Doctorate & Me

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by TEKMAN, Oct 20, 2013.


    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    I just had a conversation with a friend who attended Capella University for Ph.D in Information Technology with Information Security concentration. After 4 years of studies, his dissertation was rejected. He appealed for decision, they voted to gain him a Master degree instead continue dissertation for Ph.D. I also read Prince Review about this article: Why You Shouldn't Pursue a PhD

    At this point I feel really disappointed, especially I am a full-time professional. And do not have time to challenge in academia. I have been attending Nova Southeastern University for Ph.D degree in Computer Information System with Information Security. It has been pleasure to be part of the program, and the program is great. However, I think I am exhausted after spent too much times on studies. I have full-time job, and my wife have a full-time job. We switch shift to avoid daycare for 3 little children, 2.5, 1.5, and 4 months. So, right now I am debating whether I am going to drop out of the program after this semester. I'll use the rest of my GI Bill for Professional Certifications on self study using open sources.

    CISA = Certified Information Systems Auditor
    CISSP = Certified Information Systems Security Professional
    CCFP = Certified Cyber Forensics Professional
    GCIH = GIAC Certified Incident Handler
    CCIE = Cisco Certified Internet Expert - Security
    PMP = Project Management Professional.

    Also, I have no desire for teaching. So, I do not see a my Ph.D has any good ROI for me in the professional. What is your about my decision?

  2. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    Of course, family first! Heaven knows I am facing these same challenges as well, trying to juggle a family, full-time job and a doctorate. If you can finish it, I would but I can also relate to everything else you are saying. Good Luck!
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I know you're a driven individual. But if you're not interested in teaching, I don't see value in getting a doctorate only if it's not in the way of other goals, which in your case it now clearly is. If you've determined the value isn't there for you personally, I say you can withdraw with honor.
  4. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Actually, in IT is pretty low unless you land a job as a scientist for Microsoft or a tenure track at Princeton.
    In my case, it just helped me to secure a full time teaching position but I really don't see the point of it if you are not going to be a full time teacher. Some do it for the extra cash as an adjunct but I wonder if it is really worth the hassle for the 20 to 30K extra a year you can make as an adjunct.
  5. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    My vote goes to CISA or PMP. Stay away from CISCO, they change their certifications quite often and you are required to take their worthless exams forever to keep the certification. Most CISCO exams can be found at places like The other turnoff of CISCO is that any high school graduate can get them with a testking, at least CISA and PMP require a degree.

    CISSP is also good, the others I am not too familiar with. The winning combination seems to be CISSP and CISA for many auditing jobs.
  6. distancedoc2007

    distancedoc2007 New Member

    If you can make a case for stopping, then I would stop. There's nothing wrong changing direction when something no longer meets your needs. I'm happy to have my doctorate, but can see what a big drain it was on life energy and time that could have been spent having fun with loved ones and being "present" in the present. I wouldn't repeat the experience or recommend it to anyone else, unless it's a must-do, climbing Mt. Everest kinda thing as it was for me.
  7. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    TEKMAN, I came to the same conclusion you did. The reality for me is that, as a programmer, a PhD has virtually no additional ROI over my (soon to be complete) masters degree if I do not plan on teaching.

    If I was younger, going to an absolute top tier PhD program, and planned on working in finance doing something with High Frequency Trading or being a Quant, then I could see going for it. But I have no desire to live that life.

    Still, the thought of pursuing a PhD keeps nagging at me, and I may do one in a few years. However, it will be primarily for my on personal satisfaction and to pursue some research areas in data analytics that I am interested in. Either way, I have time.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Thanks everyone for your response.

    MCJon, I feel that I want to get a Ph.D for personal satisfaction more over career enhancement. Here is a guy with Master degree in Plasma Physic from Dartmouth College, a Master degree in Purdue University, and a Ph.D. Over 10 years work experience from Lockheed Martin. However, he is homeless in Boston. I do not know his credential is legit or not, but it scares me.

    If his story is true, then United State isn't short STEM engineer after all.
  9. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    There are quite few people that come to this forum asking a PhD, DBA, etc is going to be ticket to a tenure track faculty, VP, or other high paying job. It is interesting to see what other people are doing with their online PhDs, DBAs, I have done a search in resume bucket just for a small sample of online doctors:

    Administrative assistant, PhD Capella
    Ebony Jones' Online Resume

    Assistant store manager, DBA University of Phoenix
    Bryon Hughes' Online Resume | Current Status: "Keeping my options open"

    High School Teacher, EdD University of Phoenix
    Annitra Edmond's Online Resume | Current Status: "Working but looking for something new "

    It would be interesting to do a research study about people with online doctorates and ROI, I have the feeling that we would find interesting results.
  10. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    We have two very interesting intersecting lines:
    1. Job opportunities declining in the United States. (declining line continues)
    2. Increasing number of in-resident Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral holders. (inclining line continues)

    Prediction: In about 10-30 more years, having degrees will be less economically meaningful. The attitude will become, "Show me the money" (not your degree).

    Of how much value is a degree in a declining economy when degrees become a dime a dozen?
  11. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    There is another trend that I observe here in Canada and the UK. The degree is secondary and the professional qualification is becoming more relevant.

    In Finance, you can have a PhD in Finance but the CFA seems to be the real game changer in an interview and not the degree.
    In Accounting is the CPA, in project management the PMP and so on.

    Degrees are losing value for sure, but the market seems to be using the professional qualifications as the real differentiator.

    Graduate degrees have little value in the job market in some fields.
  12. FJD

    FJD Member

    You might be on to something, but your examples are not very convincing. If you're looking to illustrate that some people earn online doctorates but end up doing low-level jobs, these aren't the droids you're looking for. All three resumes show doctoral studies as "currently enrolled," in-progress," and "expected." None shows a conferred doctorate, and none is updated beyond 2010.
  13. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    They're of great value when employers use them as a way to winnow down a large stack of resumes, as they do with Bachelor's degrees and now even Master's degrees.
  14. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Agreed, but that value could be significantly diminished if [almost] all other applicants have the same or similar degrees. Today, it is not so much an issue, but a prognostication says that in the next 10 to 30 years, other factors may weigh more heavily, such as:
    - Certifications
    - Having an uncle in the business
    - Graft and payoffs
    (of course, these factors have been relevant in all ages)

    The American economic decent into hell isn't happening overnight, but is taking several decades. Degree valuation, job security and pensions were relevant in the 1960s (and before). Since that time, degrees have become more abundant, while job security has diminished and pensions are mostly non-existent (except for government and Fortune 500 jobs). The descent will be even more evident in the next 10 to 30 years.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2013
  15. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    My bad, I did not notice "in progress". However, it still makes no sense people working as assistant manager or other lower level positions with MBAs and PhDs in progress.

    what I see is that some people finished their MBAs and are still in the same low level jobs and now enroll in a PhD with the hopes that things will improve. If they don't make it to better jobs, these will be the new adjuncts making 1K a course at UoP.
  16. FJD

    FJD Member

    I get your point and agree that the doctorates in your examples don't seem to make much sense for these particular people. Aside from personal enrichment and achievement, I don't really see the value for them. They're spending a lot of time and money they might one day wish they had back.
  17. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    There seems to be a trend in enquiries here at DD. Lately, I've seen a few threads along the lines of "I have a Bachelor's and a Master's and I'm not doing that well job-wise. (Low pay, no advancement, drudgery etc.) What's my most direct route to a second Master's or a grad. certificate (almost) guaranteed to catapult me into the world of high earnings and worthwhile employment?

    The answer is, of course that no such thing exists in the current marketplace. It seems there are many well-educated people out there who haven't gotten the picture -- as the posters in this forum seem to have done.

    Credential inflation has arrived; degrees don't impress as they used to. Professional qualifications are still emphasized - what you can do, regardless of where you went to school - or for how long.

    Yes, the "descent into hell" has taken a long time. But it's here.

  18. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Smack me now! I meant DI of course. :oops:

    That should be "posters in this thread." Sorry. My writing goes all downhill when they're closing the lab in 4 minutes... and sometimes, even when they're not. :smile:

  19. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    What I also noticed is that most of the people that list doctorates in progress are doing it from for profit places like Walden, Argosy, Capella, etc.

    My guess is that in the next 10 years, we will see a flood of new doctors in business from places like Walden, UoP, etc. The problem is that the main market for these "doctors" seems to be low paid online adjunct positions, however, my guess is also that people will stop taking programs from these places as degrees from better schools become available online. The most likely event is that even these low paid adjunct positions will become very hard to get as times goes by since for profits will have less students. The other trend is that even for profit schools are looking for adjuncts with degrees with professional accreditation (AACSB) so people with low tier degrees will be left in the cold.

    The internet has changed the game in education, credential inflation is here to stay and paper qualifications won't matter as much.

    To the OP, it is not worth to kill yourself just to get a doctorate. Save your time and money for your family instead.
  20. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    My favorite was one (a while ago) from a person that found a DL PhD from an obscure school in India and was asking if this degree could be used in the US for a tenure track position or career advancement.

    Few people get excited when they find a PhD that costs few thousand from exotic places and then wonder if they can beat the odds and use it to become super stars in the US, Canada or Europe.

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