Unable to get into a decent PhD program - 4 years now

posted
30-Apr-18, 12:46
Avatar for k_seeker
posted about 1 year ago
Bachelors in IT
M.Sc in IT Management.

I started a job in a university. Always thought I wanted to do corporate work. Eventually I liked academia for its research and applying research ideas into teaching. For the first 2 years I was trying to switch back to an industry IT job. However for the past 4 years I have been applying for PhD programs in software engineering, computer science, HCI and IT but no luck (my thesis was on gamification). I've tried for funded programs in UK, Finland, Norway, Germany and Australia but nothing.

I am now applying for programs again but I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I've presented two papers in THE top conference for software engineering. I have had my cover letters and applications reviewed by several friends and peers. To improve my programming knowledge, I am self teaching different programming languages and statistical analysis tools. I've run out of self-esteem, self-confidence and patience.

Just look to get any advice or pointers.
posted
01-May-18, 10:59
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 year ago
Applying for a PhD can be tough and rejection is always hard. If you know want to do a PhD keep trying but there comes a point where the alternative is better and only you can decide when that is.

I don't know why you are being rejected (it could be anything) but have you asked after rejections for feedback? Did they give you anything precise? Are your references good? Have you tried collaborating with researchers anyway to get their attention/publications/reference? It sounds like you working hard to try and get your foot through the door but it might be something simple that is tripping you up. I would look at the basics again.

Though my honest first opinion is that IT is incredibly ageist. They are always after the next young superstar which means even in your late 20s you are seen as old. It might be an idea to try a few applications that have no years in it and none of your post-uni experience (keep the conference papers they are very good) so that they might think you have just graduated.

Goodluck!
posted
01-May-18, 11:37
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 year ago
Quote From k_seeker:
Bachelors in IT
M.Sc in IT Management.

I started a job in a university. Always thought I wanted to do corporate work. Eventually I liked academia for its research and applying research ideas into teaching. For the first 2 years I was trying to switch back to an industry IT job. However for the past 4 years I have been applying for PhD programs in software engineering, computer science, HCI and IT but no luck (my thesis was on gamification). I've tried for funded programs in UK, Finland, Norway, Germany and Australia but nothing.

I am now applying for programs again but I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I've presented two papers in THE top conference for software engineering. I have had my cover letters and applications reviewed by several friends and peers. To improve my programming knowledge, I am self teaching different programming languages and statistical analysis tools. I've run out of self-esteem, self-confidence and patience.

Just look to get any advice or pointers.


From years of personal experience, I can assure you that age is not an issue in IT or software in either industry or when looking for PhD positions. I have worked with many people of all ages including those in their 50s and late 60s. I honestly have no idea why people with no experience keep perpetuating this nonsense.

I am going to hazard a guess that your grades are the issue.
You don't appear to have an honours degree in IT and your Masters is in management of IT and given you don't specify the grade I assume it wasn't either merit or distinction.
posted
02-May-18, 00:47
edited about 17 seconds later
Avatar for chaotic1328
posted about 1 year ago
Are you having trouble getting in a PhD programme per se, or do you mean difficulties in getting a funded place? The former should be relatively easy, but the latter really needs top grades, plus a large slice of luck in that competitive that year isn't particularly high.
posted
04-May-18, 19:04
edited about 9 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 1 year ago
Are you able to do some voluntary work in a relevant lab, or else find a job as a research assistant in your field, perhaps one that you are already over-qualified for? Getting a foot in the door somewhere may be the way forward.

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