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I am graduating from a Bachelor's degree (Computer Science) at the end of the year from a fairly large Australian university (top50 world). I am keen for a lecturing role (only teaching) at the university I am graduating from, specifically in the introductory computing subject (equivalent of Computing 101).

I am aiming for a lecturer (employment position), not lectureship (academic position, e.g. associate professor/professor). I assume that it will most likely be on a casual basis.

I have a great deal of previous teaching experience in computing areas. I have two years of experience as a course tutor for the same subject I plan to lecture for. This involves two hours of lecturing to a class of 20 students, plus four hours of lab assistance a week.

Things I am aware of

  • Lecturers normally get picked from the researchers. I imagine this is to save the costs of hiring a dedicated lecturer (correct me if I am wrong).
  • Lecturers normally are PhDs. My faculty has had several exceptions, notably in the COMP101 subject and the Programming Competitions subject. (bachelor's lecturer and undergrad lecturer respectively).
  • Even if I am successful, my job security will be nonexistent. I am okay with this.
  • My faculty is on a fairly tight budget.

Things I am doing

  • Trying to get a recommendation from existing lecturers I know. This may be difficult, because they are risking their reputation on a somewhat dodgy applicant.
  • Asking existing non-researcher lecturers how they got hired
  • Actively undertaking volunteer work in educational groups

Questions I am often asked

  • Why don't you teach for high school instead? Because I would be teaching on a much smaller scale (i.e. class of ~10 people) and making little impact. Because Australia's technology curriculum is miserable.
  • Why don't you do a PhD? I wish to avoid research. I believe I can be a good lecturer, and that I can make the course more interesting, and I think I can do that without a PhD. Sorry if I offended anyone.
  • Aren't you unqualified for the job? Are my academic qualifications substandard? Yes. Am I unlikely to get the job? Yes. Would I be a worse lecturer? Absolutely not. For an introductory subject, enthusiasm, empathy and communication are far more important than a postgraduate qualification.

So, my concluding question is:

What can I do to improve my chances of being hired?


Thanks to your great answers, I am considering:

  • Focusing on a casual instructor-type lecturer rather than a full-time academic position
  • Getting more industry experience (I have had only two previous software jobs).
  • Master's in CS or Education (preferably overseas)
  • Working (possibly for free) for an education company (coursera, openlearning, etc.)
  • Education startup

1 Answer 1

Gain specific professional experience in the subject you want to teach.

In my (engineering) department, all of the teaching staff who do not hold PhDs (or are not current PhD students) have industry experience in the subject they are teaching.

In other words, if you are a professional penetration tester, you may be hired to teach computer security. If you work for a major telecom, you may be hired to teach computer networks. Kickstart a successful electronics startup, and you may be hired to teach circuits. You get the idea.

The point is to have some domain-specific expertise you can bring to the table (because university professors are supposed to be subject matter experts, or at least be able to pretend to be). If it's not from research, professional experience can also work.