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I got my bachelor's degree in CS five years ago and after that I've been working as software engineer building Voice Over IP (VOIP) or Video Surveillance System. But now for some personal reason I feel that I would like go back to get a PhD degree.

But now, the problem is, I am not quite sure which branch of Computer Science I should choose.

As most of my working experience is related to multimedia, perhaps professors who study that would be more willing to accept my application. However, I am not quite sure if multimedia is still popular research domain in North America. And if there are not too much works left in this domain, what are other possible choices.

I am also interested in programming languages, but I don't know if programming languages could be considered a research area.

Another important question is, after I have decided in which domain I would like to study. How can I find most influential research results in this area to get an overview of it? In other words, since there must be plenty of papers in a domain, how can I know which I should read.

BTW: If you happened to be a PhD student in Computer Science, what kind of skills or personality do you think your professors prefer? (This last question might be too subjective, so please ignore it if you feel it's ridiculous)

Thanks a lot!

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closed as off-topic by MichaelT, GlenH7, gnat, Kilian Foth, Dan Pichelman Oct 11 '13 at 17:16

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1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

If programming languages could be considered a research area? Absolutely! Both on the theoretical side (and then things get very abstract -- do a search for "type theory" and "programming language semantics") and on the practical side (compilers, optimizing techniques, etc).

As to "the most influential research results in this area to get an overview of it", you should probably talk to a CS professor -- they can keep track of what happens in their research areas better than anyone else.

I did get a PhD, and in my opinion there are no fixed set of skills and personality that would make your life easier. It depends a whole lot on your advisor's personality and on your research area. I really think that talking to a couple of professors (with different research interests) may help you there.

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