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I would like to keep this question as least specific as possible, but I have to give a brief insight on my situation to help build the answer.

The question put very simply is: How easy it is to get out of a industrial research job and move into a management/technical consultancy job? By "how easy" I would mainly be interested in a comparison with the way back (i.e, from a management/technical consultancy job towards a research job).

To give a little bit of context to make the question answerable: I am majoring in informatics (Europe). I studied basically embedded systems and now in my final year I have the choice to obtain a master degree in Data analytics (a research oriented master) or a digital economics master (more professional). Before my final year, I took a year to do research internships and I found out I don't actually like research that much. I think I am more of a less-technical guy and would be more willing to work with people, for instance.

My thinking is that doing a Data analytics master (even though it is research oriented) I will be more open to pursue management/consultancy later, whereas if I go for a digital economics, I will not be able to come back that easy (if I find out I don't like management/consultancy). Specially considering I could do an MBA later. Does this makes sense?

I'm aware that the question looks a lot like some specific career advice for my case. I am not asking what I should do in my final year of studies. I would just like to know, currently in industry (specially Europe) how easy it is for someone with only research internships in the CV to get into a non-development/non-research job (like technical consultancy).

Thank you

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    It's trivial to get out of a research job. Your question is how to get into management or technical cc consultancy ... and those are two VERY different roles, so the answer for one is not going to be the answer for the other. For management, the easiest place to start is to ask your own company what it would take to move into a management track there. For consulting, there's a moderately long list of skills you will need in order to be successful and technical skills that are in demand is just the start; I believe there are existing answers on that topic.
    – keshlam
    Nov 10, 2022 at 15:03

2 Answers 2

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How easy it i to change from job X to job Y?

It all depends on two factors:

  1. If you want / can do job Y.
  2. If there is a job Y there available for you.

A third factor would be:

  1. The current employer (for job X) allows you to go / has a replacement for you.

But the third rule has a much smaller impact overall on changing jobs.

Pursuing only one (kind of) job might be hurtful overall. Employers are not usually willing to take the risk to hire a novice on a management job. So you need to prove yourself somehow on a different job, and then gradually you will move on from job to job until you reach the place you want.

Of course, nobody can predict the number of steps. At the extreme, some employer might even hire novices for management jobs.

The transition from technical to management is more common, but the transition from management to technical is also happening.


My case: I alternated between engineering jobs and project management jobs depending on my mental "status":

  • if I was too relaxed, I took on more difficult tasks;
  • if some project was on the exhausting side, I switched to something not so demanding.

I never encountered an employer to reject me as a potential employee just because I switched several times between technical and management jobs.

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Well, in-so-far as management is concerned, if you're good at your job and there's upward mobility, you'll probably eventually get promoted to being a manager.

Per the Dilbert Principle good people tend to get promoted until they're not good enough to receive any more promotions. So be good at data analytics and if you're at a sufficiently large company (larger companies tend to have more upward mobility) you'll probably eventually get into management!

You could also talk to your manager about your long term career goals - maybe you could maneuver you into that type of role sooner rather than later and give you advice commensurate with those goals.

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    That's not what the Dilbert principle is...
    – Peter
    Feb 14, 2021 at 9:52
  • @Peter it is insanely funny that you have this handle when talking about the Peter Principle LOL Jun 8, 2021 at 9:01

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