Science Careers thread?

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by Gibonius, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. HomerJ

    HomerJ Senior member

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    It's a tough call. Quite a few fields require a Ph.D.+ and that's another can of worms..

    Adjunct :fu:
    Boredom, I can see that setting in when coming from a research background.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2011
  2. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    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.
     
  3. wj4

    wj4 Senior member

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    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.
     
  4. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

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    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:
     
  5. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    WTF are you talking about
     
  6. Klobber

    Klobber Senior member

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    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).
     
  7. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011
  8. Klobber

    Klobber Senior member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011
  9. Zach

    Zach Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  10. Joffrey

    Joffrey Senior member

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    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.
     
  11. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    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.
     
  12. thinman

    thinman Senior member

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    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.
     
  13. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    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.
     
  14. whymakemedothis

    whymakemedothis Senior member

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    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.


    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
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  15. Waffle

    Waffle Well-Known Member

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    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 :))
     

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