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Tips for starting out in PhD (CS or general) after a long gap from academics


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Hi all,

 

I have been a member of this wonderful forum right from the time I started my applications and have received some generous and wonderful advise and help in my applications and opinions. I am happy to say I have been admitted to a PhD CS program at a school in the United States.

 

The posts on beginning graduate school here in the forum were real eye openers and it has helped me in a lot of ways. I come from a different country were the educational system is totally different with no emphasis on research and I was working for close to 5 years after my undergrad before being admitted to the PhD program.

 

It would be wonderful to listen to any advise or tips you may all have on  how to close the gap between the students who are already trained to research and someone like me who needs to press the accelerator and needs to catch up and also learn to read research papers. I already feel a bit breathless and I have started looking at assignments from the departments page and also started reading research papers on my area of interests. But I still feel there is something lacking and feel left out

 

To add to my fears I have also been informed that the CS group at my University is so damn tough that it is quite a task to clear the tests.

 

I would love to hear from members who have tackled graduation after a long layoff from academics.

 

Also to the CS specific people : What programming languages am I expected to be a master at? I am quite comfortable programming in a couple of languages but there are some languages which I rarely use like C or Java as I am more into Python now.

 

 

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Also to the CS specific people : What programming languages am I expected to be a master at? I am quite comfortable programming in a couple of languages but there are some languages which I rarely use like C or Java as I am more into Python now.

That really depends on your research area and lab. My lab uses a number of languages - C, C++, Python, and Java. The expectation is that we're at least familiar with all of these languages and can quickly transition into using one or another. I rarely use C++ nowadays, but when I do, I'm at least familiar and can quickly write code with the help of some online docs for syntax reference. It's also assumed (probably at most programs) that we are very comfortable using Unix-based systems.

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