I am doing a PhD in the field of atmospheric chemistry at a good university in Canada. I feel I do not like my research very much and I am not very interested in teaching or doing research in my area.

But I will fulfill my PhD study and get a degree as an international student. In the meanwhile, I am learning or plan to learn a lot of online courses on coursera, especially in machine learning and data science.

I also think about quitting from PhD program and apply for a master/PhD in data science, CS, machine learning or something. But the investment would be huge and it may be not a good choice. I think maybe it is easier to get some courses online and certificates in a certain area like data science, and then I can convert to another area that I am more interested in in terms of future career building up. Also it is bad for my adviser if I quit from his group and I do not want to hurt anyone even if I am trying to seek for alternatives of my future.

My question is that is it easy to find a job in industry after I complete my PhD? Of course I will not find a job in my area but in data science.

  • 2
    What about interdisciplinary works? machine learning is easy to adapt to almost all of the fields.
    – user35129
    Mar 18, 2016 at 22:45
  • Unless your advisor is an assistant professor and needs to graduate someone for tenure, I think "quitting" your Ph.D. is not substantially worse than doing research that you have no interest in.
    – LCW
    Mar 19, 2016 at 0:00
  • Also, do you have the option of getting a Master's along the way of a Ph.D.? Many Ph.D. programs in the US grants students Masters degrees along the way, and some students opt to receive a Masters in a completely different field. For example, a Ph.D. candidate in the meteorology department can get an EE Masters degree.
    – LCW
    Mar 19, 2016 at 0:07
  • if I can get a master of CS it would be best option for me, and our school has a good CS department as well as machine learning direction. But I need to apply again to the program and that means a lot of work, such as taking GRE, prepare recommendation letters and so on. Also I do not have strong CS background.
    – dog dog
    Mar 19, 2016 at 0:48
  • In my university Ph.D. students don't need to go through this. They just submit a form, no recommendation letters required, and they are automatically enrolled in the Masters program. Have you checked the policies are your school? It might be different in Canada. Is there a M.Eng. program in the computer engineering department? I heard in Canada, M.Eng. does not require a thesis and may be easier to be enrolled in.
    – LCW
    Mar 19, 2016 at 2:03

1 Answer 1


Yes it is possible to find a job in a different area than your field. But you need to gain experience. In my point of view.. follow these steps.. 1. Take courses of your interest. (Online or from institute) 2.Gain experience (Paid or unpaid internship) 3. Find a real job based on your experience.

I am electrical engineer and working as software engineer.


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