In November 15th this year, Matt Welsh, a young and successful tenured professor at Harvard, decided to leave his prestigious academic position to work full time for the industry. He is now a Google employee and he claims that he has more freedom and computational power than ever to make real and substantial contributions for the computer world.
I fully understand Matt, besides not having his prestigious position neither his brilliant mind. We both love our respective universities, keeping a profound admiration for what they represent for the society. However, we both also agree that sometimes our way of thinking and acting don’t fit the way the traditional research world is moved. We love freedom of thinking with a minimal influence of external factors, but we also get upset when things happen too slow becausewe have a lot of formalities to deal with before having our work appropriately recognized.
After all, my experience of doing PhD at UCL was amazing and I do recommend it for those who ask me for an advice about the academic world. In this world I’ve learned how to solve really tough problems and to practice my favorite sports: writing and coding. It was a journey of 4 years extracting the maximum of creativity, patience and emotional control. When I finished, I had a feeling that everything else is easier and I lost the fear of facing new challenges. In summary, life gets more exciting.
After this remarkable academic period, I feel the need of changing in my heart. As my adviser said once:
“we are fundamentally educators and in order to spread knowledge people should come and go elsewhere to make useful things with their privileged knowledge”.
I do agree with his statement and that’s one of the reasons I’m leaving the lab today. Because I believe it’s time to leave my sit available for another brave student who is looking for this wonderful life experience. And I should follow my path, doing what I love to do, which is work as a Java Architect in the corporate world.