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Math Dont call yourself an physicist/engineer/mathematician

  1. Feb 2, 2013 #1
    There seem to be many people finding jobs in their chosen profession, or for some people find a job at all. The attached blog post gives sound advice about selling yourself and career advancement.Its written for the software industry but the advice is generally applicable.

    Unless you are in academia or pure science, you will probably be employed in the "real world" or "business world". The rules of survival in the "real world" have NOTHING to do with what you learned in your STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths, education). You are smart but that's not good enough, you need to learn to play the games corporations play.

    Your most important professional skill is communication:

    Please read this blog post http://www.kalzumeus.com/2011/10/28/dont-call-yourself-a-programmer/

    Don't Call Yourself A Programmer, And Other Career Advice
    If there was one course I could add to every engineering education, it wouldn’t involve compilers or gates or time complexity. It would be Realities Of Your Industry 101, because we don’t teach them and this results in lots of unnecessary pain and suffering. This post aspires to be README.txt for your career as a young engineer. The goal is to make you happy, by filling in the gaps in your education regarding how the “real world” actually works. It took me about ten years and a lot of suffering to figure out some of this, starting from “fairly bright engineer with low self-confidence and zero practical knowledge of business.” I wouldn’t trust this as the definitive guide, but hopefully it will provide value over what your college Career Center isn’t telling you.

    Quote: "Instead, describe yourself by what you have accomplished for previously employers vis-a-vis increasing revenues or reducing costs." You need to be thought of as a "solution provider" ( a readily transferable skill), not be pigeon-holed into narrow technical skills. For example you make want to call yourself a "data scientist" instead of an expert on SQL Server version X.Y.Z.

    Edited list of major topics in the blog post:
    90% of programming jobs are in creating Line of Business software:
    Engineers are hired to create business value, not to program things:
    You really want to be attached to Profit Centers
    Don’t call yourself a programmer/engineer/physicist
    You are not defined by the tools you use
    Co-workers and bosses are not usually your friends:
    You radically overestimate the average skill of the competition because of the crowd you hang around with:
    “Read ad. Send in resume. Go to job interview. Receive offer.” is the exception, not the typical case, for getting employment:
    Networking: it isn’t just for TCP packets:
    Academia is not like the real world:
    People who are skilled in negotiation make more than those who are not.
    How do I become better at negotiation?
    Modesty is not a career-enhancing character trait:
    At the end of the day, your life happiness will not be dominated by your career.

    Know how modern organisations think
    Peter Drucker invented the modern science of management. Know how this style of thinking, that permeates governments and organisations everywhere, will help you get jobs.

    Further Reading:
    https://www.amazon.com/Im-OK-Youre-OK-Thomas-Harris/dp/0060724277 ( a little bit of psychology)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 2, 2013 #2


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    I find it funny that the seven habits book by stephen covey goes against the original advice of the article you quoted.

    personally, I would go by the seven habits book, the writer's experience is vital.
  4. Feb 2, 2013 #3
    I don't see that at all, they are about different things.

    The Cover book says concentrate on improving (moral) character rather than personality. There are many books out there that are about improving personality traits, but many traits are fixed ie you cant really change from being an introvert to extravert.

    Harris's book on transactional analysis gives insights into personal interactions, and is useful to know in the workplace.
  5. Feb 7, 2013 #4
    Presumably you meant, "There seem to be many people [having difficulty] finding jobs in their chosen profession, or for some people find a job at all."?
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