The story of graduate school in the United States. Part 4.1: What's Next?

    So, I will continue my story about graduate school in the United States. Here , here and here the previous parts live, and in this part I will talk about what happens after receiving a doctorate. In fact, I wanted to write about everything at once, but the night crept up imperceptibly and here it will be told about one of two popular ways (continuation lives here ).

    To paraphrase the famous phrase, is there life after PhD, is there life after PhD - science does not know. But it will be known to those who look under the cat.

    [Remember, everything you read here is my personal opinion based on personal experience and open information.]

    So, to begin with, I boast of the successful completion of the training process, the defense of a dissertation and the receipt of a doctorate. The process itself (in other universities is slightly different) looked like this: work on the project, presentation was missing (descriptions of the study and tasks), passing the qualification exam (unlike in previous years and other specialties, we looked like a mega-review of literature, it’s necessary it took a long time to talk about what people did before you (IMHO, this is more correct than the usual exam)), writing a dissertation, defending a dissertation. This entire process took 3 years (in total, it lasted, in fact, 3.5 years, but I did internalships for six months, so you can not count them). As practice shows, 3 years is fast enough, but it all depends on the area,graduate student slaves as long as possible). Engineers usually complete their studies in 3-5 years, pure scientists in 4-7 years, although everywhere there are exceptions. But if you have already decided to do this, then you need to count on a period of at least 3 years, it turns out very, very rarely faster. At the end of the journey, you get such a thing:

    And what happens next? And then the student years end and begins ... life.

    Here I will make a small digression on the topic that the student years are really cool. Everyone knows that students are the best years of life, but they usually realize this after the fact. In this case, graduate school allows, although not completely, to go back and delay workdays. At the same time, you should not think that if you are 25-30 years old, then everything is lost, in graduate school the average age of students is about 25 years old (we had people from 22 to 50), so age is usually not a problem.

    But back to life after graduation. So you graduated, got a diploma and you need to find a job. If everything happens in this order, I have bad news for you: the job search process is work and takes some (sometimes long) time. Therefore, the right graduate students are looking for work in advance. And then the fun begins. Oddly enough, but the higher the level of education, the more difficult it is to find a job. Those. the easiest way to find work is for bachelors, for masters it is more difficult, and for doctors it’s very difficult, because for most of the work this person becomes an overkvalifaed or, in Russian, very smart. Those. a person with a degree needs to be paid more, but if a bachelor can do this job, then there is no point in this. But, on the other hand, theoretically, a person with a doctorate should want to find an appropriate job.

    An academy is a teaching at a university and a professorship in the end. The standard way in this world looks like this:

    1) Postdoc: it’s like a graduate student, only it’s not so joyful, since there is just a little more money than a student’s (20-40k for South Carolina, i.e. you can live on it with family, but only live), and the responsibility is much greater. It is necessary to do experiments and monitor the students.

    2) Assistant Professor: this is already a professor, but he is still scared, because, in which case, he can be kicked out. Salaries here are already more adequate (60-80k again for SC (South Carolina)) and in this state you can live and enjoy life. And we must remember that officially professors get this for 9 months of work (in fact, they are prepared and the remaining 3 months, but the fact is a fact). And we must remember that these figures are before taxes, i.e. 30 percent should be taken away (taxation in the USA is a separate long muddy story ...).

    3) Tenure: here everything becomes more interesting. Tenor means that this person cannot be kicked out. Those. he is guaranteed a life position. There is also more money (probably in the region of 100-150k) and this can be considered quite a happy career.

    4,5,6, ...) Next are all sorts of advanced versions of professors that can be read on Wiki .

    the end) And at the end of this whole journey, you can become an Endowed Chair: this is such a joyful position that allows you to manage money. Those. the university has a bank account, there is a certain amount of money (for example, 30M), interest is dripping from them and you will distribute these same percentages. Those. to allocate for projects, equipment, hiring professors, etc. etc. In this case, your salary will be measured in hundreds of thousands, but we must remember that not everyone reaches this state.

    By the way, on the topic of salaries. If you are interested in real numbers, I’ll tell you a secret: the state of South Carolina (I suspect that others, too, I just studied there and therefore know) forces all public institutions to publish public salaries for employees. For example, there is a table with the salaries of people at the university where I studied, and here all over the state.

    One nuance is worth mentioning here: all these are positions, and they are loosely connected with your scientific activity, or rather they should be strongly connected, but in reality everything is far from simple. You can get the Nobel Prize without having reached high posts, and you can achieve posts without any special scientific merits and a heap of publications. Moreover, the higher the position, the more administrative work, management and politics there, but less (if any) science. Those. the academic world (what those who follow this path are turning into) can be divided into 3 categories:

    1) Scientists: those who themselves do research and most often do not have large posts, but have many publications, discoveries, patents, etc. etc.

    2) Managers: those who have a bunch of students and post-docs who do research. Most often, managers manage the entire process, are engaged in the search for money and the allocation of resources (i.e., they perform the work of managers).

    3) Administrators: this is something like managers, but they have administrative positions (deans, directors, etc., etc.) at the university and are more concerned with university affairs and bureaucracy than directly with science.

    It goes without saying that all these categories are very arbitrary and do not exist in their pure form, and there are also people who have succeeded greatly in many or have not succeeded in any category. But, going to the academy, you need to understand that, ultimately, for a successful career, you will need to succeed in at least one of these categories. So, as you can see, choosing an academy does not always mean just doing science.

    There should have been a continuation about grants, articles, projects, etc., etc. And also about what will happen if you choose an industry (as well as several alternative options), but night has come and the inspiration has ended, so that all this is transferred to the following parts. Write, if you are interested in any specific aspect of the professors' life or obtaining a PhD, although I am not a professor, I will try to answer or make a separate article about life “on the other side of the barricade”. I know that many are interested in the search algorithm for graduate school and professors, I will describe this in a separate article.

    PS1: The first photo is taken from here .
    PS2: Write about errors in PM.

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