A doctorate degree is a supreme sign of academic accolade. The prospect of prefacing your name with titles, such as ‘Dr.’ or ‘PhD’ sounds lucrative to many of us. People wanting to pursue higher education find a doctorate degree particularly attractive. There’s no denial of the fact that a PhD program leads to intellectual growth and amelioration. It enhances your expertise and knowledge in a particular area of research. However, before you embark on this rewarding but strenuous journey, it is worthwhile to ponder upon a few concerns related to a PhD degree.
PhD involves digging deep into research on a certain topic for a couple of years. You’ll have to adapt to a way of working and lifestyle which necessitates that you assess your suitability for this program before enrolling for it.
Below are listed some of the important considerations surrounding a doctorate degree. This piece also explores the various career options that lie ahead for you if you successfully complete a PhD.
Deep and genuine interest in research: PhD aspirants must be extremely passionate about carrying out research in their chosen area of study. This means that they should see the program as a great opportunity to make forays into an unexplored territory of knowledge, satisfy their curiosity and make new discoveries. Without a genuine commitment to research work, the course would seem an uphill task and lead to poor performance.
Knowledge about career options that open up: The ambit of prospective careers after a doctoral degree is wide and goes beyond the field of academics. PhD holders can apply for multiple job positions, including University Professor, Research Scholar, Industrial R&D Lab Professional, Start-Up Mentor, Researcher in Development Centers, Patent Lawyer, Science Writer, Scientific Advisor, Analyst in Chemical Research Labs or Centers, Head of Service in Geological Centers, Advisory Positions in government sector, roles in Investment Banking and more. PhD groups in Industrial R&D organizations undertake research activities, design new products and participate in critical, strategic decision making. Often, PhDs also join the corporate sector and use their knowledge productively to suggest technological advancements. Apart from getting you high-profile jobs, a doctoral degree also helps elevate your professional designation and leads to promotions. So, it is a great idea to have proper clarity in your mind and build a career roadmap before pursuing a doctorate degree. Talk to a career counselor or research about unknown career options that open up for you after achieving a PhD degree.
Ability to churn copious amounts of information to get at the essence: Essentially, a doctoral degree will require you to read several papers and assimilate large amounts of information. Your brain will have to process a great deal of knowledge before coming up with new findings or conclusions in your thesis. Judgments regarding the authenticity, reliability and relevance of existing literature will also have to be made by PhD scholars. You should be able to quickly shortlist the worthy papers and be able to extract useful information from them in a short span of time.
Ability to work independently: PhD scholars are accustomed to working independently most of the time and sail through troubled waters with their research skills. Your guides will be there to mentor you and if you opt for a multidisciplinary doctorate program, other scholars and postdocs will be involved. However, the truth remains the same – including for multidisciplinary programs – that a great part of the journey will have to be traversed all alone. Your knowledge and intelligence will be your bosom companions as you come up with original ideas and resolve problems all by yourself. Supervisors will provide assistance with the approach and methodologies you deploy. They may also share contacts of people who can help advance your research project. However, apart from this, you will solely be entitled to and responsible for your thesis. Yet, it is a good idea to focus on the positive side of this – meaning that PhD will make you a strong and independent decision-maker and an authority in your area of study.
Challenging, taxing experience: Achieving a doctorate degree is by all means onerous. It requires a great deal of perseverance and patience in producing your own thesis. Set out on this journey if only you’re ready to take up the challenges and like to chase your ambitions with consistent hard work. A PhD scholar will need to understand the value of little but constant progress. Keep your mind fixed on the final reward and that should justify all the trials and tribulations you meet on the way to your final destination.
Academic contribution: Doctorate degrees make a contribution to the reservoir of existing knowledge in a given area of research. The idea of adding new findings or information to the extant material available sounds appealing. In effect, PhD scholars bring novel revelations to the table and disseminate them in the world of academia for the common welfare of mankind. Additionally, their conclusions could be taken up and built upon by future research scholars leading to improved findings on that topic.
Social contribution: PhD scholars reach at useful conclusions and results at the end of their thesis. Scientific methodologies and meaningful findings could prove productive in the fields of science, technology, commerce, education, industry and more.
Avenue to hone your skills: A doctorate degree entails detailed research work and training in analytical methodologies. It will increase your knowledge and proficiency in your research area and develop practical skills in you if your research is in a science or technology related topic. You will gain insights into a certain field of knowledge and imbibe problem-solving techniques. Your time-management, organization, analytical, empirical and communication capabilities will enhance manifolds.
Presentation skills: A PhD program may involve attending or presenting your research project at various conferences, seminars or workshops. At the least, you will encounter several occasions when you will have to face your own supervisors’ or research team’s cross questions. There will be difficult questions as well as disagreements. Thorough understanding of your research work and capability to answer questions will take you a long way. Heed to the words of your critics, consider both negative and positive feedback and use the same to improve your research.
PhD will be a toilsome experience. The key to succeed is to stay motivated, be rational and analytical. Your aspirations for your personal achievement will keep you egged on towards the ultimate goal of this arduous journey. In the end, your research will prove fruitful and the degree will mark as the most splendid academic feat of your life. Remember, just sign up if only you are truly interested and willing to contribute to the world of research.