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PHOTONICS RESEARCHER, IN-DEPTH: Learn How To Fail

About this video 

Ruben discusses some of the roadblocks he runs into, but the perseverance necessary for the job to keep researchers running. He goes in depth about other necessities required , the difficulty of getting a job as a researcher and his work-life balance.

Degree: Electrical Engineering
Job Title: Photonics Researcher
Employer: National Institute of Information and Communications Technology

Job Summary: Computer and Information Research Scientists

Job Description

Computer and information research scientists invent and design new technology and find new uses for existing technology. They study and solve complex problems in computing for business, science, medicine, and other uses.

On-the-Job Training

None

Quick Facts

Average salary
Average salary
National Statistic Change Location
Confirm
$60,000 - $155,000
Projected job growth
Projected Job Growth
15 to 25 percent
Typical schedule
Typical schedule
Full-time, Flexible
Typical workplace
Typical workplace
Outdoor, Indoor, Military, Physically demanding
Personal qualities
Personal Qualities
Detail oriented, Problem solving skills, Analytical skills, Written communication skills, Verbal communication skills, People skills, Mathematical skills

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P3.instances[0].transcript.parse_transcript_data({"transcript":"<p><span m='0'>What</span> <span m='340'>I</span> <span m='410'>like</span> <span m='740'>is</span> <span m='1070'>that</span> <span m='1270'>I get</span> <span m='1692'>to--</span> <span m='3380'>so</span> <span m='3900'>essentially,</span> <span m='4400'>my</span> <span m='4580'>job,</span> <span m='5290'>or</span> <span m='5490'>the</span> <span m='5560'>fundamental</span> <span m='5730'>part</span> <span m='5985'>of my</span> <span m='6240'>job,</span> <span m='6510'>is</span> <span m='6690'>to</span> <span m='7100'>have</span> <span m='7600'>ideas</span> <span m='8180'>and</span> <span m='8320'>execute</span> <span m='8780'>them.</span> <span m='10050'>So</span> <span m='10510'>essentially,</span> <span m='11610'>I</span> <span m='11720'>will</span> <span m='11980'>wake</span> <span m='12200'>up</span> <span m='12320'>morning,</span> <span m='12810'>have</span> <span m='13120'>a bunch</span> <span m='13220'>of ideas</span> <span m='13875'>that I've</span> <span m='14280'>written</span> <span m='14685'>down</span> <span m='15090'>or</span> <span m='15340'>that I've</span> <span m='15830'>dreamed</span> <span m='16059'>about</span> <span m='17220'>sometimes.</span> <span m='17680'>I'll</span> <span m='17740'>go into</span> <span m='18060'>the</span> <span m='18180'>lab</span> <span m='18810'>and</span> <span m='19580'>try</span> <span m='19750'>to</span> <span m='19850'>make</span> <span m='20030'>them</span> <span m='20180'>work.</span> <span m='20540'>And</span> <span m='22320'>that's</span> <span m='22610'>the</span> <span m='22690'>part</span> <span m='22900'>that</span> <span m='23140'>I</span> <span m='23200'>don't</span> <span m='23380'>like--</span> <span m='24690'>sorry</span> <span m='24850'>the</span> <span m='24940'>part that</span> <span m='25400'>I</span> <span m='25510'>do</span> <span m='25740'>like.</span> </p><p><span m='26010'>The</span> <span m='26250'>part I</span> <span m='26350'>don't</span> <span m='26690'>like</span> <span m='27120'>is</span> <span m='27350'>the</span> <span m='27440'>fact</span> <span m='27660'>that</span> <span m='27840'>99.9%</span> <span m='29140'>of</span> <span m='29598'>those</span> <span m='30056'>ideas never</span> <span m='30514'>work.</span> <span m='31430'>So</span> <span m='31580'>it's</span> <span m='32159'>very</span> <span m='32509'>frustrating.</span> <span m='33710'>One of</span> <span m='33940'>the</span> <span m='34010'>most</span> <span m='34280'>frustrating</span> <span m='34690'>things</span> <span m='35220'>in</span> <span m='35370'>a</span> <span m='35530'>researcher's</span> <span m='36070'>job</span> <span m='36430'>is that</span> <span m='36922'>most of</span> <span m='37414'>the time,</span> <span m='37906'>stuff</span> <span m='38398'>just</span> <span m='38890'>doesn't</span> <span m='39382'>work.</span> <span m='40366'>So you</span> <span m='40858'>have to keep</span> <span m='41350'>trying.</span> <span m='41842'>You have to</span> <span m='42340'>have</span> <span m='42600'>a</span> <span m='42860'>lot</span> <span m='43220'>of</span> <span m='43290'>perseverance.</span> </p><p><span m='44160'>And</span> <span m='45630'>you have</span> <span m='46120'>to</span> <span m='49060'>try</span> <span m='50040'>and fail.</span> <span m='51020'>And</span> <span m='51500'>you</span> <span m='51640'>have</span> <span m='51800'>to</span> <span m='51900'>learn</span> <span m='52235'>how</span> <span m='52570'>to</span> <span m='52995'>fail.</span> <span m='53420'>You</span> <span m='53650'>don't</span> <span m='53820'>have</span> <span m='53950'>to</span> <span m='54050'>like</span> <span m='54380'>it.</span> <span m='54660'>But</span> <span m='54800'>you</span> <span m='54880'>have</span> <span m='55140'>to learn how</span> <span m='55577'>to do it</span> <span m='56888'>and take</span> <span m='57325'>criticism.</span> <span m='58200'>So</span> <span m='58370'>that's</span> <span m='59070'>probably</span> <span m='59460'>the</span> <span m='59590'>most</span> <span m='59860'>frustrating</span> <span m='60312'>part</span> <span m='60764'>of this</span> <span m='61216'>job.</span> </p><p><span m='62120'>One</span> <span m='62220'>of</span> <span m='62280'>the</span> <span m='62350'>most</span> <span m='62570'>important</span> <span m='62950'>decisions</span> <span m='63490'>that</span> <span m='63620'>you</span> <span m='63690'>have</span> <span m='63860'>to</span> <span m='63970'>do</span> <span m='64170'>if you want to</span> <span m='64602'>be a researcher</span> <span m='65034'>is</span> <span m='65466'>that</span> <span m='65900'>you're</span> <span m='66530'>going</span> <span m='66700'>to</span> <span m='66760'>spend</span> <span m='67240'>a</span> <span m='67300'>lot</span> <span m='67640'>of</span> <span m='67750'>time</span> <span m='68220'>studying.</span> <span m='69540'>And</span> <span m='69850'>that</span> <span m='70180'>time</span> <span m='70470'>you</span> <span m='70760'>will</span> <span m='71340'>not</span> <span m='71750'>be</span> <span m='71920'>able</span> <span m='72120'>to</span> <span m='72420'>earn</span> <span m='72700'>as</span> <span m='73152'>much money</span> <span m='73604'>as you would</span> <span m='74056'>if you</span> <span m='74508'>were,</span> <span m='76320'>say, in a more</span> <span m='76810'>commercial</span> <span m='77240'>job.</span> </p><p><span m='77510'>So</span> <span m='77660'>you're going to</span> <span m='77900'>spend</span> <span m='78650'>10</span> <span m='78860'>years</span> <span m='79130'>of</span> <span m='79240'>your</span> <span m='79340'>life</span> <span m='81570'>getting</span> <span m='81780'>your degree,</span> <span m='82240'>getting</span> <span m='82580'>you</span> <span m='83040'>master's,</span> <span m='83305'>getting</span> <span m='83570'>a PhD</span> <span m='85755'>and even</span> <span m='86192'>getting</span> <span m='86630'>postdocs.</span> <span m='87720'>And</span> <span m='88080'>during</span> <span m='88310'>those</span> <span m='88570'>years</span> <span m='88870'>you're</span> <span m='89170'>going</span> <span m='89663'>to</span> <span m='90156'>have</span> <span m='93607'>relatively</span> <span m='94100'>low</span> <span m='94593'>wages.</span> <span m='95086'>And you're going</span> <span m='95579'>to work</span> <span m='96072'>80-hour weeks</span> <span m='97070'>for</span> <span m='97420'>years.</span> </p><p><span m='98500'>So</span> <span m='99980'>taking</span> <span m='100390'>the</span> <span m='100590'>step</span> <span m='100930'>to</span> <span m='103940'>do</span> <span m='104190'>this</span> <span m='104520'>has</span> <span m='104740'>to</span> <span m='104880'>be</span> <span m='105160'>a</span> <span m='105440'>very,</span> <span m='106570'>very,</span> <span m='107000'>very</span> <span m='107270'>carefully</span> <span m='107710'>planned</span> <span m='108166'>decision.</span> <span m='108622'>That was probably</span> <span m='109078'>the hardest</span> <span m='109534'>decision I</span> <span m='109990'>ever made in</span> <span m='110446'>my life,</span> <span m='110902'>was</span> <span m='111360'>to</span> <span m='111730'>start.</span> <span m='112190'>So</span> <span m='113000'>actually,</span> <span m='113260'>I</span> <span m='113330'>just</span> <span m='114200'>yesterday</span> <span m='115160'>was</span> <span m='115610'>talking</span> <span m='116020'>to</span> <span m='116340'>a</span> <span m='118170'>young</span> <span m='118530'>kid.</span> <span m='118850'>And</span> <span m='119560'>he's</span> <span m='119860'>trying</span> <span m='120110'>to</span> <span m='120230'>make</span> <span m='120500'>the</span> <span m='120520'>decision</span> <span m='121000'>right</span> <span m='121220'>now.</span> </p><p><span m='121420'>So</span> <span m='122200'>In</span> <span m='122410'>his</span> <span m='122710'>case,</span> <span m='123470'>he</span> <span m='123660'>decided</span> <span m='124090'>not</span> <span m='124320'>to</span> <span m='124430'>take it.</span> <span m='124820'>He</span> <span m='125110'>realizes</span> <span m='125960'>that</span> <span m='127330'>this</span> <span m='127590'>is</span> <span m='128080'>not</span> <span m='128400'>going to</span> <span m='128520'>be an</span> <span m='129007'>easy</span> <span m='129494'>path.</span> <span m='129981'>You're going</span> <span m='130468'>to spend</span> <span m='130955'>a lot of time</span> <span m='131929'>studying</span> <span m='132416'>and</span> <span m='132903'>a lot of</span> <span m='133390'>time</span> <span m='135350'>working</span> <span m='136860'>very</span> <span m='137060'>hard</span> <span m='137410'>for something</span> <span m='137870'>that's</span> <span m='138400'>very,</span> <span m='138620'>very</span> <span m='138860'>far</span> <span m='139090'>away.</span> </p><p><span m='139910'>So you're</span> <span m='140030'>not</span> <span m='140210'>going</span> <span m='140320'>to</span> <span m='140360'>have</span> <span m='140950'>short-term</span> <span m='141418'>results.</span> <span m='141886'>This is</span> <span m='142354'>something</span> <span m='142822'>that will</span> <span m='144230'>easily</span> <span m='144700'>take a</span> <span m='144920'>decade</span> <span m='145650'>until</span> <span m='145860'>you</span> <span m='146010'>start</span> <span m='146265'>to</span> <span m='146520'>see</span> <span m='147080'>some</span> <span m='148500'>feedback.</span> <span m='149520'>So</span> <span m='149740'>it's</span> <span m='149940'>a</span> <span m='149990'>very</span> <span m='150270'>important</span> <span m='150730'>life</span> <span m='150990'>decision.</span> <span m='151520'>It's</span> <span m='152050'>almost a</span> <span m='152420'>marriage,</span> <span m='152685'>I</span> <span m='152950'>think.</span> </p><p><span m='153896'>So how</span> <span m='154369'>difficult--</span> <span m='154842'>I mean,</span> <span m='156740'>it</span> <span m='156860'>depends</span> <span m='157180'>on</span> <span m='157260'>where</span> <span m='157420'>you</span> <span m='157610'>are,</span> <span m='157790'>I</span> <span m='157820'>guess.</span> <span m='158140'>But</span> <span m='161479'>it</span> <span m='161960'>depends</span> <span m='162120'>on</span> <span m='162220'>the</span> <span m='162310'>kind</span> <span m='162615'>of</span> <span m='162920'>job that</span> <span m='163280'>you're looking</span> <span m='163565'>for.</span> <span m='166040'>If</span> <span m='166230'>you</span> <span m='166310'>want</span> <span m='166470'>a</span> <span m='166520'>job</span> <span m='167320'>at</span> <span m='167530'>a</span> <span m='168700'>company</span> <span m='169180'>doing</span> <span m='169660'>research,</span> <span m='170140'>commercial</span> <span m='170620'>research,</span> <span m='171100'>it's</span> <span m='173020'>not</span> <span m='173500'>very</span> <span m='173980'>difficult,</span> <span m='175420'>as</span> <span m='175550'>long</span> <span m='175720'>as</span> <span m='175820'>you</span> <span m='175940'>know</span> <span m='176120'>what</span> <span m='176270'>you're</span> <span m='176360'>doing</span> <span m='176615'>and</span> <span m='176870'>as long</span> <span m='177346'>as you have</span> <span m='177822'>a good</span> <span m='178298'>background.</span> <span m='178774'>It's fine.</span> <span m='179726'>It's</span> <span m='180202'>not very difficult</span> <span m='180678'>to get</span> <span m='181154'>positions</span> <span m='181630'>in my</span> <span m='183495'>industry.</span> </p><p><span m='183930'>If</span> <span m='186180'>you're</span> <span m='186410'>a</span> <span m='186430'>researcher,</span> <span m='187615'>you</span> <span m='188080'>basically</span> <span m='188590'>have</span> <span m='188800'>two</span> <span m='189080'>choices.</span> <span m='189548'>You</span> <span m='190016'>either go</span> <span m='190484'>for</span> <span m='190952'>a</span> <span m='191420'>commercial</span> <span m='192356'>company.</span> <span m='192824'>So</span> <span m='193292'>you will</span> <span m='193760'>work</span> <span m='194228'>for a</span> <span m='194700'>research</span> <span m='195090'>company.</span> <span m='196300'>And</span> <span m='197160'>that</span> <span m='197340'>will</span> <span m='197490'>have</span> <span m='197940'>its perks,</span> <span m='198670'>of</span> <span m='198810'>course.</span> <span m='199690'>Or</span> <span m='200010'>you can</span> <span m='200450'>go</span> <span m='201445'>and</span> <span m='201860'>follow</span> <span m='202080'>an</span> <span m='202190'>academic</span> <span m='203240'>path.</span> <span m='203730'>In that case,</span> <span m='204220'>you will go</span> <span m='204710'>for a</span> <span m='205100'>university.</span> <span m='205570'>And then,</span> <span m='206930'>eventually,</span> <span m='207375'>professorship.</span> <span m='207820'>And</span> <span m='207960'>that</span> <span m='208310'>tends</span> <span m='208600'>to</span> <span m='208660'>be</span> <span m='208770'>harder,</span> <span m='209075'>actually,</span> <span m='209817'>than a</span> <span m='210254'>commercial</span> <span m='210691'>path.</span> <span m='212440'>Eventually,</span> <span m='212820'>you</span> <span m='212930'>also</span> <span m='213130'>have</span> <span m='213360'>defense</span> <span m='216052'>contracts.</span> <span m='216510'>And</span> <span m='217890'>that</span> <span m='218670'>is</span> <span m='219120'>sort</span> <span m='219380'>of</span> <span m='219530'>halfway.</span> </p><p><span m='221180'>But</span> <span m='221560'>usually,</span> <span m='222460'>people</span> <span m='222740'>in</span> <span m='222810'>my</span> <span m='223050'>position</span> <span m='225556'>will tend</span> <span m='226050'>to--</span> <span m='228026'>depending</span> <span m='228520'>on their</span> <span m='229014'>personality,</span> <span m='229508'>on their</span> <span m='230002'>profilee--</span> <span m='230496'>they</span> <span m='230990'>will tend</span> <span m='231484'>to be</span> <span m='231978'>either</span> <span m='234448'>for commercial</span> <span m='234942'>companies--</span> <span m='235930'>to do</span> <span m='237906'>focused</span> <span m='238400'>research on</span> <span m='238560'>a</span> <span m='238770'>product,</span> <span m='239175'>for example,</span> <span m='239580'>product</span> <span m='240072'>development--</span> <span m='241548'>or</span> <span m='242040'>as</span> <span m='243024'>a</span> <span m='243516'>professor</span> <span m='244008'>at university,</span> <span m='244500'>eventually.</span> </p><p><span m='245976'>Oh,</span> <span m='246480'>it's</span> <span m='246620'>horrible.</span> <span m='246925'>How's</span> <span m='247230'>my</span> <span m='247630'>work-life</span> <span m='248100'>balance?</span> <span m='248540'>You're kidding?</span> <span m='250330'>I'm</span> <span m='250740'>very</span> <span m='250990'>fortunate</span> <span m='251520'>man</span> <span m='251890'>because</span> <span m='253400'>my</span> <span m='253540'>partner,</span> <span m='253960'>my</span> <span m='254310'>girlfriend,</span> <span m='254660'>she</span> <span m='255020'>is</span> <span m='255190'>also</span> <span m='255500'>a</span> <span m='255580'>researcher.</span> <span m='255880'>And she</span> <span m='256180'>gets</span> <span m='256602'>it.</span> <span m='257870'>So</span> <span m='258130'>she</span> <span m='258310'>has</span> <span m='258560'>pretty</span> <span m='258740'>much</span> <span m='258950'>the</span> <span m='259040'>same</span> <span m='261092'>lifestyle</span> <span m='261586'>as I</span> <span m='262080'>do.</span> <span m='262574'>And that's</span> <span m='263068'>the</span> <span m='263562'>way we</span> <span m='264056'>manage</span> <span m='264550'>to stay</span> <span m='265044'>together for such a</span> <span m='265538'>long time.</span> </p><p><span m='267514'>It's</span> <span m='268502'>horrible.</span> <span m='268996'>It's</span> <span m='269490'>horrifying.</span> <span m='270980'>You</span> <span m='271210'>work</span> <span m='272650'>all</span> <span m='272860'>the</span> <span m='272960'>time.</span> <span m='273450'>You</span> <span m='273490'>work</span> <span m='273760'>even</span> <span m='273980'>when you're</span> <span m='274260'>not working.</span> <span m='275360'>Part of a</span> <span m='275700'>researcher's</span> <span m='276370'>job</span> <span m='276690'>is</span> <span m='277010'>to have</span> <span m='277260'>ideas.</span> <span m='277780'>And</span> <span m='277930'>you're</span> <span m='278030'>not</span> <span m='278190'>going</span> <span m='278290'>to pick</span> <span m='278789'>when you</span> <span m='279288'>have ideas.</span> <span m='279787'>You're just</span> <span m='280286'>going to have them.</span> <span m='280785'>You just have them.</span> <span m='281783'>So</span> <span m='282282'>you</span> <span m='283280'>can</span> <span m='284278'>easily</span> <span m='284777'>say that</span> <span m='285276'>you work</span> <span m='286274'>almost</span> <span m='286773'>100%</span> <span m='287272'>of your</span> <span m='287771'>time,</span> <span m='288270'>even when</span> <span m='288769'>you're sleeping.</span> </p><p><span m='289268'>But</span> <span m='289767'>the difference</span> <span m='290780'>between</span> <span m='291900'>this</span> <span m='292120'>kind</span> <span m='292290'>of</span> <span m='292410'>work</span> <span m='292690'>and</span> <span m='294050'>regular</span> <span m='294240'>work</span> <span m='294710'>is that</span> <span m='295180'>you</span> <span m='295650'>actually</span> <span m='296120'>enjoy</span> <span m='296590'>doing it.</span> <span m='297060'>You do it</span> <span m='297530'>because</span> <span m='298000'>you really</span> <span m='298470'>like it.</span> <span m='298940'>And</span> <span m='299710'>I</span> <span m='299910'>really</span> <span m='300500'>have</span> <span m='300830'>no</span> <span m='301110'>issues</span> <span m='301800'>if</span> <span m='301990'>I</span> <span m='302040'>wake</span> <span m='302300'>up</span> <span m='302450'>on a</span> <span m='302620'>Sunday</span> <span m='302910'>morning and</span> <span m='303330'>I</span> <span m='303430'>have</span> <span m='304240'>a</span> <span m='304260'>good</span> <span m='304430'>idea.</span> <span m='304760'>I will</span> <span m='305060'>run</span> <span m='305280'>to</span> <span m='305360'>the</span> <span m='305440'>lab</span> <span m='305790'>and do it</span> <span m='306224'>happily.</span> <span m='307960'>So</span> <span m='308180'>it's</span> <span m='308410'>not</span> <span m='308620'>really</span> <span m='309030'>work.</span> <span m='312922'>It's not</span> <span m='313414'>something</span> <span m='313906'>that</span> <span m='314398'>will</span> <span m='315874'>make</span> <span m='316370'>you</span> <span m='316520'>sad.</span> <span m='317780'>On the</span> <span m='318080'>contrary,</span> <span m='318480'>it will actually</span> <span m='318780'>make you happy</span> <span m='320280'>to</span> <span m='320580'>work.</span> </p>","file":{"id":572410,"video_id":"","name":"2886-Ruben - IN DEPTh.mp4","duration":322084,"thumbnail_url":null}});

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