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General Resource : Resources for Job Search >> 5. Other Career Resources

  • Academic Careers Versus Industrial Careers
  • Academic Careers Versus Industrial Careers
    By Staff Writer

    What now? This will be the first question on the mind of every person passing out of graduate school with a PhD or a similar degree. The intensity of this question will be somewhat severe considering the present economic scenario of job losses and recession blues. It was recently reported that a South Korean holding a PhD applied for the job of a sweeper and failed! The job market is not bad as it sounds. After all, doesn't the scholar's ink last longer than a martyr's blood?

    A Tale Of Two Career Options

    Traditionally, the two career options for graduate school pass-outs are academic career and industrial career. Academic career means a job in an educational and research institution as a junior lecturer or research associate. The job involves teaching and assisting a senior professor or senior scientist in doing research. Industrial career means working in research and development departments of private organizations and big multi-national companies. The job involves working as part of a team that creates a new product or improves an existing one.

    A usual question most people will ask is which one is better – academic job or industrial profession? There is no right answer here. It depends on the interests and aptitude of the individual. For instance, take the case of salary. The academic job offers a good initial salary, with uniform and periodic salary hikes, based on experience and performance. This gives job security. Whereas, in industrial jobs, the initial salary is lower than that in academic sector. But once a person gains sufficient experience and establishes himself or herself, the salary skyrockets.

    Another thing is the nature of the job. For those with a passion for teaching, the choice is obvious. But those with slightly adventurous and fun-loving lifestyle, an industry job will be more suitable. Another factor is the stature of the organization. It is better to work in a top-notch university than in a mediocre private company. Conversely, it is better to work in an internationally renowned company than in a local university with no or limited research facilities.
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