I received two questions this week from a reader who wishes to remain anonymous. My experience with both is somewhat limited, so hopefully some of you will be able to help.
PhD/EdD = Overqualified?
Firstly, have you seen many folks with doctorates working in the field? Do you think a PhD/EdD makes you more competitive or does it make you overqualified? I would love to try working in industry (even if it were for free) just to get a feel for what happens outside of academe.
Personally, I have worked somewhere that a PhD or EdD meant your resume went directly to the recycling bin. It wasn’t an official policy, but the consensus was that anyone with a terminal degree would be bored working as an ID on our team. I’ve even heard of people feeling overqualified (or maybe too expensive?) with just a masters degree.
My impression is that the PhD/EdD is helpful in higher education and helpful for those who want to be director level or above in the corporate world. It isn’t something I’ve seen for instructional designers as individual contributors. This is where my experience is a little thin though; that’s more gut reaction than anything else. What have you seen or experienced yourself?
Individual Consultants versus Companies
Secondly, what is your sense for the field in terms of individuals working with companies as consultants? Does this happen frequently or is it mainly ID firms working with companies?
I am just really getting started with freelance work myself, as a side project in addition to my current regular contract. My career is probably unusual because I’ve been salaried more than even hourly contract. I know people are out there doing this as individuals. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s easier as an individual to freelance or consult with smaller companies, while large businesses tend to work through recruiters and bigger firms. I’m sure there are exceptions though, and I’m not even sure I have the trend right. Can anybody shed some light on this question?