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What is the best software to learn if I want to find a job in the pharmaceutical industry?

I am trying to find an entry level job and want to upgrade my skills at home learning software but I am not sure which one to spend time on learning. In other words, what is the software skill that pharmaceutical companies require the most often but have the shortest supply of? #software #pharmacy


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Gina’s Answer

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Unless you are looking to go into software development, most companies (including the pharma companies I am familiar with) do not hire based on software skills. Software is a tool used by smart people to get their work done - so it is usually a "nice to have", but not something that is going to win you the job. Managers assume that if you are a compelling candidate but don't have experience with the specific software you will need to use in the job, they or someone else can teach you and you will be able to pick it up.


Jobs that require specific software experience will say exactly what they are looking for in the job description - there is no general answer, as every company uses different software, and the software you use depends on what role. So if you come across a job you really want and it specifies that you need to learn Matlab or Excel or need to be able to program in Python or whatever, then I would take the time to learn. Otherwise, I would focus more on practicing how you can talk your future boss into why your characteristics and experience make you a great fit for the job and the team, and that you can and will learn anything that you need to be successful once you get the job.


Hope that helps and best of luck!


Thanks for your thorough answer, Gina! Would you also happen to know what skills are in shortage of supply in the pharmaceutical industry? Flora C.

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Gina’s Answer

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Hi Flora,


I am guessing that you are asking this question to figure out how you can become more competitive. If that is the case, it is great that you are thinking about how to position yourself to address a shortage. It is a valid question to ask.


Unfortunately, the question feels too broad for me to answer so I don't know if I can be very helpful. Shortages occur where there is a lot of competition for specific talent. Different pharma companies have different strategies, so their talent needs will also be variable. So what a clinical group in a pharma company is looking for and may feel a shortage for - maybe MDs who can design a successful clinical trial or data analysts who can mine and see patterns in large data sets - may be different than what a research group is looking for - maybe a PhD with a background in immunology who can run certain assays.


Also, I think right now, it is hard to say that the "pharmaceutical industry" as a whole has a shortage of skills. If you read and research more about the pharma and biotech industries, overall there has actually been a broad contraction (even though some areas and companies are growing), so there are a lot of qualified people with experience and skills out there who are looking for jobs right now.


This is not to be discouraging if working in pharma is a dream of yours. There is always room in great companies for great people. My advice would be to think less about shortages on an industry level as a way to guide you to which skills to build. Shortages come and go - and what matters more if you are looking for that first job is that you can get just one hiring manager to take a chance on you, as well as find a job you find meaningful and where you can contribute well to the group. So I would advise that you focus on thinking about what you enjoy and are good at doing. Then you might go on pharma websites and see what jobs are posted. Read through specific job descriptions to see what skills hiring managers are looking for, and if they align to the skills you already have. You can also look for people on LinkedIn or other sites to find people who work in the pharma roles you are interested in, and ask about their roles and what skills are important.


Hope that helps and best of luck!


Gina, your answer makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the helpful advice! Flora C.

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Theresa’s Answer

Hi
Software related positions at a pharmaceutical could involve statistical analysis of data (specifically knowledge of SAS software), general knowledge of operating systems if you want to do information technology, knowledge of programming languages is useful for managing electronic data systems such as LIMS (laboratory information management software such as Watson or Nautilus)


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