What can you expect to find in this page:
- Description of my formation and things I’ve done, kind of like a CV, but guided, story-told.
- An Anti-CV, that is, the abilities I am supposed to have due to my formations, but I sadly don’t.
- What would I like to do next.
It’s not the same building a skill set alongside our careers and needs, than building a skill set to get a career. The latter is not an approach I would like to take, it’s outdated.
Being a creative person, and highly motivated to solve problems, a much better approach in these days is to look at problem that exists and try to come up with a solution that fits that problem. No school can teach that, and it is, from my point of view, one of the most important, and lacking, quality a person could have. Inevitably, this approach will only work in start-ups and small business needing, and recognizing back, hard work and creativity. That’s the reason why I would prefer to go there.
As you will see in the next section, in the last 9 years I have made a bunch of different things, and have succeed at each one of them. It wasn’t because I had the exact set of skills needed, it was because anyone has the capacity to develop them along the way, even in short periods of time, as long as he/she is highly motivated and creative. That’s precisely what I can offer you.
Formation and experience
Nuclear and Energetic Engineer
I studied Nuclear and Energetic Engineer at the University of Havana in a 5 years long study-plan, and got graduated in 2019 with an average of 4.80 out of 5.00. Although I really liked the engineer part of it, meaning designing and measuring performance of machinery components in nuclear reactors, I saw myself kind of forced to carry out my thesis in the more theoretical field of Molecular Dynamics. In the situation we were, going for these physics-related subjects had much more future than going all into engineering. And it did paid of, because just finishing my career I was accepted to carry out a Ph.D. in southern France.
What I learned
- Linux, GNU Emacs, LaTeX, C, Python, Fortran.
- Engineering software like AutoCAD and ANSYS for design and computing structures and systems.
- To present my work, preferably in good presentations, not those where everybody gets sleep.
- The basic function principles of a Power Plant, including Thermal and Nuclear ones.
- The main security measures, and risk analysis to carry out in such facilities.
- We even played a little with the Bariloche Atomic Center RA-6 experimental reactor.
- Design of structures.
- Renewable Energy technologies, including Hydrogen, wind power, hydraulics power, and solar power.
I don’t feel with the knowledge to work at a Nuclear facility starting tomorrow. It’s been several years since I completely changed the path to more chemistry-oriented subjects, and you only know what you practice. Nuclear Power Plants need certain standards of security and up-to-date knowledge from day 1 which I cannot offer right now. In other power plants and renewable technologies, however, I have confidence.
Ph.D. in Computational Chemistry
The subject of the Ph.D. was completely new to me, as it was related with computational chemistry, organic chemistry, and catalysis chemistry… three things I had never studied before in my life, as you can deduce from my Nuclear and Energetic Engineering formation. The subject was related with the study of a novel metal-free, helical catalyst for challenging C-C bond forming reactions.
Looking back now, I think my performance during these three years was pretty good. But I do feel it could have been so much better if the scientific conditions at the Lab were not as deteriorated as they are. Anyway, I did the best I could, and got graduated on 2022.
What I learned
- Communication skills in English and French: reading, listening, writing, and speaking.
- To work with related software, like Gaussian, deMon2k, MultiWFN.
- To write peer-reviewed scientific publications, and even a thesis 😉.
- To carry out scientific research.
- To present my work at scientific conferences with tens of elderly people questioning you.
- Computational, and Organic Chemistry (a bit, just what I needed, not an expert in neither).
- Catalysis Chemistry, just a little.
- High-performance computing.
- That scientific research isn’t a panacea, and it is plagued of bad actors, just like any other industry.
I don’t feel strong in neither Computational nor Organic Chemistry. I learned what I needed to move forward, and some times when faced with new subject I lack the basic formation a chemist may have. I would prefer a technology-related job than an academic one.
Post-doc in Computational Chemistry
By the end of the Ph.D. my supervisor told me he had an opening position for a Post-doc researcher, and I accepted to continue with them for another year… and here we are, approaching the end of the contract as days pass by (in February 2024 it will be gone). The subject is the use of a Ruthenium based catalysts for the efficient storage, transportation, and recovery of Hydrogen.
What I learned
- A little of Inorganic Chemistry, Metal Catalysis mostly.
I don’t think I would like to continue in Academic Research. In my opinion there is only a 5% of researches who make science to progress, all the rest is either doing irrelevant stuffs or living their life by taking advantage of having a fixed position. In addition, my background in Computational Chemistry is not that good, I wasn’t formed as a chemist but as an energetic engineer, and I don’t feel like studying about these subjects (sorry?).
If I get a position in scientific research as my next job, it needs to be in an enterprise, a start-up preferably, with a focus on producing something we can enjoy when finished and see its growth…with purpose. Of course, I can only stand my ground if the twists of fate do not push me otherwise, and force me into academic research once more, as they already did back in 2019. Only time will tell.
What I would like to do next
I was writing this section, but extended a little about the much I like coding, and it made no sense to put it all here… it’s probably not relevant to you. If you are interested, however, I moved it to this post.
Basically, coding and developing new technologies are among the things I enjoy the most, but nowadays I do that mostly in my spare time. I am not professional at it, but understanding new programming languages feels easy to me, even Elisp 😏, and tweaking with a computers-like systems (when things work, of course 😜) feels like happiness to me.
Other interests I have are writing, cooking, photography, and gardening. Moreover, coming from my childhood and youth, I am passionate about agriculture, ecology, and veterinary science. Had I not taken this path, I would most likely have been a biologist, agronomist or veterinarian.
In the future I would like to have my own start-up, but it’s not an easy task to find an area and a strong idea to start one. Therefore,
I think not that much people will make it this far, not after the first picture of the post. If you did, however, thanks a lot, I hope you got something useful from it.
The picture from the beginning was designed by me using Gimp (of course, Uncle Sam was taken from somewhere, I can’t remember where). I laughed a lot while doing it and putting it in the blog, picturing the face of these human resources people looking for a structured CV with the specific abilities you have, like team minded and independent, assertive, persuasive, and burning for X. I am sure it will serve me as an effective scarecrows.
If you have made it so for, though, I would like to recommend you the lecture of these two posts from Uwe Friedrichsen. They are really nice, and discuss interesting issues of the current job market for both, companies and future employees.