After around five years of hard work and scientific exploration, a research scholar realises it is time to make a living and comes to the cross roads. Questions like “What next?” or Go for an industry or go for Postdoc en route to academia?” pop up. On day one of India’s largest conference ICVGIP 2022 on Computer Vision, Graphics and Image Processing, an impromptu panel consisting of Professors and industry gave insights to the outgoing PhD researchers on their career pursuits.
Dr. Debdoot Sheet: IIT Kharagpur, EE, COE AI
Dr. Brojeshwar Bhowmick: TCS Research, Embedded Intelligence, 3D Vision
Dr. Chetan Arora: IIT Delhi, CSE, School of AI, Reliability of Vision Systems, Healthcare
Q) Future of Surgical Assistance systems?
Debdoot) Three levels. 1) Predicting the shelf life of tools and surgical equipment 2) Hospital Ops and Management (any kind of open surgeries). The surgeon and assistant surgeon know the end time of the surgery. This is dynamic. Surgery room is blocked for worst case scenario. If we know the surgery ends an hour earlier, prep for the next patient in line can be initiated 3) Level 1 and Level 2 autonomy for sutures and knots and ties that are repetitive can be automated. This can be turn-key solution as this is win-win for insurance and surgeon and all.
Q) How are industries doing active research in assistive surgery?
Debdoot) MICAI conference has these challenges. Johnson and Johnson and all the in vitro companies are investing heavily now. FDA started certifying AI tools and techniques. We are getting to level 1 and level 2 assistive tech.
Brojeshwar) We get questions like “can you help me identify the range of motion of knee or hand post stroke rehab”. We work on these things as research MVP.
Q) How do I choose institute for Postdoc? Clinical lab or technical institute?
Chetan) Postdoc is more of a group decision rather than an individual decision. You may not rightly tie it with your Postdoc advise. Evaluate the group as a whole. In academic units, you get more freedom and in technical labs you get more resources.
Debdoot) Clinical lab gives deep exposure with real life experiments unlike say they datasets you might have used in your PhD. You can see the surgery or real time delivery in action. If you had a hands on experience with biologists and as an user, you can deep dive into algorithms or core department. I Gordimer you would like to get into academia after the Postdoc, verify the form of your targeted institute and then fulfil the required criteria there. Then start from there to decide which Postdoc and where and for how long.
Q) What if I don’t have lot of journal but only conference publications. Does it influence my job prospects in one or the other way? Journals also take time.
Chetan: The boundary between conference and normal is blurring now. I am more concerned about quality and venue of the conference or quality of the journal.
Brojeshwar) In industry, we see whether you able to solve a problem in a finite amount of time. We see the publications. Journal is about the extension of study and confidence with extensive results and thorough analysis. Industry won’t reject for not having a publication in a journal.
Debdoot) Have enough number of journey as a check mark to satisfy the asks of IITs or NITs. Then go for premier conferences so your face is known in the community and you know people know you and some of them on your job committee may have friends whom you might have met. A good reference will help.
Prepare your website and people tend to google you.
Q) Suppose your interviewer asks about where else have you interviewed? What do you do?
Debdoot) I preserve the privacy but give the stats and parts of the world about my interview pursuit
Brojeshwar) Companies do the background check about you. Better to be honest but be discrete about how much you disclose.
Chetan) Just be honest
Q) Academia doesn’t pay so well. How do I move from academia to industry when my experience of 11 years in academia is considers as no experience
Brojeshwar) it depends on where you apply. Experience is the mapping between past activity to future activity. If you can justify, then your experience counts.