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I am currently near the end of my postdoc position, and now have to choose for my next research job. Field of research is Computer Science and in Germany. What I have in hand is offer to work either:

  1. Work as Consultant at university computing center in Germany for 2 years in nearby city (sizeable city).
  2. Postdoc in related field (mainly applying my background to other specific field) for 3 years in national research Institute in small city.

Both will require me to move to different city, with the second one located quite far from my current city (as compared to the first one). I am still within the limit of wissenchaftzeit.

These are the only options I have ATM, since I tried directly applying in Industry with no luck, due to the time limit. I might resume the application to industry, if possible, afterward. However, my primary target is to have one of this job as next step toward professor of applied science in Germany, which AFAIK will require one to have at least 5 years experience (with 2-3 years outside of university) to apply. These 2-3 years working outside of university requirement is the one I need to fulfill (I did not yet work outside of University up to this point after my Master degree).

I Just need some advices, as I want to ensure I give my best shot at this another job. I myself like to teach, but for now I just want to distance myself quite a bit from university, given that I have been there for quite some time. In this case, both are fine, as both workplace are not directly at university (please correct me if I am wrong). My plan is to apply the professorship at applied science university here after working on one of this job (which I think by distance and time, I will already miss to teach the student).

Currently I am more inclined to the second option, due to larger time frame and it is located in small city in Germany (thus I can save quite some of my salary). Also, there I can practice the local language better. However, working as consultant can be helpful in case I might go to industry later on.

Thanks again, and I appreciate your input.

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  • I think you might need to start with a question of what “counts” as outside of university for the purposes of this appointment type. We typically don’t answer questions about what you should pick, but we do answer questions about “what does this vague requirement mean in practice”?
    – Dawn
    Apr 11, 2023 at 14:51

2 Answers 2

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Option 2 seems clearly more promising if you are looking for an intermediate career step towards a professorship at Fachhochschule (I guess this is what you are looking for?). I know several people who did exactly that. Depending on what kind of research institute it is, it could also develop into a permanent researcher position there. Normally positions at a research institute should formally count as being outside of university, although a hiring committee at Fachhochschule might prefer a "real" industry experience.

For option 1 it is not even clear to me what kind of position this is, it sounds more like a technical support position, not research. In that case it does not seem to be a good stepping stone towards a professor position, be it at a Fachhochschule or somewhere else. You should continue doing (applied) research for that.

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I can answer your question because I had few experience with consulting. So I have done my PhD in Mecahnical Engineering from a German university and have a interest for research and mechanical things... (I like working on my motorcycle).

I have worked for six months as an intern in consulting firm and somehow didn't like it. It's a more boring desk job which I don't like.

Now you say you want to become a Professor and I strongly think you should strive a career into Postdoc because if you don't like postdoc then becoming a professor would be not a good idea. You need to like research, you need to like teaching, you should have a liking.

Now if you like consulting, then go for it.

Remember in life, do what your heart says and the goal will come to you. Don't choose something you don't like to reach your goal.

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