Background: I have done my masters in computer science/artificial intelligence. I want to do my PhD related to data science, applied machine learning. I do not have degree from world's top ranked universities nor I have top quality research publications. I have had some domestic issues since my completion of degree education so I have not been able to fully focus on my career. Nevertheless, I am very much willing to learn and upgrade myself is to meet the research labs requirement. With curious mind and life-long learning attitude, I have been doing various online courses (after my work hours)and have worked on different tutorial projects related to data science and machine learning i.e. from text mining, image processing, process mining, genomic data science to blockchain development.
More background Since, I want to become a really good researcher and for that Phd is the first step. After my masters, (more than 2 years) I had time to reflect and I take notes about what I am going to do during my PhD. I am going to be a dedicated Phd student where I can work hard, learn, collaborate and produce good quality research publications and build a strong research profile. I am very much willing to learn whatever it takes to complete my Phd project. With my qualifications and the skills, I have been applying for PhD positions whose qualification and skills are very much in match with mine. I apply only after I feel confident that I shall be able to handle such project. However, after applying for more than a year, I have not even got reply from most. I have been interviewed 3 times and I have been told that they have found better candidate for the position. One Prof. wrote that he liked my profile and wants to interview but after interview he told me he got better candidate for the position. After one week, I noticed same phd position being advertised again :(. I was interviewed again lately by the same professor, but rejected again. No clue what they really want from a PhD candidate.
I am really confused about what professor look in a phd candidate? If its the skills and qualification or is it the certain level of interest and passion to go for research degree. I believe, I have both.
What should I do now? Keep looking for PhD positions? Or improve myself (in I do not know what way).
I have been keeping up with my interest for research career even through the tough times. I have applied to more than 50 positions. The only prof. who found my profile interesting rejected me twice in interview. I do not want to give up but do you think I should give up and rather look for other career.
Thank you for your attention and precious time. Your feedback is highly appreciated.