Author Topic: Career Advice: Faculty position .vs. Data Science. vs. Quant position in Finance  (Read 12655 times)

maximus

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Hi Mustachians:

I am trying to choose between "Tenure track Faculty position .vs. Data Science vs. Quantitative Finance" and trying to decide the best path for Financial Independence. There was a similar thread but it was two years ago. So I am starting a new thread to hear your highly valuable opinions and suggestions:

1) I am presently 36 yrs old. While my PhD is in Engineering, my specialization is in Computational Science. Presently I am working as a senior researcher in academia (Salary around $90K). I plan to move from here shortly and for the next phase of my career, I am trying to choose between: Tenure track faculty position in my field .vs. Data science/analytics. vs. Quant positions in finance. I will list below briefly my views on these three paths:

a) Tenure track Faculty position in Academia:
PROS:
* I love this path because, I think I am a very good teacher. Respect, Stability, security. Flexibility in research, more family time during summer term.
CONS:
* Salary which can become pretty much stagnant for several years in the range of $80K - $100K depending upon the institution.
* This may also have some stress from lack of grants, university politics and what not..

Consulting gig on the side can be an option to increase income, but I am not sure how practical and realistic this option is, especially when I am going to start as junior Faculty trying to establish my research and work for tenure. Common sense tells me that consulting is out of question atleast till I get tenure which would be 5 years away.

b) Data Scientist position:
PROS:
*  I could increase my salary by atleast 50% for sure. But again may involve moving to high cost of living cities.which would negate the higher salary.
* I should be a good fit for these positions with my extensive computational analytics background. Also this field is supposed to be the next big thing in tech. From my research, atleast there is some evidence to the hype the Big Data is getting. The field has lot of promise and demand for future.
* Can be a positive contribution to society by working on cutting edge problems in many areas including health care, technology etc..
CON:
* Its not academia. Its a corporate culture. I dont know if I can say this is a con, because its  subjective and varies from person to person.

c) Quant positions in Wall Street:
PROS:
* Can double my salary. To make big money, being near money always helps. I also have lot of passion for stocks, and financial markets. I wouldn't be bored in this field.
CONS:
* Is not academia. not that flexible..
* Its hard to escape high cost of living cities. New york, SF, or the places to be for these kind of jobs.
* People say its lot of stress and no family time..again this can vary from person to person.
* Negative opinion in general on High frequency traders contributing little to the benefit of society.

Presently, my heart is equally divided on these options and I am trying to answer these questions to myself. How much worth is higher salary for FI?. or a stable simpler life as Faculty but with stagnant salary?.

While I understand that the choice would eventually be mine, I would like to hear diverse opinions. even more if anyone is working in any of the above fields. I will highly appreciate advice on this. Any comments, opinions, and suggestions are welcome.

Thanks

Sylly

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I was faced with a similar option a few years back. I ended up with a path that's analogous to your option b), i.e., I ended up in the non-finance industry, while still using my technical knowledge.

I sometimes miss academia, but I have no regret in leaving it because I wasn't willing to put in the time and location uncertainty that came with that option. If your next move is tenure track, it sounds like you're already slightly ahead of where I was, so you've either put in the time, or your field doesn't have as much of a post-doc requirement. You didn't mention if you'd like to end up in a specific area, but that's also something to consider -- whether you want to limit your faculty position to limited regions or whether you're open to anywhere. I wanted to stay in a fairly small region, which would've severely reduced my faculty opportunities, or greatly lengthened the time frame.

I also briefly considered going into finance, but decided I have very little interest in it. Frankly, one of the reason I wanted out of academia was also to find something practical and useful (my field is much more into basic research where practical application of a research topic is years if not decades down the road, if at all), and I just didn't feel going into finance satisfies that itch for me.

It sounds like you're a bit more interested in finance than I am, so I'm definitely not trying to steer you away -- just giving you my personal experience.

Also, is there an option for more a different academic, but not faculty position, career track in your field? In my case, I was considering things like national labs. Just throwing it out there in case it's pertinent to you.

I think it boils down to what your priority is, and you already know you're the only person who can answer that.  Good luck!

eccdogg

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I am a quant in the energy trading industry.  I can't speak to the other options but can give you some insight into that one.

First, if you want a chance to hit a home run and be done at a very early age then being a quant gives you a very good shot at that.  I have had bonus of 2 and 3 times my salary and I saved 100% of that.  I know of folks that have hit much bigger home runs.  That is quite a few years off your FIRE timeline.

On the other hand the job is not stable at all.  My entire group has been shut down twice and we always know we might be one bad year from all getting canned.  However, at least for me, both times came with generous severance/retention packages during the transition.

The other thing is folks generally network pretty well so if you lose a job it is fairly easy to pick up somewhere else with some of your former co workers.

I really enjoy the work because you get to tackle a bunch of different interesting problems and put them to almost immediate practice.  And there is not a ton of bureaucracy because ultimately you will be judged on whether you make money or not.  You also get immediate feedback on whether things work or not, no waiting for peer review or tenure etc. You have an idea you convince a trader and boom you put it into practice.

I enjoy the people.  You will be surrounded by some very smart folks in the quant group which leads regularly to great discussions of all manner of topics and there is a generally a swashbuckling attitude that does not differ to political correctness which I enjoy.  On the other hand you will meet more first rate assholes than you thought existed, folks that would screw you for a dime (not necessarily in the quant group but on the trading floor).

Well that has been my experience.  Can't comment on the other two and others experience may vary.  If you want to FIRE in a very short time I think Quant gives you the best shot, but it may come with other trade offs you don't  like.


Valean

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I'll chime in: I picked the quant option. Depending on whether you go backoffice (more or less normal job) or frontoffice (cowboy), you could be in for a ride. That $180 K is for a backoffice job. A good quant on a frontoffice job can add a 0 to that -or 2 or 3 if you are really good.

If I were in your shoes, I would run screaming from academia (got burned by the politics once too often). If you don't get tenure, you may be in trouble - entering the Real World at age 42 is not easy. If you think you are very smart and are willing to work very hard, go for the quant job. Otherwise, the data scientist. The $180K is likely a trap given the cost of living in NY.

StangStache

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I'll chime in here with the academia perspective.

It sounds like you and I are very similar in background and interests.  I, too, have a Ph.D. in a STEM field and went through some soul searching regarding academia vs high-paying job.  In the end, I went with academia, earned a tenure-track position, and am a few years away from going up for tenure.   I'll share my early career thoughts.

First off, you mentioned that you're a good teacher, so I assume that's your primary interest.   For similar reasons, I went the selective liberal arts college route.  In the event that you choose to pursue a faculty career, are you thinking R1, or liberal arts college?  I ask because even in a STEM field, the pay difference between teaching and research-oriented positions can be nontrivial.  If you can pursue a position in a business school with your specialization, that could be even better, but I'll assume you would be sticking to a position that reflects your engineering Ph.D.   

I'll also assume that you're interested in the same path that I took, where you will be evaluated primarily on good teaching and you are free to pursue your true research interests, but it comes with a slightly lower salary.  I chose this path before the MMM community was around and I assumed I would retire at the "usual" age.  My mindset was that I am willing to sacrifice earning potential if it means I'll be in a field that I love and envisioned not counting the days until retirement, but rather being that old fart that refuses to retire.

Now, having discovered mustachianism and realized the possibility of retiring maybe in my 50s, I've thought a lot about whether academia was a smart move.  I could have easily pursued a six figure government or private sector job and been better off financially if I chose the early retirement route.  However, lately I've been feeling like I still made the right choice.  If tenure is in the future and mustachian ways continue, I may find myself in the position of being able to retire in my 50s, but not wanting to since my job is awesome.  I envision being in the great position of working because I like to, but being able to bail if something radical happens (new president makes faculty teach 5 courses/semester, colleague relationships go sour, college becomes too much like high school, etc.).  The security of tenure, combined with mustachian ways can make a really unique career path.   

These were my thoughts.  Your situation may be different.  I cannot tell you where your true passions lie, but I can tell you that it's okay to leave some earning potential on the table if it means doing what you love. 

I can also tell you it's a difficult path at first.  I am putting in 50-60 hours of work per week during the semesters.  It's possible to quickly burn out in academia.  I always thought of this as an easy job to half-ass, but a difficult job to do exceptionally well.  If you choose to pursue a tenure-track position, you must be prepared for the following:

1) Working way more than you're paid for until you're tenured (and in your 40s, in your situation).  Even then, if you're a go-getter you will still likely be working long hours as an associate or full professor. 
2) A tight job market, even in STEM fields.  This is a tough job to get. Even if you're a superstar teacher and have a solid research program.  So do the other 15 candidates that make it to a short list.
3) Having to move to a city you never planned to.  Mostly a result of item (2) above.  I job-hopped twice to land in a region I really wanted.
4) The idea of the "ivory tower" being somewhat of a myth.  While this is a great job, it's certainly not what most people think it is.  The idea of having 3 months off during the summer is laughable (at least if you're trying to get tenure).  I always tell people I get paid a 9 month salary, but really have to work on my research in the summer if I hope to keep this job that underpays me and demands 60 hours/week when I'm really "on the clock."   It's really the flexibility with your hours that's the real perk, not the fabled amount of "time off."  It also is pretty awesome not answering to many people, so that part of the ivory tower myth is still somewhat true.

As long as you're realistic about what a tenure-track job entails, you should be fine.  In my opinion, the teaching is the best part of this job.  It sounds like you would love it for the same reason.

To answer your question more specifically, the faculty path is the least effective choice if you're looking for financial independence quickly, especially in a STEM field where we tend to have much higher paying industry options. However, in my opinion, the stability and job satisfaction is worth the tradeoff.    In the lower COL areas, faculty positions tend to put you at or above the median household income, anyway.  You can make a good living, but retiring in your 30s like MMM is not realistic.

I can answer any other academia-related questions if you'd like.  I know there are a few other professors around here that will likely chime in, too. 
« Last Edit: October 07, 2014, 04:21:37 PM by StangStache »

Mrs. PoP

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Your options for 2 might be a bit wider than you think.  I work in a data scientist role at a small company in an area that wouldn't be considered high COL.  I earn about what you do today, and am on track for FIRE at 35-36.  I get that I might earn more elsewhere, but it's a low stress job in a family company and I rarely stay past 5pm...  Wouldn't trade it for NYC or Silicon Valley ever.  Lifestyle pre-FIRE matters a lot to me. 

scottish

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I work in engineering.   I've been lucky enough to switch back and forth between research and product development jobs over the years.    I'm currently in a research job.

I say go with #2.   The reason we do engineering is because we want to create new useful things.    This doesn't happen often in academics.   (At least from what I've seen.)   After 5 or 10 years of industry experience I'd think you'd have little trouble going back to academia if you wanted to.      When I look back on my career, I'm most proud of the product work I've done.   I've shipped software (sometimes by myself, but usually as part of a larger team) that is used by millions of people to this day.    You're not going to have that in academia.

N/C on the quant position.    Don't know much about this outside of reading 'Fooled by Randomness'.


mulescent

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Tenure-track professor here, wanting to provide a different opinion.  It wasn't totally clear from your post whether you were thinking of a primarily teaching or primarily research post.  I'm a researcher.  I run a lab that's a lot like a small business.  Nobody tells me what to do, I can work on nearly any topic I'm qualified to investigate and I get to work with some of the smartest folks around.  Oh yeah, and those folks?  They're in my lab because they love what they do not because they make tons of cash.  The one catch is that I have to raise money in the form of grants. 

Overall, the job is awesome.  It's as intellectually challenging as they come, enables you to learn pretty much what you like and contributes positively to the world.  Folks who say that academia is just a wasteland of politics and intellectual goofing off are either ignorant or at the wrong place.  Many academic researchers start companies or license their work to companies.  Many develop drugs or treatments.  Pretty much any technology an engineer implements came from a research lab, and likely an academic one. 

Anyway, it's true that the pay is way less than you'd make as a quant.  However, in the CS department of my institution you'd be making a LOT more than you quoted (again, research rather than teaching focus).  The hours are long, you have to travel a lot and it can be really stressful. 

On face value, it seems that if your goal is to amass a fortune as quickly as possible and FIRE then being a quant is the way to go.  Keep in mind that a key MMM principle is that it's your expenses as a percentage of your income that really matters.  Academia can be very well paid AND frugal.  Living in NYC and working in finance engenders higher pay but probably a much harder time keeping expenses down.  Finally, if your goal is to be a SWAMI, then academia can't be beat.

Whatever you choose, good luck and let us know!

uncaD

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I chose 'c' over 'a' and I have never had any regrets.  You might merely double your current $90k initially, but after a few years, if you're successful, you will be making multiples of that.  I retired very comfortably last year at 45 after a 14 year career despite the two major market meltdowns during that time.

DecD

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I have a phd in engineering as well.  I'd always planned to go into academia, but for a variety of reasons I ended up taking an industry job instead.  I can't tell you if it was the right decision, because I can't know how it would have turned out if I'd chosen to pursue the tenure-track position.

I'd say I work equally hard as I'd have worked in a faculty job, but the hours are more predictable.  There's stress and pressure, but of a different (and perhaps more manageable) kind than the publish-or-perish mentality.  I'm paid significantly better.  But I don't get to do my own work.  I'm pursuing it on the side, but with a full time job and two small kids, that's about as easy as it sounds (that is, not easy at all.  I get next to no progress made.)

So- I don't miss the pressure to publish and get results.  I do miss the blissful freedom to follow my own interests.  I do enjoy the kudos and appreciation I get from my company.  I enjoy knowing that I'm contributing to a field and a company I believe in.  And the salary is nice, too!

Doing it again, I can't say if I would make this choice or the other.  I think, honestly, that you're faced with two or three great choices, and no wrong choices.  Good luck whatever you choose!

clarkfan1979

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I would do academia with plans for consulting after tenure. I have a PhD in Applied Social Psychology and would like to do some consulting in finance or marketing within the next 5 years. My old advisor was a prof and had a marketing company on the side. He employed about 5 former grad students. I considered it the best of both worlds. Teach at the University and a consulting gig to bring in extra cash on your own terms. 

Emilyngh

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I'll also assume that you're interested in the same path that I took, where you will be evaluated primarily on good teaching and you are free to pursue your true research interests, but it comes with a slightly lower salary.  I chose this path before the MMM community was around and I assumed I would retire at the "usual" age.  My mindset was that I am willing to sacrifice earning potential if it means I'll be in a field that I love and envisioned not counting the days until retirement, but rather being that old fart that refuses to retire.

Now, having discovered mustachianism and realized the possibility of retiring maybe in my 50s, I've thought a lot about whether academia was a smart move.  I could have easily pursued a six figure government or private sector job and been better off financially if I chose the early retirement route.  However, lately I've been feeling like I still made the right choice.  If tenure is in the future and mustachian ways continue, I may find myself in the position of being able to retire in my 50s, but not wanting to since my job is awesome.  I envision being in the great position of working because I like to, but being able to bail if something radical happens (new president makes faculty teach 5 courses/semester, colleague relationships go sour, college becomes too much like high school, etc.).  The security of tenure, combined with mustachian ways can make a really unique career path.   


I am a tenure-track prof (2 years from tenure) with an engineering PhD and the above really rings true for me too.

I used to work as a FT researcher in a lab.   My life felt empty.   I got my current TT job at a teaching-focused school and moved to a beautiful low COL area accepting a salary that was 1/2 of my old one (with an even bigger difference in projected salary increases between the old and new job-soon I'll probably be making only 1/3 of what I would be if I stayed at my old job this long).

But, you know what?   It's the very perfect life for me.   It's super flexible and autonomous.   Now that I've proven myself at work, I truly feel free to do whatever I want and value, be my own boss, and to say "no" to anything that I don't really value.   Eg., if I work efficiently and get all I need done with no more meetings scheduled, I can packup and leave at 2pm; if I don't want to work on someone else's project, pretty much no matter who they are, I can diplomatically just say no, etc.   I feel like I'm making a difference and have a super balanced life with a ton of free time, have a SAH spouse, and am *still* on track to reach FI in 10-15 years (or even sooner if SAH spouse gets a job when DD is in school).

So, I get to live this awesome life now, doing truly what I want and value, and soon with the complete freedom assurance of tenure. And then, sometime while I'm in my 40s (probably early 40s), if I decide that things have changed or I'm no longer happy, I can choose  to retire completely.   Working a suckier job making more money might have helped me to reach FI earlier, but I'd rather work an additional 5 years having my perfect life the whole time (especially with plenty of free time now that we have a kid).
« Last Edit: October 07, 2014, 09:52:03 PM by Emilyngh »

maximus

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Such helpful and diverse posts. I want to sincerely thank everyone for sharing your valuable opinions and perspectives on my career choices. They will be a huge help in my decision making.
Few more things:
1) Most probably I will wrap up my decision making by Dec 2014. If I join Faculty it will be in August 2015. DataScientist/Quant positions can be sooner than that. If I go the Faculty route, not much to do except prepare for the interviews. Datascience/Quantfinance will definitely need some catching up and enhancement of my skills.
1) I have a kid. So Pre-FIRE time also seems to be important. Would love to settle in a medium to low COL place.
2) Mustachian ways are already in me. never bought a new car. ready to invest in real estate. But just need to decide on the path to give me the capital to invest. The bigger the salary, better/more options to invest.
3) trying to understand what is more important for me: forget Pre-FIRE, and FIRE big in next 5-6 years in Datascience/Quantfinance or/ enjoy pre-FIRE time as TT faculty, delayed FIRE and/or experiment with consulting

Sylly: Thanks. Yes, It has been a while I did my PhD in Mechanical Engineering and I worked both in industry and academia. Coming to my specialization its "Computational Fluid Sciences" with applications in diverse fields ranging from mechanical, chemical, civil, aerospace and many more areas. While its not an exact match with Data science and Quantitative finance, the quant/analytics foundation is similar: Mathematics, numerical modeling, statistics,machine learning, computer science, research, and high performance computing. So I could easily transition to option (b) and (c).

mustachebill and DecD: Thanks for the engineering perspective. I do agree that job satisfaction through practical implementation of work is more rewarding. I did think of national labs/industry, but if I do stay in my present area of work, then I would prefer proper Tenure track faculty positions(instead of industry) because salary difference is not too big and academic flexibility is unparalleled. But, If I do go into corporate world it will be through option (b) or (c).

eccdog, Valean, and uncaD: Thank you so much for chiming in with quant/finance perspective. Option (c) is surely very tempting except for the COL trap. I may deal with instability as eccdog said with good networking. I have few questions:
1) Is it possible to get into a quant position in low COL places like Houston, Atlanta, but with similar Salaries as in NY. I know this seems like a wishful thinking. But would love to hear your opinions (especially uncaD since u have already FIRE'd).
2) With this option can I FIRE by 41 (in 5 more years)? if I dedicate myself completely and also because I have interest in finance.
Realistically, how big can I go in this path and in what time, if I give it all..
3) Do you know anyone who went back to academia after FI..because one may be bored sitting at home with all the money and knowledge :). Just curious.

Mrs. Pop: Thanks for the input in Datascience. As a computational scientist, I am fascinated with this field for its huge potential for future. Presently the impact is mostly in tech, but would soon envelop every sector. I also read some salary surveys in this area (O reily etc). which seem to be lower than the quant positions in finance. But future looks great and stable. I have already done some MOOC's in this field to enhance my skill sets. Any ideas on consulting in this area?...and what it takes?..


StangStache, mulescent, clarkfan1979, and Emilyngh: Thank you for your valuable comments on Faculty options.
I like both teaching and research. So, I would prefer positions in Universities with both components. This path seems to be the more natural and easy transition from my current position, but wont FIRE for atleast 10 more years. "The security of tenure, combined with mustachian ways can make a really unique career path"- Yes this seems ideal. But my only fear is that I would end up a middle class man with stagnant salary, even though I had a chance to go after big bucks.
But StangStache, mulescent, and EMily ur comments are giving me hope for this path. Ideally I would like to be able to do some consulting if practical. Few questions:
1) StangStache: Yes. first few years will be very tough.  How difficult is it do Consulting as a Faculty, especially before tenure. Do you know anyone who did this?. is it frowned upon in the department, because obviously time will be divided.
My guess is it will definitely be possible after tenure. But then FIRE will be delayed. Also I can please know more about your area of work. I would like to know if I can combine options (a) and (b). I mean be a TT faculty in my field (which would be in computational fluid sciences), but mostly probably in Mechanical/Computational Engineering departments and then do consulting in Datascience/Analytics.

2) Clarkfan1979 are you in TT Position now?. If I join as a TT Faculty, my plan is also to focus on consulting in predictive analytics.

3) mulescent: If I start now as an Assistant Prof (research focussed), how long it will take me to be in a position similar to you. Ya, SWAMI with big bucks would be ideal :). I totally agree it will be the salary/expense ratio thats important.

Thanks again for very helpful suggestions.

StangStache

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1) StangStache: Yes. first few years will be very tough.  How difficult is it do Consulting as a Faculty, especially before tenure. Do you know anyone who did this?. is it frowned upon in the department, because obviously time will be divided.
My guess is it will definitely be possible after tenure. But then FIRE will be delayed. Also I can please know more about your area of work. I would like to know if I can combine options (a) and (b). I mean be a TT faculty in my field (which would be in computational fluid sciences), but mostly probably in Mechanical/Computational Engineering departments and then do consulting in Datascience/Analytics.

Your questions are good ones, and definitely ones you want answered before making your decision.  In my experience, I've seen only a few pre-tenure faculty do consulting with a teaching load of at least 3 classes per semester.  I can't say it's frowned upon, though.  I haven't really seen too many consulting gigs among my STEM and business peers, with the exception of some statisticians. 

Realistically, I wouldn't count on consulting money in your pre tenure years, unless that work also leads to scholarly production that will fit well into your overall tenure portfolio narrative.   I don't quite have an R1 perspective, though, so I hope someone else here that does can chime in on that.

DarinC

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I'm not sure about NY, but you don't have to live in SF to work in SF. There are plenty of areas that aren't as expensive in the east bay, and work is just a BART ride away.

eccdogg

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1) Is it possible to get into a quant position in low COL places like Houston, Atlanta, but with similar Salarie
s as in NY. I know this seems like a wishful thinking.

Yes it is possible.  Houston is a hub for Energy trading and quite a bit of trading goes on in Chicago.  There is a lot of banking in places like Charlotte but that might be more of a mid office role.  Also there are hedge fund/trading shops in mid sized cities like Milwaukee the only problem there is that they might be the only game in town if you want to leave/get fired

2) With this option can I FIRE by 41 (in 5 more years)? if I dedicate myself completely and also because I have interest in finance.
Realistically, how big can I go in this path and in what time, if I give it all.

Maybe. Depends on how much you save and how much you need to FIRE  You are probably going to start with a mid 100k or better base (more in NYC)..  If you are in a front office role you might be able to get bonuses of up to 3x your base if the chips fall right in a good year  and in an average year (a year where you don't lose money but don't make a lot) you will probably get 10-20%.  If you can live on 50k/year and sprinkle in a couple big years you probably could get there in 5 years.  Really the sky is the limit with how big you can go, but one problem is that there is quite a lot of luck involved even if you are really smart and work really hard.  Your best chance for hitting it big is to get a job that pays you a percent of what the book makes and then have the book have a good year.

3) Do you know anyone who went back to academia after FI..because one may be bored sitting at home with all the money and knowledge :).

Not personally.  I do know a finance prof who started a company and taught classes part time.  And I know of several folks who may go back as a post FIRE careers.  I would think technically oriented graduate programs would love to have adjuncts with a Phd and industry experience

maximus

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Thanks StangStache. Your's and mulescents comments have shown good insight form a TT faculty perspective. Will keep updated on my decision.

eccdog: Thanks a lot for the replies. I have also sent you a pm.

livetogive

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I used to work in green energy capital markets and moved to data analytics.  Here's my $0.02:

Assuming you don't want academia (which is actually what i'm working towards), and
IF you can get a quant job and you can deal with big personalities who are kind of jerks then I'd pick that in a heartbeat for nothing more than the intellectual challenge and pay.  I have no idea what the hours are like though.

I have several friends in analytics and their experiences are largely the same, so I feel comfortable saying this:  Analytics is generally a lousy career field for the required skill set. 

I make much less money than in finance with more work and more responsibility.  We're a cost center vs. revenue generating so the incentive is to pay as us little as possible and work us as hard as possible without hiring more.  You deal with other people's emergencies constantly and are routinely asked to do pretty challenging things without one iota of appreciation.  Your work will get other people promoted when it goes well and cause people to yell at you and imply you are lazy or stupid when it goes poorly.

Our team routinely misses company extra curricular activities because someone somewhere had something very important to do.  We've cancelled 2 team outings already and I've missed about half of all the company ones due to work.  We're routinely expected to work at least some of the weekends and later than the normal company work day.  I care very little about my job at this point so resist as much as I can but I still spend a couple hours per weekend and usually and hour or so later each day with no lunch.  I'd jump ship but my friends largely experience the same thing.

livetogive

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That last post was so negative I'll give you some positive:

This job is the first one I've had where I've felt intellectually challenged.  The nice thing about analytics is you can put as much thought into an analysis as you want to.  You also usually get exposure to influential people in the company bc they use your work for their purposes.  Finally some of my teammates appear to like it.

blackomen

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I'd go for #3, the Quant position, but again, I may be biased since I work in Finance and know many people (myself included) who would kill for that opportunity.  Sure, most openings will be near big cities but you can still easily save the vast majority of your after-tax salary if you follow the principles on this site.  It's also your fastest path to ER if you're willing to tolerate longer hours, hard work, and dealing with occasional jerks.  Once you've reached FI, you can pursue the other 2 options if they interest you more.

Workload and hours are more reasonable for Quants at least here in LA, but then again, opportunities are less plentiful and pay is lower.

maximus

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Thanks TurboLT for your inputs on  Data analytics. "Analytics is generally a lousy career field for the required skill set". Ya. I see what your saying. Require skills certainly seems to be exhaustive, but unlike quant salaries. Thanks for the insider perspective on analytics career.

blackomen: Thanks. Yes. places like Houston, LA seem to be ideal in terms of COL,but opportunities might be less. If in NY, commuting from NJ might be an option..but ofcourse with commuting headaches..
Any idea if age 36 is too late or ok to become a quant?..anyone you knew entered the field this late in career?..

Hudson

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TurboLT are you able to elabortate a bit more on what you do and what background you had to get there . I am currently late 30's and  studying part-time and wanting to major in statistics, ideally going on to doing data science.

I have been advised to skill up on  programming , excel , modelling etc (with the idea of being good enough to get a Masters qual)

Is there a difference between data analytics and and dats science ?

How much does the field you're in effect the line of data science ? eg if I was into racing cars and was doing data analysis for Ferrari  as opposed to doing consumer and production data etc for a yoghurt company

thanks