Career is one word which is probably haunting people from every field and from every corner of the world. Now the question is why it is haunting people. There is a simple answer because everyone wants to have a successful career. Career can be defined as the journey of an individual where he takes up a particular occupation for a larger part of his life and earns his living with it. This can also be called as the employment for that person.
Life science is a very vast area comprising of everything that impacts life on the planet earth. It covers plants, animals, humans and technology which impact everyone. Life sciences are important because they not only provide employment but through continuous research help boost the economy of the country too.
Life sciences focus on our everyday requirements right from the food, clothes, fuel, energy, health, defense and education. The career opportunities lie in every sector but the qualification of young applicants depends on the more skills and knowledge he adds up to his credentials with experiences.
Gone are those days where only classical ways of life sciences were enough to fetch you a job and ensure you a great career in it. Today is an era of greater transformation and innovation. The industry demands talented professionals who constantly delivering the best results and serving.
If you are planning your career in life sciences or are already a part of life science professionals’ community then you must never forget that now this field requires you to constantly upgrading your skills as per the advancements and needs of the industry, your organization and most importantly your role.
Due to very high competition even in life science industry budding professionals have to struggle initially to make any mark into it. The major reason for lower starting salary and higher unemployment in this sector are lack of skills as per the requirements of the industry. Here are eight skills which will ensure a better start and even better career graph in life science industry:
- A Strong Learning Ability- The prime skill that not only a professional from life sciences should have but every field is the hunger to keep on learning. However greater competition demands not slow but fast learners, who can learn and implement things faster and better than their competitors. Learning also has an advantage that it helps you to stay updated and enhance other skills. After all acquiring new skills demands learning and grasping it to implement into the work. In research one has to go through lots of research and review papers which can become a daunting task if you don’t have a learning aptitude. Also, knowledge of regulations is must when setting up laboratory and establishing conditions for our research project, which can be had only through learning them.
- A Strong Hands On Laboratory Techniques- Only being a lab geek and love for the smell of the chemicals in the laboratory is not sufficient to qualify you for a career in research and development. It requires strong skills in laboratory techniques too as they the important tools through which you will perform the work. Now a day laboratory techniques are evolving very fast with new technologies coming up, a good researcher is constantly upgrading his skills to perform the work more accurately and fast.
- A Strong Analytical Skills to Analyze the Results- Research is a hard work and it requires greater skills to analyze the outcomes of the research and also if you are running an organisation you need analytical skills to understand its growth through collected data. Life sciences companies require greater time to start making profit. To save money and time regular monitoring of the data, their evaluation and analysis is required. If you wish to someday run your own venture in life science you need to have a good eye for the details and analytical skills to ensure growth. As a researcher your analytical skills help to make right predictions based on your findings, paving the way for new technology or life touching decisions.
- A Good Knowledge of Scientific Software- Among the most critical technical skills that modern day life science researchers must possess is a good knowledge of scientific software. Along with the techniques in the laboratory to perform set of experiments the technology to interpret data is also evolving. With each passing time better software are coming up which are automating the modern research laboratories and even laboratory inventory management software have come up. As a researcher you need to stay abreast with these new technologies otherwise you will end up carrying out the research in an old fashion way with months of time in validating the results. The next generation sequencing tools are now real time with data available immediately as its occurring. Here knowledge of updated software is very crucial to analyze the data immediately.
- A Strong Communication Skills- Communication Skills are the most important soft skill among all the soft skills. It is required to clearly convey the views and ideas to the other person. In research you need to communicate with various people at different levels right in the laboratory, research team and the higher officials. Even at the institutional levels in academics you need to communicate with students, colleagues and higher administrations. A strong communication skill means you are able to easily convey the information or views to the concerned person. Easy communication also reduces the delay into the release of the grants, understanding to the students and maintains unity among the research team. As you progress in your career you have to go through different stages of career ladder with growing seniority. Here you communication skills help you to better handle the increasing responsibilities and get support from your team.
- A Pro-active Approach Towards Task At Hand- There were days in the past when people who were less active would still manage to move up the ladder in their career as then it was lesser competition. But today it is a throat cutting competition at all the level, the biggest skill a person can posses is being pro-active. However to be pro-active you need to be a good learner, a good analyzer and a good communicator. In reality it is a combination of all the skills together which gives you enough confidence to become pro-active. Most people will question how can one be pro-active in research, but in research pro-active means you are thinking in all the possibilities way before you have started to work. And also when the results start to move in unexpected path, you are ready with alternate set ups to analyze all the possibilities after all research means exploring maximum possibilities. At the management and corporate level being pro-active helps take business one step ahead.
- A Strong Team Player- The work in today’s time is impossible without a team and you need to constantly interact with all of them to get the best results all the time. Consider any research project it cannot be started to finish by a single person it involves number of people who play their part and provide their individual expertise as per the requirements. A good team player knows how important each person is and works to align each one and motivate them to give their best. This quality is very crucial if you are eyeing the leader position in the future. In life sciences you are leader if you get to lead a research project or at company level you get an opportunity to launch a new product into the market. All these require great team and greater team management abilities to become a success.
- A Strong Presentation Skill To Rightly Present the Ideas- Whether you are a scientist or hold any other position up to the top position in the organization you work for, you need to have a strong presentation skills. As a researcher you are constantly working in finding novel things or creating something unique and getting the results which may or may not go as per your predictions. You need to explain that to the committee which has funded your project. If you are a beginner you need to present an idea to get that funding. And once your organization has something unique which benefits to the society you need to present it to them and explain its importance in their problem solving. You never know when your idea can give you the much needed leverage for better career growth.
Conclusion- If you are in agriculture then you are working to ensure food security of the world, if you are in healthcare then you are working to ensure health security of the world and if you are in environment services then you are working to ensure world remains a place to live. Life sciences have enumerable applications and thus the skills needed for each application vary. There are some common skills like communication skills, pro-active, time management and analytical skills etc, but other technical skills vary and you need to continuously evolve by acquiring the right sets of skills.
If you really wish to grow and achieve a dream career, you need to grow your skills.
So what are you waiting for identify those skills you need to learn to enhance your career and dedicate some time for it.
Wishing you a successful career ahead!