Preparing for a Career in Science
Many children grow up wanting to be scientists. They enjoy science at school. They like trying new experiments and reading about discoveries. They love the idea of working in a lab, researching new ideas and making bold breakthroughs. As an adult, a career in science can still be appealing. Jobs in the science and tech industry can be well paid and well respected. It can still carry a childish excitement, and working in scientific research can offer you a flexible career.
But, it’s not easy. Becoming a scientist isn’t just about gaining the relevant qualifications from a college and getting a job. There are many other skills that you need to develop. If you are interested in a career in science, or you’ve already got your first job in the sector lined up, here are some tips to help you to prepare.
Remember, Science isn’t All Glamor and Excitement
Every day in the lab won’t bring a new discovery. In fact, most of them won’t. There will be more days of writing papers and analyzing math, and days of finding the right reservoir 12 pipette channels and calibrating your equipment. The breakthroughs and discoveries will be few and far between. When they come, they might be small and unlikely to change the world. If you want a glamorous and constantly exciting career, this might not be the one.
Learn to Ask for Help
In any new career, you need to be able to ask for help. But, that’s perhaps more true in science. Mistakes can be costly and cause lengthy setbacks. Remember, the people working around you have more experience and different knowledge. Tap into it. Learn from them, ask them questions and make the most of them as much as you can.
Learn How to Study
A lot of science is research and data. It’s a career where you are always studying and always learning. But, it’s not like studying at school, where you need to do it in a certain way. We all learn differently, and we all have different ways of retaining information and extracting what is important. Find out how you work best and stick with it.
Put Yourself Forward
If you want to be a great scientist, you need to be open to new ideas and opportunities. Chances are you won’t get offered places on research teams or the opportunity to work in a lab as a newbie. You need to get yourself noticed. Volunteer for projects. Make suggestions. Question theories and findings and find a mentor to work with. All of these things will help you to get noticed and remembered.
Write Things Down
A lot of science is writing reports and explaining your findings. You need to get into the habit of writing everything down as you go, and practice writing analytically.
Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
Not all of your ideas will be right. Not all of your research will pay off. If you want to succeed, you need to be bold and take chances, and you will never do that if you are afraid to fail. Don’t play it safe.