I would like to thank this forum for numerous threads discussing various ways to transition out of academia after getting a PhD in physics. However I still think that I am missing a key factor leading to successful transitions. I also have nobody to ask in person. All of my friends who got PhDs in technical fields (and had not previously worked for a few years in a company) ended up in postdocs. The most recent one was a guy who realized that science was not his domain in the second year of his PhD. So he decided to focus on getting programming and statistical experience instead. He still ended up getting a PhD (with fairly subpar publication record), but he also had a few successful projects in Java, C, C++, Python and R though his research, freelancing and hobbies. He also had a couple of programming internships in industry in his BS years. During the last few months (while writing his thesis and continuing to sharpen his programming skills) he was applying for every non-senoir programming position throughout the nation, including entry-level jobs and paid internships. I was sure that this guy would be the first among my PhD acquaintances to get a non-academic job. A couple of weeks ago after several months of unsuccessful job hunt he started applying for postdoctoral openings too, although he knew that his publication record was far from stellar. Guess what kind of job offer he ended up accepting this week? A postdoc. What do you think is a key for a successful transition from academia apart from having previous corporate experience?