FAQ: Leaving Academia For Tech

Why did you decide to leave academia?

I was increasingly unhappy about the trajectory of academic philosophy becoming more about activism and less about philosophy. This was common to my experience circa 2010-2013. I also saw the difficulties that colleagues of mine had when it came to the job market; these are people who I regarded to be my epistemic peers. In addition, I had a mortgage on a home - because I determined that it would be a good investment to buy a home during the Great Recession while interest rates were low - and thinking about living on graduate student living for another two or more years seemed ridiculous. And I knew several people who transitioned out of philosophy and into tech and made a very nice living. One of them convinced me that there was enough conceptual overlap between computer science and philosophy that makes the transition to tech will be fast, although it would still require a lot of hard work.

What resources did you use to transition into a job?

The resources available today outnumber those available to me when I quit academia. I took a couple courses at a community college just to see what it would be like to startover as an undergraduate. I quickly determined that would not be efficient or necessary, although schools told me differently. The internet is your friend. You can find amazing channels where people teach programming for free. I have used other subscription service sites (pluralsight, a cloud guru) and MOOCS (Udemy, Udacity). There are books, blogs, white-papers on software. And lots of practice. You also need to practice interviewing questions, which is its own special skill. The resources you use to get in will be the same sort of resources you have to revisit over and over as technology evolves and the job market demand changes.