As a post-doctoral researcher, you have published papers and presented at conferences. You’ve probably even won an award or two. Now it’s time to transition into an industry career. That’s right – we’re talking about leaving the lab. This can be a risky move for many scientists, but there are also plenty of opportunities for those who leave their mark on the academic world. Whether you’re working in industry for the first time or switching from one firm to another, it pays to know the ins and outs of moving from a post-doc to a research scientist position in industry. Read on for information that will help you make that switch quickly and smoothly.
Why change from academia to industry?
There are a few reasons you might consider changing careers, from a change in focus to wanting to earn more money. Some post-docs move into industry for the promise of a steady paycheck; others are looking for a change in focus. Here are some of the main reasons post-docs move into industry: – Get a better idea of how scientific research is applied – Moving from the academic world to industry gives you a chance to see how research is applied to real-world problems. This can be a valuable experience if you decide you want to go back to academia in the future. – Earn more money – While the salaries for post-docs are comparable to those for research scientists in industry, the cost of living in many cities is significantly higher than in smaller towns. This can make it easier to get by in an industrial setting with a lower salary. – Change your focus – Many post-docs in disciplines like biochemistry, chemistry, and biology are interested in applying their skills to new areas. While it may be harder to find a position that matches your interests in academia, an industrial setting provides a great opportunity to explore other fields. – Expand your network – Working in industry can give you the chance to network with people across disciplines and industries. This can help you set up your next move or even open up the door to a career change in the future.
What You Will Be Doing as a Research Scientist in Industry
As a research scientist in industry, you will be part of a team that develops new products or processes for commercial sale. Research scientists in industry often develop new materials that are used in products like pharmaceuticals, electronics, chemicals, and many other products. You’ll also work closely with other scientists who are involved in product testing and quality control. Your work will depend on the type of company you work for, but some of the tasks you may be responsible for include: – Developing new materials or processes – Researchers in industry often focus on improving the efficiency of existing processes. Your team may focus on finding ways to use less energy, create higher-quality products, and make production more efficient. You may also work on developing new products or materials. For instance, you might create compounds used in the manufacture of computer chips or find new compounds that are more durable, less expensive, or more environmentally friendly. – Testing materials and products under development – Your team may conduct tests that show whether new products or compounds are safe for humans and the environment. In addition, quality control scientists test products to make sure they meet certain standards of quality. This can involve checking things like the composition of materials, their appearance, and their ability to perform as expected. – Communicating results to colleagues and clients – As a research scientist in industry, you will also be responsible for communicating your team’s results to colleagues, clients, and other scientists. This can include writing papers for publication, presenting at conferences, and giving feedback to peers and other members of your team.
How to Make the Jump from a Post-Doc to a Research Scientist Position in Industry
Most people make the jump from a post-doc to a research scientist position in industry after obtaining their PhD. However, some people with master’s degrees or even bachelor’s degrees can find work as research scientists. To make the jump successfully, you need to take several steps, including: – Get industry experience – While you can get industry experience at a post-doctoral position, many firms are more interested in hiring someone who has already worked in industry. Getting a post-doc can help you develop skills you can use in industry, but it does not give you the hands-on experience that many firms want. – Network with people in industry – It’s important to network with people in industry, especially those in your targeted field. You can do this by attending conferences, joining industry associations, and contacting people who work in the areas in which you’re interested in working. – Get involved in research as a post-doc – This may seem obvious, but it’s important to continue conducting research as a post-doc. You can do this by finding collaborators in industry or other researchers who are interested in your work. It’s also a good idea to spend some time networking with people in the business end of things to get a feel for how they do things.
Types of Companies You May Work for as a Research Scientist
The companies you can work for as a research scientist are many and varied. Some industries that employ a lot of research scientists include the following: – Biopharmaceuticals – If you’re interested in pharmaceuticals, you may want to look for jobs in biopharmaceuticals, where you’ll work with scientists who focus on biological processes to develop new drugs. – Chemicals and materials – You can also find work in the chemical and materials industries, which are responsible for many of the materials you encounter daily, such as paint, rubber, and fabrics. – Electronics and computing – Some research scientists work in the electronics and computing industries, where they develop new technologies, such as smaller and faster computer chips. – Food and beverage – If you’re interested in food and beverage, you can find work in the industries that make and market these products.
The Pros and Cons of Working at an Industrial Research Lab
There are a lot of benefits to working as a research scientist in industry, including steady work and more job security than many other industries. However, there are a few downsides as well, including: – Long hours – If you’re in a deadline-driven industry like pharmaceuticals, you can expect to work long hours. Depending on the setting, you may also be required to do shift work. – Limited time for research – While you might have the opportunity to conduct research, you may not have as much time for it as you would in an academic setting. This can make it harder to publish your findings and stay on the academic path. – Higher stress – While many industries have low levels of stress, you may encounter higher levels in some settings. This can be caused by tight deadlines and high expectations, especially if you work in a highly competitive industry.
Finding the Right Job and Company for You
Once you’ve decided to make the jump from academia to industry, it’s time to find the right job. While the process will be somewhat different from what you’ve done in the past, it pays to keep these things in mind: – Remember that you are now an employee – You’re no longer the professor’s assistant who can set your own schedule. Instead, think about how you want to present yourself when interviewing for a job. – Network with people in industry – This is how most job openings are filled, so it’s important to network with people in your field of interest. You can do this through your academic contacts, conferences, and online networks. – Apply for jobs online – Many companies place job ads online, so it makes sense to look for positions online as well. Make sure you look at a variety of job boards and company websites to increase your chances of getting hired.
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