David (small commercial company)

A Research Graduate from the department of Geography, David works as a Software Developer with a small IT company providing internet and intranet services to industry and commerce. He is part of a project team writing computer programs for specific client needs. The job requires a knowledge of programming languages and the skills needed are logical thinking, attention to detail, a methodical approach and creative problem solving. Working in a small company also requires flexibility and good interpersonal skills.

This is David's third job since completing his PhD three years ago and his job, on the face of it, has no relevance to his research topic or subject interest (environmental modelling). However, it was the experience and knowledge of computers gained while doing his PhD that enabled David to find work in the computer industry.

David's original career aim was to work in an environmental consultancy. After completing his first degree (Geography) he found that he needed more specialist knowledge if his applications were even going to be considered by environmental consultant companies. He therefore studied first for an MSc and then a PhD to improve his chances.

Job search

  • First job after completing PhD
  • Published vacancies (New Scientist magazine)
  • Speculative applications from environmental directories
  • Subsequent jobs
  • Specialist recruitment agencies


  • CV and covering letter for first job
  • One interview
  • CV to agency for subsequent jobs
  • Interview with company

Keys to success

  • First job - relevant knowledge (PhD Research)
  • Relevant skills (environmental modelling)
  • Subsequent jobs - Transferable computer skills

Benefits of PhD

  • Growth in self confidence
  • Trust in technical skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Report writing skills

Future options

  • Prefers to remain in present job for a year or two
  • Development of project management and team leader skills
  • Range of options within the computer industry

Things to do now

Follow us

  • Careers Centre
    Carrington Building
    Reading RG6 6UA
  • Email:
  • Telephone:
    +44 (0)118 378 8359

Page navigation


Search Form

A-Z lists