Aspiring academics

If you're an undergraduate/recent undergrad who wants to understand what doing research is all about, resources on this page should help you get a sense for it.

Tags: aspiring-academics 

This webpage is directed at those who want to learn what a career in research may end up looking like. When starting off their undergrad degrees in science and engineering, most are fueled by an idealism to do great science. However, few mechanisms exist in our educational institutions that actually tell us what research is all about, and how one can tangibly get started. As a consequence, many just don’t end up figuring out these details, have no idea what the journey promises to offer, and as a consequence, move on to other well-documented paths to jobs in the industry. While there’s nothing wrong really in working in the industry, academia and scholarship loses out on the next potential Curie or Feynman. I hope the information in this page helps fast-track the process of learning more about this niche career choice.

While this is most directly useful to students in Computer science (since that’s my background), I do believe the general principles I lay out will be relevant to students from other fields as well. Please do write to my with your thoughts, clarifications, other resources you found helpful, etc. My email: (firstname).(lastname)

The spirit of this document is not really to serve as a collection of resources that will help you figure out how to crack the admissions process of universities in the US/Europe for MS/PhD programs. Rather, please use it as a way to discover what you are truly interested in. You don’t have to follow a template of doing X research projects, having Y publications, and collecting Z letters from the best profs out there for you to have a great grad school application. Neither do you have to go to grad school to realize a career in research. Rather, it is infinitely more important in my opinion to develop a concrete sense for what it takes to do research. In that process, you’ll hopefully find a domain which excites you and bothers you at the same time, and which you would want to explore further in a grad school or a research-oriented job. Once you get to this stage of self-awareness, you will find yourself organically having all the ingredients necessary for a successful grad school application. It is best to then learn the tricks used when applying to grad schools or research jobs (SOPs, letters of recommendation, how many schools to apply to, etc.), and play that game right.

CS Research 101 - A course I have created

I have put together a short course which introduces the idea of research in CS.
You can access the course page here:
This webpage comprehensively documents the ingridients needed to get started with your first research journey.

Old webpage

The content in the course page linked above was inspired by a note I’d put out earlier.
That “older” content can be accessed here.