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RBaleiro

Keep studying (PhD) or trying to work

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Hello. I'm a Brazilian who just got a 190 visa for Victoria. I'm still living in São Paulo and I'm planning the move to Oz by the end of 2020 when I complete a research masters. I'll amost be 35 when that time comes. My field of study is Electrical/Electronics Engineering, but my work experience is as an electronics equipment trades worker.

I see an opportunity to get a full scholarship for a PhD, and that would be 4 years of full time studies. By the time that finishes I would be 39/40. Is that too old to start in the Aussie workforce? Should I try to work before and get some experience in the industry before attempting to take a PhD? Is 35 already too old to start in the career? Im not so sure if I would like to be an scholar/professor, the idea of taking the PhD is more to have some resting moment in my life as I have been working and studying since my early days.

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I can assure you from personal experience that doing a PhD is *not* a restful time.
I'm sure others will disagree but again, speaking from personal experience in engineering consultancy and industry, a PhD is really not necessary unless you're in a field that emphasizes research capability;  research and development - maybe, general consultancy or trade, no.

It's a difficult decision; once you've been in industry and are earning a decent wage it's very hard to step back and go back to the low amount funding pays you.  You could do a PhD part time if you so felt inclined (though it takes forever and adds to your workload).  if you leave entering the workplace too late then you're going to be behind with building up a career and other stuff like superannuation.

If you really want to do a PhD because you have a passion for research then go for it, just don't be under the illusion that's it's 4 years of not having to do much, the stress can be horrendous.

 

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1 hour ago, Eera said:

I can assure you from personal experience that doing a PhD is *not* a restful time.
I'm sure others will disagree but again, speaking from personal experience in engineering consultancy and industry, a PhD is really not necessary unless you're in a field that emphasizes research capability;  research and development - maybe, general consultancy or trade, no.

It's a difficult decision; once you've been in industry and are earning a decent wage it's very hard to step back and go back to the low amount funding pays you.  You could do a PhD part time if you so felt inclined (though it takes forever and adds to your workload).  if you leave entering the workplace too late then you're going to be behind with building up a career and other stuff like superannuation.

If you really want to do a PhD because you have a passion for research then go for it, just don't be under the illusion that's it's 4 years of not having to do much, the stress can be horrendous.

 

Thank you very much for you reply. In fact I do know that research consumes energy and time, sometimes becomes very frustrating due to the speed of the results. Additionally it sometimes even require more commitment because usually we work in our own rhythm, while in the industry somehow even in the R&D there is a schedule and process slightly repetitive. I'm really inclined to take the PhD in terms of passion although fearful about the acceptance for someone without local experience and maybe too old. Talking about this, as Australia has a good number of immigrants each year, is it common for ppl start in the industry in their mid 30''s?

What I wanted to say about resting is that I've been studying and working (both simultaneously) for a long time already. Sticking with just one of the activities would really be beneficial, specially for my health.

What is your industry? Why did u persuade a PhD? Is PhD a requirement in your field for the most prestigious positions?

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Are you proposing to do this further study in your home country or in Australia?


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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Just now, Marisawright said:

Are you proposing to do this further study in your home country or in Australia?

Right now I'm enrolled in a research masters in my home country (Brazil). The plan would be a PhD or even another Research Masters in Australia (1 to 2 years - I've seen some nice programs also in New Zealand). But I the main plan is to stay in Oz (Melbourne) due to the 190 visa restrictions (at least 2 years in Victoria and overall 4 years for the citizenship).

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1 hour ago, Rods said:

Thank you very much for you reply. In fact I do know that research consumes energy and time, sometimes becomes very frustrating due to the speed of the results. Additionally it sometimes even require more commitment because usually we work in our own rhythm, while in the industry somehow even in the R&D there is a schedule and process slightly repetitive. I'm really inclined to take the PhD in terms of passion although fearful about the acceptance for someone without local experience and maybe too old. Talking about this, as Australia has a good number of immigrants each year, is it common for ppl start in the industry in their mid 30''s?

What I wanted to say about resting is that I've been studying and working (both simultaneously) for a long time already. Sticking with just one of the activities would really be beneficial, specially for my health.

What is your industry? Why did u persuade a PhD? Is PhD a requirement in your field for the most prestigious positions?

Ahhh, I fully understand what you mean now, yes study and work is horrible.

I did mine as I wanted to get into full time academia, long story short - no jobs, no prospects, went into engineering consulting instead.  I was 27 when i left full time study but I got my job on the strength of having run a testing laboratory for the last two years while doing research, the actual PhD was irrelevant and TBH I've never referred to it since.

You are totally right about the local experience thing; we've found that to mean far more to Australian employers than actual qualifications.  When we are looking at resumes from people applying for jobs, we look at their work history first, then their qualifications.  We favour someone with say, a Masters and work experience over someone with little experience but higher degrees..  

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As a mature student myself I'd want to be in the workforce as soon as possible at your age and coming to a new country.

I started my working life at 16, did an apprenticeship as a fitter for the coal board in the UK. Worked as a fitter till I was 30 then went to uni and did a degree in Systems Engineering. Changed career totally and emigrated here a few years later. Strangely enough I would have been in more demand as a fitter than what my degree qualified me for.

Can take a while to get a job here but there are some very well paid positions in the oil and gas and mining sectors.

There's such a thing as being over qualified though and if you have practical experience that is highly regarded here. Specially if you have some good references. 

Honestly wouldn't bother with the Phd, get in the workforce and start earning. You'll need money when you get here.

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I don't know your field, but my gut feeling is to agree with Paul1Perth.   Employers are much more likely to hire someone with a degree and experience rather than someone with a PhD who hasn't worked in the industry for several years.  Rightly or wrongly, they would worry you have spent too much time on the theory and have lost touch with the practicalities of working life.

I'd say if you decide to do the PhD then you'll need to resign yourself to working in an academic role.  

Edited by Marisawright
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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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38 minutes ago, Marisawright said:

I don't know your field, but my gut feeling is to agree with Paul1Perth.   Employers are much more likely to hire someone with a degree and experience rather than someone with a PhD who hasn't worked in the industry for several years.  Rightly or wrongly, they would worry you have spent too much time on the theory and have lost touch with the practicalities of working life.

I'd say if you decide to do the PhD then you'll need to resign yourself to working in an academic role.  

My son is an apprentice trained sparkie/inlec, having done his instrumentation quals. He's done every course available whilst he's worked, most paid for by employers. He's worked FIFO for a few months a year and travelled, had fantastic holidays for the rest of the time. He's just returned from 2 years living in Whistler in Canada where he's had a great time. He got a job as an inlec there too. He's got a job coming up offshore in the new year $75 an hour.

He's consistently earned about 30% more than I have on an hourly basis for years. Admittedly I've never fancied FIFO, young single mans game I reckon. 

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