Why I’m Staying in Academia


Recently, I’ve seen a few blog posts/articles about professors leaving academia for industry or some other non-academic position. By my last count I think I’ve seen three from computer science professors leaving academia for Google. The most recent one being from Terran Lane at University of New Mexico. At this point, Google should just start a recruiting office in middle of all the CS departments around the country. I think they’d get some good people.

Each of the “fairwell” blog posts cover many of the same points—difficulty with having an impact, increasing specialization of academic research, difficult funding climate, increasing workloads—and, frankly, all of this is true to varying degrees. Beki Grinter has already written a pretty good response. One topic, massive open online courses (MOOCs), is something on which I’ll comment at a later date. For now, I thought I would add a few of my thoughts.

Ultimately, I don’t want the many grad students out there who may be considering a career in academia to feel discouraged by what they might be reading on the Internets these days. There’s good and bad with every job, but I think with academia the balance is fairly positive, and you get to hang out with cool people

Of course, if you’re in computer science, you should just go to Google like everyone else.