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From Ph.D. to industry

  1. Jan 30, 2010 #1

    I'm an Engineer and a Ph.D. student in Applied Maths, working in the field of Nonlinear Finite Elements for Elasticity. I often think about my future career since, by now, I have a strong experience with coding FE in C++/Matlab/Mathematica, but no clue whatsoever about commercial black-box softwares for FEA. I'm worried about this, since most of the job vacancies from the industry (I'm not interested in pursuing the academic career) seem to require only experience with a specific software and application, and not to directly code FE.

    Also, since my Ph.D. funding is actually a full employment at the university as a Reasearch Assistant (I'm in Europe), will I be considered as already having work experience after my graduation? I'm so fond of Computational Mechanics, that I believe any job in this area would probably fit my taste, the problem is that I have no idea what are the needs of people outside academia! How do I get more informations?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 30, 2010 #2
    A PhD means you have the ability to learn. I am sure employees would recognize that.
  4. Jan 30, 2010 #3
    Things in industry tend to be extremely field specific, but there are some general tendencies.

    One thing that you quickly figure out is not to take job requirements too seriously. I've never seen a job requirement in industry that tells you exactly what the employer is looking for, because often the person that writes the want ad, is someone that really has no idea what the new hire is supposed to do. What I've found works is to spam my resume to anyone that seems to be collecting them, and sometimes someone will call back.

    The other thing is that flexibility is important. They might not want you to code FE, but if you can code FE, then presumably you can code lots of other things that have nothing to do with FE.

    Yes. Research in a Ph.D. program is usually considered work experience.

    Sources of information are alumni that have go on to other things, headhunters and recruiters, people that you know that are in the company that you are interested in.
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