I'm currently in my first postdoctoral research position at a European university, in pure maths. I'm considering changing to software development. In case I would rather like to return to academia, how hard is it, as compared to trying to stay in academia right away?
The two scenarios I'd like to compare are:
Finishing my current postdoc and apply for new postdocs (let's assume that all relevant application deadlines are still in the future).
Finishing my current postdoc, working n years in software development and then apply for new postdocs.
How big does n have to become such that the chances of application success in the second scenario are significantly lower?