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I have three plain career choices: AI researcher, theoretical physicist or ethical hacker. What should I choose?

I’ve narrowed down my career choices to these three career paths, based on my interests. I can either go into the AI field and help spearhead cutting-edge research into making a humanoid AI; I can become a theoretical physicist spearheading research in quantum mechanics, or become an ethical hacker and start a company providing AV and pen-testing services. I’m quite confused, and I’d like to choose a career that a) pays well *enough* and b) challenges me, but not overwhelmingly. I really, really would not want to become an analyst. I’m an INTP, if that helps.

#career #research #ethicalhacking #physics #quantum #artificialintelligence #science

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Jess’s Answer

Mohammad, I really appreciate how well thought out your question is - you're thinking about all the right things. I'd like to echo Amr's suggestion to start with a broad topic that interests you most, and then find an entry point into that topic. AI and Cyber Security are growing industries so you're off to a great start.

I can share from personal experience in the Cyber security industry that it's very rewarding to help businesses develop new strategies for safeguarding against evolving threats.

Whatever the starting point that you find in either AI or Cyber Security ends up being - think about the skills that the role will provide you. The more that are transferable the better so that you can change roles or focuses down the line.

Thank you comment icon Wow, an interesting outlook. Thanks a whole lot!!! Mohammad
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Amr’s Answer

Thank you for your elaborate question... your approach and logic tells me you’re going to succeed in any choice you make. I know people who made similar choices to me and were much more successful and some were a lot less successful, so think of this as a beginning only.

my advice is to stay away from theoretical work since it’s the least commercially rewarding and all research budgets could get cut at some point. The AI space is very needed but don’t go for building a human like anything, focus on commercially viable applications that have demand in the market.

in any case, don’t specialise on something niche too early as you limit your choices in the future. Keep your choices now on a broad topic like AI or Cybersecurity, not ethical hacking because this is a small niche in a big industry.

Amr recommends the following next steps:

Pick the industry
Find your starting point in the industry
Then wait to see how things go before making mire choices
Thank you comment icon Amazing. So I’ll steer away from theoretical stuff, and niche stuff from the get-go, and then slowly gravitate myself towards my (now fully developed and mature) interests. AI is making me jitter all over. Thanks a whole lot!!! Mohammad
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Karen’s Answer

I am impressed with your thoughtful look at your future! You've already received some good advice from people familiar with these careers. All I can add is when you create your list of priorities, be sure to consider where you might have the greatest passion for what you're doing. And it's ok to include things like culture of the organization, benefits, flexibility, location, and future prospects.

With every good wish!

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Davide’s Answer

Hello Mohammad, have you any update about your career ? Just to understand what did you choose and if you need more advices on your professional path. Thanks
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