Top 10 Biotech Jobs (#3-1) – Positioning Yourself
Submitted by Michael Salgaller on Wed, 2017-05-03 15:39
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Recently, Genetic Engineering News published a list of what they believe will be the top 10 biotech jobs most in demand over the next decade. Now we’re down to the Big 3!

For those looking for moving beyond the bench, starting their science career, or just looking for a change, the list proposes where the likeliest landing spots are located. This blogpost provides a little taste of what the highest growth positions do. Although, personal interest and excitement is very important in a career – so is being able to get a job in that career! Being an unemployed or underemployed scientist is no better than being an unemployed or underemployed actor … and you don’t have to go to college for 4 years or 7+ years to be an unsuccessful actor. 

#3 – Biomedical Engineer

Biomedical engineers have talents that blend medicine, science, and engineering. It a field with high starting salaries, strong growth for many years, and active hiring at all career levels. Practitioners get to satisfy both their nerdy side and their artsy side – given that they will help both create and design equipment, tools, devices, computer programs, and software throughout the healthcare. For example, over the past decade, typical drugs firms have employed biomedical engineers to create and design delivery systems so that their solution gets to the area of the body where it has the greatest impact. Such talent often came from smaller firms and co-development deals – given that engineering is too far afield for a typical drug firm to build up internally. So, as an added bonus, there is a lot of entrepreneurial activity by professional with this background. Tremendous patient benefit – and a lot of money – can be made not by improving the actual drug, but by improving delivery, detection, and analytics.

The cold, hard reality is that this field requires a high intellect in both the biologic and engineering sciences. Top university programs are very competitive to get into and rise to the top. How good a starting position you attain is often directly related to the strength of the academic program you go through. Still, an advanced degree isn’t necessary to achieve a very good standard of living and quality of life. There are excellent career prospects for having “just a Bachelor’s.” Tech firms, energy firms, even financial firms – they’re all getting into healthcare because the profits and growth potential are impossible to resist. You’ll have a lot of suitors if you’re able to survive the academic gauntlet.

#2 – Medical Scientists

This is only the hardest scientific field to get into and, therefore, go into. (I’m also counting veterinary medical scientists, whose acceptance rate for a DVM-granting program is even lower than that for a MD-granting program.) It would be somewhat condescending to explain to you what this occupation does and why this is a good field to go into. Prestige. Value to society off the charts. Walking into a Tesla dealership and being completely serious about buying. 

Do keep in mind that there are over-supplies of some medical fields. They are the highest paying. If you want to be a general practitioner in a rural or neglected area, you’ll be snapped soon after you buy your first year textbooks. But the hours will be long and the salary low. Being respected and valued in your community is a great way to spend your life, let alone your career. But fate exacts a high toll. Stress beyond belief, holding people’s lives in their hands. Divorce rates beyond belief, while you’re holding people’s lives in their hands instead of holding the hands of your family. Just do your homework before you sign on.

#1 – Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians

Medical laboratory technologists are also known as medical laboratory scientists. They are the worker bees of hospital labs and contract research organizations. They may collect your blood or analyze it or both. They perform and analyze tests with an amazing array of body fluids, tissues, and various substances. They toil behind the scenes while those in the #2 ranked position are up front, on stage, interacting with the audience on a daily basis.

On the positive side, the job sector growth is the strongest. An Associate’s Degree may suffice. It’s a lot to learn at the outset, but then the stress goes down as you utilize your knowledge more and learn new stuff less. It has a decent work-life balance. It is important work that leverages your education fully; you’ll never wonder why you took a certain course or why you went after the degree. Time may not be your ally, though. After years or decades of looking at samples, the only excitement may come from finding something abnormal or unusual. Excitement for you could mean bad news for the person providing the sample. In medicine, no news is good news. Unusual news is usually relayed by those in the #2 ranked position in a hushed tone in an office with a closed door. Think of how much job security you want versus how much boredom you’re willing to tolerate.

For any of the jobs I’ve discussed – or even those I haven’t – I strongly recommend speaking with people actually employed in that field. Ask them what they like and don’t like about their work. Ask them what a typical day is like. Do they want to retire doing what they’re doing – or would they quit tomorrow if they won the lottery? (A modest lottery, not a huge lottery) Any position you choose will have pros and cons. Weight them slowly and carefully.



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