Your training as a scientist gives you a lot of skills that can be applied to many other sectors. Many life sciences PhDs find fulfilling employment in jobs as varied as science policy, consulting, publishing, law, funding, etc. But how do you make the transition from academia to a new sector? How can you sell the skills you gained as a PhD to work in positions where laboratory research is not involved?
During this Yale Ciencia Academy for Career Development (YCA) Conversation with Scientists, graduate fellows in the program spoke with three scientists who have pursued careers away from the bench. Our speakers included,
The biotechnology or pharmaceutical industry offers diverse opportunities for PhDs in the life sciences. You can pursue careers in research and development (R&D), management, business, operations and manufacturing, among many others. But, how do you enter a career in industry? How does a PhD prepare you? What skills are important?
A postdoctoral position is the expected next step for many graduate students. If you are interested in an academic career, then a postdoc is definitely a necessary rung on the ladder towards academia. Choosing the right postdoc will then be one of the most important decisions for your career and you will need to think about it carefully and with advance time before making the switch. If you are still not sure about your career goals, then a postdoc might afford you additional time to make a decision, but this can come at a cost of time and salary. For these reasons, it is important to inform yourself as soon as possible about what it means to do a postdoc and what to consider when searching for one.
Not all academic jobs are created equal. Some focus primarily on research, some on teaching and many are a combination of both research and teaching. How does one decide which academic career to pursue? What are the perks and challenges of each?