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Job Skills What positions can I apply for?

  1. Nov 20, 2016 #1

    I would like to know what positions I can apply for based on my background. I have a bachelor's degree in computer engineering, and a master and PhD degrees in electrical engineering with specialization in wireless communications.

    My initial plan was to get a position in academia. But later I discovered how hard it is to get a position in the academia. I would like to make a transition to the industry, where wireless communication isn't in demand (I'm in Canada. Maybe the situation is different in USA, but I'm not planning to leave Canada), and I don't have practical experience in computer engineering, where I know some computer networking, hardware design concepts, and some programming languages such as C/C++, C# and some Java.

    I've been applying for a job since last September. I've applied for more than 150 jobs. I got 2 personal interviews, both as C++ developer (one for computer vision, and one for networking). I also got one phone interview. Some people here suggested Data Science (the phone interview was for a data scientist position).

    From the discussion I've had in these forums but in other threads, applying as a software developer doesn't look good, because I don't have experience in software development, and having an entry level position with a PhD doesn't sound right to the applicant and to the employer.

    About data science, I still I don't know how to make my experience relevant. I'm reading some books on data analysis suing R, but I don't think I can learn all the things needed as a data scientist withing a few months. For example, the following is a list of requirementz for a data scientist position taken from LinkedIn:

    These are the must-have. There is also nice-to-have section. I've some background in statistics, know some Java, and some R from the list. All others I lack. Also, they don't just need you to know, they need 5+ years of experience. Which means even if I learn machine learning algorithms by myself, it won't be enough. I need practical experience. I began to suspect my eligibility to apply for data scientist positions, as I haven't had any reply other than the phone interview from all the applications I've applied to data scientist positions.

    What other positions can I apply for, which would require minimal time to adjust to it based on my background?

    Last edited: Nov 20, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 21, 2016 #2


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    Science Advisor

    Can you get help from your PhD advisor? When I was in graduate school our advisor had a lot of contacts with various funding corporations and institutes and most of us ended up working for one sponsor or another.
  4. Nov 21, 2016 #3
    I graduated 2 years ago. My PhD supervisor didn't help me get any position. I managed by myself to find a postdoctoral position, but I don't want to continue this path.
  5. Dec 1, 2016 #4
    Do I have any chance as a software developer? I would accept taking a junior position and make my way up (I don't think I will get paid less that what I'm getting paid now as a postdoc anyway), but would my PhD in another field hinder me? Someone told me his friend got a job when he removed his PhD from his resume. I'm not sure how that worked for him, and what he said in the period of his PhD!! On the other hand if I kept it and put my research experience, it would be irrelevant to programming!! But I'm not sure what other options I have!!
  6. Dec 2, 2016 #5
    The book, "What Color is Your Parachute" was very useful to me in planning and applying for jobs out of grad school (PhD in Physics). Being a two PhD family, one spouse often has had to work with the geographical constraints of where the other spouse had landed a great job. When constrained geographically, you need to expand your options.

    My first job was with a small instrumentation company that was eventually acquired by National Instruments. I also interviewed and was a strong candidate at places like Keithley Instruments.

    My second job was at a startup wireless communications company that was eventually acquired by Cisco Systems. This hire was something of a gamble for them, since I had never worked with RF before. But my CV made it clear that I was a very strong instrumentation and programming guy, and they bet correctly that a Physics PhD could figure out the RF stuff quickly.

    Read "What Color is Your Parachute." Put together a skills based resume/CV. Get that resume in front of as many hiring managers as you can. Work out some strategies to bypass Human Resources and get your resume to the actual people you'll be working for and working with.
  7. Dec 2, 2016 #6


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    Education Advisor

    If you are interested in pursuing data science, I would suggest exploring the following:


    Essentially, the above program allows those with quantitative PhD graduates looking to enter into industry with an 8-week fellowship, including mentoring from industry members. I personally think this is exactly the type of program you should look into, as it would provide you with both networking opportunities as well as an opportunity to learn the latest in data science methodologies that are in demand.
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