What advice would you give to recent graduates in your field?
My advice to my students is to keep themselves informed and up to date, network with people in the field, and keep in touch!
– @slerner – Shimon Lerner, physics lecturer at Jerusalem College of Technology (via Twitter)
I would suggest to recent graduates to have a good look at photonics
applications to telecommunications. This application is about to undergo
massive sea change as prototype-integrated optical chip costs are now
at the “$1000 each” level, allowing all kinds of ideas to be explored
without massive capital expenditures. And the art is mature enough to
meet life-cycle expectations of the industry, which is saying a lot. If
there are any new grads – or even those still at university – examining
their application to ultrashort-pulse lasers, I urge them to reach out
to our firm, Attochron. Best of luck in your new endeavors; incredible
times are coming!
– Tom Chaffee, founder and CEO of Attochron LLC (via LinkedIn)
What I would recommend to anyone entering my field is to simply open
their eyes to new and imaginative ways we can use this new technology to
better our world! From analyzing crop moisture content in the field to
detection of drugs and explosives with portable Raman spectrometers,
there are many new ways we can use spectroscopy to improve processes,
monitor our environment and better our quality of life. New graduates,
the world is your oyster. Find your niche, and help our planet! Oh,
yeah, and don’t do drugs …
– Jason Pierce, StellarNet (via LinkedIn)
Go deeper in your profession [for more] extensive knowledge [in a
related] or “hot” field. In addition, for finding a job, pay more
attention in LinkedIn to see what requirements are necessary for a
freshman or senior one.
– Lin Chun Hua, National Chiao Tung University (via LinkedIn)
Go for breadth. In other words, early in one’s career, gaining
experience with a variety of technologies and skill sets is helpful. It
is easier to do this in a startup or “newer” company than in an older,
highly stratified organization where one may be doing the same job over
and over again.
– Barbara Grant, consultant (via LinkedIn)
I’d like to echo Barbara’s comment about the positive effect of having
diverse experiences, interests and jobs. It will prevent you from being
compartmentalized into one area during a career. This principle of
diversity is doubly important for your networking connections. Many
times, students are under the mistaken impression that the only contacts
that matter are the ones in their current field of research. The truth
is almost exactly opposite. Go forth, meet and connect with people who
have taken different paths, and you’ll be better prepared for the
changing fortunes of a career.
– Dirk Fabian, SPIE (via LinkedIn)
I would encourage new technical graduates to maintain a lifelong
curiosity that encourages them to investigate and learn new skills and
gain knowledge. Keeping abreast of developments in your chosen field is
essential both for your own intellectual growth but also to maintain
your value to an employer.
I would also encourage new graduates to develop an interest in fields
that are tangential to their chosen field of specialization.
Increasingly, breakthroughs are coming about from the integration of
ideas from multiple fields of expertise. Note the huge advances in
prosthetics when medical, electronic and mechanical expertise
Balance your professional interests while ensuring that you have time
for yourself, your family and to give back to your community. And don’t
forget that, as a professional, you have a responsibility to maintain
high ethical standards in all your endeavors.
– Richard Toftness, Tasterra Consulting LLC (via LinkedIn)
Develop effective communication skills, oral and especially written.
Communication is crucial to establishing and building teams, promoting
your ideas and collaborating with others.
For learning and for obtaining technical support, obtaining a good
answer starts with asking a good question (effectively communicating).
– Lucian Hand, Altos Photonics (via LinkedIn)
Don’t forget about water treatment, or any other environmental areas where general optical sensing technology can be applied.
– Yana Williams, Ametek Measurement and Calibration Technologies (via LinkedIn)
Learn the business (follow the money): Who are the customers? Why do
they pay what they pay? Why do they buy what they buy? How are you
adding value to your employer? How can you add more value for your
employer? Become a trend-watcher (“Be where the puck is going to be, not
where it was.” – W. Gretzky): What trends are your customers’ customers
following? How can you help your customers get there first? Learn to
feel the ebb and flow of the business, so you know when to switch from
offense to defense and back again.
Finally, from the world of sports: Talk, talk, talk
(over-communicate; it’s still probably not enough). Be optimistic
(there’s always next play, next game, next season). When it rains, it
rains for both teams (i.e., economic conditions hurt everyone; figure
out how to play in the rain).
– Lynore Abbott, Logical Marketing LLC (via LinkedIn)
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