Speaking with recent graduates, one would come to believe that science majors have only two available routes: lab work or medical school. The truth is that some of the fastest-growing areas for recent science graduates have been outside the lab, particularly in computer and business-related positions.
Expand Your Horizons – New Graduates Find Positions Out of the Lab
Many companies are seeking individuals to test either general or company-specific laboratory information management software or systems (LIMS). Similar positions available include scientific data entry and analysis. Higher-level positions may involve scientific software development, scientific database development, or similar applications.
Science graduates with computer experience are often hired for these positions because they not only can use computers, they are also able to understand both the data and results derived from the software or system. Once in the company, lateral movement to Research and Development (R/D) or Quality Control (QC) is often possible.
As biotech and pharmaceutical industries grow, the need for scientific support staff and science-based business positions grows as well. These can include regulatory affairs and clerical positions that support R/D or QC. Scientific companies and hospitals often employ biologists, microbiologists and chemists in other departments, such as marketing, sales and business development.
If a recent science graduate does feel the need to obtain a lab position, he/she can broaden their search. In addition to pharmaceutical and biotech companies, which receive numerous resumes and applications daily, there are many other opportunities for biologists, chemists and microbiologists in areas that include:
- Food manufacturers
- Plastics manufacturers
- Electronic component manufacturers
- Agricultural companies
- Fertilizer manufacturers
- Synthetic fiber manufacturers
- Feed companies
- Environmental companies
- Consumer products companies
All of these industries contain high- and medium-growth companies in which to establish and build a career. So, whether or not the lab is your comfort zone, the job outlook is good for science graduates.