Intro and disclaimer: this question concerns developing a career in Scientific Computing in industry, starting from an (applied) mathematics background, say an MSc. It definitely arises from my current, personal situation but I think that formulated as is, it is not opinion based and can help also other people. I am based in Europe.
The main point of discussion is:
is a PhD (in scientific computing or similar), on average, recommended/necessary for a job as a scientific programmer?
To be concrete, the target is on physics based simulation software: finite elements, numerical PDEs, HPC, fast solvers... I am looking forward to receiving your bit of experience, especially from those that are in a similar career (and maybe with a similar background). Here are some points I wish to get feedback on, but definitely feel free to expand in your answers:
- the job market is rather small and competitive, the title of PhD is an advantage
- a master student in numerical analysis does not necessarily have the required computer science/hpc skillset to make them employable without further qualifications: a PhD can be a sensible way to bridge gaps and develop needed skills
- a PhD does not prepare to be a programmer, mainly, so that it may not be a very wise investment if the final goal is an industrial position in scientific computing
- a PhD title might be necessary to have some research in the future job
- many of the few job offers out seem to require the PhD title (or the master's title + years of experience), so that a PhD might be needed