Some notes about working in an approporiate way.

Getting into a new working environment

Trying to figure out the vision of your manager is always the important. Then you know what is the good direaction to go. Trying to make sure that you asked subsequent questions to the mentor or leader, what is the expectation for this position.

Evaluation perspectives

只有software development是不行的 但是没有software development也是不行的。就像money一样,只有是不行的,没有是万万不行的,因为这个software就像是某种资产一样。特别是信息技术相关的工作。

开会的时候提到的review metric的内容,paper, highlights, money是主要的方面,money就是research funding相关的内容,低的职级不用太考虑,但是长远来看需要考虑。


Take it easy when you are “writting a paper”: paper可以视为一种life style。并非只有high range的paper才能生存,期刊杂志也分成ABC几等,要是仅仅因为投不了A或者目前不够A的水平就不做research相关的工作,或这说自己不适合做这样的工作,可能会限制了自己的职业发展。就算是software development也要做report,申请新的项目的时候也还是得整理材料,或者申请专利那些也还是要writting,这个可能是build better career path的一个必经之路。所以不能因为目前的paper citation比较弱就说找个工业方面的工作纯做开发算了,这样感觉长远看还是不太能有好的career path。弄paper也不要着急,有了idea就弄,没有的时候就学一些新的知识,看看别人在做什么,be patient enough 这样才能有提升。

Working contents

During the meeting, the group manager asked every one two questions, what softrware are you working on and what project (application) are you involved. I think it is a good way to build the career path.

For the distinguish scientist in our group, from application’s perspective, he collabarated with a large scientific team for particular scientific project, and build some analysis that help them a lot. From the perspective of software development, he is in charge of some key component about a software infrastructure we used.

For the senior scientist in our group, from application’s perspective, he is the main PI of the software infrastrucutre, but it seems that he do not have close collabaration with the specific scientific team, so he is good but need to improve.

For the junior researcher like me. Well, I am involved in a infrastructure development, but only the light task, such as small function improvement. For application’s perspective, well, I do not have that opportunity. I only work on some synthetic data set, or the online data sets. It is better than my phd stage, instead of toy example such as GrayScott, I could run some more fomal scientific application such as flow simulation based on OpenFoam.

I think these fact can explain things a lot. And provide a good direaction about how to develop the career path.

In Chinese, the application can be ususlly sumarised by “这个技术如何才能落地”。Specific software or infrastructure are like the toolbox, such as vtk, vtkm, paraview, cuda, etc. Diving them too much into detail may make you lost the goal and seems to overwhelmed by the ocean of the technology. Other topics such as uncertainty analysis, ML based analysis are kind of like the middle thing between the real application and the infrasturcture, I need one step to move forward to bridge the current research topic to the application.

The supported application we have is limited, but there are some, after these consideration, I realize what are right task I should do. (Some times, just taking time to learn new things blindly may not be the right thing currently, for example, even if you know every details about the NN, so what, there is still not funded project based on NN for your current status. So consider it from this way might be a good thing, what type of NN can be used in your current project, and combine them, this is what you should considered.)

Principles to work with mentor

The collaboration with mentor is important. Maybe your idea is also valuable, but that might not the pursue from the manager’s perspective. Sometimes, you may use different methods, if the vision is there, there is less burdern or obstacle for working together. So you can move at towards the right direaction.

The tricky part is that, you should listen to the order of the manager, but you could not listen all to your manager at the same time. It is tricky to distinguish which you should listen and which you should not listen.

For example, if your common goal is to publish a paper, maybe the order from the manager is not a good way towards the paper or some method that you know it does not work, in this case, instead of saying that it does not work, you may try to do what the manager told you to do, and show him the resluts that why it does not work.

The mamager may have other considerations about letting you to do this thing or that thing. At the same time, you should also hold your own idea about how to move to the goals.

The important thing is or the rule of thumb is to try to do what manager tell you to do (if it is doable). You might assume that you are a soldier sometimes, and listen to the order of the commander is important to make the team work at the right direction. Remember that you are the team member instead of the mentor, so do what you are supposed to do. You can give your suggestions once your manager ask your opinion.

If you have more ideas, try to assume these things as the extra thing, you need to first complete the mentor’s task then do your self’s thing.

Don’t make your self to be the one that know all things, make life easier, do what mentor tell you to do, that’s ok to pass basic line in the work (that is the basic thing). If you have more energy, then do more related works following your own idea.

There are some new ideas about working principles recently. When working with the manager or mentor, being clear about your position, you are just the coordinator instead of the sb who are in charge. So do what the mentor or manager tells you to do and do it well, that is the basic things.

If you think the mentor or the manager’s work does not make sense, you do what they told you to do firstly, then if it does not make sense, they will find out, or you tell the mentor what are the difficulties here. If you always try to push things back and put forward the objection, the mentor may think you are not a good cooperator.

Anyway, respect to the mentor’s choice is the basic principles. It is always your options to choose a different mentor or manager if you can find a better job position.

Delivering workloads

Delivering things is important to make yourself and your manager comfortable in the working place. However, different managers may have different tasts for understanding what things should be delivered. Some managers may think writting paper is a good progress, other managers may think that working on some practical software or submit several commits is a good progress. It is important to figure out this by yourself. What techniques are most important part from the manager’s perspective. Figuring out these things can make you work in a more smart way.

Be careful about every chatting or meetting, take it serivously, show your current status, the next step and current issues, make these things at hand (these are the basic information when you need to report to the manager every time you have the discussion).

The ppt at hand is always a good thing, you put your ideas and each new steps here. When you taking times to read papers, it is hard to make it as a solid delivery, but you need time to do these things anymore. You need to earn your time for this. When you are in school, writting several paragraphs in paper might be a solid delivery. For the current job, writting some code is solid delivery and we need to earn time for writting the paper. They might think that writting paper is not solid delivery, since their main job is deliver software, but you still need writting paper.

Always prepared to report these things to the manger to make sure you are not wasting the time. If they forgort to discuss with you, just discuss with them initiaively maybe per week at least. The simple way is try to put everything in a slides during the working on a project, the slides can be the skeleten for the paper and also make your manager clear about your current working status and the good history records for the project you are working on.

Coorporation with colleagues

When the senior people said we should have a collabaration here, baiscally the successful collabaration means that you write a paper and add their name here. Maybe they will give you some feedbacks, but you should be the person who initiates the paper in most cases to push forward the work.

Good advices from senior staff

During the group meeting, the manager always discuss some ideas in high level, he said it is important to repeat things several times to make sure we have a good understanding about it, there are some points that are really good, especially in the resarch related jobs. I found that the good researcher I know have a lot of these chracterristics. Maybe try to force myself to follow these rules, in that way, I could also have a good career path.

  • Learn from reviewers and comments. The refusal of the propoal and paper is the fact of life. The important thing is what you learn from it.
  • The expertise in the key growth area
  • Collebaration not compete.
  • Tell other people what you are doing, and let other people know what you are doing is important. (This is so important)
  • Maybe the collebaration and asking other people’s idea or opinon is imporant to research project. From my personal willing, I may hope that I could solve all the problem by myself. But If I review my path for doing a project. I could not go much far without the help and collebaration from other people, no matter for research project or techniqual problem or even for the debug. Although I may think I am right most of the time, but the fact thing is that I am wrong most of the time. Even other people may not correct, the process of discussing with other people can also provide a lot of insight.
  • Build the career and profolio consciously.

For research direaction or research ideas, hearing from people instead of hearing from the senior people or manager (you may hear their idea, but your own thought is also very important, they may not have enough energy to look at detail things, but their opinion matters, such as the high level research direaction). The senior people may have some outdated opinion, which may put some restrictions on you. The latest paper can always show you what are main trend and new research questions.

The researcher also emphasize 名 and 利。But they use a better works, the “funding” and the “impact”. You may say the research 淡薄名利,however, they emphasis the funding and impact :)

As old wisdom says, you can always not get sth by chasing sth. If you calm down and consider the research direaction, do sth that can improve this area practically, and help other people to solve some key problems, instead of doing sth that try to catch sb’s eyes, you can get your benifits.

Having meeting

It is important to leave sth that can be traced (maybe a shared documents on google doc), such as the logs of the meeting. People may discuss a lot during the meeting. If we don’t write it down, we may lose these key points. The good practice is to provide a google doc link and leave several minutes at the end of the meeting, so every one can put their ideas here, and we know what we discussed last time. For the particular long term project, it is also good to have a good doc or slides for each one, so we can make sure that we have clear notes for each step.

Management patterns

When I’m doing the PhD study, the professor meet with us once every week at the group meeting on friday, we told him our progress this week and he gave us some feedbacks. It looks a good meetup frequency, we are not too presure and we also have sth to prepare each week. Professor also have flexible time to do other things.