Aside from its devastating death toll, the COVID-19 pandemic has had severe economic implications. The impact on universities is particularly substantial, including disruptions to our physical campuses and student residences, as well as to the sources of income for private and public universities such as endowments and state budgets.
All this means that the academic job market is likely going to be tough in the near future, and computer science will not be immune. During the last recession, the CCC started a computing innovation fellows program which was very successful, and I hope that something similar will occur this time as well. But it won’t be enough.
If you are aware of any postdoc positions (or better yet, can create one) please do make sure to post it on the CS theory job board. If you know of any teaching position that could potentially be applicable for theorists, please post it there too. This crisis can also be an opportunity to get fantastic people for such positions. If you have any ideas on how we as the theoretical CS community can support graduating students and postdocs, please do share these in the comments or on Twitter.
If anything, this crisis has taught us that the world needs more science, not less. Moreover, computer science has been and will continue to be a crucial component in fighting this epidemic, including not just modeling but also tracing applications using crypto, load balancing that ensures the Internet doesn’t crush, and more. I am thus hopeful that within a couple of years, the academic job market for theoretical computer scientists will recover. However we should try to do all we can to help our junior colleagues get through this period.