I have a 7.7CGPA (uncurved) from undergrad, 2 internships and therefore my chances of getting into a good CS Phd program are pretty slim. I can get a recommendation letter from the CTO of the startup - he is an academic from a top-institution(Duke PHD, Harvard Medical School researcher, MIT research scientist) but I don't think that would help much.

I am wondering what would be a viable way to get research experience after undergrad. I am also wondering if I'd be credited if I only help around with the code on some research project?

Additionally, if yes, how do I go about doing that? Is it just emailing some professors and asking them if they need help on some programming related to some research?

Thanks in advance.

Addendum: I am currently based in Europe.

  • Can't you ask the CTO to refer you to his connections in academia?
    – justauser
    Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 17:03

1 Answer 1


Cold emails are almost certainly going to be ineffective. The recipient doesn't know you or know anything about you other than what you say.

If you really want to do something, then get into a graduate program.

Failing that option, talk to one or more of your undergraduate professors about your needs. Perhaps they have something that you could work on with them.

But your previous professors hopefully also have contacts in academia elsewhere and they can recommend you to a colleague and it will be more likely to be acknowledged. If I get an email from you, I will probably ignore it. If I get an email from a previous contact/colleague who is recommending you to me then I will certainly follow up on it, even possibly by setting up a chain of recommenders.

As far as "credit" goes, I think that depends mostly on what impression you give in any project you attach to and what the PI of the project is willing to say about you. A line in the CV is fine, but a recommendation from an academic may carry much more weight.

You don't say what your long term goals are in the question. I suggest that you think about that. Where would you like to see yourself in five years? Ten?

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