High Paying Careers


I work in the automation industry and get the feeling that academic titles are extremely important. Most of the management has a phd title. It’s a nobilitation and in some cases opens doors (or ceilings).


Fair point. But then I’d like to add something to your argument as well :slight_smile:

If you are doing a PhD and have a side project, that suddenly takes off or even results in a startup/product, your professor might claim ownership, if it has the slightest thing in common with your research at the lab. I saw that happen twice. Professor now talks about “his” startups when in fact he had nothing to do with them.

Wait, when you say “uni”, do you mean as a Bachelor/Master student or as a PhD student? Two completely separate things I believe.

Thanks, good to hear :smiley:


In some cases it also closes doors :wink:
I believe in the end it comes down to how hard you are willing to work and how much effort you put into things you do. Some companies tend to hire PhDs, because they know these people are willing to work 24/7 if necessary. But if you can show similar resilience and knowledge, you should not have a huge disadvantage without a PhD. Unless you are looking for jobs in research of course.

Apologies for all the off-topic, but this topic has eaten me up for a long time and I have the urge to share all thoughts I collected meanwhile.

EDIT: Boy, a meetup with Swiss moustachians would surely bring opportunities for lots of discussions :sweat_smile:

24/11/18 Meetup in Zürich => 14:00 at Kennedy's Pub

Hi, this an interesting and timely topic for me - I’m finishing my CS studies at ETH next year and need to decide what to do carrier-wise.

Best paying tech jobs are obviously in the US and I’d love to move there to work for FAANGSs but with chances of winning H1-B lottery like 30% I might be stuck here for some years. From what I hear biggest (>2k people) and best tech company here is Google Zurich and they pay Bay Area-level TC (!). But assuming I don’t get so lucky what are my other options here? Swiss companies i hear don’t pay anything close to top tier US tech companies.

There’s a few small (I think) offices of other big american tech (which opens up a way to move to US via L1-B visa), Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Nvidia, Cisco - anyone knows what are kind of projects they working on and the pay? How about swiss finance industry, what’s the pay at hedge funds around here?


I was interviewing senior programmers for a position in our office, and all of them requested at least 120k - 150k annual salary, without a PhD. I don’t want to name the companies that they are coming from, but apparently there are plenty bigger companies that are currently paying them these amounts.

BUT, these people I met are all looking for another job mostly because their current positions are boring. They don’t care about the generic fintech product that their company is developing, or they are devops or something like that and feel unfulfilled.

If you are considering doing a PhD, I would recommend you get to know the research lab where you would do it, in case you are not already familiar with the team. I would never sign up for a PhD without knowing the professor and the team really well. It astonishes me how many people apply without having met the prof in person. I would start out as a research assistant for a few months while you are looking for the Silicon Valley jobs. If you can’t land a job you find interesting, and it’s because you lack a PhD, why not do it?

When deciding to do a PhD because of the probably higher salary, I would be afraid of being disappointed after 5 years of hard labor in the event that the huge dream salary did not become reality. I’m just saying you should have at least one more reason besides $$$ to do a PhD… in my opinion. But then again many people build their entire career on maximizing the salary ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


I guess I can’t call my line of work very fulfiling, but I suck it up, because I only need to do it for a total of 10 years, not 40, if I keep the mustachian lifestyle. And once I’ve reached FIRE, then I can think about doing something interesting.


From my understanding 150k is below even junior developer comp at Google both here and in silicon valley - top tier tech pays very well

What do you think of the value of Msc degree? It is only 2 years waste of time but every quant finance job i’ve seen wants at least an MSc but not so much in tech