What can I do after life science

Career prospects for biologists

biology science with a future? Yes, the 21st century is the century of the life sciences. There are many new fields of work for biologists, some of which are very interdisciplinary, but always have a bioscientific core. Red biotechnology has been a megatrend for 20 years.

Who in the age of aging society z. B. finds effective remedies against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, not only the Nobel Prize is certain. Technology-related areas such as systems biology, bionics, biophysics or nanobiotechnology are also on the rise ...

What paths are there into the life sciences?

In addition to a bachelor's and master's degree at a university or a technical college, training as a technical assistant or laboratory technician leads to research laboratories. However, a doctorate is essential for a career in research. Biologists are usually hired as technical specialists, i.e. they start in the R&D department.

In which industries do biologists work

Biologists work in a wide variety of fields. Biomedicine is particularly important, where more than half of basic research is now carried out by bioscientists. But biologists are also in demand in large research institutions, in the chemical or pharmaceutical industry, in the media, as consultants or as teachers - not only in schools. However, you basically have to decide whether you want to work permanently in research, in production or in sales. It is less important whether there are a particularly large number of vacancies in the respective area, but rather whether the job suits you - your personality.

What is really important when studying biology?

The decisive factor is the knowledge that you are responsible for your own training despite the given curriculum. The basic course in particular should be used to acquire the broadest possible basic knowledge and a wide variety of skills. On a broad basis, you can then specialize very well and, above all, later in a changing labor market, if necessary, fall back on knowledge that is outside the specialty. Lifelong learning is a matter of course for every biologist.

What do you miss with today's young professionals?

Independent thinking and acting is unfortunately less and less taught in the relatively school-based courses, but is then relentlessly demanded from the young academics. I would advise the following: It is better to have one semester too much under your belt, but have real international experience or a long industrial internship. Companies want to hire personalities, not robots.

Do you have any tips for the ideal application?

As a biologist, you usually only need one job - the right one. This means that you shouldn't frantically apply to all the companies you can think of. Without concrete points of contact, e.g. For example, through personal contacts at career events, I would not send a single speculative application today.

The applications are partly scanned by computers for stimulus words, so it is better to name one technical term too much than too little. However, not in the cover letter, as it is expected that you can summarize your application with a maximum of clarity on 20 lines.

How much can you earn as a biologist?

I don't want to give any specific figures here, but you make good money. In the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, there is no longer any distinction between which degree one has completed. When it comes to starting salaries, the only important thing here is whether you have a doctorate and whether you can already demonstrate work experience outside the academy.

There are clear collective bargaining requirements, but these do not apply to all companies. It's like football, supply and demand regulate the price. In particular, it is also crucial which personnel development concept the company pursues. What good is a top salary if I'm issued again after a short period of time. However: Anyone who sells themselves below their value - i.e. less than usual in the public service - has a hard time increasing their salary sustainably without changing jobs.

Where can I find job offers?

Of course on jobvector.com, after all, as a biologists' association, we have accompanied this specialist online platform from the start! But kidding aside. Nowadays, job offers are mainly posted online, but many positions are not advertised on the open market at all.

In the classic area in particular, vacancies become known internally or only in specialist circles. Thus, in addition to job exchanges, there is also an informal job market that should not be underestimated, which can only be reached by using the relevant specialist networks.

Are classical biologists still needed at all?

In Germany we have some subjects that offer graduates few professional opportunities. These are not just subjects like ecology, classical botany or zoology. Politically controversial subjects such as green genetic engineering or stem cell research don't have it easy either. Often all that remains is the decision to continue your career abroad. Fortunately, German experts are in great demand around the world.

What are the future prospects?

Overall, the job market for biologists is very well positioned at the moment. However, we still do not have a market for applicants, as biologists have only been hiring more intensively for 20 years and so there are still no waves of retirement as is the case with engineers.

Many of mankind's great problems will only be solvable with the help of life sciences. The prospects for biologists are therefore excellent. Even economics have discovered the principle of sustainability. We will hear a lot more about the catchphrase bioeconomy.

The solidarity of the bioscientists, who have to assert themselves against the interests of other professions, will also be decisive for professional opportunities. Hence the motto of the VBIO: Together for the life sciences!

www.vbio.de