The question is really an attempt to ask for help and advice from academic staff members, industrial research staff or anyone who has had personal experience with Post-doc job applications.

Obviously there are lots of websites that list post-doc positions, and some are dedicated just for that. However in reality these positions have a lot of hidden intricacies that might lead you down a path that has been a dead end for a long time. The applicant however learns about this just at the very end of the process.

This is somewhat frustrating since most of the people I know about looking for a postdoc are in the final stages of their PhD and really cannot afford to waste too much time on the wrong thing.

Some ideas that raise my concern into the straightforwardness of a postdoc application are:

  • Many Post-Doc positions are advertised just for the sake of advertising the position, however sometimes the successful candidate had been chosen already, even before the position was open !
  • A lot of advise I get is that i should contact the concerned Professor/person directly and not wait for a position to be open, being proactive
  • Some positions are just out of reach for fresh PhD graduates because other previous post-docs are also applying for the same position and so the competition becomes unfair

I am hoping that this question leads into real world, clear and effective advice for people looking to get a Post-doc position

For the purpose of applying for a lecturer position in Australia in computer science (CS), what are “research activities” and “scholarly activies”, and how do they differ? The applicant is asked to provide “scholarly and research activities” according to the selection criteria stated in a particular job description on the website of the CS department to which I am applying to. However, both terms seem to me way too vague or broad from a purely linguistic viewpoint. The discussion in What does "research activities" mean? touches only the “research activity” term, but even this discussion is incomplete and contradictory.

For the purpose of applying for a lecturer position in Australia in computer science, what is actually a “contribution to technical achievement”? This phrase occurs among the selection criteria but seems to me way too broad from a purely linguistic viewpoint. According to the text describing the selection criteria, a “contribution to technical achievement” is supposed to be separate from research experience, teaching experience, experience outside university, creative achievements, and professional contributions – they are measured separately.

For the purpose of applying for a lecturer position in Australia in computer science, what is actually a “professional contribution”? This phrase occurs among the selection criteria but seems to me way too broad from a purely linguistic viewpoint. According to the text describing the selection criteria, a “professional contribution” is supposed to be separate from experience in research, teaching experience, experience outside university, creative achievements, and technical achievements – they are measured separately.

For the purpose of applying for a lecturer position in Australia in computer science, how is “experience in research” typically measured? According to the text describing the selection criteria, “experience in research” is supposed to be separate from teaching experience, experience outside university, creative achievements, professional contributions, and technical achievements – they are measured separately.

I am applying for a lecturer position in Australia in computer science. The application process asks for “a statement addressing the selection criteria outlined in the position description”. An enumerated list of n (say, n=8) selection criteria is available in the job announcement. The criteria are heterogeneous, ranging from simple “PhD title or equivalent” to elaborate “a high level of communication skills”. Which high-level structure is expected?

  1. A continuous, consistent, logically ordered, literary perfect text, from which it follows that the applicant satisfies all the criteria.

  2. A list of n paragraphs, one paragraph per criterion, that technically addresses the requirements, but not more.

  3. A list of n sections, one section per criterion, that technically addresses the requirements, but not more.

  4. …?

How large are the typical statements in each case?

Many of my peers in my program, Computer Engineering, are of the opinion that what you do in school is a “head-fake”, that you take all this intense math and science essentially to prove that you can accomplish difficult tasks quickly. A “real job” doesn’t actually use any of that junk except for a few select classes.

I suppose I understand that sentiment, but my issue is that after something like 20 years of math, Stockholm Syndrome has kicked in and I really enjoy it. I will miss it. I just finished one of the hardest classes at my University with an A because Fourier Transform just makes sense to me. Learning how to operate some software program is not the same as learning how to build a differential amplifier. Not all learning is equal. I have had two fantastic Co-Op (internship) rotations with some big name companies working on great projects, but the most intense math I used was division and that makes me sad. While my peers cannot wait to graduate and start their lives, it feels like it is the end of mine.

It seems that industry, for every 1 person actually producing something, there are 20 people doing documentation, management, talking to the customer, supply chain, etc etc. (edit: and I do not mean that in a derogatory manner, I am actually getting an MBA as well at the moment. I just mean that the one person who uses their academic knowledge is followed by a slew of people who do not use it).

So, the obvious answer is to go through a PhD and enter Academia but I do not think that is the right path for me considering I have no desire to teach and I also really enjoy making the money I do now. Putting my fiscal life on hold for another 4-5 years seems like quite a lot as I am already in debt.

My question then, is, how do I use what I learned in school while in industry? Or should I leave industry and pursue academia? Should I still go for a PhD but do industry research? How can I continue to learn while I am working in industry?

Apologies if this question is unclear, it’s very nebulous and if this gets removed or -1 I understand.