Skip to main content
6 answers
Updated 1316 views Translate

What does it take to become a Scientist?

This is another kind of career I'd like to study one day. If I want to become a Scientist for my future, what do I need to learn? Like what degree do I need? Or where could be a perfect college? Because I'm planning to learn about some Chemistry, Anatomy, and mostly Technology Science. #science #chemistry #anatomy #technology #career

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you


6 answers

Updated Translate

Zully Velazquez’s Answer

Love and agree with Jean's comment. If haven't already bulked up on your Math and Science courses. That is a must but take some advice from someone who could've claimed a Biology Major - start by focusing on narrowing down what Science field intrigues you.
Mine was Marine Biology and Medicine.
Fast forward... what type of role will you find rewarding. There are many questions to run through.
Do you enjoy field work?
Do you like the lab environment?
Do you like working with chemistry?
Do you like research ?
Do you like working with animals, people etc?
Sciences can be exciting and knowing what you enjoy most will help lead you on the education path to pursue that dream job!

Best of luck!

Zully Velazquez recommends the following next steps:

Do some research on what type of Science jobs interest you.
Check local job forums, career resources (@Harper College perhaps)
Look into internships and get some hands on experience (paid and nonpaid); which also helps you with networking
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Zully!! These suggestions might seem to help me out with the career. When I get the time to do all this, I'll let you know about what I've learned from the steps you sent me. Alex
Updated Translate

John’s Answer

Alex working in science and technology can pull you in many different directions. Technology careers offer professionals the opportunity to work in many industries, including healthcare and business. Careers in technology can be pursued in several work environments, fast-paced startups, innovative tech firms, and small IT departments, perhaps one these careers match your personal interests.

• MEDICAL SCIENTIST – Medical scientists participate in research that is meant to improve the quality of human life. They perform analyses inside labs to study and diagnose different diseases, determine the potency of different drugs, and establish partnerships with different health departments and groups of physicians. Scientists also draw up grant proposals to seek funding from governments as well as private sectors. A doctoral degree is required for work as a medical scientist, such as a Ph.D. in biology or a medical degree.

• COMPUTER INFORMATION RESEARCH SCIENTIST – Scientists who work in computer and information research craft new theories to address issues pertaining to the world of computer science. Experiments can be designed to find out how well a given software system functions, and the results of these experiments are then analyzed. Some computer scientists end up creating entirely new programming languages, while others go on to work in robotics or data mining. A majority of jobs in computer and information research require a Ph.D., although a bachelor's degree in computer science might be acceptable for some positions with the federal government.

• COMPUTER HARDWARE ENGINEER – Engineers are the designers of brand new hardware, and they can also test models of their designs before they are released to the public. They might even work on noncomputers devices that connect to the Internet, such as medical devices or online-enabled vehicles. They can perform programming in a hardware description language (HDL), a way of describing circuits contained in hardware. Aspiring hardware engineers need a bachelor's degree in computer engineering or a related field.

• FORENSIC SCIENTIST – Forensic science technicians typically work in one of two areas: a lab or in the field at crime scenes. Crime scene reconstruction can take place inside the lab setting, where technicians will look for links between criminal activity and potential suspects by using scientific analysis. At actual crime scenes, technicians take photographs, draw sketches, and record evidence to use in any investigation. A minimum of a bachelor's degree in a field like forensic science, biology or chemistry is generally required to become a forensic science technician.

Hope this was helpful Alex
Thank you comment icon Thank You Brian. “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill John Frick
Thank you comment icon Thank you, John!! I appreciate the effort you put into that message. When I'm ready to study Science, I'll check out the suggestions you sent to me, and do research on them by exploring them in either the Harper College website, or Xello. Alex
Thank you comment icon Your Welcome Alex. Remember the real opportunity for success lies within the you and not in your career. John Frick
Updated Translate

Suleyman’s Answer

When thinking about Science/Scientists the first thing that comes into my mind is the mindset. As Jean already mentioned you have to have curious personality. And question things. Be critical.

When it comes to education and to find the best path for your future in science, I’d recommend to try different areas and look for areas that light “that fire” in you. I know it sounds cliche but you are the only one to make that decision.

If you are not sure which job you want you should probably think about studying a broad science subject. A general physics, biology or chemistry degree usually offers a broad overview of the subject at first and then you can specialise later on.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Suleyman!! I appreciate the effort you put in this message. I'll set a plan to study all the steps Jean sent to me when I'm ready to go to College. Alex
Updated Translate

Lindsey’s Answer

Hello Alex! My husband is a scientist who does research for the Air Force as an Applied Mathematics PhD student. The important thing is finding what area of science you are interested in and knowing it's ok to pivot as you learn more and further develop those passions.

My husband started as a math major with the intent of becoming a teacher. As he learned more, math expanded to include physics, engineering, and computer science. Graduate level studies in the science fields often include overlapping areas of study even as you're becoming an expert in a specific area. As he learned and developed skills, he was presented with opportunities to further his learning as a masters student then with his PhD. My recommendations are based on 10 years of being alongside him on this journey (5 of which have been for his PhD studies).

I highly recommend using the first years of your undergraduate degree to discover where you passion in science lies. Once you find an area that speaks to you, put your best self forward in your classes and connect with your professors. Many of the professors teaching in the sciences have worked as a scientist and have connections and unique perspectives to help guide you. Lean into building those relationships. It's really important to network with your professors and peers because they'll share their work and opportunities where they are that align with the skills you're building.

If you pursue graduate level sciences, I recommend searching open scientist positions wherever you're interested in living & really understanding what they are looking for then choosing an advisor who has a career history that lines up with your interests. This approach increases your opportunities in the scientific field. Many opportunities are socialized through professor contacts when organizations reach out to see if there are any grad students they would recommend for open internships. A lot of professors also work with research organizations in parallel to teaching. For example, one of my husband's professors worked with a department of energy research lab as a consultant while also teaching and another professor had a massive grant with NASA to perform research while also teaching. Finding a program where the professors are performing work in fields you are interested in is the best way to get your foot in the door. Your professors are your first recommendation in the working world. Think of going to class, performing the work, and engaging in the class room as your job. It's the first professional impression you'll make in the science community and you will stand out if you bring your best self forward every day and try.

What you learn with a graduate science degree is how to research and present your findings. At the core, that is what science is: posing a question you are curious about, conducting research, and then presenting your findings.

I wish you the best of luck & am happy to answer any further questions you may have!

Lindsey recommends the following next steps:

Pursue your curiosity & find the area of science that calls to you.
Treat your classes like they're your job.
Connect with your professors and peers.
Apply to internships.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Lindsey!! I really appreciate the effort you’ve put into this comment. Those suggestions sound real helpful, and when I have the ability to learn about becoming a Scientist, I’ll use one of your suggestions and work on them. Alex
Updated Translate

Jean’s Answer

Curiosity! Scientists are generally very curious people. You need to get a good base of science and mathematics in school so that you can determine what area of science you like most. It looks like you already are planning to get that great base by taking Chemistry, Anatomy and Technology Science. Don't forget to add Physics and Mathematics. All science boils down to mathematics. I wouldn't worry right now about what is the perfect college, as it depends upon what branch of science you prefer, and who knows, maybe you can get a scholarship, especially if you pick a field of study that needs more scientists. Study hard and hang in there. Don't get discouraged if you don't grasp the concepts at first. It really is the slow and steady turtle that wins the course rather than the fast rabbit who runs and rests and runs and rests. Be patient and consistent and don't be afraid to change course into a different field of study that you like more or as you learn more something else peaks your interest. Nothing is set in stone and the field of science is as big as your imagination! You may start out in a laboratory doing research and decide later that this is not what you wanted but you wanted to be out in the field collecting samples or helping people in a medical environment. If you can interview a few scientists in your community in different fields, and ask them what they do all day, you may be able to more accurately decide what interests you the most.

Jean recommends the following next steps:

Next step: add a mathematics course
Next step: Try to interview one or more scientists in your community
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Jean!! I appreciate the effort and time you put in this message. When I'm ready to study the steps you gave me, I'll let you know what mathematics course I added and learned about. Also, I'll ask somebody to help me with interviewing a scientist I know. Alex
Updated Translate

Leo’s Answer

In very practical terms, you'll need the following:

* A Bachelor's degree
* A Master of Science degree (MSc)
* A Doctor of Science degree (PhD)
* Then you need to apply for a position as a Researcher at a University or in some company that will sponsor you.

The actual, practical, day-to-day work of becoming a Scientist has to do with Patience, Tenacity, and a High Tolerance to Frustration. The nature of the work involves that you'll be intentionally working at the very edge of the unknown. You'll try to solve problems that may not even have a solution. You'll be failing all the time and there will be no one to help you, because no one has the answers: it's *your* job to find them.

If you end up working in a University, you'll also be expected to publish. Once you discover something, you'll be expected to write a scientific paper and then fight to get it accepted somewhere. If you don't publish, you're out of the game.

If you end up working for some company, you'll be expected to Produce Actual Results -- usually in a format that can be monetized. This is generally considered to be Difficult since the problem you're trying to solve may not have a solution.

I'm also glossing over the experience of being an MSc/PhD student. In short: it may not be great. Yes, people working in this field are still human. You'll find the same virtues and failings you'll see everywhere. Don't expect that just because someone is a Scientist they will automatically be virtuous too (take a look at the rivalry between Newton and Hooke -- yes, *that* Newton...) I'm not trying to discourage you, but I think it's healthy to have a realistic idea of what to expect from the human perspective as well.

So, is it worth it? Yes! There is an enormous thrill that comes when you work at the Very Edge of the Unknown, and there is an incredible reward when you finally find a solution. When that happens, you get an immense psychological relief. Then there's additional rewards too: if you solve a practical problem, you can patent the solution and Make Some Serious Money -- and you get bragging rights. This is why so many people endure their PhD's in spite of all of the above: the incredible thrill you get when you know you're the first human to have solved a new problem.