The Chronicle has a nice piece on PhD engineers adjusting to corporate culture, and for once something they offer isn’t behind a paywall, so you can actually read it! Here’s the intro to whet your appetite:
You might expect to see few similarities between the career path of an engineering Ph.D. and that of a humanities Ph.D. as they transition out of academe. After all, engineers have it made, don’t they? They can walk right into industry jobs that are exactly like the work they did in graduate school and never miss a step, right?
Not entirely. I interviewed an electrical-engineering Ph.D. who earned his degree from a large public university and now manages other Ph.D.’s at a defense contractor. He asked to use a pseudonym — “Ty Webb” — because he didn’t want his comments to reflect on Ph.D.’s employed by his company or ones it might recruit.
Certainly, Webb says, Ph.D.’s in engineering have an easier time landing that first job outside of academe than their counterparts in, say, English. However, he says, former academics in all disciplines face similar challenges as they migrate into the nonacademic world.