So I know I posted a lot today, but I just have to discuss this article 'cause it's near and dear to my career plans. In The Big Data Brain Drain: Why Science is in Trouble, the author does a pretty good job of outlining why many people choose industry over academia. His main points are:

  • publish or perish ends up discouraging researchers from building good reusable tools
  • the pay and career opportunities are infinitely better in industry

I do think he's kinda overplaying the code part of this though. Like yes, academia is sometimes not the friendliest place for open source and academic coding is very results driven and good methodology goes out the window; but, I think that since most advisers don't much care what their grad students use to do work, it's not really a huge motivating factor for most people when choosing between academia and industry.

On the flip side, I think he's vastly vastly underplaying just how miserable the academic job market is for anyone not from like the 5 best funded research labs in the field. It's a hugely clique community and there are almost no tenure track jobs, so the options for most newly minted PhDs boil down to: couple of post-docs that might eventually translate into an assistant professor job in the middle of nowhere, or industry job that pays 3 times more that eventually might also lead to a tenure track job (just about all of my school's recent hires are from industry 'cause big data is hot and all that jazz). Option 3 is gov't/quasi-academic jobs 'cause they're very much a best of both worlds, but they're also highly dependent on NSF funding, are highly competitive, and come with their own problems.

edited to clean up ambiguous pronoun references