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Science Careers thread? - Page 2

post #16 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by bringusingoodale View Post

Wait, I thought you applied science majors had no difficulty obtaining gainful employment? Don't make the advice I am giving my nieces and nephews sound like more empty words!
It's a tough call. Quite a few fields require a Ph.D.+ and that's another can of worms..
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

Boredom, mostly. I don't really feel like my skills are being used. I also want to get out of the academic environment for awhile, see what "the real world" is like, make some money. I did enjoy teaching overall, the day to day is fine. But it was the same thing over and over, with occasional bureaucratic nonsense to deal with. Very few tenure track teaching positions available now too, they're mostly relying on adjuncts or "full time temps" (what I was doing), where you work a full load, but they underpay you and don't give you benefits because you're technically re-hired every semester.
Adjunct ffffuuuu.gif
Boredom, I can see that setting in when coming from a research background.
post #17 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bringusingoodale View Post

Wait, I thought you applied science majors had no difficulty obtaining gainful employment? Don't make the advice I am giving my nieces and nephews sound like more empty words!

Unemployment is generally low, but it can take awhile to find that first job. That's especially true if you can't do a national (or better, international) search. I think it's still generally a good field to get into, but like HomerJ said, you can have a long lead-up with graduate education and even postdoc positions before you get that "real" job.
post #18 of 62
I had to take some chem courses. I thought they were pretty cool and fun, but like stated, they weren't that useful outside of the classroom and lab. When I had to assemble molecular structures for the o-chem courses, a lot of people did strike conversation with me at Starbucks though! Haha. They always asked what I was doing.
post #19 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

Unemployment is generally low, but it can take awhile to find that first job. That's especially true if you can't do a national (or better, international) search. I think it's still generally a good field to get into, but like HomerJ said, you can have a long lead-up with graduate education and even postdoc positions before you get that "real" job.

Makes me think of my HS chem/bio teacher. She had a phd in biochem. Her husband had a phd in history or something. Both of her sons scored perfect on the SATs. One got a full ride at harvard and the other at U of T. I remember her being happy one day that her son finally had a paying job. He'd done a post doc or two and was 35 (think he got his degree in biophysics or something).. happy.gif
post #20 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post

Makes me think of my HS chem/bio teacher. She had a phd in biochem. Her husband had a phd in history or something. Both of her sons scored perfect on the SATs. One got a full ride at harvard and the other at U of T. I remember her being happy one day that her son finally had a paying job. He'd done a post doc or two and was 35 (think he got his degree in biophysics or something).. happy.gif

WTF are you talking about
post #21 of 62
Started off doing a Physics degree, did that for 2 years before switching credits over to Electrical and Electronics Engineering (I was always better at Physics than Engineering, but I felt at the time Physics was useless for a high paid job). Did my Masters in Communications, and PhD in Wireless Communications Area (mainly in Signal Processing). Slummed as a Postdoc Research Associate for 1 year doing Biometrics project, became assistant professor and did that for 3 years. Decided to abandon the academic arena (pay too low) working in R&D in industry. Find out I will be released of my contract in December due to company feeling the financial squeeze (R&D usually the first department to receive cuts). May go back to academia, we will see. If I am destitute, I will pick up on the trail of some unfinished research and see if I can get some more publications, will help in a very competitive area where 1 job post gets 100+ legitimate applicants (not including applicants clearly not qualified for job).
post #22 of 62
Thread Starter 
How'd you make the original academia to industry transition?


Good luck with the faculty position search if you choose to go that way, it's tough.
post #23 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

How'd you make the original academia to industry transition?
Good luck with the faculty position search if you choose to go that way, it's tough.

Thanks bro, I will sort myself out Im sure. It might take a while, but statistics eventually work out in ones favour.

Oh getting into industry it was quite simple. I already had prior industrial experience, my PhD was not funded and I did consulting for two companies on a part time basis to pay my way through grad school. Also my masters thesis was done through a Telecom company where my thesis was really 3 industrial reports bundled together. I was not allowed to publish my research, but the commitee found a way around that arguing that my reports and Intellectual property generated should make me worthy of masters.

Also, research should be transferrable to industry. Very few jobs in industry require hands on work, most of the time is spent simulating and developing software simulation models. I have never actually built anything, I do the research, I suggest the systems, someone else builds it. I like it this way, because I suck at building real world things - my skills are more mathematical / theoretical than practical.

Companies love to have academic style people in their R&D departments. If you wanted to switch jobs to industry, it should not be difficult. In fact you can get the ball rolling on that front by collaborating with industry regarding certain research ideas and agendas. All you need to do is have some basic programming skills, be it C or Matlab. You will be writing a lot of simulation codes in industry, but the pressure is less than academic believe it or not. You can pull standard 9 - 5 in Industry, academia is a full time job and then some ...

If I get much time off, I may go for an MBA and see if I can move more towards sales / finances. That is, if getting back to academia is too difficult.

Im also not sure I want to be a full time academic again. I dont mind teaching the odd course here and there, but my prior appointment I taught 5 courses, had to develop a masters curriculum, and on top of that, supervise up to 30 masters students. I also had 2 PhD students, and was under constant pressure to publish 3 journals a year as well as getting research proposals accepted through the NSF. All that for $65K a year, I was pissed off with it and went to industry to nearly double the money for half the workload. I love research and publishing papers, but on my terms, not somebody elses. I would rather do 1 good journal every other year than write 5 below average papers every year. Some of my publications embarass me, they were done with so many time constraints that the work is 50% what it should have been.
Edited by Klobber - 9/29/11 at 5:45pm
post #24 of 62
I got my BS in physics and I'm now about to finish medical school. I'm in the midst of ortho residency applications and I've done ortho trauma/biomechanics research while I've been in school. I'm considering some sort of degree in mechanical engineering through the last few years of residency and interested in R&D with various companies. Ortho is somewhat privileged in that it lends itself to lots of patent/product design opportunities and I'd like to take advantage of it as much as possible, it makes me sick seeing all the product reps/salemen swiping ideas from the OR.
post #25 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

I know we have a number of people here in the sciences and we don't really have a relevant career thread. I'd be interested to hear some other people's stories.
For me: I got my PhD a few years ago in physical chemistry. My wife is also a chemist, and I got a teaching job for a few years after graduation while waiting for her to finish. She finished up and got a nice government postdoc. We landed in the DC area, which is a great area for scientists, but I didn't manage to time anything to start at the right time and am still looking. I want to transition out of teaching, and don't want to do academic research (not that I'd get a job as a PI anyway to be realistic). I'm not really sure I understand industry yet, trying to figure out how to sell myself and my skills. I understand the procedure for academics and government but industry is a different story. I'm still learning which companies are even in my field, which certainly makes things interesting. Been spamming resumes, working the contacts network, but unfortunately most of my contact system from grad school was in academics from the nature of who I met rather than by design. Got some good leads in government but they're damn close about hiring and they all seem to be freaking out because of budget issues and such.
Not frustrated yet, but it's a dense web to penetrate. My set of skills puts me into the defense/aerospace industry, and lots of great looking jobs require a security clearance which of course I don't have yet.

Same asnwer as always, didn't the school you received your PhD program from have an alumni network? Look up alumni with somewhat similar backgrounds to yours and contact them to pick their brains.
post #26 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joffrey View Post

Same asnwer as always, didn't the school you received your PhD program from have an alumni network? Look up alumni with somewhat similar backgrounds to yours and contact them to pick their brains.

Alumni network is less useful when you're highly specialized. It basically boils down to "people from my group", which is who I've been talking to. Couple dozen people over the last decade or so, and most of them aren't in the right area.
post #27 of 62
Gibonius, in addition to applying for industrial jobs, you might try a postdoc at a government lab, as they generally pay well and can transition into a full-time job. Go to the next ACS meeting and start building a bigger network. Join your local ACS section and attend their meetings. Most of them have some sort of job-hunter's assistance program. Having a network in place is usually the best way to find a job when you need one, so even if it doesn't help you right now, it will help later. Also, let everyone you've ever met know that you're job hunting, starting with your PhD adviser. S/he should already be helping you. You may need to relocate temporarily to a different city from your wife. The two-body problem is tough.

Generally, the most employable BS chemist has strong analytical chemistry lab skills and/or research experience.
post #28 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thinman View Post

Gibonius, in addition to applying for industrial jobs, you might try a postdoc at a government lab, as they generally pay well and can transition into a full-time job. Go to the next ACS meeting and start building a bigger network. Join your local ACS section and attend their meetings. Most of them have some sort of job-hunter's assistance program. Having a network in place is usually the best way to find a job when you need one, so even if it doesn't help you right now, it will help later. Also, let everyone you've ever met know that you're job hunting, starting with your PhD adviser. S/he should already be helping you. You may need to relocate temporarily to a different city from your wife. The two-body problem is tough.

Generally, the most employable BS chemist has strong analytical chemistry lab skills and/or research experience.

Thanks, good post. General comments for other interested parties:

I've been looking at some government postdocs, some appealing options out there. The quality of life, both pay and hours worked, seems a lot better than academic postdocs. Basically equivalent to an entry level industry job, and there's a lot of interesting science. The last time I was looking they were all in panic mode about the budget, should probably get back on it now.

Part of my networking problem is that my group went primarily to highly specialized conferences. If I wanted an academic postdoc in my field, I'd be set, but we saw very few industry people. Going to the ACS meetings would have been less scientifically relevant, but would have been very useful for networking. Things I wish I knew...My adviser has also been useful, largely in linking me to old group members, but again most of his contacts are academics.



I'm willing to deal with a lot before I'd consider moving to another city. I already know that this is a good area for what we do, and moving would only kick the problem farther down the road while splitting us up. At some point we need a job in the same area, might as well happen now. If I found something short term with an obvious path to a security clearance, that might be enough to do it, but I'd rather stay here and teach than move away.
post #29 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by bringusingoodale View Post

Wait, I thought you applied science majors had no difficulty obtaining gainful employment? Don't make the advice I am giving my nieces and nephews sound like more empty words!
college shouldnt be a trade school. i advise that students follow something they love, that is reasonably marketable.... not just follow what the current employment trend is.
Quote:
Originally Posted by javyn View Post

I wish I had a science career. Unfortunately I was stupid in college and didn't get my science credit out of the way until my last year. So, had I taken Geology as a freshman, my life and career would have probably been much different.

i went to school for a 4 year geology degree, fully expecting to have to grovel the government -- e.g. us geological service -- for a public servant gig (and public servant salary)... during my studies, crude oil happened to shoot past 50$/bbl, and i grabbed an employment offer nearly a year before graduation. a couple of years later, i had traveled to and lived in various places around the world, and more than doubled my engineering-level starting income.

there was a component of luck in it all, but i wouldnt have strayed had things been different
post #30 of 62
I'm in my 4th year of my pharmacy studies, which means I'm soon graduating and should start thinking about my future career. I have no plans on working in a pharmacy, but rather in the pharmaceutical industry. However, I'm not sure what kind of jobs for the summer (2012) I should start applying for. My main interest is pharmacokinetics/biopharmacy, and I should get some kind of job/summer internship related to that before I graduate. So anyway, the problem I have is that I can't decide if I should apply for AstraZeneca (they have lots of summer internships for pharmacy students) or a thing called SOFOSKO which basically is a summer research school, where you help out at a department with their research. I think that AstraZeneca should probably be better for me, since right now I have no plans on getting a PhD but I might change my mind during my masters thesis. This is keeping me awake at night because I'm not sure what I should do, any thoughts? (And please excuse my english smile.gif)
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