FOCS Call for Papers posted. Deadline April 13.
The CRA organized a committee that put together on a white paper on whether postdocs are healthy for Computer Science. They are looking from thoughts and comments from the CS community that you can leave on that page. Suresh gave his thoughts last week.
Theoretical Computer Science, for better or worse, is ahead of this game. We have a plethora of postdoc positions available in our field. Combined with a relatively tight job faculty job market in the past few years, it is quite rare to see students in our community going immediately into a tenure-track job without a postdoc and a number of people are doing second and third postdocs. We haven't quite hit the point where it is impossible for a student to go right from Ph.D. to a tenure-track job at a major research university, but we are awfully close.
The computer science academic job market has ebbed and flowed since I was a graduate student. Most students believe the academic job market they see when entering graduate school will be similar when they get their Ph.D. Most students are wrong. Postdoc positions give some elasticity, filling in the gaps until the market moves back the other way.
When I got my Ph.D. I had a choice between a tenure-track at a good liberal arts college or a two-year assistant professor, basically a teaching postdoc, at the University of Chicago. I took the latter to keep my research career going and it did pay off for me--I had a good rookie year and the U of C kept me. It doesn't work as well for everyone but if postdocs can keep people's dreams alive that's a good thing.