I finished a PhD in Earth Science 10 months ago and now work as a software engineer. I haven’t done any research or published in these 10 months. Is it too late for me to go for a postdoc and have a realistic shot at tenure track? My PhD is from a good school in our field and I have a good publication record in top journals in our field.


You should be getting advice about such things from your advisor and/or other experienced colleagues within your academic field. It’s hard for anyone here to make predictions about whether you can get a postdoc based on so little information.

In general though, I would say 10 months isn’t such a long time, so if you were in a good position to get a postdoc 10 months ago then it shouldn’t be very different now, assuming you are on good terms with your advisor and other people who can write you letters. And who knows, the skills you developed in your software engineering job might even come in handy in academic research. Good luck!

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You have focused on a single thing and that alone gives no real indication of possible success. While having a publication would be better, there are other things that will also be taken into consideration in any application.

You say you already have a good publication record. You will need good letters of recommendation. You will need some ideas about the research you intend to do, and may be involved in currently. There are lots of things that can help you.

In any application, stress the positive. Why is it that you are a good candidate for this position and are highly likely to succeed. If you can show that, then individual factors will have less negative importance.

But it would be good to start thinking about what you can do to get a publication, or the background research, going so that this state doesn't continue. Work so that you can write a good Statement of Purpose for the future, with some evidence to back it up.

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