Daniel Lemire's blog

, 4 min read

Don’t Become a Scientist!

6 thoughts on “Don’t Become a Scientist!”

  1. hedgehog says:

    This sounds really discouraging. I have just obtained my PhD and am in transition to becoming a postdoc fellow. What are my prospects in academia??? I guess all that now depends on who I know and right timing.

  2. Venkat says:

    Even though I fit his “India and China” clause, I think this is unreasonably bleak for three reasons. Engineering is relatively safer, and a good alternative way to do science. Second, other careers aren’t that much better. Third, you can’t really choose your career. Your career chooses you. Sure, there is a shitload more money in medicine or law. But if you hate every living moment of work in those areas, you cannot do it. Period.

  3. Daniel Lowd says:

    If every person with a Ph.D. is expected to supervise several more Ph.D.s in a university environment, then yes, we will have a job shortage. Exponential growth like that is unsustainable. On the other hand, if most Ph.D.s are used for conducting research in public or private labs, then there could conceivably be enough jobs. The solution is more funding to labs that employ research scientists, not less funding for Ph.D. students.

  4. @Lowd

    Absolutely. The problem is that government labs have not, as far as I can tell, grown to match the increase in funding for Ph.D. students.

  5. Jeff says:

    Cutting the phd funding isn’t the answer. Why? Because the job market is so bad spending 6 years getting paid 26k to get a phd isn’t that bad a deal. Also, I believe phds tend to make more even outside of academia. The only changes. I would suggest would be to inform people that getting a phd is a low paying job that may enhance your job prospects but is unlikely to lead to a career in academia or research.

  6. @Jeff

    I think it is really sad that I tend to agree with you.