Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Who are I?

Image by xrrr
I'm far too much of a blogger newbie to do the "who are you, dear readers?" meme, since I think there are only about four of you who read this :-), so instead I'll do a reverse one, FAQ-style.

Who are you exactly?

I'm trying this pseudo-anonymity thing. I think it's probably ludicrous, because there are just so few academic female computer scientists I'm sure I'll be outed one day by some clever, bored black hatter, but hey, worth a shot.

What is your background?

I worked in industry for quite awhile, and was really enjoying it, but I felt like career-wise I had two choices in front of me: either become a manager or become a super-code-monkey. To do the former, I felt like I had to start building sentences that contained the words "synergistic leverage goals", and no matter how many fancy titles they give you I just didn't see being a code-monkey a sustainable career.

Code Monkey? Don't you mean "software engineer"?

Oh, right, sorry. Would you prefer Software Simian?

So why academia?

I wanted a career-path change. I decided if I got a PhD and became a professor, I could research whatever I wanted and (sort of) be my own boss. Most importantly, I wouldn't ever have to use the word synergy if I didn't want to.

Why do you blog?

After reading this book, I decided to get a TT job I'd need lots of (good) publications. So I spent a lot of my time early on focusing on that. Then I started talking to people who said, "Ha ha, big deal. Everyone has lots of publications. You'll also need a network of Turing Award winners to get you a job in this market."And so on. So I realized there's a lot of these little things no one tells you but you absolutely need to know to make it. I figured I'd share those things with the masses in case they were useful to others, and hope that they'll share some back.


  1. FCS, very nice alternative to the meme. I didn't do a meme for the same reason (blog less than 2 mo old). Anyway, I am happy you chose to let us learn a bit more about you! I personally would appreciate future posts on your experiences in industry, your perception of academia and how it evolves as you progress through your PhD. Cheers!

  2. De-lurking to prove that you have at least one more reader!

    Thanks for sharing your insights. As a fellow-traveler on the PhD road, I'm always happy to find a new source of advice.

    PS: I think you should definitely write a post with some blue-sky thinking about how you'll leverage the synergies of your industrial and academic experiences to build value for research consumers and engage stakeholders beyond the traditional funders for computer science research. :-)

  3. FCS, I really like your blog. I am a fan of academic blogs and women in science blogs, so yours is two favorite flavors of mine! I look forward to your future posts.

  4. Hi, FCS. I'm a newbie blogger, too, so I understand the feeling of talking into an empty room. Good luck with your PhD adventure. I look forward to reading all about it.

  5. Thanks, all! I enjoy reading your blogs too.