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

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Application Scientist Salary...response to a comment

in response to about 3 posts ago I got a bunch of comments. Previosly answered 1, but here is the response to the second (from Dapi).

?He? posts asking about Salary range for an application scientist, and notes that all they tell him on the salary is that it is "negotiable".

Spells out his qualifications, but to sum it up.

Ph.D. + 3yrs Post-Doc looking for App sci position.
Is $80K fair for 70% travel (or how does $80K stack up?).

I think $80K is the right ball park in this day and age. You might bump it up a bit ($5K or so) and I would suggest always tacking 5 or so on to what they offer and asking for that. My mileage on this varies, and the recruiter should be able to give you some guidance on this if you say to them "I want 5 or so more" the recruiter will give you a great first pass read on whether or not that will fly. Either way - I think you are in the right ballpark.

Other negotiation points. You don't have any leverage on the vactation time, as they know you are in academia and don't really formally have any. You will get 2 weeks + other random holidays (personal holidays + company holidays). Some companies will give you 3 weeks but I haven't seen that so much at the application scientist level. I would be hard pressed to defend giving you that.

Signing bonus. Haven't heard of that for App scientists, but keep in mind that I would only know about it for 3 companies and one of them was a start up. Maybe other companies do that but I would doubt it. OR if they did, I wouldn't see it as that much money. If they don't have to relocate you, then maybe you can ask for $5K - $10K but I haven't heard of that being done.

Other things to ask about / ensure is that you have connectivity to corporate email from home. If you will based out of home, ask for help setting up a home office. Some companies do this and some don't. Since I don't know what company you are looking at I can't help you on guidance for that. Those that don't, don't. Asking doesn't hurt though. Asking at this stage may even show some foresight. If you will have an office in some building of theirs, then you will likely not get help setting up a home office (in fact I have never heard of this for an application scientist).

Email is your friend, so make sure you either have a blackberry or always stay in hotels with high speed internet. I have a blackberry, but still will flat out refuse to stay in a hotel without high speed internet. Getting large power point files moved around, or getting your email synced before you get on a plane requires high speed internet. To the extent you can - just say No!

On a side note here.... you will note that in summing up your qualifications I didn't talk about how many papers you have. ***News flash.... It doesn't matter anymore. Once you make this jump, and in fact when I interview people for these positions, I don't care. I care how you present to me. I care how you dress. I care how you sit in the chair and act while talking to me. I don't care about how many papers you have. I *need* you to be confident of what you are talking about, and be able to project that to me (thus my above comments about how you sit in chair etc...). I need you to be able to break the complex down to the simple quickly and succinctly and not make me feel stupid when you did it. If you make me feel stupid, I won't give you money (if I am a prospecitive customer).

Your proven track record of negotiation, if in academia with you negotiating lab buys, is not something that you will reference in a few years if you go in to this business. I was a lab manager before I got my Ph.D. and set up a new lab from putting the walls in up. The deal size is trivial next to what you need to be doing on the business side. Maybe $1M total in deals? If you are at a good company you better be involved in more than this per year or they aren't making money. On the sponsorship for conference side, I would use the people that you got the money from to ask questions about the business side of things. They are from the money side, so ask them questions as well. Ask them for job leads if nothing else... If you talked them out of money, they obviosly have some respect for you.

My only word of warning about going the App scientist route, and I give this to people interviewing with me and learned it through personal experience as well. TRAVEL SUCKS. I love it, I continue to be on the road a lot, and I firmly beleive that if you are in the customer facing/thinking side of a company that you better get out of your office and on the road. BUT - 70% travel is brutal. Make sure that if you are seriously involved with someone (wife, husband,boyfriend,girlfriend whatever...) that they are going to be able to handle this. Make sure you stay in touch with them once you start doing it. If you haven't done it before, you have absolutly no idea what you are in for. You don't know about all the airport lounges and the secrets of getting upgrades to first class etc... but you will learn! and you will either love it, and keep going, or you will hate it and quit in a year. Right now you have no idea which it will be as there is nothing I can say to you that will prepare you for it. It is something that either works or doesn't based on your personality and the personality of the people that you care about. I can only say to you that you really really really really need to keep in touch with anyone who you care about, as it is very easy to get wrapped up in the job and miss signs that you are drifting apart. I have seen several divorces come of people moving in to this and the significant other not being real psyched about it. It *IS* different than spending a stupid amount of time in the lab (and I didn't think it would be....)

My last word on taking this job is to recommend/require that you join every frequent flyer/renter/stayer program for every airline they make you get on, every hotel they make you stay in, and every rental car agency that they make you rent from.

I will never pay for a personal rental car again from either hertz, avis, or budget. OR if I do, I love the amount of vacation I was on.... I have flown my in-laws, my parents, and several grad students across the country several times first class. This gets you brownie points! AND I have taken a couple of vacations to Hawaii and not had hotel bills. You owe it to yourself to make sure you accumulate every perk you can, as on your down time is when you get rewarded for all that. My next thing is me+family free first class flight to Hawaii, 1 week in suite at Hilton, with free convertable car all courtesy of racked up points/miles. Don't miss out on this. This includes getting a credit card (or cards) that get you hotel or airline miles so that you rack them up all over the place.

Application Scientist is a supurb job for a few years. You should burn out after 2-3 years, but you are then all set to go in to marketing or business development. You are NOT set to go back to the lab, so make sure that you really are OK with not being in the lab anymore.


Anonymous said...

I've been looking for FAS positions for a while and I recently found one I'm interested in and it fits my background perfectly.
Can you give some advice on a good application?
Do I need to downplay my academic background (I'm five years post PhD)?
I'm planning to emphasize in my application; (i)as a postdoc I spent a lot of time training grad. students, postdocs and visiting researcher, (ii) I give good presentations and I now how to simplify complex techniques (iii) I used their technology in my research (took a course from one of their FAS) and (iv) I believe this company have the best technique available.



Dan said...

I really wonder what's the normal salary of scientists!

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