Math PhD with 1.5 years experience, not sure whats a good fit

New wNud86
Feb 11 16 Comments


When I was finishing my phd I had a very poor understanding of what I was worth and took a job without much searching or interviewing. I took a research scientist position at a small firm and have seen two deep learning projects to production, so I figured it was a good time to look around and see what I might do if I was elsewhere.

I am not really sure I know what kind of role I would be best suited for.

I am not sure where I would fit or how to prepare for the interviews. Should I grind leetcode or make sure I can prove hoeffding? Most preparation sites seemed aimed at SWE positions but is there something that is more up my alley?

Second question - what is the difference between Research Scientist / Applied Scientist / Machine Learning Researcher?

Current TC is 150


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TOP 16 Comments
  • Intel KTPu74
    These are just names. Work that you do is agnostic of what the job title says. In my group everyone suddenly got designated as data scientist, while some people don’t even know what linear regression is .
    Feb 112
    • New wNud86
      okay im not sure if that is terrifying or hilarious
      Feb 11
    • Intel bxsnlns
      There are a lot of ai & autonomous driving companies around
      Feb 11
  • Amazon outoforder
    You can try Amazon. Applied Scientists need to pass both sde-1 level coding bar (LeetCode) + ML bar (for this I’d recommend going through Amazon’s free ML course).

    For research scientist, just ML knowledge and some coding skill would be enough!
    Feb 112
  • Im not sure anyone can tell you what role you're best suited for. What is it that you'd like to spend your time doing? Applied research or straight coding? My guess is more the former which would probably have some coding involved still unless it was MSR or similar.
    Feb 113
    • New wNud86
      Sorry - yeah- I should have included that. I just want to keep working on machine learning / deep learning and ideally put another paper out
      Feb 11
    • Sounds like you want research science roles. Don't you find the math in ML pretty elementary?
      Feb 12
    • New wNud86
      While the math in some parts is pretty simple it means there are lots of opportunities to make improvements at the theory level which is exciting, most of the time when you have an idea in math someone already tried it 100 years ago
      Feb 12
  • / Engäččä
    I disagree with the first post. It might be like that Intel but not at some other top companies. Lets start with different titles.

    1. Applied scientist, ML engineer: synonymous with each other as far as I know. Some knowledge of ML, strong coding (not as strong as SWE but still good enough to clear 3 coding rounds at Google). Good if you want to implement an ML based product and not care about publishing much. Also, you may not get to innovate.

    2. Data scientist: Be cautious of this title. In some companies, it means ML engineer and in some companies it means glorified data analyst.

    3. Research scientist in a non-research lab: sometimes it is genuinely a research scientist position means you don’t necessarily work on something that will make it to a product in a year or so. You innovate and the focus is one publishing. Since you are not working on production code, your success is measures by patents and papers. A high pressure position. I have worked in a research lab before. Sometimes, it might also be a glorified applied scientist position.

    4. Research scientist in a research lab: definitely a genuine research scientist

    You decide what you want to do.
    Feb 142
    • New wNud86
      Wow, thank you so much for this. This is hugely helpful. It seems like the AS position is the best fit. Thank you so much for your feedback.
      Feb 21
    • / Engäččä
      Good luck if you are doing job search. Prepare well and don’t undersell yourself. Hard to find people who understand math behind ML as well as implement it.
      Feb 21
  • GoDaddy derpie
    Are you on the east coast, west coast or no coast?
    Feb 111
  • Varian Medical / Product

    Varian MedicalProduct

    You can easily get TC at 300
    Feb 110

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