One Weird Trick for Getting into CS Research Roles!

I’ve found the following method to somewhat work when applying to CS research teams.

  1. Try to get in touch with someone on the team. Very often, just applying online is not enough. Use prior connections for this. It’s the easiest if you have worked in a similar area as the team, so you know which teams and people to contact. You will also have some common ground to chat about and some credibilty in the area.

  2. Reimplement an algorithm that they use or is related to what they work on. Read some papers and code up something quickly. This helps you learn in detail about the problem they are trying to solve and the algorithms they use. I find this fun to do anyways, since its an opportunity to quickly learn and apply that knowledge by coding something. Often times, gaps in your understanding or important practical details reveal themselves when you try to implement something. This also gives useful knowledge if you get the position. Show them what you have done and the issues you faced or other open questions. This should show initiative, insight, and interest in the team’s work.

  3. ???

  4. Profit???

Doing steps 1 and 2 in the opposite order should also work. Pick an area, read some papers in that area, try to reimplement their algorithms, then you can get in contact with people to collaborate on research.