Academia vs Industry

H. V. Jagadish University of Michigan (previously at AT&T Labs)

Academia
• Greater Intellectual Ferment
– Energy due to turn over of young students – Greater variety of experiences and opportunities

vs

Industry
– Critical mass in subfield – Greater stability of people and problems

• More Collaborators

Academia
• Leverage through students

vs

Industry

• Typically, you’ve got to do most of it yourself
– But, if lucky, can get much greater leverage through product development

Academia
• Funding constrains work and may slow change

vs

Industry

• Business imperatives may push you in directions you don’t want to go, including possibly non-research time

Academia
• Opportunities to make more on the side
– But usually not exercised

vs

Industry

• Higher salary and bonus

Academia
• Sink or swim
– First year (or two) extremely hard

vs

Industry

• Usually has good mentoring and gradual path to maturity and intellectual leadership.

No clear trend in some things
• Exposure to real problems, useful applications, … • Ambitiousness of objective • Quality of work • Impact on the world

Moving from one to another
• Not too hard in general • Gets harder the more senior you are

Transition

Employer concerns in making an offer
Academic Employer Concerns

Employee challenges in new job
Academic Employee Challenges

Industry to Academia

Academia to Industry

Industry Employer Concerns

Industry Employee Challenges

Academic Employer Concerns
• Teaching and advising
– Adjunct teaching helps – Teaching ratings matter

• Grant writing, Washington contacts
– Do NSF reviews, serve on panels, …

• Can lead to delayed tenure, for example, or even no hiring at senior level

Industrial Employer Concerns
• Team Spirit
– Not a “prima donna”

• Willingness to get hands “dirty” • Willingness to appreciate messy real problems where clean abstractions may be difficult

• For senior hires – managerial ability

Academic Employee Challenges
• Students take a long time to become productive
– Manage transition period productivity

Industrial Employee Challenges
• None!

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