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januarydrive7

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I'm hoping to defend my dissertation sometime in the next 6-7 months, and will start actively searching for employment in perhaps 2-3 months.

For those of you that are currently employed or have previously worked in tech (SW or HW), is there anything that you'd advise for new blood? I'm currently fielding recruiters from Intel (SW side), Google, LinkedIn, OCI, and a few others --- anything you'd suggest to look out for, steer clear of, or demand?
 

Cmaier

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I'm hoping to defend my dissertation sometime in the next 6-7 months, and will start actively searching for employment in perhaps 2-3 months.

For those of you that are currently employed or have previously worked in tech (SW or HW), is there anything that you'd advise for new blood? I'm currently fielding recruiters from Intel (SW side), Google, LinkedIn, OCI, and a few others --- anything you'd suggest to look out for, steer clear of, or demand?
On the hardware side, I found that a PhD was actually an impediment at most of the big companies. If you’re just starting I’d recommend a startup - tons of responsibility and experience that makes you more valuable to subsequent employers, and you’ll never better be able to “afford” the risk than when it’s your first job out of the gate.
 

Eric

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I'm hoping to defend my dissertation sometime in the next 6-7 months, and will start actively searching for employment in perhaps 2-3 months.

For those of you that are currently employed or have previously worked in tech (SW or HW), is there anything that you'd advise for new blood? I'm currently fielding recruiters from Intel (SW side), Google, LinkedIn, OCI, and a few others --- anything you'd suggest to look out for, steer clear of, or demand?
These are all great companies, I also contracted with Intel for a year and can personally speak to how awesome they are. Do you mind mentioning your areas of interest and background? Right now there is a huge demand in tech, my company is trying to hire experienced people with Microsoft Office and security, we're talking great jobs with great salaries and the candidates are terrible, it's like trying to hire for McDonald's or something.

I'm sure @Cmaier is right about having a college degree on the hardware side of things, for example Intel would bring in recent college grads every Monday to their state of the art campuses and woo them, but for many places in tech it's not nearly as applicable as it used to be. As long as they're experienced and/or well certified one can pretty much right their own ticket right now, it's a good time to join the market.
 

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I'm hoping to defend my dissertation sometime in the next 6-7 months, and will start actively searching for employment in perhaps 2-3 months.

For those of you that are currently employed or have previously worked in tech (SW or HW), is there anything that you'd advise for new blood? I'm currently fielding recruiters from Intel (SW side), Google, LinkedIn, OCI, and a few others --- anything you'd suggest to look out for, steer clear of, or demand?
In the meanwhile, if you want someone to give you an extra edit on your dissertation, let me know. I’m doing it for free for the next few months. I defended at the beginning of November and won’t start seriously job hunting until at least the end of January. My chair has me doing all sorts of editing for other candidates right now.
 

Cmaier

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In the meanwhile, if you want someone to give you an extra edit on your dissertation, let me know. I’m doing it for free for the next few months. I defended at the beginning of November and won’t start seriously job hunting until at least the end of January. My chair has me doing all sorts of editing for other candidates right now.

You guys edit your dissertations? I wish someone would have told me that was a thing all those years ago.

true story: at my defense, everyone on my committee signed off except for my advisor. He decided to sign just his first name. He told me, at the end of the defense, that he would sign his last name only after I had three more journal articles accepted for publication by IEEE.

(He signed a month later when I wrote 3 draft pieces of crap that would never get accepted, told him I was leaving for california with or without his signature, and my future employer (Exponential Technology) told him that they absolutely needed me right away, and “of course we can maybe do some work together with your research group in the future.”)
 

Alli

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You guys edit your dissertations? I wish someone would have told me that was a thing all those years ago.
Keiser University actually requires you get a professional editor to review your dissertation following your defense. Since almost everyone I know has a Ph.D., I had lots of people volunteering to do my edits. Saved me a fortune.
 

Cmaier

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Keiser University actually requires you get a professional editor to review your dissertation following your defense. Since almost everyone I know has a Ph.D., I had lots of people volunteering to do my edits. Saved me a fortune.

Ah. Rensselaer is more of a “let’s propagate the stereotype that engineers can’t write” sort of place.
 

januarydrive7

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On the hardware side, I found that a PhD was actually an impediment at most of the big companies. If you’re just starting I’d recommend a startup - tons of responsibility and experience that makes you more valuable to subsequent employers, and you’ll never better be able to “afford” the risk than when it’s your first job out of the gate.
I've heard similar on the SW to varying degrees -- it seems to depend on the company to some degree.

I've considered the startup route (am actually in the middle of possible moonlighting my own with a few guys in my cohort) -- my big concern there is the job security issue: wife and many kids to take care of.

These are all great companies, I also contracted with Intel for a year and can personally speak to how awesome they are. Do you mind mentioning your areas of interest and background? Right now there is a huge demand in tech, my company is trying to hire experienced people with Microsoft Office and security, we're talking great jobs with great salaries and the candidates are terrible, it's like trying to hire for McDonald's or something.
Trying to generalize my work, it's mostly been in languages and compiler theory. I've done a fair bit of data mining and natural language processing work, as well. Right now, I'm honestly just looking to finish -- due to underperforming in high school, and lack of direction for the several years afterward, I'm now in my mid-30's and still in school. I'm almost ready to take a job at Mickey-D's!
I'm sure @Cmaier is right about having a college degree on the hardware side of things, for example Intel would bring in recent college grads every Monday to their state of the art campuses and woo them, but for many places in tech it's not nearly as applicable as it used to be. As long as they're experienced and/or well certified one can pretty much right their own ticket right now, it's a good time to join the market.
I've felt this sentiment --- the uptick of recruiter activity is evidence enough, particularly when my LinkedIn shows I'm not interested in finding work, and I've not applied or sent my CV anywhere.
 

januarydrive7

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In the meanwhile, if you want someone to give you an extra edit on your dissertation, let me know. I’m doing it for free for the next few months. I defended at the beginning of November and won’t start seriously job hunting until at least the end of January. My chair has me doing all sorts of editing for other candidates right now.
You guys edit your dissertations? I wish someone would have told me that was a thing all those years ago.
My department falls more along the lines that @Cmaier relayed: we're told that we more or less need to staple together our publications aligning with our proposal contract. It makes some sense to offload the review process like this: getting past the 3rd party double blind review stage suggests at least in part that the work you've done is legitimate.

true story: at my defense, everyone on my committee signed off except for my advisor. He decided to sign just his first name. He told me, at the end of the defense, that he would sign his last name only after I had three more journal articles accepted for publication by IEEE.
I've had several offhand conversations with my advisor suggesting that this may very well be how things go --- I'm fine wrapping up publications in process, but the idea of extra publications/projects that I'm either not currently involved in, or have no intention of working on, seems a bit much.

(He signed a month later when I wrote 3 draft pieces of crap that would never get accepted, told him I was leaving for california with or without his signature, and my future employer (Exponential Technology) told him that they absolutely needed me right away, and “of course we can maybe do some work together with your research group in the future.”)
Did you ever do more in collaboration with your research group?
 

Eric

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I've heard similar on the SW to varying degrees -- it seems to depend on the company to some degree.

I've considered the startup route (am actually in the middle of possible moonlighting my own with a few guys in my cohort) -- my big concern there is the job security issue: wife and many kids to take care of.


Trying to generalize my work, it's mostly been in languages and compiler theory. I've done a fair bit of data mining and natural language processing work, as well. Right now, I'm honestly just looking to finish -- due to underperforming in high school, and lack of direction for the several years afterward, I'm now in my mid-30's and still in school. I'm almost ready to take a job at Mickey-D's!

I've felt this sentiment --- the uptick of recruiter activity is evidence enough, particularly when my LinkedIn shows I'm not interested in finding work, and I've not applied or sent my CV anywhere.
Right, I am a senior consultant with over 25 years of experience who has never attended college but have gone through a ton of Microsoft sanctioned trainings and carry a lot of certifications, this far supersedes college degrees in the tech industry because it's more targeted. If you are proficient in building an Azure environment and carry the right MS certs, for example, and are up against RCGs with degrees in computer engineering, there's no question who they'll choose.

Recruiters could not care less about a college education in this field, in fact they're just searching for keywords in resumes to fill the specific role they're seeking. The right drive and a couple of MS certifications and you'll be writing your own ticket.
 

januarydrive7

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Right, I am a senior consultant with over 25 years of experience who has never attended college but have gone through a ton of Microsoft sanctioned trainings and carry a lot of certificates, this far supersedes college degrees in the tech industry because it's more targeted. If you are proficient in building an Azure environment and carry the right MS certs, for example, and are up against RCGs with degrees in computer engineering, there's no question who they'll choose.

Recruiters could not care less about a college education in this field, in fact they're just searching for keywords in resumes to fill the specific role they're seeking. The right drive and a couple of MS certifications and you'll be writing your own ticket.
I completely feel this: I spent the first two decades of my life having zero (career) direction, but when my first son was born, I realized I couldn't continue on like that ad infinitum. I played around with web development a bit as a kid (who didn't, back then?), but had zero experience and nothing to show for myself to be able to apply anywhere with any edge. I took to the school route to try to fill that gap, and fell in love with research early on (otherwise, I would have been done ~5 years ago, with my B.S.)

Now, the few interviews I've had are basically a rinse and repeat of some combination of leetcode questions, architecture design, and behavioral (can we have a beer together?). I would have been ready for at least those interviews before completing my bachelors, to be sure.
 

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To add to your list, though this probably won't be popular here... Palantir if you want to stay in Silicon Valley. Or NSA for incredibly interesting work - software/hardware/systems engineering.
 

Cmaier

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Did you ever do more in collaboration with your research group?

No.

He reached out a couple times and I vetted some ideas with him on the phone, but that’s about it.

My research involved CPU design using bipolar logic and CML circuits. Esoteric stuff. The company that hired me, Exponential, was actually doing that (although with silicon and not, as I had been doing, GaAs). (I got super lucky. Nobody did that stuff other than this company and my research group, and my research group didn’t know about that employer). My advisor was fishing around looking for data from Exponential, and I think we may have provided him with some non-secret statistics and design information, but pretty soon I was working at Sun and then AMD on CMOS, and I wasn’t too helpful to him anymore, anyway.
 

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Ha! Excellent timing! Just as I'm thinking on switching jobs...

I got into tech just as I was finishing my bachelors. I have a fine job, but after a year and a half it's already feeling a bit stale. I'm not learning much on my day job. I think I'll either switch to a different company or quit and do a MSc or focus on personal projects to improve for a few months.

Funny thing, the hardest part of any interview I've had was just guessing what were they actually asking. There is sooo much jargon and keywords thrown around sometimes that I often find myself in the position of actually having experience in whatever they are asking, but not knowing it was called by that specific name. Maybe CS graduates have less problems with this.

I second that most interviewers don't care much about college experience. In all the interviews I've had, we discussed it for less than a minute of an hour long interview.
 

Cmaier

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Ha! Excellent timing! Just as I'm thinking on switching jobs...

I got into tech just as I was finishing my bachelors. I have a fine job, but after a year and a half it's already feeling a bit stale. I'm not learning much on my day job. I think I'll either switch to a different company or quit and do a MSc or focus on personal projects to improve for a few months.

Funny thing, the hardest part of any interview I've had was just guessing what were they actually asking. There is sooo much jargon and keywords thrown around sometimes that I often find myself in the position of actually having experience in whatever they are asking, but not knowing it was called by that specific name. Maybe CS graduates have less problems with this.

I second that most interviewers don't care much about college experience. In all the interviews I've had, we discussed it for less than a minute of an hour long interview.

One time when I was interviewing at DEC in Boston the interviewer brought up college, but only to disparage me for getting a PhD.
 

jbailey

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One time when I was interviewing at DEC in Boston the interviewer brought up college, but only to disparage me for getting a PhD.
Only for my first job. It was good because I was tired of trying to explain away my 2.5/4.0 GPA.
 

thekev

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These are all great companies, I also contracted with Intel for a year and can personally speak to how awesome they are. Do you mind mentioning your areas of interest and background? Right now there is a huge demand in tech, my company is trying to hire experienced people with Microsoft Office and security, we're talking great jobs with great salaries and the candidates are terrible, it's like trying to hire for McDonald's or something.

I'm sure @Cmaier is right about having a college degree on the hardware side of things, for example Intel would bring in recent college grads every Monday to their state of the art campuses and woo them, but for many places in tech it's not nearly as applicable as it used to be. As long as they're experienced and/or well certified one can pretty much right their own ticket right now, it's a good time to join the market.

Maybe they have changed? I happen to remember this blog, due to being somewhat of a fan of ISPC. I don't really use it now as it misses a lot of optimizations in terms of write combining and stuff.


You guys edit your dissertations? I wish someone would have told me that was a thing all those years ago.

true story: at my defense, everyone on my committee signed off except for my advisor. He decided to sign just his first name. He told me, at the end of the defense, that he would sign his last name only after I had three more journal articles accepted for publication by IEEE.

(He signed a month later when I wrote 3 draft pieces of crap that would never get accepted, told him I was leaving for california with or without his signature, and my future employer (Exponential Technology) told him that they absolutely needed me right away, and “of course we can maybe do some work together with your research group in the future.”)

You didn't make any submissions while working on your Phd? You make this sound like it was a while ago. Were conference submissions in that area were less of a thing at that time? They're bigger in software fields, but they do at least exist there.
 

Cmaier

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Maybe they have changed? I happen to remember this blog, due to being somewhat of a fan of ISPC. I don't really use it now as it misses a lot of optimizations in terms of write combining and stuff.




You didn't make any submissions while working on your Phd? You make this sound like it was a while ago. Were conference submissions in that area were less of a thing at that time? They're bigger in software fields, but they do at least exist there.

I did publish a bunch of journal and conference proceedings back then. But the guy decided on the day of my defense that he wanted 3 more. The area I was working in made it difficult to publish, because you really needed working chips and I could only tape out once or twice during my entire PhD. He was used to his other grad students who published constantly - they were working in semiconductor manufacturing, so they’d go into our fab and change some parameter and then publish about it, whether or not anything useful resulted. For me, I needed to design chips and tape them out to Rockwell, who had to fab them and send them back. Only then did I have any useful data.
 

januarydrive7

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I second that most interviewers don't care much about college experience. In all the interviews I've had, we discussed it for less than a minute of an hour long interview.
Most of the few interviews I've had have been for research-oriented positions, so there was a significant amount of time spent on my research, even though the positions were not related in any way.

Funny thing, the hardest part of any interview I've had was just guessing what were they actually asking. There is sooo much jargon and keywords thrown around sometimes that I often find myself in the position of actually having experience in whatever they are asking, but not knowing it was called by that specific name. Maybe CS graduates have less problems with this.
I feel this -- deciphering the brain-teaser questions is about 80% of the difficulty, from what I've seen. The other 20% is bound up in some combo of finding the trick/esoteric data structure that solves it elegantly and the actual white-boarding of the solution.

Only for my first job. It was good because I was tired of trying to explain away my 2.5/4.0 GPA.
This is where I would hope to get a chance to talk about school --- while in high school I had a low (I think ~1.8/4.0) GPA, I managed to pull off a 4.0 in grad school (apparently, being interested in what you're doing has a non-negligible affect on how much effort you put in).
 

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I did publish a bunch of journal and conference proceedings back then. But the guy decided on the day of my defense that he wanted 3 more. The area I was working in made it difficult to publish, because you really needed working chips and I could only tape out once or twice during my entire PhD. He was used to his other grad students who published constantly - they were working in semiconductor manufacturing, so they’d go into our fab and change some parameter and then publish about it, whether or not anything useful resulted. For me, I needed to design chips and tape them out to Rockwell, who had to fab them and send them back. Only then did I have any useful data.

That demand sounds pretty arbitrary and wacky to me, as he demanded an arbitrary number rather than some amount of unique work that would pass peer review in your area.
 
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