After reading last week’s post Ilona asks how to switch research topics to something more impactful during their lifetime:
How do I transition from a PhD in mantle convection to a postdoc in satellite geodesy?
What a moon-shot you are aiming for! But, have no fear, nothing is impossible. Undoubtedly, space is cool. And looking from a distance at our lovely rock spinning and floating through space is even cooler.
Your career pivot is quite wise, as you would eventually be able to go in industry and escape the academic pyramid scheme. So make sure you highlight all the [buzzword!] transferable skills you gained during your PhD.
First, you have to sell your PhD work as the most important, humanity-saving challenge of our times. After all, is there really something more important than two phase models under the mid-Atlantic ridge? You need to show them you can work on important, big problems, and have a broad knowledge and appreciation for the Earth.
Secondly, if there is something the rest of the geo-world is jealous on modellers for, are the coding skills! You probably have those sweet, money-making programming skills everyone hopes to develop during their PhD, but give up after the first Coursera homework. You know how to manage large datasets and make simulations with way too many variables. You probably know obscure programming languages and how to use niche libraries someone else developed during their PhD 10 years ago. That’s the key skill you want to drop, and as you know my advice is always to keep up with the times, also make sure to name drop the coolest #AI #blockchain techniques you read on Twitter.
Spam Reach out to many possible PIs and make sure to apply the advice from me. Eventually, you will find a research group to fuel your new passion. Then, I am sure this postdoc will become your launchpad to space!
The Sassy Scientist
PS: Maybe read the Wikipedia page on satellite geodesy too…