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Research at MSR, Google, FAIR and the like

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Do people on the forum have insights as to research at MSR, Google, FAIR and the similar industry groups? My department (statistics at a top 10 school) does not really send anyone to such jobs and so I do not have much information about them. I want to spent at least one summer testing out the waters.

How does one go about getting a research scientist internship at these firms? Is it primarily via a referral from one's advisor or department?

How does the compensation look vs academic jobs (Principal Researcher at MSR vs an associate prof)?

How is the research different vs academic jobs?

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Some people on this forum seem to know people who do things like this, but I'll just give my experience/knowledge with tech companies.

If you're doing deep learning or something more CS-related, there are probably many more such opportunities. The ML/Statistics research group at Microsoft has 9 people, and many of them are not statisticians: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/theme/machine-learning-statistics/. Google to my knowledge does not have statistics researchers outside of their normal data scientists (who do things that you might consider research?).  Facebook research does seem to have a bigger core data science team, which is more research-oriented.  The biggest key to being hired is likely having done the right type of research (deep learning, causal inference, networks, something that they have a need for) and having impressive publications.

The compensation is going to blow away anything in academia. Entry level data scientists with PhDs start at these companies at $200k+ total compensation.  I imagine researchers make at least that.  It is my impression that there are not enough of these positions for it to be a definite career path.  There are hundreds of people with PhDs from top 20 statistics programs just working as regular data scientists at these companies.

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why is there almost no info on these folks, though? sounds like this would be the place for more mathematical/statistical research


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