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academia vs industry computer science

Assess Your Needs. This is, of course, a false dichotomy, but many people consciously or unconsciously frame the decision in just this way, and you had best deal with it. One approach is to choose some reasonably long time frame, perhaps a decade, and ask yourself whether you'd be content to have lived through the average ups and downs you'd experience in a given job over that period. Specific to women, industry might seem more supportive and eager to hire women than academia. Philip Guo, an assistant professor of Cognitive Science at UC San Diego, wrote an article in December 2014, “Industry versus academia: A junior employee’s perspective,” and says, “It feels like your time belongs to yourself, not to your employer. In industry, there is little stigma attached to changing employers, and if you can tolerate the relocation and/or want to see the world, it is a more or less standard way to advance your career by larger-than-usual increments. From the technology industry to the manufacturing industry, from management positions to technical jobs, a Computer Science … Computer scientists help advance the field of computer science and technology. Women who go off to summer internships discover that companies are desperate to have them and will constantly reassure them, which won't happen in academia where it will be challenging and frustrating.” One very noticeable difference, however, was that almost every woman we interviewed mentioned the possibility of having a family as an important factor in her decision between industry and academia. Industry vs. That’s why academia wins for time flexibility.” And at the same time, academic … The pecking order in industry is deeper and more pyramidal than in academia, and you might end up languishing in a pay grade (or feel like you are), but there are usually plenty of opportunities for lateral moves and a variety of experiences—not to mention that it's easier to switch companies than colleges. Again, it is a matter of taste, but in my opinion the differences are overblown, for the simple reason that people are the same everywhere, in both environments governed by an underlying sense of fair play, but also occasional opportunism. In academia, you will immediately be plunged into hands-on science, and your drivers will be to start out on your career by getting results, publishing, networking, and building your reputation with a view to impressing your tenure committee. While in the past these were very attractive, and fruitful in practice, most industry types will tell you frankly that any options they've received in the past decade are deep underwater and a deep disappointment. Do you want to publish? By the same token, if your personality is such that climbing a management ladder and assuming steadily greater responsibility suits you, industry is built for that, and plenty of management training is on offer in larger companies. Academia is better if you have kids because it is more flexible.” She mentioned that she can bring her kids to work with her. Computer science has applications in all kinds of industries, including transportation, entertainment and medicine. Superstar academics in relevant areas are in great demand in industry, to which they are often exposed through consulting or scientific advisory boards. Yes I suspect industry has better access to resources such as computing power and databases. Stated another way, if you are seriously considering industry as a career path, you should probably have already taken advantage of the many opportunities out there to dip your toes in the water. Gather data from all available sources and organize it systematically. Yes Another homily: Now, if ever, is the time to be honest with yourself. Corporate strategies, which used to be very similar across the sector, have started to diverge, so that some companies are divesting bioinformatics at the same time that others are hiring computational types disproportionately as they place more of an emphasis on mathematical modeling, systems approaches, pharmacogenomics, drug repurposing, and the like. Despite recent bad press, bonus systems are often part of the equation, and depending on your entry point they may constitute a significant percentage of total compensation. (By the same token, if you are not so enchanted with lecturing, grading, tutoring, etc., there are often options for research track professorships that minimize teaching duties.) The Computer Science – Academia and Industry program introduces participants to research and development activities in the fields of computer science, software and computer engineering, and explores both their academic and practical applications. Direct industry … If you are impatient, industry offers relatively fast-paced decision-making and constant change. For much of the last decade, academia has also been in the doldrums, as NIH budgets have effectively contracted. Especially consider it if you want to enter computer science academia or do high-level research in industry … I've heard that academia can be like living in utter hell. For more information about PLOS Subject Areas, click The same is true of government agencies such as the NIH, NSA, DOE, and so forth, where grants administration is very actively tied to research trends and can be an entrée into the world of science policy. I had to go to great lengths to prove myself….The most difficult situations were when we were brought in to bail out a late project. Some liked the flexibility and intellectual atmosphere of academia. Finally, if you count among your qualifications a stint in industry already, as an intern or perhaps as part of a collaboration, you will not only be in a better position to compete for a permanent job, but you will be much better prepared to make the decision facing you. One very noticeable difference, however, was that almost every woman we interviewed mentioned the possibility of having a family as an important factor in her decision between industry and academia. At the same time, it is worth bearing in mind that a corollary of downsizing is outsourcing, so that there may be new opportunities for startups and even individual consultants. Some mentioned the financial incentive of going into industry. First, the obvious. Academia tends to be more theoretically inclined than industry, which appeals to some people. "In business, everything begins with the profit motive. You should have encountered a good sampling of scientists from industry during meetings, internships, collaborations, interviews, etc. When you interview, don't just impress, but get impressions; record everything down to your gut feelings. here. Check the industry newsletters and blogs, albeit with a grain of salt, to get a sense of the mood around R&D units (not to be confused with manufacturing, sales and marketing, or other divisions, which may have completely different cultures within the same company). In general, it is seen as easier to establish oneself and become successful in industry than in academia. If you are looking at biotech, however, share options and similar ownership schemes need to be a key consideration, since these are a major rationale for assuming risk—more on that below. Academia is mainly focused on the "science of programming" thus studying the way to make efficient particular algorithm or developing languages tailored to make certain paradigms more expressive. While your stardom may be less taken for granted in industry, my feeling is that academia is a better near-term choice in such circumstances. The Computer Science major offers preparation for computing careers in business, government, education, and industry as well as for graduate school. Industry vs Academia To conduct this survey, The Scientist invited 1800 readers via E-mail to respond to a web-based survey form. Have you held research positions in both academia and industry… If you are both academics, note that industry often has good contacts with local universities, and can facilitate interviews. Quartz is a guide to the new global economy for people in business who are excited by change. No, Is the Subject Area "Salaries" applicable to this article? There is steady growth in demand for technically adept and flexible IT graduates. There is steady growth in demand for technically adept and flexible IT graduates. A computer science PhD offers the chance to become a leading researcher in a highly important field with potential for transformational research. I think industry is the better choice right now. Consider that it was in academia that you achieved the success you own thus far, so you obviously “get it.” The simple fact is that academia is rather more of a star system (as in Hollywood) than is industry. If you are an old hand and have already notched up a post-doc or two, take stock of your star power. You will work longer hours than in large pharma, and maybe even more than in academia. Industry Academia Government Fastest by comparison Slowest by comparison Intermediate, but closer to industry’s pace •In industry, experiments are driven by the need to generate practical applications. However, it might be largely on your own time, and you will likely encounter restrictions in proprietary matters, though in practice you can generally find ways to work within them. Examples of the latter might be faculty positions with a prominent management component (centers, institutes, core facilities, and the like), or an interface role back to industry, or perhaps a joint business school appointment. Unless you are very sure of yourself, you'd be well-advised to consider the full range, given the competition you may face. From the former to the latter is fairly easy, but the reverse is not as common, for a variety of reasons. Research in Industries Balajee Kannan Distributed Intelligence Laboratory Department of Computer Science University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Choosing between industry and academia is easy for some, incredibly fraught for others. People are often interested and even surprised in my transition from working in the tech industry to academia. Comments. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000388. This is not to discourage anyone from embarking on a fast-track-to-industry program if their heart is in it, but be aware that the further you climb the educational ladder, the higher and faster you can start when you step across to the business ladder, and the better you will compete for a job in the first place. Social and professional topics. Of greater interest is the question of moving between academia and industry. Testing and admin, and non-tech duties were for women. On the other hand, you may have completed an undergraduate or Master's program with a view to going to industry all along, with never a thought of an academic career. Develop Your Skill Set with a Computer Science Degree from SNHU. Learning to manage is much more hit-or-miss in academia; opportunities to lead large organizations are rare (and to manage them actively rather than by consensus, rarer still). It is not impossible to return to academia from industry, particularly if you were already quite prominent when you left, but if you start your career in industry you may be at a disadvantage unless you go to great lengths to maintain an academic-style publication record and CV. Competing interests: The author has declared that no competing interests exist. Every Ph.D. student constantly ponders this question. Your career choice is important, but not irrevocable, and there are more consequential things in life. Not surprisingly, some personality types are better-suited to one environment or the other. Salaries are still higher in industry, though the gap is not nearly so wide as it once was. Your best strategy is to understand the reward system thoroughly, ask for historical data, and avoid comparing only base salaries unless you are extraordinarily risk-averse. ; in terms of growing your reputation, your audience will be the rather narrower community of your immediate management. The business cycle will eventually reverse itself, and while the business model may need to change irrevocably, the aging population alone dictates that healthcare will be an increasing global priority. While abbreviated “practical” bioinformatics training programs can be excellent, a Ph.D. is a significant advantage in all but the most IT-oriented positions in industry, at least at the outset. But most Ph.D. students can easily answer it: they go to industry. That said, these are tough times in industry, and there are no guarantees. In academia, that would include a tenure decision (rate your chances), a lot of grant applications with mixed success at best, and maybe some great students and really significant scientific contributions. Finally, you may have more specific needs to consider, such as a spouse also in need of a job. A somewhat more cynical view would be that in business you will spend seemingly endless hours in meetings and writing plans and reports, while in academia you will spend all that time and more in grantsmanship—in this regard, you must pick your poison. Try thinking of it not so much in terms of the profit motives of the respective institutions, but in terms of the people with whom you would spend your career. Don't let the decision process ruin what should be an exciting time for you. Approach the decision with the analytic skills you've learned to apply to scientific questions. When we asked our interviewees what percentage of engineers in industry were women, we received a wide variety of answers, ranging from 2% to 30%. Areas of degree specialization include software engineering, mobile computing, programming languages, user experience and user interface design, and computing theory. Perspectives on academic vs. industry environments for women in computer science. While there are still much fewer women in industry than men, many female studens faced with the choice between academia and industry feel that they would be more welcome in industry. “Computer Science, Software Engineering and Information Systems are international qualifications, enabling students to work globally, and in a very broad variety of roles. This stratagem is far from unknown in academia, but perhaps a bit trickier to execute, though of course it is de rigueur if you fail to get tenure. Now that I have been scooped (), I suppose it’s time. No, Is the Subject Area "Scientists" applicable to this article? Yes As I've suggested, the choice you face is far more fine-grained than simply that between industry and academia. However, many outlets have identified a talent gap in data science, with industry and academia facing challenges in recruiting data scientists that have the skills to address their needs. Computing education programs. There are multiple examples of senior academics taking over major R&D organizations in industry, sometimes orders of magnitude larger than anything they managed in academia, and you might even consider this well-trod path as a career goal from the outset. Copyright: © 2009 David B. Searls. How do you really feel about teaching, publishing, managing, interacting, traveling, negotiating, collaborating, presenting, reporting, reviewing, fundraising, deal-making, and on and on? You should still consider the point of the previous paragraph. In taking stock of your needs, and perhaps those of your family, a decent living is generally at or near the top of the list. There are many more such positions when foundations, interest groups, and other private funding bodies are included. If you're impatient, you might be thinking of industry as a way to short-circuit that long haul. If you have a knack for business, many management consulting firms have scientific and technical consulting arms that value Ph.D.s and offer intensive training opportunities, and, though it may not be attractive at the moment, a career as a financial analyst specializing in biotech is yet another possibility. Academia is the easiest way to share papers with millions of people across the world for free. Do you want to teach? Following is a printable, suggested four-year schedule of courses: Computer Science, Professional Computer Science, B.S., Academic … If you thrive more under structured expectations, academia would be better for you, for although industry has all the trappings of long-range strategies and career planning, the highly reactive environment means these are more honored in the breach. I recommend taking a look at expected utility theory and prospect theory, for an interesting quantitative excursion. (or in any case you should certainly try to do so before making judgments). A graduate degree in computer science can prepare students for a variety of careers through their study of computers and computational systems. View Science and Technology Research Papers on Academia.edu for free. I had been planning a post on industry vs. academia for a while, but kept putting it off. Nevertheless, on balance, an academic career has to be somewhat more promising today than a year ago, and a career in pharma rather less so, in the opinion of the author. Likewise, history shows that growth in government funding for science waxes and wanes, with a time constant somewhat longer than a decade. Some liked the flexibility and intellectual atmosphere of academia. Having noted the current situation in Rule 6, it's important also to say that a career decision should be made with the long haul in mind. Although the pace of academia may have quickened of late, it is still stately by comparison with industry, and much more scheduled (so many years to tenure, so many months to a funding decision, etc.). As I write this, things are definitely looking up, with prospects for renewed funding of science and even near-term benefits to the NIH and NSA from the Obama stimulus package. Login options. The team wanted to find ways to connect students with alumni and other computer science professionals working in the industry. One of the most significant decisions we face as scientists comes at the end of our formal education. Do you want riches? But even more importantly, deal with your emotional responses to industry and academia. "To succeed, you need to be creative and adaptable, able to work in teams that span multiple disciplines and abilities, be willing to regularly refresh your knowledge, and be passionate about providing solutions that will help people,” says Professor Alistair Moffat, Head … The reason is that after four or five years of studying computer science… View Computer Engineering Research Papers on Academia.edu for free. In any case, it is not a short-term consideration, since options typically take several years to vest. There were a total of 220 responses from March 2 to 12, 2001, a response rate of 12.2%. It should be apparent, as well, that mavericks and quirky personalities tend to do better in academia. The following rules reflect that experience, and my own opinions. No, Is the Subject Area "Human learning" applicable to this article? Both male and female interviewees expressed similar reasons for wanting to choose either academia or industry. Overall, though, the industry trend has been to shrink R&D, and this may well continue through a round of consolidation, with several mega-mergers now under way. Scope of discussion Computer science education. There’s not that many women who are never going to have kids.” A few interviewees thought that it would be easier to have a family with a career in academia, but most believed that industry would provide more support and flexibility. Mentoring students 6. If you are left in any doubt as to their ethics or sincere desire to relieve human suffering as efficiently as possible, or if you feel these are somehow trumped by the corporate milieu, then by all means choose academia—but only after applying analogous tests to the academics you already know well. If you find a research position, the difference will be that you are expected to do research of relevance to the enterprise. In small business, it might include a failed startup (or two, or three), an IPO if you're lucky, and a lucrative exit strategy or long-term growth if you're really lucky. Myself personally, I am competitive, but I am not ultra competitive by any means, and while I love Physics, I would like to … If something is nagging at you, tease it out into the open, and try to decide if it is well-founded or not; if you can't decide, then you have to acknowledge it, and realize that it may not go away in the future either. When officers of the University of Pittsburgh’s Computer Science Club were finishing up the 2020 spring semester, they laid out an all-encompassing plan to address resource gaps for computer science students.. While it’s true that the structure in business is quite different from academia, the sort of Mad-Men-esque corporate … The most critical factor in determining whether a scientist i… A Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Southern New Hampshire University will help prepare you to enter a wide variety of fields. Funding: The author received no specific funding for this article. Trying to optimize a career decision based on current conditions is a bit like trying to time the stock market—you are sure to be overtaken by events. Some mentioned the financial incentive of going into industry. Finally there is the elephant-in-the-room question: Do you want to make money, or to help people? As part of the ongoing series, "Women Leading Visual Tech," Abigail Hunter-Syed of LDV Capital interviewed Kavita Bala, Dean of Computing and Information Science and Professor of Computer Science, about "bridging the gap between academia and industry… In industry, you can make the case for a new program of research, but the decision is management's and will be guided by business considerations. Many consider pharma shares (and therefore options) to be a bargain at the moment, but that's between you and your financial adviser to assess. While you may not relish extending your indentured servitude in academia, any disadvantage, financial and otherwise, can quickly be made up in the early years of your career in industry. A life at the frontiers of knowledge? Performing departmental service Working in “industry” can mean many things, as the term encompasses all research work that occurs outside of universities. No, PLOS is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation, #C2354500, based in San Francisco, California, US, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000388. My advice is to keep all options open, i.e. If you are fortunate enough to have significant capital in this department, then the world may be your oyster, but you still need to consider where you will get the greatest leverage.

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