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Life After DoC

Be1c8a24b76f8b2b23f53eb22d401810?s=47 Imperial ACM
November 15, 2013

Life After DoC

What do you do with a BA in War Studies? In my case: an MSc and a PhD at DoC. These degrees in turn led to jobs at a number of academic and non-academic institutions, including at one point returning to the Department as a post-doc in the research group with which I did my PhD. In this talk I will discuss my experience of working in a variety of environments and reflect on how my time(s) at DoC prepared me for what was to come.


Imperial ACM

November 15, 2013


  1. Life After DoC Nick Dingle 15 November 2013

  2. My timeline • 1996-99: BA in War Studies • 2000-04:

    MSc and PhD at DoC • 2004-07: Analyst at Dstl • 2007-10: Post-doc at DoC • 2010-13: Post-doc at School of Maths, University of Manchester • Currently: HPC Software Developer at NAG
  3. Am I the only one? (Royal Society, The Scientific Century:

    Securing Our Future Prosperity, p. 14)
  4. Dstl: Working outside academia • Dstl provides “sensitive and specialist

    science and technology services for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and wider government” • Sites across the UK; I worked in Portsmouth • Unique work environment
  5. Acronyms (http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2005-08-22/)

  6. Dstl: Working outside academia • Skills I brought with me

    from DoC: – Communicating ideas (written and verbal) – Time management – Problem-solving • Skills I developed at Dstl: – Project management – People management – Working with a mix of technical and non-technical team members
  7. (http://itrappedinwords.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/peter-pans-famous-quotes-5/)

  8. DoC again: Returning to academia • Worked as a post-doc

    with my PhD supervisor (Will Knottenbelt) in the AESOP group • Definite benefits to working in an environment where you’re already “known”
  9. Manchester: A second post-doc • Change of department (to Maths)

    as well as university – broadening my horizons • Work was directly related to what I did in my PhD (asynchronous solution of large sparse systems of equations) • But did it mean starting from scratch again?
  10. Numerical Algorithms Group (NAG) • Provides high quality numerical computing

    software (e.g. the NAG Library) and high performance computing (HPC) services • Sells software and services but is a not-for- profit organisation with close ties to academia
  11. Numerical Algorithms Group (NAG) • I am an HPC Software

    Developer • Support users of HECToR (UK national supercomputer) in porting, debugging and tuning their code • Opportunity to put in to practice the range of technical and non-technical skills I’ve developed in my career so far
  12. "Life is What Happens To You While You’re Busy Making

    Other Plans"
  13. None
  14. The two-body problem (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-body_problem)

  15. The two-body problem (http://www.divched.org/blogentry/navigating-two-body-problem)

  16. Conclusions • PhD gives you extremely valuable skills beyond just

    the technical ones • Know what's important to you. Switch jobs if you aren't doing what you want to do • How does one decide what to do next?