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  1. 1. CS Talks 16 March 2011Life Beyond PhD Claudia Szabo claudias@comp.nus.edu.sg 1
  2. 2. Disclaimer• All points are contentious, discussion is mandatory 2
  3. 3. Books I should have read• Tomorrow’s Professor, R. M. Reis• A PhD is Not Enough: A Guide to Survival in Science, P. J. Feibelman 3
  4. 4. Outline• Permanent Head Damage• Career Paths ‣ Academia ‣ Industry ‣ Other - the world is your oyster• Open Discussion 4
  5. 5. PhD, A Diagram Copyright Matthew Might 5
  6. 6. Elementary School Copyright Matthew Might 6
  7. 7. High School Copyright Matthew Might 7
  8. 8. Bachelor Degree - Speciality Copyright Matthew Might 8
  9. 9. Master Degree Copyright Matthew Might 9
  10. 10. Reading Research Papers Copyright Matthew Might 10
  11. 11. Focus at the Boundary Copyright Matthew Might 11
  12. 12. Pushing the Boundary Copyright Matthew Might 12
  13. 13. And You’re Through! Copyright Matthew Might 13
  14. 14. DR! Copyright Matthew Might 14
  15. 15. Your World Copyright Matthew Might 15
  16. 16. The Big Picture Copyright Matthew Might 16
  17. 17. Why?• To enhance knowledge• To share knowledge• Masochistic need to be in school until you’re at least 30- 17
  18. 18. How• Perseverance ‣ uncertainty, rejection, frustration• Tenacity ‣ competition is fierce• Communication skills ‣ reading, writing, social 18
  19. 19. PhD in SoC• The good ‣ Structured program with bounds on finishing time ‣ MOE scholarship with no bond ‣ Conference funding, plenty of resources (some of us have windows in our labs!) ‣ SoC: - one of the highest ranking CS/IS departments in the area - large department, ~150 profs, ~400 graduate students• The bad ‣ QE + coursework takes up around 2 years; ‣ Program details are undocumented; changes are unannounced• The ugly ‣ Funding runs out after 4 years ‣ No career path counseling for SoC graduate students available ‣ Reduced teaching opportunities for final year graduate students 19
  20. 20. Career Paths• Think about the long-term goals (20 or so years) ‣ what do you want to do ‣ what questions/problems will keep you on your toes• Academia ‣ Teaching & Research ‣ Research & Teaching• Industry ‣ Engineering ‣ Consulting ‣ Researcher• Haven’t decided 20
  21. 21. Academic Career• Structure• Things to do throughout PhD• Applying for positions• Interview(s)• The job offer(s)• Early career 21
  22. 22. Academic Career Structure - Research• Post-doc• Assistant Professor• Associate Professor (tenure, uha!)• Professor• Older age 22
  23. 23. Academic Career Structure - Teaching• Lecturer at research university ‣ contract-based• Assistant Professor at teaching university• ... 23
  24. 24. Academic Career Things to do• Publish, publish, publish + collaborate• Network• Teach: tutorials, projects, lectures• Be mentored & mentor• Be active in your professional societies• Avoid burning out ‣ research ‣ thesis writing 24
  25. 25. Academic Career Network• Where ‣ conferences, workshops, seminars - students and profs ‣ virtually• How ‣ identify people in your area of research ‣ talk about your work ‣ talk about other people’s work ‣ attend poster sessions, PhD colloquims ‣ hand out business cards ‣ follow up with emails, send them draft papers, get & keep their interest 25
  26. 26. PostdocsWhere to Find Positions• CRA announcements• Network, network, network ‣ ask profs when you are about mid-way through writing your thesis (or early!) ‣ let people know you are on the market - web page, conferences 26
  27. 27. Assistant ProfessorWhere to Find Positions• cra.org• Chronicles of Higher Education -> more towards teaching• Ask your prof to ask• Post job materials on your website• Network at conference 27
  28. 28. Assistant ProfessorApplying for Positions• Usually october/november - february/march• Ask your supervisor about: ‣ contacts, appropriate schools, your cv & statements• Establish your referees: ask & confirm ‣ Give them plenty of time to write the reference letters ‣ Send them your CV such that they have key details about you available• Make sure your first interview is with a trash school• Have a back-up plan in case you don’t find anything 28
  29. 29. Assistant Professor Typical Application• Web page (easy on the personal details) + Facebook• CV + Cover letter (personalized)• Teaching statement - ~ 1.5 pages max• Research statement - ~ 3-4 pages• Reference letters• It’s not your skills that get tested, but wether you are a good fit for the department 29
  30. 30. Assistant Professor Interviews• Phone/Skype interview ‣ 10-20 minutes to establish you - can speak Englihs :) - are not a psychotic loony bin ‣ ask for details in advance• Campus interview 30
  31. 31. Assistant Professor Campus Interview• Opportunity to meet with COLLEAGUES to see if you are a good match• Discuss research & teaching with committee and other colleagues• Visit department, campus, and surroundings• One or both of ‣ research talk - light on the details, more on the pressing issues/problems you have/will be solving ‣ teaching talk - lecture demo 31
  32. 32. Assistant ProfessorCampus Interview - What to Bring• Yourself: focused, professional, calm (but not bored), dressed appropriately (like a professor, not an investment banker or grad student)• Water, mints, remote control (for slides)• Copy of your thesis, papers, etc.• Practiced talks• Practiced elevator pitch: 1 - 3 minutes or less speech about your research ‣ varying levels of detail depending on audience• How you see yourself in five years?• Dream course syllabus 32
  33. 33. Assistant Professor Other Interview Tips• Other campus interviews will be light talks/ lunches: engage and be engaged• Talk to junior faculty• Ask about funding• Bring up the two-body problem after you get the offer; may hint during conversations• Follow up with emails, admins included 33
  34. 34. Assistant Professor Job Offer• Start-up package• Teaching load• Fringe benefits• Two-body problem 34
  35. 35. Assistant Professor Early Career• Research - Grant writing ‣ finding research problems ‣ writing the grant/being rejected; around 2 years ‣ find graduate, under-graduate students• Teaching ‣ negotiate: lighter at first; teach courses you are extremely familiar with ‣ (1) awareness of teaching & learning styles; (2) course structure; (3) continual assessment; (4) communities 35
  36. 36. Industry Career• Saturation in academia & economic climate ensures that a lot of [computing] PhDs will eventually end up in industry• While a fresh PhD lacks industry experience, the title will make up for it 36
  37. 37. Industry Career Things To Do• Choose a practical angle for your research ‣ hot problem, solid implementation, ample testing• Network ‣ seek out vendors at conferences• Focus on problem solving and communication• Publish in trade journals• Collaborate 37
  38. 38. Entrepreneur Things to do• Focus on your innovation• Test, test, test• Publish about your innovations• Patent your innovations; write business plans• Network• Use start-up funds 38
  39. 39. Haven’t decided Things to do• DECIDE! ‣ if you positively abhor teaching & mentoring, then maybe academia is not for you?• Do not give up on the quality of your research & writing• Collaborate• Network 39
  40. 40. Conclusion• Publish• Network• Don’t give up on quality research 40
  41. 41. Take Home Message e! m l ike be n ’t o Start thinking & acting about life afterD PhD as soon as possible. 41