In January, I started my third year of a computer science PhD. My goal has always been to balance "X" and computer science ("X" being a non-engineering subject), and I thought I could do that at my current institution while officially getting my computer science degree. Unfortunately, I underestimated the extent to which I'd be required to work on my advisor's agenda (he is strictly a machine learning person), so, while I've gotten a few minor papers in computer science + "X" workshops, I haven't been able to pursue the research agenda that I particularly care about. In addition, I realized I really need a more deep study of "X" than I realized, and potentially than of CS.
The way I see it, I have three viable options:
- Leave this summer with a terminal masters in CS, find a temporary job as a software engineer or whatever I can manage for a year, and apply to "X" degrees this fall, to start in Sept. 2021. This doesn't sound too bad, but I'd risk not getting into "X" and ending up with no PhD and hence no chance at a faculty position (which I want).
- Continue publishing workshop papers on the side, and try to get a postdoc in "X" in a few years. My worry is that if I skip doing a PhD concentrated on my desired research topic (which is fairly specific and isn't something people are currently working on), I'll never get a chance to explore it fully, and that I'd only be able to get mediocre postdoc positions if I'm applying to a field I don't know enough about.
- Get a PhD in CS as fast as I can, and then head straight to the start of another PhD in "X". I like the idea of having a PhD in my back pocket, and this way I would have a lot of time to develop my research agenda, but I'm nervous that admissions committees would look down on someone who was "collecting degrees."
Also, for clarification: My desired research agenda in "X" has nothing to do with machine learning, so, while I can try to merge interests while a CS student, I believe it would be fairly superficial and only for the purpose of leaning my resume in that direction.
Edit: "X" is a humanities field that generally shares very little with CS except among a very few "computational X-ers"