Random Ramblings about stuff I see going on in biotech, internet and the stuff I read.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

WTDW your PH.D. - Application Scientist

Back here I talked about this job...

This is how a lot of Ph.D.'s get in to the business world. As the Ars technica post talks about, you will have fled the lab for many reasons. Most of which have to do with pizza, stale noodles, and the desire to never see these things again never mind eat them every day for two years. You may also not want to go to lab on Christmas day (as I did for the last two years of my Ph.D. as that is when the mice were ready....)(I would add this does nothing to making your fiancee happy...).

A Field Application Scientist has a lot of names. Included are
  • Field Application Scientist
  • Application Scientist
  • Field Support Scientist
  • Demo Whore
but at the end of the day the job is essentially the same. You are there to help the sales people close more business. You are still wearing the white coat of a scientist, but let us not pretend you are still lilly white. You say you are, but you aren't. You are there to help make sales happen or to in some other way grow the business.

That is the downer.

The upside is that you get to talk about science all day without having to actually do any of it. For those of us (myself VERY included here) who loved science except for the messy bit of doing it, this is a very attractive part of the job. Whether you are supporting an instrument(Mass spec of some flavor) a sofware package (Bioinformatics of lab LIMS system) or something else, the goal is to sell more of something.

You will be going out and talking to people and working your butt off to solve their problems. They are only talking to you becuase they have a problem, so this is the part I loved. Essentially "Here is something hard to do, you have two hours", and away you go. You have more time than that, but the point is that you are there to solve a problem. You get to think about stuff, ask lots of questions, and then put forward a solution. That rocks (or at least, that is what got me excited).

You will travel a lot. You may have noticed that biology is done all over the world. Thus, if you think about it, you will rapidly realize that the people who will buy whatever it is that you are supporting, are also located all over the world. This means you will get on planes a lot. You will be home for Saturday night ONLY for several weeks in a row at some point in the career. You will learn about all the different frequent flyer programs and be able to hold forth on the merits and problems of each one. You may even think that the rest of the world cares. To put this in perspective, I did a 250,000 air mile year one year. I was pretty proud of myself (and that indicates how warped it made me...). I was sitting on a plane next to a guy who had done 750,000 miles the previous year. He commuted to Asia every week. I didn't even know this level of travel existed. You will meet these people, feeling that you travel a lot, and find out that there are people who travel even more. For the most part, they are divorced, so that is why this job is a burn out job.

MOST, app scientists only last a couple of years. After that they move on to marketing, sales, or business development or ...they must do other things but this is what I have seen mostly.

In the course of the job, you will get good at talking. You will be giving talks to small groups, large groups, hallway groups....essentially anyone who will stand still or who the sales rep points you at. The corallary of this is that if you hated giving talks during your Ph.D., you will HATE this job. DONT DO IT.

People will abuse you. Example- I give a demo in Germany. They listen and then the questions start. "Why are you so stupid?" is the first question. They went on from there with real questions. the goal there was to make me defensive and then, once there, knock the price down becuase "our product was OK and they could work around the problems". Unfortunatly for them, I am a supremly cocky asshole so they whole stupid thing didn't really work. A simple response of just smiling and waiting for the next question really put a kink in things. Then they had to ask questions that are answerable and we ended up with a decent deal being done. The point of this story is not to talk about the fact that I have a big head (while true...) it is to say that you can't go in to this with a thin skin. All of the stuff that you have been saying to sales reps for all of your years in the lab....well people will be doing that to you. You have to be able to take that and realize that they don't really mean it.

You have to know, and beleive in, your product. This job will not work if you don't know what you are talking about. Further, if you don't beleive that what your are selling really is the solution to the problem, then you will not be able to convince anyone. People always talk about "being able to sell snow to eskimos" and while there are people out there who can sell anything, they seem to mostly focus on used cars. For the rest of us, actaully beleiving what you are saying is the best way to actually convince people.

The above paragraph leads to something that you hope you don't have to do, but when the time comes you should do. Sometimes your product ISN'T the answer. You have to say that. It is better for everyone. Your sales rep, if they don't understand that, isn't worth working with. Your integrity, your reputation, your companies reputation, everything rides on this statement. If you want a future career in this business, you have to safeguard your reputation and your integrity, as the world is a very small place and people talk.

In the course of this job, you will hopefully pick up some sales experience. You should see how the sales process works. You should understand how business's are set up as far as making decisions. You should start to get an idea of what you are good at and what you are interested in doing when you grow up. I think you should go in to this job knowing it is a transient position, and just strive to learn everything you can so that you can move on.

This job is the consumate networking job. Make use of this. All the people you are meeting are future contacts, and you should always keep that in mind. The bio world is too small, so there is close to a 100% probability that you will work with/for these people again. If you go in to sales, they are your future customers. Never forget this!

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Yes,

I am a 'PhDropout' in-the-making, interviewing for "Application Scientist" position today at 1PM, which is the reason I woke up and cannot sleep.

I can't thank you enough for your frank and witty descriptions of your experiences and absolutely invaluable advice. This is unbelievable! I am so glad I came across this page while searching for descriptions of App Scientist positions in SoCal Biotech world!

After reading this, I believe I got all my points about my main assets more neatly organized and formulated in my head; and I got a much greater view of what such position entails after reading your blogs and comments on DAPI's interview, as well as general pointers.

HERE IS HOW MY CASE IS MORE COMPLEX, I THINK...

I am in a program at a good university. I have neither PhD nor Masters if I drop out at this point, as I have not gotten through my orals. I realized that academic environment is not for me, and although I am passionate about science, I crave the business environment.
I worked in the industry for 4 years after getting my BS in Biochem/Cell Bio, made great contributions to the company, and got very familiar with the field and the business side of science and technology! I have solid science knowledge and basic lab skills, BUT I am not thrilled about doing bench work, so I have been successfully moving away from it by doing sequence analysis research and micro array analysis, which is all computer-based and has exposed me to a lot of analysis-related softwares, biostatistician packages, and lots of visualization/math stuff I find cool and picked up on the way.
My ideal job at THIS POINT would be something that uses my inquisitive scientific mind in a business-like setting with business objectives; where I would be constantly exposed to the science, but not have to do bench work [because I like to think science, learn science, but LOVE to DEAL with people and computers].


I WOULD REALLY APPREACIATE FEEDBACK ON 2 POINTS:

1) MY POTENTIAL CAREER OUTLOOK AS A PhD DROPOUT

2) [this is only in case u read and respond in time, which I doubt, but either way, would like to hear your thoughts even after the fact]
MY INTERVIEW PROCESS AND HOW TO EXPLAIN MY QUITTING without looking like an apathetic quitter or a person who can’t hold a commitment.


[as if this has not been detailed enough, lol] MY STORY IS BELOW THIS LINE... TO SKIP IT, PLEASE READ BELOW THE NEXT DASHED LINE!
-----------------------------------
So many things are mentioned in the common PhD student complaints, especially in this half-time period: from the tasks you get assigned besides your thesis project, the flow of your project itself, the huge lifestyle sacrifice in terms of time and $$$, as well as other milestones are definitely some factors that applied in my case.
However, I can't say my PI is a tyrant. I struggle, but somehow manage my lifestyle, AND I have and always had a great passion for science (which is why I thought that the program would be great for me).
I have always been commanded on my superb scientific intuition, creativity, ability to grasp new and/or vague concepts, and my advanced analytical skills.

So what is the MAIN reason for my desire to drop out???

As strange as it sounds, I can no longer stand the working environment. If it wasn't for this factor, importance of which I previously undermined, I would probably manage to put up with other obstacles, stresses, and inconveniences. But I think this is what just 'did it' for me.

I really enjoyed the valuable industry experience I had prior to grad school and was quite successful for my level of qualifications. I went from Technician II to Research Associate to Scientist I at the company. And I really enjoyed the business aspects of the scientific field. However, my enthusiasm for 'digging too far into the science' would always prompt comments like "Oh, if you want to do this to increase our profits or improve some technology, go ahead, BUT, if the rewards are small, do not do it 'just cause it's sooo interesting!'...for that you should go try academia!"

So, to go ahead and 'dig into science,' I went ahead and started this program, thinking that it would give me more experience, skills, excitement and intellectual stimulation that I craved. But in the back of my mind, I really saw myself ending up in the industry with about 70-80% confidence.

So why NOW, AFTER almost 3 YEARS, am I dropping out?

Well, besides the usual mentioned difficulties, in my particular program and department itself, there happened to be many many more required courses than in MOST PhD programs in the Bio field that I researched about or heard of. This greatly contributed to my physical and emotional frustration. But the main point is that I learned a HUGE LESSON about myself, I learned just how much my motivation depends on my environment and work/social dynamics in my professional settings.
I AM JUST SHARING THIS, BECAUSE [perhaps it may be useful for others to read as well] WHEN WE CONSIDER OUR CAREERS, think WE MUST REALLY LOOK NOT ONLY INTO THE NATURE OF THE JOB ITSELF, I.E. THE SUBJECT MATTER, BUT THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH WE WILL BE EXPECTED TO FUNCTION AT OUR BEST FOR THE MAJORITY OF OUR WAKING HOURS!

I had underestimated this in my case. I cannot stand the fact that as a grad student, you are completely on your own (or so it has been in my case), you learn where everything is and how it works yourself, you do your work always by yourself, and nobody but yourself is interested in what you do or cares or depends on it, except 1 person - your PI, who is too busy for thorough regular professional interaction. Our lab is completely antisocial and competitive, but it is not just some social interaction that I crave! I have realized that it is the BUSINESS SETTING that brings out more drive in me to explore the science. I work very well with others, I process new information very quickly and efficiently, I'm a good and convincing presenter, and I also enjoy seeing relatively quick rewards of achievements like bringing up some new technology or test or diagnostic equipment that helps the healthcare at the end of the day, or saves money to the company, or brings it more clients. I alone played a huge role in many of such achievements in the company I worked for. Even on other people’s projects, I always came up with useful suggestions for improvements or creative innovations, or observations of some trends that turned out to be important. I became so aware of many laws, patent issues, company politics, etc… I just now realized how much of a taste for the business side I got besides the research and bench work I was doing… from comparing different platforms in presentations to meeting with top executives, attending very important business conference calls, and being the only one non-PhD non-MBA Cc’ed on very important company email correspondence.

I made some great connections, as well in the process, but for some reason, there was just not enough scientific analysis challenge for me [and not enough letters after my name, too, I guess, to realize all my potential I believed I had], so I just HAD TO explore the academic world before proceeding with my career.

But OHH BOY! The half-decade [or longer] marathon with one person in the race is just not for me, even though my thesis SUBJECT is very interesting. So now that I am drowned in the sea of science, it is the business aspects of the field that I miss.
I am just choking in this gray dubious atmosphere, the end-point of which is so ill-defined on the time-scale, that it makes things even more unsettling.
I am completely burned out, and I have not taken my Oral Exams, 2 of which need to be written, submitted, passed, and defended IN ORDER FOR ME TO EVEN GET A MASTERS RIGHT NOW.

And now, right at the worst moment of my ‘MID-PHD-BLUES’, I get an invitation for an interview as App Sci at a Biotech company that I got to know at a meeting I was sent to [how random!]
-----------------------------------

1)
So, I got only a BS so far, not happy in my program, trying to get feedback on what is AVAILABLE and WHAT IS AT STAKE if I re-enter the field AS IS!
I hear that the industry is dominated by PhD’s, but I feel like I may not necessarily want to be a top executive anyway. I am a low-maintenance woman who wants to do a job she must enjoy, but also have some peace of mind and time for [potential] family [which may or may not emerge in my future]….
But what if I some day I decide to get to the ‘higher-ups’ level of the company [because maaan, I can be really ambitious when my brain gets flooded with ideas and grand visions for the company or department that I can’t realize due to my status]???????
I have seen very successful executives and directors with BS + MBA degrees. [PLEASE TELL ME IF YOU THINK I AM DELUSIONAL ON THIS ONE!]. HOW MUCH OPPORTUNITY IS THERE FOR ME? Provided that I do not ‘want it all and want it now’, am willing to work hard to build up to a certain level, as long as it’s what I like.
I am basically a believer in true job satisfaction, so some of my friends call me and IDEALIST, but I have to enjoy my work! I just need to find the perfect combination of the business and science world, and the compensation will not even be that much of concern at that point, because I truly believe that once I find an environment that motivates me most and allows me to apply myself in different ways and realize many of my potentials, so I can eagerly grow in it, I WILL SUCCEED!

I checked in with some career profiling sites that take in your info on credentials, experiences, etc etc, ...and they say that I would be up for an average salary of 65-75k as is, RIGHT NOW. (maybe something is wrong with their calculators?)
I feel like that is great, as long as I will have a normal life back, enjoy the work place and responsibilities, and then later if necessary, will go for some evening-type MBA program. … perhaps, EMBA, if that’s possible, and if a company wants to help me with that [wishful thinking, but I gotta have my dreams].

So, please let me know if you can, what you think of my general outlook so far.

2)
My interview is today! I always read people well, but in this case, it’s a PHONE INTERVIEW with a COO of the company, complicated by the fact that I am getting over a minor cold, which unfortunately made my voice cracky. My main concern though, is how to explain my dropping out. I was going to say that it really works out for me that the company is in the city where my parents live, because I am in financial need [not a lie] and one of my parents has lost a job due to carpal tunnel [not a lie, but it happened before, not just now], and I am an only child [not a lie], so I feel a need to move from the city I'm in now to live with them for a while and make some money, help them out [truth]. But to say this is my #1 reason?? Umm.. THAT would be LIE, and I dont like it anyway, so I want to be honest. Is that a bad idea? Will I seem like a weak quitter/loser person?

I did the 'googling homework' on the company and people and I am thinking of emphasizing 3 main areas, of which I am sure, when it comes to ‘selling myself’ for the job:

1-solid scientific background, deep knowledge and memory of the theory, not just my project-related stuff, great analytical/logical skills, pattern-observation, and attention to detail. I also understand the “PhD mentality”, which makes me more prepared for their questions during my presentations. Also good at scientific writing [can provide samples]

2-computer software background, that fits perfectly with the company, main product of which is analysis software that aides scientist in the pharma or academia, etc… I know it would save them weeks of my training, not to mention the fact that I am a super-quick learner of any computer applications or packages [I am one of those people that figures things out really quickly without using manual, just because it’s more fun this way, and 95% of my experience and training has been self-taught, not instructed].

3-communication skills, industry experience and understanding of the nature of the business side [have sample client letter I wrote, presentations made, and reference that can vouch for company business improvements that I was responsible for, etc…]. I can easily digest and break down complex concepts in lament terms with quick analogies and examples of the basic logistics. I also have a great intuition of the situation and the client's needs, and the flexibility to adjust accordingly. I also never show or let my emotions out of control [although I am a woman and may get all butt-hurt over something inside, but I am just so NOT a girly chick who will break down or fly off the handle, EVER]; and I am never intimidated by new people/places/high titles, or just generally in conversation… I have always been like this in any setting, among friends or people I’ve dated - it is almost impossible to make me feel embarrassed or uncomfortable or out of place; I always find something to say, or some way out without loosing confidence... and that in turn, makes other feel comfortable with me as well, and trust me more easily.

-side-point: I am also single and don’t mind some traveling at all! and I am multi-lingual [not that it will matter]

AMEN! lol

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME if you read all this. I apologize for being so wordy. It is partly due to some emotions involved with wasted years and quitting, which made it more of a venting letter at times; and also because of the pre-interview anxiety [which will be undetectable DURING the interview, of course, but caused some verbal overflow here for sure!]

ANY feedback at any time will be so greatly appreciated! Your insights are just amazing and so informative!

Thank you very much!

Sincerely yours,

PhDropout.

yes said...

The above comment led to a new post on the blog, so please go there on this day. It should be up in a few minutes as I am typing away on it next.

yes said...

http://somestuffiwrite.blogspot.com/2006/06/new-career-advice-asking-person.html


is the link to the new posting

PhDropout said...

Thank you so much for the prompt and helpful reply.

I love how you summed me up and I am so with you on the notions that people who do something they do not enjoy are often negative, miserable, and just not very fun to be around. And thanks for making me feel sane in my reasoning for dropping out. I COMPLETELY AGREE ON GETTING OVER IT ONCE AND FOR ALL!
I came across many people like you described, who feel the need to explain exactly why they are where they are, even though nobody is inquiring or judging them. No ambling! DONE!
I am ready to own up to my decision without preparing a lifetime of excuses.
That is exactly why during my interview, I was honest, and passionately described why I do not find remaining in academia extremely reasonable for my career development.

Of course, the questions were asked, which I sort of knew were going to be geared at testing my true motivations, character, and ambitions; whether I have any vision of where I want to be and why, as opposed to me just dropping out 'cause I got sick of it or bored, and wanna make some money.

After describing my experiences and my reasoning now, I felt that the interviewer was very convinced, saying things like "yeah, I can see you being good at something like that..." etc. :)
When the question of possible idea of future career goal was asked, I did not hesitate and stated that I might get an MBA (evening style) and possibly want to move into Scientific Liaison or Business Development positions, for which I think App Scientist job would give me a good foundation.

I read your blogs a few times over and got so inspired, that some things came out naturally, like saying that I do not want to be overschooled but out of touch with the field, and that the longer I stay in academia the more the employers will think that this is what I love to do, and maybe just want to switch to the industry to make some money, but not because that is where my potential and skills can be best applied! [HE REALLY EAGERLY AGREED WITH THIS ONE!]

I showed knowledge of company direction, goals, areas of growth. I know when they were founded, when they got big grants, how exactly they compare to their leading competitors, etc...
I said that it really appealed to me actually that the company is already pretty well-known, yet not so big, because I think that in this environment I can learn and grow with them (as opposed to big places with clearly sketched out job responsibilities of you and hundreds of others like you), and that I feel that in this setting, someone like me can make more contributions and bigger impact overall. I think he liked that, especially when I hinted on some concrete ideas that I already had about the product they distribute and its applications.

I was told things like "sounds good" etc, etc,... and then asked when I could start.
Maybe I am being overly optimistic, but I take it as a good sign! Given that their Business Development person already gave an OK for my employment.

I really hope to get an offer soon (keeping my fingers crossed! knock on wood... or whatever they say not to jinx it or something.. LOL!)

If it comes through, I think I am willing to accept almost any offer for the sake of having this experience (which is rarely granted to someone with only BS, RIGHT???), but I did not act like it or ask about it at all.

So,My next question, if I may, is WHAT IS YOUR ESTIMATE OF REASONABLE SALARY RANGE FOR MY CASE????

If I feel they want to hire me to pay me very low salary, how do I even begin to bargain for it without sounding rude?
I am good at bargaining for raises, especially when I do a hell of a job, but I never had to really bargain for salary after an interview, as my previous offers seemed reasonable to me right away.

Once again, I really appreciate your feed back on my situation, as well as the other posts, because I learned more from this page than from gazillion resources I searched before!
Honestly, you're awesome! and I am not saying this to make your wife jealous, lol, just saying because this kind of help is very rare, so if your head gets inflated even more, it's 'cause Dr. Yes, you deserve it! ;)

Sincerely,

PhDropout

PhDropout said...

PS: once again, THANK YOU!

SO.. I have been checking out career newsletter, job listings, advice boards, etc... and seems like App Scientis jobs go from 50-80k. 80k being = PhD + experience.
but, seems like the 50k range is not exactly for the postition I was interviewing for, because it seems like there is a difference between job responsibilities of App Sci and FIELD App Sci (FAS). FAS'es seem to travel over 50% of the time at least and not really engage in other data mining or paper-writing projects. Sounds like the job I am 'hoping for' is not like the FAS, more like AS, with, as they say, 30% travel not more.

So, you think 60ish would be reasonable for me to expect if they ask of my expectations?

Thank you!

PhDropout.



PPS: forgot to mention an example during my interview of your blogs 'rubbing off':

there was a moment when I was explaining that I do not consider the years of grad school a loss, because now I know for sure academia is NOT what want, and have the VERSATILITY in my experiennce that can allow me to understand the language and expectations and possible questions/needs from Academic clients vs. Industry, Science people vs. Business people vs. Clinicians...

haha! it's because your 'translator' comment somewhere in your blogs obviously sat in well in the back of my mind!

but in my personal case, it is pretty true. I always felt like I am the one at the meetings who clarifies what the math person said to the biologist, who asked something of a programmer, who works with a clinician, etc.... so yes, it applies, but I thank your blog for pointing at the importance of THIS and helping me formulate and even mention it during my interview!!!!!

yes said...

new post at

http://somestuffiwrite.blogspot.com/2006/06/more-about-salary-phd-dropout.html

to talk about this salary question.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Advice,

You are awsome. You wrote these entries a long time ago, and they are still been read. I love your blog and send links to my friends.

I just came from a talk that a "Field Application Scientist" just gave, and approached her and asked about how she got her job. She said that "it is hard to get into industry" and that "she had to do a post-doc in industry" and that basically she thought I should do one too. By the way: I don't want to do a postdoc.

Question: have things changed in two years? Is this still true? I wonder because I am getting ready to defend in three months and kind of need a job...

yes said...

I answer this last question in my most recent post, as the question merits a more prominent answer than being buried in these long ago comments.

short version - I re read this post and still think it is as true now as it was when I wrote it (now being Sept 2007)

new post at
http://somestuffiwrite.blogspot.com/2007/09/post-doc-for-application-scientists.html

msp said...

I've been an apps guy for an industrial FTIR manufacturer since 2003. Everything this guy says is true. We inhabit a surreal, unsteady and morally fluid world of air miles, bad hotels, hostile customers and competing sales managers. Long may it continue.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this blog! I am a PhD in industry who is miserably unhappy because my job lacks the human interaction component and I am sick to death of benchwork, but I still love science! I am interviewing for a field applications scientist position and your blog has given me a lot of insight! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I am now a Scientist in a cool biotech company. Only got a Master's back in '03. Then I went to work in the company environment. Disillusioned with the the job at first, it seemed that it lacked any creativity (I was just a Research Associate first). I got a wonderful Ph.D offer at a famous Cancer center back in '05. I really wanted to go and do the "real science" you know, all the biological discovery stuff that saves lives, etc. Anyways, my employer gave me a raise just as all this was happening and I, too, couldn't bring myself to do the Ph.D despite it's what I always wanted (along with an MD, Law degree, and MBA). I've come a long way in just a few years.

It may be true that the environment is more important than the actual specifics of the work. I love my varied job (some bench work, directing others at it, presentations to customers in house and at shows, some publication, etc). It's a brave new world. Don't give up. Find happiness in your whole life. You'll do great, too. Just follow your heart.

And, it's not crazy at all that you can really make a career for yourself even after "dropping out." Focus on what you can do, not on what you didn't.

Anonymous said...

As an apps guy myself, I often wonder exactly what the sales team actually do. I mean it - I do everything. I'm in Australia right now demoing an instrument, schmoozing the clients and generally whoring myself out.

Anonymous said...

What types of questions should one expect from an interview for a field application scientist position? I know you should be familiar with the company's products and I have a Ph.D., so I have a reasonable amount of technical expertise. I have previous retail sales experience and, while not directly applicable, I feel it may help in this position. Any help would be appreciated!

--Industry Post-Doc

seeking direction said...

Dear Dr. Yes,

I love your blog, it's supercalifreakingawesome. I have sent it to a bunch of my mates who have really appreciated the advice you post on the biotech industry.

I am working for an Australian biotech company based in Brisbane. I graduated from my research honours program 3 years ago now, originally with the intention of going back and doing a PhD after I got some industry experience and some ideas/direction under my belt.

I took a lab level job in the genetics field and have been promoted a few times through the product development team for a year and have now spent a year managing key customers in what is essentially an applications scientist position in a company that sells services/information.

I feel that I will end up stuck in this position forever as the structure is very flat and there is essentially 1-2 middle aged guys above me and then the vice president above them, no where for me to go really. Also I keep getting pulled in to other areas to solve internal operations problems etc, as I am still in touch with what the lab is doing, but I don't want to do this anymore.

I have been looking at some of the advertised applications scientist, field applications specialist etc and feel that I could do these jobs as I have extensive experience with all of the platforms listed and have proven my ability to learn new things in my current/previous positions.

Some of these positions require a PhD OR a Masters with 3 years experience. Do you think someone with an honours degree and 3 years biotech experience in a similar role has a chance? Any advice on how you think I could improve my chances would be greatly appreciated. Ideally I would like to end up in a business development or marketing role.

Cheers,

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I also read your blogs a few times over and got so inspired, that some things came out naturally, like saying that I do not want to be over schooled but out of touch with the field, and that the longer I stay in academia the more the employers will think that this is what I love to do, and maybe just want to switch to the industry to make some money, but not because that is where my potential and skills can be best applied! [HE REALLY EAGERLY AGREED WITH THIS ONE!]

Geneway said...

Dear All Application Scientists, I am a PhD working as an App Scientist in a known biotech company. I have recently been offered a position of permanent scientist in a Govt organization. I love my current job but to do my own science and publish my own papers was something I used to see in my dreams. I am in dilemma, should I leave my multi-faceted high salary job for the one which is more reputed and once was my dream?

yes said...

Geneway - Long time since I posted on my own blog (years?) as I have moved on and can't really talk. However, some comments you wrote really hit me.

To quote
"should I leave my multi-faceted high salary job for the one which is more reputed"

Who says it is more "reputed" or reputable or respectable or whatever you want to label that? And do "they" matter. I will admit they don't matter to me so I am probably not the person to ask about that. Doing a job for other people isn't a reason that drives me or matters to me. I am the one (along with my wife) who has to live with what I do. Everyone else - don't care. My mother thinks I should have gone in to academia (follow both her and my father...). They got over it.

Now the other part of "it's my dream" is a bit harder. Why did you give your dream up? I will admit to being sceptical of the dream if you were willing to walk away on it once before.

You mention the money. Does that drive you? If yes - then I would guess a government job will be the death of you.

I realize these aren't answers, but you really have to figure this out for yourself. What do you want to do? Academic freedom? Commercial work? Other?

There are a lot of different reasons to do a lot of different things. Find the one that drives you. The rest of us don't matter.

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rathankar said...

Hi everyone
nice to know about an application scientist, but for me its a late realization. i was in academics for the past 12 yrs and now recently joined a bioinfo company as an sr application scientist. dont know what this post is about, but currently gaining training in lots of bioinfo softwares.

but i have a question to all here in the board:
1. what is the future of application scientist may be after 3yrs or 5yrs. will he still be an application scientist or can he pop for better carreers
2. learning a new software, understanding its bolts and nuts may not take much time. max, it might take 6 months to master and then another 6 months to do research using it, what else can one do. pls suggest. am confused