I have a MSc in Physics (computational physics); however, after finishing school I didn't move out of province so now I'm doing software development as a full time job. I miss the challenge of the harder tasks, which do not feel like assembling lego like the ones I currently work on.

I'm currently debating doing a PhD in Computer Science. Perhaps Numerical Analysis, High Performance Computing. I've also loosely been interested in Artificial Intelligence, but have nowhere near the experience as I would in the other two types.

In Physics I know you do your PhD followed by a bunch of 2 year post-docs then go into a professorship somewhere; but, I do not know how it works in the Computer Science field. I have a publication in the high performance world from a course I took during my masters, but that is the extent of my experience.

I'm also interested in moving to a more challenging area, but not sure where to be looking. Sifting through the mounds of job posts rarely yields anything that would be in the area I'm considering.

Any advice, thoughts, would be much appreciated.

  • 1
    Do you have a specific question in mind that we can answer?
    – mikeazo
    Feb 24, 2016 at 19:02
  • 1
    How does one typically proceed after getting a PhD in Computer Science. Is there a series of Post Docs? What is the split between going into industry afterwards versus continuing in Academia and becoming a professor?
    – Ajwhiteway
    Feb 24, 2016 at 19:09
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    Hopefully someone with more experience than me can answer, but take a look at the Taulbee survey, which claims to be the "principal source of information on the enrollment, production, and employment of Ph.D.s in computer science and computer engineering".
    – mikeazo
    Feb 24, 2016 at 19:25
  • Postdoc, Tenured Track position, industry or government jobs. What else? If you want details, the question is too broad
    – Nobody
    Feb 25, 2016 at 5:28
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    I should have put "In Physics I know, in theory, you ...."
    – Ajwhiteway
    Feb 25, 2016 at 12:49

1 Answer 1


From my experience, in the UK it tends to be one or two post doc positions and then on to a lectureship position. Comp Sci post docs here are usually between one and three years.

I get where you're coming from. After my Comp Sci PhD I went into an industry software developer role and 90% of the work just felt mundane. I'm now working for a startup company, which is much more challenging and interesting since the focus is on innovation and creation. That might be worth looking into as it's becoming quite common to find startups sprouting from universities seeking to turn their research into products.

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