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Other PhD or second job search

  1. May 11, 2017 #1
    I'm specifically creating this topic out of concern for career prospects so I'm putting this under the career section. I'm at the stage where I have had my starting job for almost six months since leaving my graduate studies with a M.S in Biomedical Engineering where I'm performing a basic quality control function on scientific data for a pharmaceutical company in my hometown. I'm certain that I'm going to advance myself but so far it is unclear how I would go about doing that since in graduate school I had a specialization in neural engineering which prepares me either for research associate positions, further graduate studies, or innovation in medical devices that is also going to probably require further graduate studies.

    My current job is not related to my studies in graduate school or undergraduate studies where I also have degrees in Engineering Science and Physics whereas my job function focuses on analytical chemistry. Since as a child I had medical experiences involved with the brain I'm seriously motivated to get involved in the field and based on my present job I know I'm not going to be comfortable deviating from that focus. Since I'm in an isolated environment with no real networking in industry but have Professor contacts from graduate school and my undergraduate studies it would seem a realistic option would be to apply for a PhD for the 2018-2019 term year at Universities that have funding for research in neurotechnology. If I apply for a second job now it creates conflicts with my employers and I would either be doing something I don't like at a higher salary or a research function that would probably just lead to the PhD path. At this point I'm uncertain if I have the proper skills to go into another research position and the job search seems chaotic since there is no specific focus. My boss wants me to be successful and not be stuck in this job position but was concerned about me leaving within four months; since I don't yet have experience in medical device innovation and translational research, doing a PhD sounds like the best options and creates the least amount of conflict.

    Would it be reasonable to say that further graduate studies through a PhD in biomedical engineering would allow me to gain experience in original research design, programming, and medical devices that would be attractive both in academia and industry? I'm confident if I plan this out I would have a lot of opportunities for networking so I would have contacts as I approach obtaining the PhD. I just got really excited about this possibility today so I wanted some unbiased advise on pursuing further graduate studies given my situation. I'm probably not explaining the whole situation so please ask questions if something doesn't make sense. I look forward to the responses and straightening out my goals.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 15, 2017 #2
    It looks like you really have many options before you, but none that are without costs. The main question appears to really be, "what do you want to do when you grow up?" with no intention to be derogatory about "grow up." Eventually, you have to decide what you really want to do, what you are willing to pursue whole heartedly.

    You indicate that you have accepted a job in an uninteresting area in your hometown. Is this an indication that you really want to be in that town, or are you reluctant to pursue a good position elsewhere? Only you can answer, but these are some things to think about.
  4. May 15, 2017 #3
    I have the current job because of restraints from last year with recovering from a major surgery, financial restraints, and wanted to make sure one of my family members recovered well from a major surgery. I have no liking to my hometown and desire to get out of the area because it just has bad memories for me because of a traumatic medical experience at the beginning of my life and the resulting events afterwards and can't relate to the hometown mindset after my college years. I overcame those experiences of my past and after doing graduate studies in Philadelphia I now find a city setting to be much more satisfying and vitalizing to my lifestyle whereas my hometown is very isolated.

    I'm now to the phase where I could apply to other positions outside my home State but reviewing my graduate experience and looking at the potential opportunities at a Master's level I don't think I'm comfortable going into another position. Because of my traumatic medical experiences I'm really interested in the areas of neural engineering and contributing to neurology and neurorehabilitation. With a M.S with my current skill set it looks like I could only perform support positions in relation to these areas where the problem here is I'm interested in performing innovative research which I'm most likely not going to achieve until I do a PhD and have Postdoctoral research experiences. In the previous post I said there are research associate positions but these tend to not be in neural engineering and ask for skills I don't currently possess, since I have the vital interest in research and neural engineering my preference would be to do the PhD.

    I now see the PhD as the most practical solution because I still need to gain University research experience in the field, this allows me to be productive in my current position for a decent amount of time until August 2018, and allows me to have a straight forward goal so I'm not dealing with many uncertainties and wasting time I could be using to solve other problems in my life. I am still concerned about what would happen to my career so am doing research on how I would be going about all the networking opportunities in a PhD program and making sure I'm developing applicable skills so I'm attractive to institutions and research companies after my PhD. As long as there are opportunities for after the PhD it would be worth it to stay in my current area until next year and start the PhD application process now. Since I have now overcome my financial restraints I don't have limits as to where I can apply in the United States so I can most likely find an environment that could maximize my intelligence and research potential for the PhD.
  5. May 15, 2017 #4
    Sounds like you think a PhD is the way you really want to go, so by all means, go for it. Remember that there are no guarantees in life, so with, or without the PhD, you may or may not get to where you want to go.
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