local psychiatrist who wants to write software for voice analysis. He is a smart guy, but of course we are starting at the beginning. It's quite pleasureful to see things click in his brain. We are working on just basic ideas, like organization of code into functions and modules. He previously dabbled on his own, and ran into problems with disorganized code, so he really appreciates the ideas I'm presenting.

Dennis




On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 1:51 PM, Andrey Chudnov <achudnov <at> gmail.com> wrote:
Dennis,
I think it would make sense for you to try and flesh out the details of the kind of "work that interests" you. I'm sorry, but what you have right now seems to be quite vague. I remember you mentioning that you wanted to teach in your previous post. So if that's really what you want, you don't have to have a PhD (although, of course, it's better to have one). I know several teaching professors (yeah, that's the term we use for the professors that don't engage in research) that don't have a PhD (only MSc) and are great at what they do. So, if I were you, I would try and look for adjunct professor positions: if you are good at teaching, the absence of a PhD probably wouldn't matter; if you are not, it's not like you would have a lot of time in grad school to work on that anyway.

Also, "good pay" is generally not an attribute of academic jobs.

_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
Andrey Chudnov | 4 Dec 00:40 2013
Picon

Re: PhD at age 45?

On 12/03/2013 05:26 PM, Dennis Raddle wrote:
> All replies have been helpful. I realize my question is vague, and 
> that's partly because I don't know what area within CS interests me. I 
> may have to do at least an MS to find out.
What I meant was whether you would like to do research or teach (or 
both) -- not a specific area. While you will probably be required to 
teach some classes anyway (as a TA, which means grading, supervising 
labs and consultations), most of your time in grad school pursuing a PhD 
would be spent on research. That's because producing novel and relevant 
research results is an absolute requirement for getting a PhD (while 
teaching a lot of classes, on the other hand, is not). In pursuing a PhD 
it would  help if you enjoy (or at least can tolerate) the very process 
of research and feel passionate about your research topic. Otherwise, 
you might be in for quite a few miserable years.
Dennis Raddle | 4 Dec 02:58 2013
Picon

Re: PhD at age 45?

Andrey,
Ah, I see. Well, I guess I like both teaching and research. I don't have enough experience with either to do which I prefer more, or whether I would be happy doing just one of them for the rest of my life. But I would definitely be fascinated by the work on my PhD thesis. By the way, I did very well in national science fairs in high school (with a discrete mathematics topic). I mention this just to say that I love research and that I'm self-motivated to learn. It was poor health that derailed my plans earlier in life to get a PhD.

Regarding my love for teaching, I have tutored high school students in algebra and I'm currently tutoring a doctor in Python programming. I love this. So note--I don't need to be teaching an advanced topic to be happy. I'm fascinated by how to make a topic understandable, whether it would be teaching a graduate-level class, or figuring out how to help high school students who struggle with algebra.

So I guess one way to approach this question is to ask

- what path offers me good *options* (i.e., I can spin from there into any number of possibilities depending on what I learn that I love most)

- what downside is there to a PhD (i.e., possible student loan debt, deferring earned income and saving for retirement years which are merely 25 years away for me, and merely 18 years after I would probably start earning again, hard time finding work? [overqualified for everything?], etc.)

Regarding financial considerations and retirement, one question to ask is-- would I be happy doing my job until age 80? I.e. would I love my job so much that I don't feel a need to retire? I think that I could potentially love both interesting research and fascinating teaching enough. But a boring garden-variety programming job, like the one I had before? Yuck. Couldn't wait to retire.

Dennis

On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 3:40 PM, Andrey Chudnov <achudnov <at> gmail.com> wrote:
On 12/03/2013 05:26 PM, Dennis Raddle wrote:
All replies have been helpful. I realize my question is vague, and that's partly because I don't know what area within CS interests me. I may have to do at least an MS to find out.
What I meant was whether you would like to do research or teach (or both) -- not a specific area. While you will probably be required to teach some classes anyway (as a TA, which means grading, supervising labs and consultations), most of your time in grad school pursuing a PhD would be spent on research. That's because producing novel and relevant research results is an absolute requirement for getting a PhD (while teaching a lot of classes, on the other hand, is not). In pursuing a PhD it would  help if you enjoy (or at least can tolerate) the very process of research and feel passionate about your research topic. Otherwise, you might be in for quite a few miserable years.

_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
Richard A. O'Keefe | 4 Dec 02:20 2013
Picon

Re: PhD at age 45?


On 4/12/2013, at 11:26 AM, Dennis Raddle wrote:

> Hi Andrey and list,
> 
> All replies have been helpful. I realize my question is vague, and that's partly because I don't know what
area within CS interests me. I may have to do at least an MS to find out.

As someone who has supervised a number of MSc and PhD students,
let me say "absolutely!" to that.  Quite a lot depends on the
student, quite a lot on the supervisor, and quite a lot on the
working relationship between them.  Your supervisor will help you
with University administration procedures; your supervisor will
help you look for funds; your supervisor will direct your
attention to relevant related research; your supervisor will help
you understand novel technical material; your supervisor will in
fact be quite a helpful person.  BUT your supervisor is going to
expect you to take responsibility for your own work and to do it.
Some of it is going to be really enjoyable, thinking up new
algorithms or data structures or analysis methods or whatever.
Some of it is going to be DRUDGERY grinding through getting the
experimental results to show that your ideas _work_.  And for a
lot of students, a major thing that will help you get through
the drudgery is the feeling "This is *MY* project; d--n the
supervisor, *I* want the results!"

> I've been struggling with health problems for many years, so my work in programming has been part-time,
minimal, and not very interesting to me. I'm not in a good position right now to determine what I would
really like to do.

Health problems need not be an issue.  I can't speak for universities
where you live, but this one is pretty supportive of people with
health and disability problems.

As for what you would really like to do, there's really no
substitute for talking to people to find out what it's like.

Had you considered going to _any_ nearby University with a CS
school and asking around if anyone needs a part time research
assistant?  That will give you an insider's view of what it's
like to do research.

> Right now I have a small gig teaching Python and numpy to a local psychiatrist who wants to write software
for voice analysis. He is a smart guy, but of course we are starting at the beginning. It's quite
pleasureful to see things click in his brain. We are working on just basic ideas, like organization of code
into functions and modules. He previously dabbled on his own, and ran into problems with disorganized
code, so he really appreciates the ideas I'm presenting.

Have you looked at Keng-hao Chang's PhD thesis
"Speech Analysis Methodologies towards Unobtrusive
 Mental Health Monitoring"?
http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2012/EECS-2012-55.pdf
His AMMON library might be of course to you,
but I was thinking that reading a PhD in an area related to
something you are currently working on might be illuminating.
Carter Schonwald | 4 Dec 04:21 2013
Picon

Re: PhD at age 45?

i second some of these points, quite emphatically. 
Well said richard!
-Carter


On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 8:20 PM, Richard A. O'Keefe <ok <at> cs.otago.ac.nz> wrote:

On 4/12/2013, at 11:26 AM, Dennis Raddle wrote:

> Hi Andrey and list,
>
> All replies have been helpful. I realize my question is vague, and that's partly because I don't know what area within CS interests me. I may have to do at least an MS to find out.

As someone who has supervised a number of MSc and PhD students,
let me say "absolutely!" to that.  Quite a lot depends on the
student, quite a lot on the supervisor, and quite a lot on the
working relationship between them.  Your supervisor will help you
with University administration procedures; your supervisor will
help you look for funds; your supervisor will direct your
attention to relevant related research; your supervisor will help
you understand novel technical material; your supervisor will in
fact be quite a helpful person.  BUT your supervisor is going to
expect you to take responsibility for your own work and to do it.
Some of it is going to be really enjoyable, thinking up new
algorithms or data structures or analysis methods or whatever.
Some of it is going to be DRUDGERY grinding through getting the
experimental results to show that your ideas _work_.  And for a
lot of students, a major thing that will help you get through
the drudgery is the feeling "This is *MY* project; d--n the
supervisor, *I* want the results!"

> I've been struggling with health problems for many years, so my work in programming has been part-time, minimal, and not very interesting to me. I'm not in a good position right now to determine what I would really like to do.

Health problems need not be an issue.  I can't speak for universities
where you live, but this one is pretty supportive of people with
health and disability problems.

As for what you would really like to do, there's really no
substitute for talking to people to find out what it's like.

Had you considered going to _any_ nearby University with a CS
school and asking around if anyone needs a part time research
assistant?  That will give you an insider's view of what it's
like to do research.

> Right now I have a small gig teaching Python and numpy to a local psychiatrist who wants to write software for voice analysis. He is a smart guy, but of course we are starting at the beginning. It's quite pleasureful to see things click in his brain. We are working on just basic ideas, like organization of code into functions and modules. He previously dabbled on his own, and ran into problems with disorganized code, so he really appreciates the ideas I'm presenting.

Have you looked at Keng-hao Chang's PhD thesis
"Speech Analysis Methodologies towards Unobtrusive
 Mental Health Monitoring"?
http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2012/EECS-2012-55.pdf
His AMMON library might be of course to you,
but I was thinking that reading a PhD in an area related to
something you are currently working on might be illuminating.



_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe

_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
Kristopher Micinski | 4 Dec 04:47 2013
Picon

Re: PhD at age 45?

On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 5:26 PM, Dennis Raddle <dennis.raddle <at> gmail.com> wrote:
Hi Andrey and list,

All replies have been helpful. I realize my question is vague, and that's partly because I don't know what area within CS interests me. I may have to do at least an MS to find out.

I've been struggling with health problems for many years, so my work in programming has been part-time, minimal, and not very interesting to me. I'm not in a good position right now to determine what I would really like to do.

I can say that my favorite class in college was discrete mathematics. And I can say that I enjoyed learning Haskell, which I am in the process of teaching to myself for personal projects.

Oh yeah--I do have some personal projects. One of them is making animated videos to teach algebra, which I am doing in Haskell.

And I can say that I enjoy teaching a lot. Maybe I should become a high school teacher!

Right now I have a small gig teaching Python and numpy to a local psychiatrist who wants to write software for voice analysis. He is a smart guy, but of course we are starting at the beginning. It's quite pleasureful to see things click in his brain. We are working on just basic ideas, like organization of code into functions and modules. He previously dabbled on his own, and ran into problems with disorganized code, so he really appreciates the ideas I'm presenting.

I can think of a few potentially relevant points:
 - The only reason to do a PhD is because you want to learn how to do research on a very specific problem.
 - Being unsure of what you want to do is usually at odds with finishing your PhD.  Doing a PhD --- at some level --- means allowing yourself to focus on a specific problem and not feel too tempted by other areas.
 - A PhD isn't really about learning, it's more about doing.
 - Lots of people start PhD programs because they were passionate about learning (or are the kind of people that romanticize it) as undergrads, or feel generally upset with the daily grind of work in industry, hoping that doing a PhD will change this.  Doing a PhD still involves a huge amount of "the daily grind," but is nonetheless rewarding in ways that industry may not be.
 - MS programs can cost quite a bit of money, which is something to keep in mind: since I doubt you want to sink thousands of dollars in something that may be ultimately unnecessary.  Some schools fun MS students through TA positions, but you'll have to ask.
 - Getting in to PhD programs can be quite difficult, especially for nonstandard applicants (e.g., without a BS in CS from a strong undergrad school with a great GPA and high test scores).  This is not to say it's in any way impossible.  If you're a nonstandard applicant and love doing research, you should look for great *people* to work with at schools outside of the top ~50.  Rankings say very little about the quality of the faculty, but say a great deal about admissions difficulty.
  - If you ultimately want a PhD, getting an MS is unnecessary (at Maryland most people with MS degrees only have them because they worked in industry for a while).  However, if you don't have a traditional CS background, it may be a good way to qualify yourself for PhD programs and make connections with faculty members.

Overall, I think it's unwise to strongly consider PhD programs without a solid lead on your research area.  Doing a PhD is a big thing, and all about research.  In practice, the people that I know that do best at their PhDs don't get them because they want PhDs, it's more like "well, I really loved topic X, and it turns out if you do X long enough, and publish in obscure journals advancing the state of X, they eventually give you a PhD, because that incremental delta to human knowledge is called research."

If you like teaching, but not research, it might be better to get an MS for *breadth* in CS, and then look at teaching opportunities.

I agree with Dennis, however, looking to help people out may provide some insight.  Then again, jumping in to an active research can be very difficult, and faculty may be hesitant to accept help from outside their department for a variety of logistical purposes (faculty typically have very little free time).  However, most faculty organize some sort of reading group or seminar in their area.  These are typically more open to outsiders.

The best way to find out is to find faculty near you, download some of their most recent papers, and see if you can understand any.  If you find some that look interesting, you can acquire more background knowledge by reading in the area (e.g., Types and Programming Languages, Software Foundations, and Certified Programming with Dependent Types, would be texts for PL).  Then you might contact the faculty members and ask if they sponsored any open seminars for you to attend.

Kris

_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
Dennis Raddle | 4 Dec 08:57 2013
Picon

Re: PhD at age 45?




On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 7:47 PM, Kristopher Micinski <krismicinski <at> gmail.com> wrote:


I can think of a few potentially relevant points:
 - The only reason to do a PhD is because you want to learn how to do research on a very specific problem.


Thanks, Kristopher, you really made sense. What I hear you saying is that you get a PhD to do research on a problem that fascinates you. You shouldn't get a PhD if you are only doing it for what happens afterward.

Are there any MOOCs on reasoning about software correctness? I just remembered that I've always enjoy proving my programs correct (with the limited resources I had) but I don't know anything formal about this. This also seems like a practical topic... seeing how much of the vital world is run by software.

In the meantime I still have a lot of free time so I think I'm going to get out my calculus and discrete math books and start reviewing. Then I'll look over courses normally required for the BS and make sure I'm solid on them. Along the way I hope to run into a topic I like. I'll look up the local professors and see if they are looking for assistants, or even just volunteer tutoring.

There might not be any local profs doing software verification/correctness proofs so maybe I could find someone out of the area who would be open to a phone call and working by email.

Dennis



_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
Kristopher Micinski | 4 Dec 17:41 2013
Picon

Re: PhD at age 45?




On Wed, Dec 4, 2013 at 2:57 AM, Dennis Raddle <dennis.raddle <at> gmail.com> wrote:



On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 7:47 PM, Kristopher Micinski <krismicinski <at> gmail.com> wrote:


I can think of a few potentially relevant points:
 - The only reason to do a PhD is because you want to learn how to do research on a very specific problem.


Thanks, Kristopher, you really made sense. What I hear you saying is that you get a PhD to do research on a problem that fascinates you. You shouldn't get a PhD if you are only doing it for what happens afterward.

Are there any MOOCs on reasoning about software correctness? I just remembered that I've always enjoy proving my programs correct (with the limited resources I had) but I don't know anything formal about this. This also seems like a practical topic... seeing how much of the vital world is run by software.

I don't know of any MOOCs, but there are lots of resources to learn such things.  I mentioned a few of them in my last post, but learning about program verification / certified program development is a fairly huge and well researched area.  The "Software Foundations" book is very helpful.
 
In the meantime I still have a lot of free time so I think I'm going to get out my calculus and discrete math books and start reviewing. Then I'll look over courses normally required for the BS and make sure I'm solid on them. Along the way I hope to run into a topic I like. I'll look up the local professors and see if they are looking for assistants, or even just volunteer tutoring. 
 
You might try looking at their projects.  They are very unlikely to be looking for tutors, since few tenure track faculty at research universities need tutors for their classes (they already have TAs).

There might not be any local profs doing software verification/correctness proofs so maybe I could find someone out of the area who would be open to a phone call and working by email.

I would also look into open source projects.  Not to be too much of a dream killer, but professors are unlikely to want to work with a non grad student at their university, simply because of a lack of free time and accessibility to you personally.  (At the very least, this seems like something that most faculty I know would be hesitant to do because it's not at all in their best interests...)

Kris

_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
Dennis Raddle | 4 Dec 22:25 2013
Picon

Re: PhD at age 45?




On Wed, Dec 4, 2013 at 8:41 AM, Kristopher Micinski <krismicinski <at> gmail.com> wrote:



On Wed, Dec 4, 2013 at 2:57 AM, Dennis Raddle <dennis.raddle <at> gmail.com> wrote:



There might not be any local profs doing software verification/correctness proofs so maybe I could find someone out of the area who would be open to a phone call and working by email.

I would also look into open source projects.  Not to be too much of a dream killer, but professors are unlikely to want to work with a non grad student at their university, simply because of a lack of free time and accessibility to you personally.  (At the very least, this seems like something that most faculty I know would be hesitant to do because it's not at all in their best interests...)


Just FYI, at the California State University system, which only offers up to the Master's, at two local universities I was told they would welcome a volunteer tutor. Maybe they don't have TAs. I was also told I could contribute to the research of a particular M.S. student who was struggling.
Dennis
_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
KC | 4 Dec 00:52 2013
Picon

Re: PhD at age 45?

Advanced degrees look better the younger you are.

However look at Randy Pausch's last lecture.
Barriers are there to see if you are truly interested and have the passion.
Be aware of the attrition rate of those who start advanced degrees but who never finish their thesis, I believe.

I knew of one gentleman who was into his 13th year of a PhD and who talked to me about "them" threatening to cut off his funding.  :D

On Dec 3, 2013 11:43 AM, "Dennis Raddle" <dennis.raddle <at> gmail.com> wrote:
A more specific question than my last post. I guess I'm wondering if it's a good idea to begin a PhD in CS at age 45 (currently having a BS in CS). My goal is to obtain work that interests me, work that really draws on the skills one develops in a PhD program. Work in academia is hard to obtain, I understand, but I could take an industry job. I'm wondering if I'll just be postponing a job with no financial gain afterward and poor prospects for work. Or if there is ageism that will work against a guy coming out of school at age 52.

Or, if it will truly lead to an interesting job with good pay.

Dennis


_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe

_______________________________________________
Haskell-Cafe mailing list
Haskell-Cafe <at> haskell.org
http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe

Gmane