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Yorkie October 4, 2005 02:03

How do I get a job in CFD combustion?
I have the full intention of obtaining job in industry in a combustion related position in 2 years time. I am interested to know, what sorts of skills are most useful to employers.

Basically, I already hold a PhD in combustion modelling (for SI engines) and at the moment I have a post-doc job at a University studying fundamental flame propagation. However, all I want is a job in industry in a combustion related position, I had no luck after my PhD (I studied what I was interested in and it got be nowhere) and my plan is to spend the next two years (through my research and own time) in developing my skills to ensure that I can obtain all the skills necessary to get the job I have been looking for.

My questions are to the industrial combustion CFD guys.

1. In what areas do you feel that your companies have any skills shortages?

2. Do you actually recruit, or do you only use and train your own graduates?

3. How many combustion related people do you actually employ?

4. Do you post jobs on CFDonline or should I try companies directly?

5. What do you look for when recruiting somebody like myself?

6. When you hire somebody like me, what level of experience do they actually have? Where do they get this experience?

7. What sorts of modelling experience would you consider most/least valuable?

8. What is the level of pay initially, 2 years in and 5 years in, etc.

9. To those in the USA, I am a French national (with fluent English) " are there any circumstances where I can obtain a working visa?

10. What do you get from Universities, do they do anything better than yourselves?

11. Would I do better being an accountant (this is my plan B, although id rather not)!!!

I would appreciate any help you may give, I am sure you were in my shoes at one point.


Terence October 4, 2005 17:04

Re: How do I get a job in CFD combustion?
I am no expert in combustion and I am also no personal manager, but I can share a few things that I have heard and experienced.

First of all, if you hire a Ph.D. you are usually not so much looking for specific skills. Of course, your skills are important, but most people are not going to exactly continue their Ph.D. and post-doc reasearch in the new position. It's far more important that you possess everything that managers expect from an engineering or science Ph.D.: The ability to perform research and design without supervision, to come up with new solution methods, to solve problems that nobody has solved or even encountered before, ... and eventually qualify as a team leader. That's all in addition to everything you want from a MS or BS, i.e. team work, strong communication skills, engineering knowledge and all that basic stuff. A manager needs to be able to take you and put you on any kind of job that requires this kind of qualification, so don't get hung up on particular skills within a very small field of interest. I didn't make this up (although I might have, because it makes sense to me), but I actually heard that from the manager who eventually hired me.

That brings me to a second point. It's almost too obvious to mention, but you will boost your chances to get a job if you are flexible. Don't insist on working at a particular location, and don't be too restrictive on the field in which you are looking for a job. I mention this because I have seen a lot of people struggle to find exactly the kind of job they were focused on in exactly the right place. That rarely (if ever) works out.

About contacting companies... of course, you can browse online and apply to positions posted on the companies' websites or at cfd online or, but I have found that personal contacts are most fruitful. If you know anyone in the industry (ideally through some collaboration) or if you have the chance to meet people at conferences, that's the way to go. Apparently, a majority of the open positions are never even posted, and in some cases a manager will consider to hire you because of your qualifications, even if there is actually no open position.

About foreigners finding work in the US, yes I have some friends who did, but I have to say it's quite difficult these days. In principle, companies can support you on getting a visa, but most of them are not willing to go through the trouble unless they are really desperate because they cannot find anyone in the US (yeah, right...) or because you are so well qualified that they would make an exception. Depending on your research standing (hopefully you have published a lot of journal papers and are an internationally acknowledged expert in your field, and your field is really important to the US) you can try to get a green card on the basis of national interest. That might be the best/only chance you have right now. You could also consider an academic career.

Ryan October 4, 2005 22:00

Re: How do I get a job in CFD combustion?
My experience, is really be the right guy at the right time. Unfortunately its all about being lucky.

When I was a student at the end of my PhD, I was also finding it impossible to get a job. I went off to a conference and met three or four people from industry who were working for an automotive companies doing pretty much the same job. They basically told me they were getting paid megabucks and the standard of their work was nowhere near my own and that coming out of our university. Its incredibly annoying to think that have got the job you want through a graduate training scheme.

I approached all their respective companies and was told that they were not recruiting. If I had completed my phd only 3 months before it may well have been different.

Good luck.

Lee October 4, 2005 22:05

Re: How do I get a job in CFD combustion?
All I can say its dont get into anything too specific or you could end up being unemployable.

In my opinion, the real skill in engineering, is to know a little and act like you know alot. Those are the people who have the highest salaries. It makes me sick.

han October 5, 2005 09:58

Re: How do I get a job in CFD combustion?
its is very bad to know that,now a days most of the PhD graduates are struggling to get the job .. spening 3 to 4 years (spending day and nights in the labs with lot of mental stress) for the PhD, finally after PhD , no proper career. even me too the same case, finished my PhD in combustion modeling,, i spend more than three years of my valuable time, after phd again struggling for job, then whats the hell of doing PhD..i really frustrated with this situation now a days a BS graduate knowing java or HTML is more eligible to get the job rather than PHD graduate..

it is very annoying thing, that could be the reason Billgates stopped his education at BS level and earned good money. a phd graduate will be too old without money for his living , but there will be A4 size paper of degree DR tag infront of the name.. who need such a paper and tag without money.................. sorry if i wrote some thing wrong which will hurt others..

CFD Manager October 5, 2005 19:30

Re: How do I get a job in CFD combustion?
Last year, I hired a CFD Engineer to do modeling of combusiton in industrial boilers. I placed an ad in the jobs section of this website. We got over a 100 responses, many from people doing their post-doc from many different countries.

Some of the criteria I used to narrow down the applicants were: - had they worked with the commercial CFD software we used - had they had experience with writing there own code (or writing any programs) - had they ever worked with industrial combustion equipment before - since our company was in the US, we were hoping to get someone who was a citzen or had a greencard, but it wasn't essential.

Not knowing any of the applicants, we had a few of them fly out for a day long interview and ultimately hired one.

In retrospect, I would not do this again. The next time, I would want to hire someone that I knew, preferably through an internship. There are many factors that make a good employee that can't be determined from a resume, contacting references, or an interview. These include factors like how careful the person is and their work habits.

My recommendation would be to meet as many people as possible that would be potential employers. If possible, find an industrial partner and offer to apply some of your fundamental research to one of their problems. Like they say, "Its not what you know, but who you know". Good luck.

aftermath October 5, 2005 19:35

Re: How do I get a job in CFD combustion?
I recommend that you contact reputated companies such as FLUENT, CFX and cd-adapco (STAR-CD) to get advice. These leading commercial code-manufacturers should be able to predict the developments, also in the combustion area, that will be trend-setting in the years to come, so that within the period you mention (2 years) you can plan your carreer accordingly. Also FEMLAB, another general CFD-software developer could be contacted. You may also contact cobustion-orientated manufacturers directly, such as Ricardo, the manusfacturers of VECTRIS, or Softpredict, the manufacturers of COILAB and RUN1DL. In addition you may contact leading university or research instituitions to get advice. The latter schould be particularly straighforward, as you contact persons can easily by located through the www. Besides, what does your supervisor say.

In any way, use the 2 years available to you to get a deep, deep theoretical and physical background of both combustion and fluid dynamics. Without a deep physical understanding and knowledge of these subjects you will not be able to become a successfull combustion-orientated fluid-dynamicist.

Yorkie October 5, 2005 20:19

Re: How do I get a job in CFD combustion?
One hundred responses! Does that mean the market is saturated, I guess so, but not necessarily with good candidates. What do you say?

An internship is an excellent idea as is your last point about trying to solve an industrial problem for them. Thanks very much.

Yorkie October 5, 2005 20:30

Re: How do I get a job in CFD combustion?
I got my phd from a highly recognised university and only got very positive feedback from industry about the standard and relevance of my work. My supervisors past students (weak or strong) have all generally obtained the job of their own choosing after they have completed. Indeed this is the main reason why I started a PhD with this particular supervisor.

He put it down to poor luck, move of research from industry to cheaper universities and downturn in SI engines in Europe and move toward Diesel

Chang October 5, 2005 20:44

Re: How do I get a job in CFD combustion?
I am in the same situation as Yorkie. I also completed a phd in combustion but have found nothing either from my industrial contacts or from direct job hunting. My whole reason for starting a phd was to get a job in something I enjoy.

PhDs are sold to students as a means to get a well paid job in industry, from my experience and others in this discussion this is simply false.

The problem is made worse as if you apply for a non-combustion/CFD position in engineering because (1) employers think that you will leave as soon as a non existant job market picks up. (2) By changing engineering topic you must go in as a graduate and it is very difficult to compete with fresh graduates on subjects that you studied 6 years ago.

Cedric October 6, 2005 05:59

Re: How do I get a job in CFD combustion?
Hi Yorkie,

Can you let me know your E-mail. I would like to know more about your work (fundamental flame propagation) and I would appreciate having a contact. Thanks

Yorkie October 6, 2005 20:31

Re: How do I get a job in CFD combustion?
Of course I will email you, but what is your address. Forgive me, but I dont seem to be able to locate it from this forum?

Cedric October 7, 2005 04:48

Re: How do I get a job in CFD combustion?
I was actually hoping you would have enclosed your E-mail in your message. Can you provide it to me or let me know a phone number of some sort. Merci.

Andy October 8, 2005 12:05

Fundamental flame propagation research

There are a few of us working on fundamental flame propagation round the world!!!

If you are interested in combustion then please feel free to contact myself - I should be able to answer your questions or at least point you toward somebody who can!!!


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