I am doing my ph. d in the area of system identification using state space methods. Recently I start to check monter.com, but it looks the job openings for system identification guys are very rare. I am just curious if it is hard to find a job in this area except acadamic.
It's hard to find a job in any narrow specialty. Employers want people who can accomplish a variety of tasks; whatever is needed at the moment. A Ph.D is evidence that you are undeterred by arbitrary onerous routine, can kiss ass when necessary, and still learn something. *What* you learn isn't all that important, but that you learned more than just your narrow specialty is. I once knew a Ph.D. in EE who didn't know the significance of the curved part of the symbol for an electrolytic capacitor. Worse than not knowing, he insisted that it was merely a draftsman's decoration. He was unrepentant when the assembled power supply exploded, maintaining that knowledge of such detail was beneath his station. The asshole didn't last long. He was a lawyer last I heard.
As part of my TA duties when I was getting a Master's degree I was assigned to watch a lab during its open hours. This really just meant that I was there to call campus police if anyone electrocuted themselves, but we could offer advice if we felt like it.
So I was off in my corner, working on homework, when a guy came in and started working. A bit later I heard a Bang!, followed by a BANG! It turned out that the first report was a .3" diameter electrolytic going off, the second one was the guy's chair, because he'd pushed off from the lab bench with such force.
I wandered over, hands in pockets, to make sure there were no contusions (there weren't, but his heart was obviously going pitter-pat). I noticed the remains of the cap on his board and commented on it blowing up -- he made some inarticulate noise that indicated he was amazed and confused. So I asked if he had the polarity right. He said "polarity?"
I don't know how many here remember Bernard De Voto. As a novelist, historian, critic, conservationist, champion of civil liberties, and contributor to Menken's "The American Mercury", "The Saturday Review of Literature", "The New Yorker", and "Harpers" (in some, as editor), he was the darling of the fashionable literary circle and deserved the adulation at least in part. Whether it went to his head or merely reinforced what was already his character, I can't say; I knew him only late in his life. In his writing, he often sneered rather than simply expound. In private, he both sneered and grandly assumed that whatever he didn't understand wasn't worth his attention. A quote of his sums it up: "Pessimism is only the name that men of weak nerves give to wisdom." (Like any great writer, he could glorify the trivial, imbuing it with mock importance: "The proper union of gin and vermouth is a great and sudden glory; it is one of the happiest marriages on earth, and one of the shortest lived."
There was a kid in the house -- a very spoiled brat -- who was about four years old when I became the family's Hi-Fi serviceman. (Mark De Voto, who now teaches music at Tufts, is too old to be that kid.) On my first service call, the brat was in the care of a nanny, who probably had been instructed not to let me out of her sight. Nanny sat in an upholstered side chair while the kid crawled around the floor. He could walk, but my tool box on the floor attracted him mightily; I had to keep shooing him away. Nanny refused to restrain the kid, even when I told her that I was working with 400 volts and had little attention to spare for chasing my tools across the room. Finally, in desperation, I charged a fat 'lytic and left it on the rug with its leads folded back and nearly touching. In short order, the grubby little kid had it in his grubby little hand. The shock made him squeeze; the leads touched and shorted the cap with a loud bang, whereupon he could drop it. I immediately charged it and put it back. It lay undisturbed until I had everything working and packed up to leave.