Today’s post is by a PhD student whose side job perfectly complements his graduate work and career goals – and pays him incredibly well, too boot!
University: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Department: Materials Science and Engineering
1) What is your side or temporary job?
Data science and machine learning consulting (freelancing, remote-based).
2) How much do you earn?
Between $100-200 / hr; it pays much, much better than a grad student stipend, so that’s nice.
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3) How do you balance your job with your graduate work?
I keep my consulting hours at ~10hr/wk, and I don’t do research on weekends or evenings unless it’s an emergency. I generally try to keep a pretty relaxed attitude regarding grad school, so keeping a balance isn’t too much trouble.
4) Does your job complement your graduate work or advance your career?
It’s directly related, since I plan to work in an industry position doing machine learning (or something related) after I graduate. I’m also interested in remote work and entrepreneurship, and so this ties in nicely with both of those goals too.
5) How did you get started with your job?
Surprisingly, I just posted on one of the Reddit job boards and got a reply from a manager at a company who wanted some consulting services. I didn’t think that it would be so straightforward, but I guess I got lucky.
6) Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience?
I think that if you market your skills carefully, then even as a grad student, you can offer a lot of value to a company. The trick is in having a sense of what kinds of business problems you might be able to solve.