Multidimensional career opportunities for PhDs

Multidimensional career opportunities for PhDs

Besides academics, a PhD opens up a plethora of opportunities  in a host of sectors, writes Ravichandra M.

Gone are the days of staunch belief that “PhD is a degree useful only to become university professor.” Though academic positions in universities and colleges are first choice of PhD holders, it is not the only option for current generation research aspirants.

As emphasized by Prof. Pankaj Jalote, Senior Professor at Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Kanpur in their web portal, Students interested to pursue research but not willing to take up academic/teaching positions should not hesitate to take up doctoral studies because of this reason alone. Today there are multiple career opportunities for researchers in Industry, Research & Development labs and Allied fields.

Here is an attempt to put in nutshell prerequisites, skill sets and career opportunities for PhD scholars.

PhD- (Doctor of Philosophy) as we all know is highest degree given in any discipline. It is a degree that adds two dimensions to your profile- “Skills” & “Knowledge”. Employer (Industry/ R & D Labs) are often interested in your skills and utilize it for their innovations and product development whereas educational organization can utilize your knowledge as an academician.

The Life-Cycle

Most of the universities have following process for earning a PhD degree, it starts with an Entrance examination, qualified candidates face an interview on successful completion have to take up course work examination (where subjects in your area of research are dealt in depth), on succeeding in course work exams, candidates have to define their problem by extensive literature study and most universities expect you to defend it among a panel of researchers termed as comprehensive viva. On successful completion candidates can start actual research work publish papers and experimental results and finally come up with dissertation to be defended in front of an expert panel. The whole process should take up 3 to 5 years. Majority of Universities offer PhD programmes in both Full-time and Part-time basis. Most important prerequisites for part-time PhD scholars is getting Principal Investigator/ Guide/Supervisors consent to guide you.

According to many professors and veteran researchers, Pursuing PhD does not require extreme intelligence, though brilliance helps in speedier progress. Patience, perseverance, hard work, and motivation are keys to success. One more misconception among student community is that inventing a new product alone gets you doctorate, but the truth is not only formulating a new problem and solving it, also solving existing problems with a different approach, improvising existing solutions can also lead to award of degree. 
Plethora of Career Opportunities  

Onee can find out multiple avenues for researchers apart from academic positions. Some of them are as follows:

* Entrepreneurs: There is always encouragement for young entrepreneurs from policy makers/Governments to start up new firms and as doctorate you can start your own organization and realize innovative dreams come true.

* Writing: By the time you obtain doctorate, your writing skills would have honed tremendously, a boon in disguise to pursue a career in media that either publish/ broadcast technology news as a technical researcher, Provide financial expert opinions in a Economy channels, Medical and pharmacy related expertise in health channels, Legal expertise and Educational expert opinions to name a few.   
* Venture Capitalist: You do not want to tie up with one single organization but can have a passion to help new start-ups to realize their dreams in the role of venture capitalist.

* Consultant: Consultancy is second love for most Doctorates, after teaching. It is this profession that provides flexibility and freedom for Researchers to share their ideas equally with Industry and Universities.   

* Public Sector Service:  Doctorates are always in demand for making public policy decisions in Governments as technical advisors. Also if your patriotic intuitions drive you for defense and military, research opportunities in defense organizations should be interesting option.

*Technology Transfer: It is a process of transferring patents from research labs to industries for market production. This transition process desires skills of a Doctorate and is interesting avenue for PhD graduates.

* Pharmaceutical/Information Technology/Bio Technology/Finance/ Law Industries to name a few utilize the services of researchers in their organizations for product development and service deployment. 

* Sales: Organizations involved in developing technical complex products rely on sales managers capable of understanding technically complicated gadgets and Doctoral candidates in respective areas have better chances of joining such work force.

There are plenty of blogs and other Internet resources available that provide fair idea on career options that one can explore with doctorate as a fruitful educational accomplishment. PhD can culminate with immense satisfaction of prefixing the two characters “Dr.” with your name with significant monetary gains too.

If even after doctorate your thirst for education doesn’t subside, no problems continue with Post-Doctoral studies in some reputed national or international university! 

Word of Caution: PhD has value provided you obtain it from a reputed university (verify the credentials of awarding body before starting) as there are plenty of PhD selling schools around us which violate regulatory body rules.

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