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PhD research to industry question

  1. Mar 19, 2017 #1
    Hello everyone,

    I am looking for advice from those who have experience with PhD going into industry. I am currently in the process of deciding on an aerospace engineering program. I have been accepted into a known university and also "accepted" into another lesser known school, I put accepted in quotes as I was not chosen in the schools first round of applications, instead I was contacted by a professor looking for graduate students for research.

    I think that the professor's research is very interesting, however I do not think it is something I see myself doing after my PhD. I think most of the things I have read have described that the work that PhD's find is closely related to what they researched throughout their graduate research, is this the case? Would research in one thing make it more difficult to find a job working with something completely different?

    I will be visiting both these schools in the next couple weeks to get a better idea of how I fit in. Although with school 2 it seems as if I would be accepting under the pretense that I will be working within that professor's lab.

    TIA
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2017 #2
    If the prof is offering a research assistantship, then it is worthy of due consideration.

    Think of your future employability in terms of the skills you would develop in the process. My first two jobs (and several more job offers) were based on my instrumentation and programming skills and had nothing to do with the area of my research (experimental atomic physics). One job offer was based only on my outstanding performance on a C programming test administered during the job interview! A second job offer was to be an RF test engineer programming in LabView for wireless communication products. I'd never worked in RF, never programmed in LabVIEW, and never worked with wireless networking devices. But they figured (correctly) that with the programming and instrumentation work I had done, I'd be a great bet to figure it all out and excel at the job. They were right. Within 5 years, I'd gotten two promotions and doubled my income with the company.
     
  4. Mar 21, 2017 #3
    It is awesome to hear your transition from the lab to industry! After speaking with the professor I would come in with a TA for the first semester and possible the second since I have not completed my masters, so this would be a similar situation that I would be in at the first school.
     
  5. Mar 21, 2017 #4
    Nothing wrong with a TA if it keeps the ship afloat and allows your education to proceed without adding debt.
     
  6. Mar 21, 2017 #5
    My experience and others I know did not do further research in their doctoral area after being hired by industry. The research they/we conduct in industry seemed to be more applied even when I thought the research in our doctoral area was very applied to begin with. My co-workers go to conferences and see the type of research presented there and tell me the same thing.
     
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