Jump to content

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, CarefreeWritingsontheWall said:

This. This 1000000x over.

Having finished a terminal MA, I thought I had a good sense of what a PhD at a top 10 would be like. Wrong. I work 72-80 hours a week and I'm still told by faculty that I'm not working hard enough. Sleeping 8 hours a night? How can I, shouldn't I be working? Everyone has told us that the department has us by the throat until after generals, and even then. If you work with specific faculty, they're no less understanding afterward when it comes to family commitments or personal lives. In a way I got a taste of it when I was helping my Mother grieve the loss of her father during my MA. Two weeks after the funeral, I commented that I had been up until 2AM on the phone with her. My advisor asked me why I was still dealing with the issue. It sounds heartless, but the attitude is that your prioritize your work over yourself if you really want to land that job. Personally, I'm looking to work outside the US job market, and I'm also open to public and private sector opportunities afterward so I feel less compelled to bend over backwards 100% of the time. It is incredibly important to find ways to carve out time for yourself though. If you don't, the insanity only gets worse and faculty will keep asking you for your time. Routine is crucial, as is keeping your research and your goals in mind.

Ditto on the idea of trying to do consulting work on the side while in grad school:  don't bother.  That went out the window for me about 3 weeks into my intro methods course.  I shut down my consulting business over the next month and that was it.  In my current M.A. program the terminal Masters students take the same courses the PhD students take, with the same requirements, right along side of them.  The terminal M.A. is essentially the coursework for a PhD, minus one minor field.  So hopefully the culture shock will be a little less for me when I get wherever I'm going this Fall.  I'm writing a pretty solid thesis.  I never missed the chance to do extra work for a prof if it came along.  My family wonders if I've become a mole with an R reference tucked under my arm, but they're supportive.  The house could be a little cleaner, but, you know, perspective.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 53
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

I read this thread with a little concern and wanted to add my own perspective. I am presently in my fourth year, recently defended my dissertation prospectus, and am preparing to start gathering data.

I will be finishing my dissertation in the near future and moving on to the next phase of my life and career. Like most grad students, I stopped visiting this site once I started and the whirlwind of

Wow! I'm sorry you had to go through this. It sounds like a really toxic department culture and like things really sucked. I haven't posted or visited this place in maybe 8 years since I was applying

4 hours ago, CarefreeWritingsontheWall said:

This. This 1000000x over.

Having finished a terminal MA, I thought I had a good sense of what a PhD at a top 10 would be like. Wrong. I work 72-80 hours a week and I'm still told by faculty that I'm not working hard enough. Sleeping 8 hours a night? How can I, shouldn't I be working? Everyone has told us that the department has us by the throat until after generals, and even then. If you work with specific faculty, they're no less understanding afterward when it comes to family commitments or personal lives. In a way I got a taste of it when I was helping my Mother grieve the loss of her father during my MA. Two weeks after the funeral, I commented that I had been up until 2AM on the phone with her. My advisor asked me why I was still dealing with the issue. It sounds heartless, but the attitude is that your prioritize your work over yourself if you really want to land that job. Personally, I'm looking to work outside the US job market, and I'm also open to public and private sector opportunities afterward so I feel less compelled to bend over backwards 100% of the time. It is incredibly important to find ways to carve out time for yourself though. If you don't, the insanity only gets worse and faculty will keep asking you for your time. Routine is crucial, as is keeping your research and your goals in mind.

Wow! I'm sorry you had to go through this. It sounds like a really toxic department culture and like things really sucked. I haven't posted or visited this place in maybe 8 years since I was applying to grad school but this post made me want to share some thoughts. I've now finished my Ph.D. (at a top USNWR 5 place) and am now an assistant professor at a very nice place. Yes, I got very, very lucky and my experience is not representative of the typical applicant. But here are some thoughts:

1. I picked dissertation committee members based partly on their not being jerks. I did not work myself to the bone. Mostly, I worked the equivalent of 9 to 5 hours. Nine hours of real productivity and focus (i.e. with absolutely no internet, email, etc) is probably more than enough for most Ph.D. programs. The tough part is getting that focus. There are exceptions of course: when there was a tough game theory problem set due or the last frenzied two months of dissertation writing.

3. I made sure to give myself options. I came into grad school a qualitative scholar and left with some hard data science-type skills and I worked hard to hustle some consulting gigs. I don't really agree with the previous posts about consulting (at least after coursework is over).

4. I am not sure what field BigTenPoliSci is in, but to me the description of a star-focused job market sounds more like American politics and less like Comparative.

I wouldn't try to actively persuade anyone to go to graduate school, given the probabilities involved, but at the same time if you want a lottery ticket to the TT and you have a funded offer from a place in the USNWR top 10, you're probably not making a huge mistake.

Edited by bubbatubba
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, bubbatubba said:

Wow! I'm sorry you had to go through this. It sounds like a really toxic department culture and like things really sucked. I haven't posted or visited this place in maybe 8 years since I was applying to grad school but this post made me want to share some thoughts. I've now finished my Ph.D. (at a top USNWR 5 place) and am now an assistant professor at a very nice place. Yes, I got very, very lucky and my experience is not representative of the typical applicant. But here are some thoughts:

1. I picked dissertation committee members based partly on their not being jerks. I did not work myself to the bone. Mostly, I worked the equivalent of 9 to 5 hours. Nine hours of real productivity and focus (i.e. with absolutely no internet, email, etc) is probably more than enough for most Ph.D. programs. The tough part is getting that focus. There are exceptions of course: when there was a tough game theory problem set due or the last frenzied two months of dissertation writing.

3. I made sure to give myself options. I came into grad school a qualitative scholar and left with some hard data science-type skills and I worked hard to hustle some consulting gigs. I don't really agree with the previous posts about consulting (at least after coursework is over).

4. I am not sure what field BigTenPoliSci is in, but to me the description of a star-focused job market sounds more like American politics and less like Comparative.

I wouldn't try to actively persuade anyone to go to graduate school, given the probabilities involved, but at the same time if you want a lottery ticket to the TT and you have a funded offer from a place in the USNWR top 10, you're probably not making a huge mistake.

So...what?  Those of us without the ability to go to a top 10 should just give up and teach high school?  B.S.  I'm right now at an institution that is decidedly *not* top 10 and 2 of our ABDs got TT jobs within the last 2 years.  I think people who go to top 10 programs like to tell everyone else that they are the be-all end-all.  Must be an ego thing.

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, bubbatubba said:

4. I am not sure what field BigTenPoliSci is in, but to me the description of a star-focused job market sounds more like American politics and less like Comparative.

Good eye, bubbatubba. I'm in the American subfield.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, changeisgood said:

So...what?  Those of us without the ability to go to a top 10 should just give up and teach high school?  B.S.  I'm right now at an institution that is decidedly *not* top 10 and 2 of our ABDs got TT jobs within the last 2 years.  I think people who go to top 10 programs like to tell everyone else that they are the be-all end-all.  Must be an ego thing.

You're setting up a straw man. Nobody said that TT jobs are exclusively occupied by T10 PhDs, just that it is empirically true that T10 PhDs occupy a majority of them. Think about it - if your goal was to be a tenured professor, and you knew that a school (such as the one you describe) only places one person from each cohort in a TT position, would you invest 5-7 years of your life in that program? People get PhDs for many different reasons, and there are other fulfilling and lucrative careers outside of academe. It makes sense to go to a program where the outcome for the modal graduate is one that you would be happy with.

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, changeisgood said:

So...what?  Those of us without the ability to go to a top 10 should just give up and teach high school?  B.S.  I'm right now at an institution that is decidedly *not* top 10 and 2 of our ABDs got TT jobs within the last 2 years.  I think people who go to top 10 programs like to tell everyone else that they are the be-all end-all.  Must be an ego thing.

Sorry changeisgood, that was poorly put on my part. There are a lot of really smart people (smarter than me for sure) at just about every place you go. People also have different goals for what they want from a PhD and their life.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
On 2017/1/23 at 0:41 AM, dagnabbit said:

Thanks for posting this, @BigTenPoliSci, and best of luck to you on the market.

I think I'm just confused about how applicants could foster these kinds of misconceptions for so long. All of my advisors warned me about job prospects, as did my academic parents, and each day brings a new PSR thread about how dismal the market looks. I think that one big problem is that academics view anything besides TT placement as failure, and a common thing that I've heard is that getting a TT position is the only way to make up for the opportunity costs of getting a PhD. To me, that's such a strange way of thinking about it; if one's only desire is to make money then why would they even consider this career? You could probably make as much as an assistant professor straight out of undergrad in certain sectors. I would much rather take my chances on a rough academic job market than sit in an office throughout my 20s, making good money but always regretting my decision not to try. Worst-case scenario, I start climbing the corporate ladder significantly later than my peers and never become a millionaire (oh, the horror).

I like this reasoning! In my case, sitting in an office feeling like a small replaceable part of a big machine through my 20s doesn't make me feel secure at all. So, if I was not applying for PhD I'd be working with NGOs after graduation, which could lead me to "make" less money than studying in a nice graduate school with full funding. (I see why I can never be rich. lol)

That said, I think the OP made a solid point. But being an international applicant I am already fine with living in another continent for 5 years so I am truly flexible.. Travelling and experiencing a new culture is always a bonus point!

(Haven't you heard what becomes of curious minds? :P Worst scenario, I tell them I fell into a rabbit hole and stayed there for 5 years. ┑( ̄Д  ̄)┍)

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
On 08/02/2017 at 6:35 AM, AnUglyBoringNerd said:

That said, I think the OP made a solid point. But being an international applicant I am already fine with living in another continent for 5 years so I am truly flexible.. Travelling and experiencing a new culture is always a bonus point!

 

Totally, that is the good thing of being an international applicant. Finish the PhD and came back home way more competitive than the ones who did they grad school in my home country. Some Americans are realizing that and starting to learn another language and doing field work outside US.

Well, I don't even consider looking for a TT in the US, since that in my home country I will be treated like T10.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, nooxhc said:

 Some Americans are realizing that and starting to learn another language and doing field work outside US.

Americans have been doing field work for a very long time. Most comparativists do field work. It has nothing to do with wanting a job in the region/country they study.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with @BigTenPoliSci that rank matters quite a bit. However, it's a lot more probabilistic than this, since there are plenty outside the top 10 and even outside the top 25 that get good jobs. It will depend on your advisor, subfield, sub-subfield, the amount you publish, where you publish, who you publish with, what classes you've taught if any, who's in your network, how large your network is, whether you're using the coolest methods, etc. Quite a few of these correlate with rank - publishing is easier (and to a certain extent, less necessary) when you're at a higher rank or if the other name on the paper is someone like Gary King, your network will be larger and more influential when you go to a higher-ranked place, and the top schools tend to have the most cutting-edge methods. This means those lower down the ranks have to do much more to achieve the same thing someone at a higher-ranked institution would do, and certain barriers will make things difficult if not impossible to doing the necessary work. I'm sure that the OP will largely agree with this.

That being said, if you, like me, are not at one of the top institutions, you have to adjust your expectations. The likelihood is quite low (unless you're a methodologist) that you will get a tenure-track job at a comparably ranked R1. However, it is possible to get the R1 jobs towards the lower end of the ranking scale. Bulk up on teaching skills. Get good publications. Build your network. Beef up your methods skills. Start this on day 1. Recognize that even doing all this, it may not be enough. Focus on getting big data skills if your program offers it. Learn some programming. Political scientists do not have the comparative advantage in computer smarts, but we have the advantage of understanding human behavior enough to make sense of the data.

Feel free to disagree - I recognize that I may be biased. I just wanted to say something to make people outside the top 25 that were reading this not immediately panic.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks @Determinedandnervous, I received similar advice from one of the profs in my dept. last week.  The more you can teach, the better, and it's almost a must to have at least one publication before you graduate (preferably a solo-authored article).  Many programs in the lower tiers and LACs are trying to beef up their UG departments right now, so if you can teach even UG methods, it's a *big plus* (grad level methods even better).  Even a research design or intro to stats class for sophomores (and honestly most of us should be able to do this) will go far.  Also, if you can teach policy or public admin UG classes, that's another bonus.  She recommended taking a course during your PhD in one or the other so you can speak the language and publish in the journals, esp. if you're in a subfield that crosses over easily (like AP).  However, comparativists are now getting into policy and admin, too.  I personally have a lot of work experience in bureaucracy, so with a little prep I could even teach MPA classes and I hope that will give me a bump on the job market.  Do these things, and your chances of getting a TT job increase dramatically, no matter where your PhD is from. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
On 3/11/2017 at 4:57 PM, polyscinoob said:

I've heard a lot of PhDs these days go into data science at big companies. Doesn't sound like a terrible fallback.

It's quite possible. You do need to learn more programming languages than the average political scientist (python, sql and c++ come to mind), and you do want to cultivate a professional network. It is certainly not a bad situation to be in if you have the skills to do it though - not many fallbacks make six figures.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Students straight from undergrad rarely have the network, the professionalization, or concrete experience that is essential to getting those interviews. Graduate school is sufficiently time consuming and isolating that it is pretty much impossible to build a professional network outside of academia after you start.

It's not impossible. Lots of people do this every day, and leave academia for industry positions. You have to make time for it; you have to carefully choose opportunities and pursue threads that will help you build this networks. And you need to do it very early.

The most memorable piece of advice I got about my first two years (the classwork portion): "If you're not reading in the shower, you're falling behind." ...Until you are through comps, all you do is work. You mostly read, but you also write a bit (you'll write a whole lot more later)...don't think like I did that you'll be able to do anything else. I thought that I could do consulting jobs on the side. i tried to take on a couple of very small ones at first but quickly gave that up.

I have completed a PhD in the social sciences and I can very confidently say that I have never read anything in the shower. (How, Sway?)

I absolutely did more than just work - in fact, I had a very robust social life and I still managed to leave my program with five publications and two fellowships. And I got married. And I consulted on the side. You have to manage your time well. But it's not necessarily true that all you do is work. It's unhealthy to do nothing but work, actually. (I suppose this is also departmentally specific. I am horrified by the prospect of any department that thinks 72-80 hours per week of actual work is not enough. I think this is a dysfunctional department.)

Ditto on the idea of trying to do consulting work on the side while in grad school:  don't bother. 

I would give the exact opposite advice. Consulting work is what helped me get my current position. And even if academia is your goal, you can get publications from consulting on the side - I have some second and third authorships from doing statistical consulting.

Curious, is anyone else interested in a career that straddles the policy world and academia? Thinking of places like RAND, DoD, State, interspersed with teaching. Is this possible?

Yes, but those jobs are competitive as well.

sitting in an office feeling like a small replaceable part of a big machine through my 20s doesn't make me feel secure at all

People have such interesting conceptions of what corporate work life is like.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, juilletmercredi said:

I would give the exact opposite advice. Consulting work is what helped me get my current position. And even if academia is your goal, you can get publications from consulting on the side - I have some second and third authorships from doing statistical consulting.

I really hope to get gigs like those, but I really don't know how hard it will be to get them. You have to pursue them very actively, I think, and to find them may be more time consuming then effectively doing them, am I right?

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, juilletmercredi said:

 

"sitting in an office feeling like a small replaceable part of a big machine through my 20s doesn't make me feel secure at all"

People have such interesting conceptions of what corporate work life is like.

haha, yeah I admit that my thought about corporate work life is immature. Last year most of my friends started to work in big companies so I made some more or less biased observation. Didn't mean to offend anyone who's working in industry, but in China it kind of feels like that way-"a small replaceable part"-because we are, even when we graduate from top universities. :P 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/21/2017 at 6:00 AM, nooxhc said:

Totally, that is the good thing of being an international applicant. Finish the PhD and came back home way more competitive than the ones who did they grad school in my home country. Some Americans are realizing that and starting to learn another language and doing field work outside US.

Well, I don't even consider looking for a TT in the US, since that in my home country I will be treated like T10.

It's nice when you have the option of coming back to your home country and not being jailed for your religious or political beliefs or sexual preferences, I guess.

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, juilletmercredi said:

I have completed a PhD in the social sciences and I can very confidently say that I have never read anything in the shower. (How, Sway?)

I absolutely did more than just work - in fact, I had a very robust social life and I still managed to leave my program with five publications and two fellowships. And I got married. And I consulted on the side. You have to manage your time well. But it's not necessarily true that all you do is work. It's unhealthy to do nothing but work, actually. (I suppose this is also departmentally specific. I am horrified by the prospect of any department that thinks 72-80 hours per week of actual work is not enough. I think this is a dysfunctional department.)

Obviously the "reading in the shower" line was a bit of gallow's humor among graduate students. It simply meant that we read a lot our first two years in the program. 

Comparing experiences between disciplines is a tricky business. Your experience in social psychology and public health (fields with programs often geared specifically towards training professionals and offering part-time options) might not be comparable to a top 20 political science program that is interested only in training academics. I find the demands of economics phd's to be really scary and I don't presume to tell them what time management in their programs will be like. 

Was my grad school experience a lot more demanding on my time than yours was? Of course I have no way of knowing for sure. I only know my experience and that of my cohort-mates. Maybe my program was harder. Maybe you manage your time better than I do. Maybe political science is a lot different than public health and social psychology.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I really hope to get gigs like those, but I really don't know how hard it will be to get them. You have to pursue them very actively, I think, and to find them may be more time consuming then effectively doing them, am I right?

@VMcJ - It depends a lot on your institution and the infrastructure for this built into your department and university, but I would say not really. There are always professors looking for someone to analyze some quantitative data that they can't do or can't do well, but you have to either be in the right place at the right time or make yourself available. In my case, I got into statistical consulting in two ways:

The first was reliant upon my university's infrastructure; there was a social science research institute at my university that hired graduate students across quantitative social science fields as statistical consultants. I found out about it by taking an advanced quantitative methods class in my department - the TA for the course was a fourth-year doctoral student who worked for the institute, and she mentioned it. I asked her to give me more information about it, and because I was a good student in quant methods she connected me with the director of the program. He interviewed and then hired me. I started working there halfway through my second year in graduate school.

The second was acquiring sort of a reputation around my two departments as being quantitatively able. That was disseminated simply by having conversations with other students, helping some of my cohort-mates with their biostatistics homework or statistical analysis on projects, and generally being an excited puppy whenever statistics would come up. Eventually people started recommending me to other people for consulting projects. For example, one of my 2nd-author papers happened almost/sort-of randomly; the professor whose office was across the hall from my PI was an anthropologist who wanted to run a controlled trial and asked my PI if he knew anyone who could handle the stats for the trial. He recommended me.

I would also highly recommend being proactive and simply asking. If you demonstrate yourself to be a capable student in statistical analysis, and then you ask your PI or other professors in your department if they know anyone who is working on a paper and would like a quant consult for publication credit - or honestly, just even let them know that you are looking for those kinds of opportunities - they'll remember you when the time comes.

haha, yeah I admit that my thought about corporate work life is immature. Last year most of my friends started to work in big companies so I made some more or less biased observation. Didn't mean to offend anyone who's working in industry, but in China it kind of feels like that way-"a small replaceable part"-because we are, even when we graduate from top universities.

 :P 

@AnUglyBoringNerd - No offense taken, really, more amusement :D I hear this characterization a lot from undergraduates and early graduate students. It's understandable, really, since the media presentation of work in a corporate office is pretty much this - a cog in a machine, in drab grey or brown cubicles, counting the minutes until 5 pm. I think that's one reason why aspiring academics are so passionate about the field in the first place, because it's like - I get to read and think and write about super interesting things and someone will pay me for it? It's so different from people's usual conception of a paying professional job, so it's very appealing. And I think that believing that academia is exciting and different and that the alternative is corporate drudge work is what keeps some students and graduates tethered to academia, even if it's not the right choice for them or their preferences have changed.

My response to it is just my version of the truth, which is that has not been my experience the corporate world at all. And it is a Corporate Behemoth. Sure, there is bureaucracy - but no more than a large research university (you ain't seen paperwork until you write a federal grant!). I looooove my job. I do really interesting work, I get to use most of the research skills I learned in my research-based PhD program, I work on products that millions of people use and love every day, and part of my job is watching people play video games (and occasionally playing them myself). And I certainly don't feel like an easily replaceable cog in a machine - just finding hiring a replacement for me would likely cost more than a year of my salary, not to mention the lost productivity while they try to train someone to the level I'm currently at. (And, to toot my own horn a bit, I brought a unique set of skills into this position that would be really difficult to replace.) My company also cares about their employees and it shows in the employee morale and benefits they offer here.

Just saying - corporate life is not so bad :P 

Comparing experiences between disciplines is a tricky business. Your experience in social psychology and public health (fields with programs often geared specifically towards training professionals and offering part-time options) might not be comparable to a top 20 political science program that is interested only in training academics. I find the demands of economics phd's to be really scary and I don't presume to tell them what time management in their programs will be like.

@BigTenPoliSci - This is a misunderstanding of my fields, I think. Social psychology is not a field that commonly offers any part-time options and is not geared towards training professionals. My program (which was also a top 20 program in the field, by the way), as all social psychology PhD programs, was geared towards training and producing academics for the field and that is what the vast majority of graduates have gone on to do.

(Social psychology is different from clinical and counseling psychology. And even those PhD programs don't commonly offer any part-time options, and are designed as academic/scientific training programs. If anything, they require more work than a social psychology program because in addition to research and teaching, there's also the clinical hours they need to perform.)

Similarly, although master's programs in public health often offer part-time options and are geared towards training professionals (much like some master's program in political science), doctoral programs in public health - and specifically PhD programs - are not. They are also academic programs that are primarily geared towards training academics, although there are more professional opportunities for PhDs in public health outside of academia. I took 4-5 courses a semester for the first 3 years, took a set of 4 comprehensive exams across two fields, and wrote a dissertation that tied together the two areas. I also taught, published, and wrote fellowships and grants.

I did mention that I think a lot of this is departmental. Departments across fields are going to expect different things than others - I've met people social psychology who have said they are expected to work different hours per week depending on their department. I still maintain, though, that a program that regularly demands 72-80+ hours per week and thinks that's not enough is demanding too much.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Question for the group: is becoming a data scientist a reasonable plan B for those doing a quant heavy program (UCSD for example) and combine it with a coding bootcamp?

Edited by Nozistin
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Nozistin said:

Question for the group: is becoming a data scientist a reasonable plan B for those doing a quant heavy program (UCSD for example) and combine it with a coding bootcamp?

 

I looked into this and I would say that it is a reasonable plan if you are a data scientist at a think tank. Outside of that atmosphere, you need to know C++, Python, etc., very well. Not sure what a "coding bootcamp" would entail. I don't think any PhD program has a bootcamp that includes C++. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, resDQ said:

 

I looked into this and I would say that it is a reasonable plan if you are a data scientist at a think tank. Outside of that atmosphere, you need to know C++, Python, etc., very well. Not sure what a "coding bootcamp" would entail. I don't think any PhD program has a bootcamp that includes C++. 

3

I feel that if you learn to generally code, you can learn a new language without too much difficulty. There are boutique boot camps that can teach new languages in 1-3 months in pretty good depth. In California, even community colleges teach C++. Maybe I'm also on the optimistic boat but I think that if you can gain the rigorous quantitative, methodological and theoretical background that a lot of top 15 programs offer along with the basic coding skills in R, STATA, SQL, and sometimes a bit of Python, you are 90% of the way to being a competitive data scientist in industry. But again, I might just be looking at it with the eyes of someone who wants to do a PhD and not feel like I'm risking so much.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Comparativist said:

Yeah, but think of it this way: why would anyone hire you when there are plenty of people with actual computer science skills and background?

This. BUT I would not rule it out as a possibility.

 

3 hours ago, Nozistin said:

I feel that if you learn to generally code, you can learn a new language without too much difficulty. There are boutique boot camps that can teach new languages in 1-3 months in pretty good depth. In California, even community colleges teach C++. Maybe I'm also on the optimistic boat but I think that if you can gain the rigorous quantitative, methodological and theoretical background that a lot of top 15 programs offer along with the basic coding skills in R, STATA, SQL, and sometimes a bit of Python, you are 90% of the way to being a competitive data scientist in industry. But again, I might just be looking at it with the eyes of someone who wants to do a PhD and not feel like I'm risking so much.

With all of the computer science types taking jobs in California, you would have to be open to living in a different state if things do not work out. And I do not think it will be any easier to get than a TT job at a LAC. You would probably have to take a job that you are overqualified for (if your qualifications don't scare people off) then move your way up. Think tanks that require quant skills is an easier option. That said, people do get hired at Facebook and such (look at Stanford placement). 

No one here knows the answer. Get your training and keep your fingers crossed that you get a job. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/21/2017 at 9:25 PM, Comparativist said:

Yeah, but think of it this way: why would anyone hire you when there are plenty of people with actual computer science skills and background?

For real? In a way, sure, but in many ways definitely not. The benefit of being trained in quantitative methods as a political science is that you can run statistics and you have an in depth knowledge of the substance you're explaining (or at least you should...). Plenty of places are looking for this paired set of expertise, especially consulting. It means you can look beyond numbers and actually speak to the human and political elements of whatever you're analyzing, especially if you're doing project impact evaluations of any kind, be it for an environmental engineering firm, law firm, NGO, the World Bank...you name it - all of these places are interested in RCTs and project evaluations that can speak to the impact of their activities, or predicted impact, especially if it's a policy evaluation or vetting prior to approval. Having had a number of friends land in these positions, it's worth it to recognize that it's not a terrible option though your "research agenda" will be entirely driven by the mandate of wherever you wind up working.

Also, I wouldn't discount what many methodologists do as "pseudo" computer science. Most everyone I know who is prioritizing training in quantitative methods winds up in courses in a computer science department...

Edited by CarefreeWritingsontheWall
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.