I am a few months short of completing my Physics PhD. My thesis work has mostly been on mathematical/physical modeling of biological systems, combined with simulations (i.e., no use of ML). However, I have completed several personal projects over the years (on GitHub and my CV), where I have tried to demonstrate my knowledge of both models/architectures, and programming and software engineering skills. I've had friends in industry look over my CV, code review my projects, and I feel prepared for technical interviews. My PhD institution is considered prestigious, and my GPA is high, if that matters.
Over the past 2.5 months, I have applied to 150+ jobs (mostly Data Scientist, Quantitative Researcher/Analyst, ML Research Scientist, ML Software Engineer roles), but have not landed any interviews. I know that not having industry experience is a huge weakness, especially given the current job market. My goal is to find a job where I can expect to occasionally work with tools more complex than regression. Given that I can't do anything about the job market, I see a few next-steps as options, and was hoping to get some feedback on which ones would be more worthwhile to invest in in order place me in a better position to eventually get there.
- Internships. The easy way to get experience, but so far I have not had much success with these applications either. Is being overqualified a concern? Is competition for internships also currently very high?
- Start-up. I have an offer to join a startup founded by some friends. The work would be more data analysis, however, with probably no more ML than regression. I'm worried that experience in this role may not count for much (and the pay would be precarious).
- Post-doc. Aim for a post-doc where I have the opportunity to publish in ML conferences. This might make me a better candidate for ML Research jobs, but would it be enough to overcome the lack of industry experience?
- Keep applying. Maybe I am not a bad candidate for an entry level job and just need more numbers on my side?
In general, I'd really appreciate any information on how a hiring manager would perceive me, now and after one of these stints.