What’s the deal with a PhD?

I found long time ago this animated GIF on the Internet and now I managed to download it.

I don’t know who created it, so I can’t give credit to anyone.

Why I post this here? Because it matters and because it is exactly my experience which I like to share.

Not many know, but I have been part of the PhD program of the Politehnica University Bucharest in Romania for 5 years, immediately after graduating the same university’s Computer Science faculty (field: Software Engineering). My diploma was related to Distributed Systems as well, namely about how to use CORBA to write software for distributed systems.

It took me 5 years to go through because I had to do it in my spare time. I was working all this time and then I left Romania to move to Germany and work for Avira.

The field I chose was Distributed Systems and my thesis was supposed to be “Distributed Malware and Spam detection using a Reputation system”.

It might not sound very cool now, but  remember, this was between 1997-2002 (university) and 2002-2007 (Phd)!

 

So, why did I not finish it despite the fact that I wrote most of the dissertation and had over 6 exams in this time?

 

First:

Back then, I didn’t feel that what I did is going to help my in my career. I was busy building other things, things which I needed in my job.

Now I would probably choose different, but … maybe not.
Second:

The level of involvement in this was tremendous. I was required to split my paper into sub articles and have them published in respectable magazines.

Useless to say, the waiting queue to have an article reviewed was 1-2 years and the acceptance rate was varying between 10-20% of the submitted papers.

 

Third:

The level of specialization was extraordinary. Just like in the animated gif below, you really need to push the limit and find something that was previously unknown.

Well, at least in theory. I am sure that not everybody does that. 🙂

But to do things right, it is HARD!

The amount of energy and focus that you must have is very high.

Imagine that you can’t actually do anything else than this. When I say this, I mean you can’t really work on something else, like a 8 to 5 job, unless it is related to this.

For those who  can do their PhD in a university, they have part classes to teach and part work on your PhD. Most of the time the classes are related to the topic of your PhD.

 

giphy

 


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About the Author

Sorin Mustaca
Sorin Mustaca, (ISC)2 CSSLP, CompTIA Security+ and Project+, is working since year 2000 in the IT Security industry and worked between 2003-2014 for Avira as Product Manager for the known products used by over 100 million users world-wide. Today he is an independent IT Security Consultant focusing on Cybersecurity, secure software development and security for IoT and Automotive. He is also running his personal blog Sorin Mustaca on Cybersecurity and is the author of the free eBook Improve your security .

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