What ‘ll I do when I finish my PhD?

Tags: phd

(2005-03-10: I signed the contract for my new job today. Original post below.)

I get a lot of questions about what I'll do when I'm finished with my PhD (somewhere around april 2005). Well, at the moment (2004-12-24, update 2005-02-23 further down), there are roughly three possibilities. In no particular order:

  • I've gotten the suggestion to try for a certain Dutch grant ("veni subsidie"). That would mean three years of continued research here in Delft, as a post-doc.
  • I'm thinking of starting my own company, continuing with my research results. I don't see too many people really commercially trying to improve Building-Construction using the Internet, so there's a wide open opportunity.
  • Third option is to do a post-doc abroad. Three or four years additional research. We'll have to weigh this option a bit carefully, but the kids are still really young, so if a good offer comes up, this is a possibility.

If you're interested in a PhD that can also implement his ideas in software? Who likes to get Building-Construction all communicating, knowledge-adding, value-adding over the Internet? I like to keep things simple and web-based. When programming is part of the job: server side software (linux), don't make me do visual basic autocad stuff :-) I'm writing regularly in this weblog, so if you'd like the research results to get a bit more exposure, this might help. I've also got two years of EU research project under my belt (eConstruct). reinout@vanrees.org

update 2005-02-23

I've done some additional browsing and thinking and there are three additional angles to pursue.

  • My section at the university has an opening for a teacher in my field of work. Half teaching, half researching. I have done only two hours of before-the-class teaching, but have been quite involved in teaching during practical exercises (which I loved). And I've worked with 4 graduating students. The salary is pretty OK for this one :-)

    A bonus here would be that I'd be able to stay in the same research area. Visiting w78 conferences, perhaps taking part in a EU project... I like contact with other PhD's. You get the chance to meet smart people.

  • I've been looking increasingly at zope and plone companies. The technology is great. I'm very attracted to the cooperative spirit that seems to go around in such abundance in the zope/plone world. I like that, really. It is what made the first two years of my PhD such a great time: the cooperation between a few partners in a EU research project I worked in.

    What might make this scenario a killer is when I could bring zope/plone's power to bear on the building&construction industry in this setting. I've got ideas, I've even implementing some of them in plone (yep, plone right in a PhD thesis). So: programming/designing instead of writing papers. "Doing it" instead of "writing how to do it". Dunno.

    Skills? Thinking at moderately high levels, UML modelling. Writing skills. Thinking. Probably reasonably OK programmer, needs more experience. Uses unit tests, version control, runs linux since 1996. I've got a meeting next monday at a company that might be interested... Looking forward to it! What might the possiblities be?

  • Construction consultancy. I haven't found anything interesting here yet, though. I can analyse pretty OK. A drawback might be that I've got some pretty engrained software preferences and that I dislike complexity. So if you're advising complex stuff because that's nice for your bottom line: don't ask me. If you like simplicity: do ask me.

    What could make me pretty interesting here is a high level of versatility. I can do high level analysis, but I can also bash a database with rocks until it spits out the correct data: that might save a serious amount of money in a project.

I really wonder where I'll end up... hopefully somewhere around the beginning of april; somewhere where I can really contribute; somewhere where being honest and open doesn't hurt you. And earning a bit more than now wouldn't hurt: I want to be able to pay of my study debts before I turn 80...

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My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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