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Alaaeldin Ahmed's Postdoc Experience

Introducing Alaaeldin

Headshot of Alaaeldin AhmedDr. Alaaeldin (Aladdin) Elhady Ahmed completed his PhD in System Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Following his PhD, Alaaeldin started a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Waterloo in September 2021. He is also the winner of the WIN Nanofellowship award (2019) and is the second place winner of the ALI H. NAYFEH, for best graduate student paper award (NODYCON-2019).

Finding a Job in Industry and Academia after the Postdoc 

As a current postdoc, Alaaeldin is thinking about what is next, whether that be in industry or in academia, and is putting in the work to prepare himself for his next opportunity. Alaaeldin acknowledges that “transition from postdoc to industry is a challenging process” and that academic jobs are difficult to land, and this means it is going to take time and effort to be successful in the job market.

As a PhD graduate, Alaaeldin is aware that he is very specialized, but that this can mean there are gaps is some practical skills. He says, “the best course of action is to try to fill the gaps by taking online courses and hands-on training”.  In order to know what skills you might need or want to improve on, you can look at job ads and see what is being asked for that is missing from your skill set. Additionally, whether you are interested in pursuing a career in academia or in industry, Alaaeldin recommends first working on your CV, resume, and LinkedIn profile.    

Advice to postdocs

Thinking back to the beginning of his PhD, Alaaeldin encourages individuals who are looking to work in industry or academia to spend time researching the market before choosing their program and research. He reveals that "they need to deal with the PhD not as a challenging scientific endeavor, but as a step towards working in a specific field."

Finally, Alaaeldin reintroduces the idea of identifying and building new skills to fill the gaps in your skill set. This way, he explains qualifying for jobs will not be a problem as you fit job descriptions and requirements. He strongly recommends taking courses, learning to network, and making a solid LinkedIn profile, and reminds everyone to use professional career support.

Related Resources

  • The Centre for Career Action is available to support postdocs related to career development and work search through live workshops, self-directed online workshops, and one-on-one career advising appointments.
  • Looking to fill gaps in your skill set? LinkedIn Learning is an online educational platform that helps you discover and develop business, technology-related, and creative skills through expert-led course videos. With more than 5,000 courses and personalized recommendations, you can discover, complete, and track courses related to your field and interests. University of Waterloo postdocs can now web based training from LinkedIn learning using their WatIAM credentials. 
  • Mitacs offers a series of training courses on topics relevant to postdocs. Each course bundle involves a self-paced asynchronous component, and a synchronous virtual session. Completion of both components will earn you an official certificate of completion from Mitacs for that course.
  • For a full list of career development related resources for postdocs, visit the postdoc resources and services webpage.