I have about one free year before I go to grad school and I would like to go to work. I live with my family (I'm Asian by the way) and so gaining experience is my priority, not salary. What job will help me maximize the skills that I would need during my grad school? I have two options below, but I'm open for any advise.


You know, in Sinosphere countries, there is a pressure to get to university, so high school students need to study at night in "academies" beside the daytime they study at schools. I will help the teachers there help them solving homeworks. This center is founded by a famous mathematician in my country and seems to operate pretty well (but I suspect no foreigner know since he has switched to teaching a long time ago). I confident in my ability of explaining. Here are the advantages to choose this job:

  • know how being a TA is like.
  • have to spend only 6 to 10 hours a week so that I can have time to search for professors.
  • I have an idea about running a science channel in YouTube, like Vsauce or Veritasium. This is because our country is lack of good material for study. Small part of this motive is for building my reputation. With teaching, I can prepare for some materials and have first audience to get their feedback. It may be unlikely to help me to get admission, but if I succeed, I can have some reputation in media. May I will need it in the future?

Data researcher

The second one is being a data researcher in a technology company. I'm not sure about the working time but I think it will like any other company. I have sent them an email explaining that my major is not data (I study physics) and I'm not a PhD either, but then they reply that I need to send them my CV first (I haven't because I'm in a middle of medical treatment, but it will be over soon). Does this indicate that I'm suitable for them? Here are the advantages to choose this job:

  • working in an English environment, in one of the world leading companies in its niche. Very good for my CV.
  • Have a chance to expertise a programming language (Python). I'm not sure if Python is the second language beside English in academia or not, but I have seen a lot of science programs written in Python. I need to code in grad school anyway.
  • Know what the outside world looks like.

I know that this question is lengthy, and I appreciate for your reading. Thank you in advance.

  • 6
    Don't read too much into the company asking for a CV, it's a pretty standard response to job queries. They are asking for your CV first to determine if you are even a suitable candidate to follow up with.
    – Mr.Mindor
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 18:43

2 Answers 2


Personally I would choose the company position:

  • Prior experience in the private sector (outside of teaching) is a big advantage if you decide to look for a non-academic job later.
  • Python is a popular programming tool to use. Might as well learn now.
  • Data analysis is a big part of doing a physics PhD.
  • You will form better contacts (probably). Never underestimate the value of good connections.
  • You will get plenty of opportunity to do teaching later if you wish; and I do not really see what it adds to your position now. However, I never really saw the appeal of teaching, so perhaps my view is coloured.

A CV is just a way to get yourself an interview. It doesn't get you a job. Definitely send your CV in.


1) Did you already get an admission to grad school? I get confused when you say "search for professors".

  • If no, use your time to focus on getting admission first, e.g. improve GRE score, read papers etc etc. Getting an admission may not be as easy as you think.
  • If yes, 30 hours per week to search for a professor is too much.

2) Since you haven't been accepted to the second job. It is too early to ask about which job to choose. I don't want to be rude, but if you are rejected, then you will not need to ask this question.

3) Running a Youtube channel and helping (lazy) students doing their homework are unlikely to help in getting an admission, or improving your chance to get a job.

  • 1) Yes and no. I have about 5 schools and 10 profs in target, scattering from top to average. I haven't contacted them, but I have spent a lot of time to shortlist, read papers and write SOP. I thought GRE score is not really important? 2) I know that I can be rejected, but I have some familiar companies backup. 3) I know that it won't help me to getting an admission, but as I said, it can help me some reputation in media (if I succeed). Maybe I need it some time?
    – Ooker
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 13:34

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