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I started my PhD in computer architecture in 2017 and after one year I left it to start working for an information security company. I have been in the industry for 4 years. I now want to go back to academia but I would really like to try something different before I decide what I would like to do my PhD on. I generally have a very wide range of interests and not nearly as much exposure. After so long away from academia I don't really have that many connections to it any more.

How would you go about getting some exposure on different topics assuming you don't have unlimited time/funds?

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    What country do you intend to study in. What is your highest degree?
    – Buffy
    Nov 28, 2021 at 0:14
  • @Buffy I live in Cyprus which is in Europe, but I would consider going outside as well. I have an MEng in Electronic and Electrical Engineering and an MSc in Computer Science and Engineering.
    – alex10791
    Nov 28, 2021 at 9:55

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Given the constraints, I doubt that much is possible unless you want to be an old person when you get your degree - which a few people manage, actually.

But rather than getting direct experience before you start there is at least one thing that might be open to you if you live near a larger university. Go talk to a few people at the university about what your life would be like if you were a student or, later, a professor in their field. If a place isn't too strict about visitors you might be able to hang around the coffee room (hopefully there is one) and attend a few lectures.

You might even be able to wrangle yourself an opportunity to give a talk on your own current specialty as a way to meet a few people and get invited.

But, you may just have to choose an initial direction to get in to a doctoral program. It will set your direction for a while, but many people broaden or change direction after completing a degree. You might think about which field would give you the shortest path to a doctorate, though that might not be ideal in a particular case.

And, there are some programs that are interdisciplinary. You can search a bit for those, say a degree that combines two "interesting" fields in your judgement.

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