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"Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
Michael Feldman <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 20 Jan 1998 13:56:38 -0400
Michael Stark <[log in to unmask]>
Michael Stark <[log in to unmask]>
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At 12:41 PM -0400 1/15/98, Michael Feldman wrote:
>[said Nasser Abbasi]
>> Michael Feldman wrote:
>> >  I think he's
>> > unlikely to finish the doctoral program, which he may regret at
>> > some point. But the salary was irresistible.
>> >
>> yes. I regret that I  left a nice Ph.D. computer science program that I was
>> starting at univ. of california, santa barbara, many years ago to take a job
>> offer with good salary, (actually now looking back, It was not that
>>high, but
>> at the time, it seemed so, and I did not think long term).
>Yep, this is a all-too-common situation. The lure of money is so strong
>that we sometime do ourselves long-term damage by getting too
>attracted to it in the short term.
>> Now, many years later I feel that was the most stupid thing I ever done,
>> and jobs and broken software that needs to be fixed and re-written will
>> be there, and will not run away, I think one should not let the
>>opportunity to
>> get a Ph.D. degree slip away,  I still want to get it, since I love to do
>> research type work, but it is not as easy now getting back to school as
>>when I
>> was younger, in particular after one gets used to making a good income, at
>> least better than a student would make :), but one day, one day, I'll go
>> to school and do it!  so, I think your ex-student will regret it one
>>day, I am
>> sure of it.
>Yep, it's hard to go back to that student lifestyle, and the older you get,
>the harder it is.

Since we're all witnessing here, I can tell you that going back to school
at 39 is not easy, and at times is terrifying (like when taking exams,
something I haven't done for many, many years).  I just finished my first
semester of a PhD program at the University of Maryland, on a fellowship
from my employer.  I can't imagine doing a PhD part time under any
circumstances -- it was tough enough to do a Masters in night school, if
you want to have some semblance of a life.

What makes it worth it to go back to school is that on the job you are
almost never allocated time to keep up with new technology, or given time
to expand your horizons into some new area.  Also, I have a lot of research
interests that are potential dissertation topics (in the area of software
engineering processes and object-oriented development).  I would agree with
the statement below, which implies you need the research orientation to be
able to do this.  I'm still keeping an open mind about whether having a lot
of experience in industry is going to be more helpful than being older is
going to be difficult.
>Getting a PhD takes a lot of time and effort, and the research orientation
>of PhD's (and PhD employment) is not everybody's cup of tea. But if you're
>interested in it, the time to do it is when you're young(er).
>I have two current PhD students in their 40s, and a third in his 40s who
>graduated last year. All three went back after years in industry,
>but it ain't easy. None of them are at the university full time,
>two of the three have families, etc.
>That said, there is a lot of interesting research/engineering work to be
>done in this field, and some universities (mine, for instance:-)) are
>friendly to students like mine, and like Nasser, and friendly to
>dissertation projects that are not terribly theoretical.
>Thanks for the testimonial, Nasser...:-)
>I think this is getting a bit off-topic for Team-Ada - maybe we
>should get on to other things?

I'm not sure education is ever fully off topic -- and my SW engineering and
OO interests certainly fit w/ Ada.

>> Nasser
>Mike Feldman

Michael Stark                                                   NASA/GSFC

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