Startup, academia or big company?

>>> Academia

Pros

  • freedom to chose research path, and courses to teach
  • can reach high standing, prizes, recognition as researcher or scientist
  • free time to think and plan on your own terms
  • summers off if you want to, or more time for research
  • less politics influencing what you should do on a daily basis
  • access to smart and motivated students
  • can meet a lot of smart colleagues

Cons

  • hard to obtain funding for research, always looking for funding as small group
  • hard to set a new path for the academic culture
  • inadequate importance of paper vs research products
  • hard competition for innovation with the best minds in the world
  • low stipend compared to your value and abilities

>>> Startup

Pros

  • can create future products and services
  • can chose directions for your team and be a big fish
  • can set culture for the group and your team
  • you have to do many jobs related to running a business
  • can meet a lot of smart collaborators and clients

Cons

  • hard to obtain funding
  • stipends can be low to begin with and remain low for a few years
  • you have to do many jobs related to running a business

>>> Big Co.

Pros

  • larger salaries
  • do not have to worry about raising money
  • many departments help you in all aspect of running a business
  • can be part of ground-breaking new products
  • can meet many smart and capable colleagues and clients

Cons

  • hard to obtain funding for internal projects and hires
  • generally you are told what to do
  • it will be almost impossible to change the internal culture
  • company is inefficient in time and resources
  • many departments hinder your progress and abilities
  • less time for experiments, learning, small chance of changing field
  • sometimes have to baby-sit customers

In-depth comments:

Final words

  • chose academia if you really love to work on research and want to see yourself in a white coat holding up a paper award one day
  • chose a startup if you can tolerate some risk or have a dream and want to realize it, and if you want to create true innovation and try all jobs in one!
  • if you do not like risk, choose a big company. Or if you want to take a break, or cannot get anything else, or are young and inspired by name brands, or if you know some folks who work there and really recommend it, or if you want to learn some new area or new skill

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