It is the best time in history to obtain a life science degree – every single product has now a ‘bio’ component and therapeutics research is at an all time high. Most of the life science companies, however, commonly do not offer graduate programmes. This can be daunting to many graduates, as there is no common career path to follow. For many of the graduates it is a choice between a PhD or to leave the sector altogether. There are, however, many other intriguing routes in which a Life Science degree can be very useful. Here, I will describe careers which Life Science graduates can pursue.
When it comes to an early career in research, there are two main directions: academia or industry. In academia you will be required to acquire a PhD right after your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. However, in industry, it is possible to find some research roles that only require an undergraduate degree. Companies that offer these roles are usually multinational pharmaceuticals, such as GSK or AstraZeneca.
Less common is joining a start-up. It is difficult for young scientists to join these small companies as they normally require a higher level of experience. Nonetheless, if you are interested in both entrepreneurship and life science, apply for an internship position by emailing the employees or contacting them via LinkedIn. If you impress them with your motivation, you might be offered a full-time job.
You have probably heard of translational skills. These are the skills you learn during your degree which can also be applied to other jobs. For instance, if you collect and analyse data from a biochemistry experiment, those analytic and problem-solving skills can also be used in other settings. For this reason, consultancies and banks love science and engineering graduates! These jobs mainly consist of analysing data and extracting valuable information from it.
There are other jobs which encompass both aspects. For example, venture capitalists decide whether a new start-up is worth investing in or not, combining both the scientific knowledge you learn at university and business skills.
Whether you want to continue with life sciences or not after university, the career options are exceptional and truly rewarding.