Industry or academia for an aspiring scientist?
December 8, 2012 9:05 PM Subscribe
Very-early-career scientist at a fork in the road: choice between working in industry and in academia. Hive mind, please help me make an informed decision.
posted by escapist53211 to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
After a few months of searching, I've managed to generate a couple of job offers in the sciences. One is in a biotechnology company. I'd be part of a group producing biotech products for customers. The company places high priority on crosstraining and flexibility, so I could learn a wide spectrum of their catalog products. There's long-term potential for growth, too.
The other offer comes from a non-profit research organization doing vaccine research. It's a small group that's pretty active publication-wise, and there are a number of different projects in the lab. The one catch is that research assistants are greatly outnumbered by PhDs, so it's difficult to make it onto publications.
About me: I've got a B.S. in biochemistry, and I'm a couple years out from graduation. I'm interested in immunology (infectious disease) and analytical chemistry. I'm trying to work out what I'd like to do in the future, and I'm working from the hypothesis that passion will follow when I've built up enough skill and experience (thanks, Cal Newport!). With that in mind, I'd like to find a place to build up that experience and skill.
I'm not sure about grad school yet, and my secret plan B is to go after aeronautical engineering if I can't find a niche that I enjoy in the life sciences. Who knows, maybe i'll end up in med school as a researching immunologist.
Basically, which is the better choice for me right now? Is there even a clear front-runner? Company beats non-profit in terms of salary, but there are lots of other criteria to consider. (Although, it would be great to take a chunk out of the student loans without working multiple jobs...)