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[D] To finish or to “master out”?

I’m sure nearly every ML PhD student feels this way at least once or twice throughout their program but as I finish my third year I’m seriously considering going to industry.

I’m happy with my research group, but the pace is slow and I don’t feel like I’m learning much anymore. I’ve spent the past three summers at internships (one at a big industrial research lab, the other two at smaller startups doing research engineer-style work) and I enjoyed the startup environment a lot more than pure research. I’m more much a fan of building systems that do things in the real world than coming up with an architecture that does 0.5% better on CIFAR100.

I would much rather do researchy engineering than “data science” or generic software engineering but I don’t think I have a good shot at one of the research labs-best case is that I graduate in 6 years and then likely end up in one of these research engineer roles that only require an MS. On the one hand I feel like I’d regret not getting a PhD and close some doors, but on the other hand I’m forgoing 3 years of a good salary and spending the remainder of my 20s in a much more interesting location (my university is in a boring college town).

I’m seeing my friends from undergrad grow in their careers (and in their skillsets as engineers) while I sit in the lab 24/7 trying to crank out another paper. The

Those of you who strongly considered leaving (or left) shortly after they got their MS in their program, do you regret it (or do you regret not leaving)?

submitted by /u/throwaway_ml14
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