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How can I get a non-TT research gig?
July 29, 2009 6:36 PM   Subscribe

What can I do to get a researcher position?

I am almost done with a quantitative social science PhD program with a focus on technology adoption antecedents, globally. I am 95% sure that I don't want to go TT. I'd love to work at Google Research, Microsoft Research, etc. But how do I get a job at a place like that? What sort of publications should I be trying for? What else can I do to beef up my CV and get noticed?
posted by anonymous to Education (2 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've worked in a few of these kinds of organizations (and know people in more), but it's hard to generalize. I think the one thing I can safely say is that these jobs are nearly always given to people that the current researchers already know. This is cliche, I know, but I think it's particularly true in situations like this. So the traditional networking ins work great: advisor connections, meeting people at conferences, going to talks from people in labs you think do interesting work, etc. As for publications, I think you should identify labs whose work you respect and then check their publications pages. See where they're publishing and try to get your work in there. Think of it like finding a postdoc position or a group in grad school - it's all about fit and relationships.

I will say, among the non-hard-tech labs (eg not the IBM labs that do basic science for chip design, but the ones that do collaborative user experience research) my feeeeeeeling is that social scientists are more rare. Certainly people are interested in quantitative (and qualitative) methods, but there might still be a bias towards CS/Engineering trained people. In groups I've been in, it has ranged from 4-1 at the most CS biased to maybe 5-3 in the most balanced case. This may be because I come from an engineering background and so I work in more engineering focused groups, though.

Memail if you have more questions! I don't work in that kind of situation yet, but I've worked internships in a bunch of different research labs.
posted by heresiarch at 8:15 PM on July 29, 2009


(I should clarify - when I say among the non-hard-tech labs social scientists are more rare, I don't mean relative to hard-tech labs - I mean there are relatively fewer positions versus engineering/cs/design positions. Hard-tech groups wouldn't be hiring social scientists at all. Oops. That sentence wasn't clear at all once I saw it on the page.)
posted by heresiarch at 8:18 PM on July 29, 2009


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