2 answers

Do biochemists usually work for larger companies or independent businesses?

3
100% of 2 Pros
100% of 1 Students
Updated Viewed 214 times

I'm planning on majoring in biochemistry and I want to know about what I'll experience after college. #biochemistry #biology #chemistry

3
100% of 2 Pros
100% of 1 Students

2 answers

Bailey’s Answer

1
100% of 1 Students
Updated

Biochemists can work in Academia (at universities), for the government (federal or state) or private sector. Private sectors include larger companies and independent businesses. I would imagine that there are more biochemistry positions in larger companies, but you should also keep your options open by considering the other two career paths!

Bailey recommends the following next steps:

  • This site has a lot of helpful information! https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/what-can-i-do-with-my-degree/biochemistry
1
100% of 1 Students

Kevin’s Answer

0
Updated
(LA Area Opinionated Advice). Typically, biochemistry majors will go into some type of graduate school relating to medicine, pharmacy, optometry, dentistry, and etc. Others who are very interested in biochemistry will either branch off into other focused areas (Biomedical Engineering, Biostatistics, Computer Science, Drug Discovery, Medicinal Chemistry etc.) or go into a very focused doctorate program in Biochemistry🥼.

In terms of the current job market (searches from 2019 - 2020), it seems molecular biology specifically focusing on qPCR, flow cytometry, and Next-gen sequencing have been in demand. Since biochemists are closer related to a biologist with a heavier mindset in chemistry rather a Chemist with Biology experience, it is difficult and heavily dependent on the program to really determine if industry is fit for you. This is because you will lack certain skills to get you in the door at industry at the bachelor level. For larger companies, personality and company fit will heavily matter in the interview, and for "independent" or start-up companies, they want someone who has relevant experience in what they do. I mean think about a company who has maybe one or no drugs in their pipeline. They really can't afford to train someone to do research, but your brain 🧠 will be utilized!

However, exceptions do apply, and there are many ways to move past the boundary.

1. Join a relevant research lab using industry skills such as listed above or if you are more on the analytical chemistry side, any lab dealing with HPLC, GCMS, HNMR, and etc. should be considered.
1a. If you don't know what lab, talk to research professor, a proficient / knowledgeable counselor, or your science club.
1b. Your email will go unnoticed. It is always best to go in person, and the science club is very reliable. They are all students like yourself.
1c. Don't just focus on lab techniques, if you can't problem solve conceptually, you may fail difficult interviews. If a company is going to put you in a position to make heavy decisions, they aren't going to ask you how does a GCMS work rather how do I troubleshoot X when I have Y.

2. Take your Upper Division in courses with labs / Take extra courses in labs.

3. Consider post-graduate programs like CGMBS, CLS, or summer internships.
3a. Don't be afraid to delay graduation for an internship if they give you an offer. Usually internships can open doors allowing you to work at a much higher position!
3b. Don't worry if you don't get any internships! Life is unexpected, and your first job may be horrible, but the next job will make you fall in love and stay for a decade.

(Psychological Advice). I think Biochemistry is a tough field at least in my area. If you don't get into a prestigious school, you don't get access to the best labs, opportunity for work in a nice research environment, and plenty of other reasons why schools matter. But, if you go to a lower-tier school / a school that doesn't get the same funding 😭, you can still get the same quality if not better education. The problem is your connections are almost nonexistent. Surely, you can take the difference in school debt and pay your way to network around your area. The jobs can pay you terrible as well. I remember sitting through engineering courses and teaching the engineer students, but they make way more than me and use less of their brain because of how well the company works. The job that I currently hold is more labor intensive than it is problem solving. If I'm doing the labor and the engineer has his problem solved, I think you can see my point who has it easier. Many of my friends face the same situation with employment, but I promise you if you stay positive and always strive to keep moving forward it won't be like that always. My friend was able to score a Senior Scientist position at a major biotechnology company with only a bachelors and six months experience (Look at their salary on Glassdoor). My other friend finally got into his dream med school after his second year of applying. At the end of the day, nerd out with your research fellows. Keep the science straightforward in industry.

I gave a lot of advice, and maybe I answered your question and possible went away from the prompt. 😃 At the end of this, do not get the feeling that I hate what I do and envy of engineers. I would like to put a disclaimer that engineers are smart people, and they do work hard. Every company is different and probably where I live compared to you, may be the reverse where engineers are doing all the hard work, and I would be twiddling my thumbs thinking about the science. I am happy to live this journey, and I would do it all over again. I think the biggest problem for me was thinking about the job market after I graduated from my bachelors. Now, I am faced with the barriers on my degree and experience. If I had advice for myself, it would be to enjoy the science, stop worrying about graduating on time, and follow a doctorate while being in a program that helped pay for my school and gave me some compensation or salary which do exist and are plenty.

Kevin recommends the following next steps:

  • Ask me / others for more info and opinons
  • Always network
0