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Job opportunities with Biochemistry and other careers

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Job opportunities with Biochemistry and other careers

Postby Chloroform » Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:20 am

Hello!

Could anybody tell me what are the main job opportunities after finishing these careers?

- Biochemistry
- Pharmacology
- Medicine
- Biotechnology
- Biology

Please, help. I'm exhausted. I need to know it because I'll be at University in a year and a half, and I still can't decide what to study there. I'm a great student in Biology, Chemistry and English, but I have lots of problems with Maths. I really enjoy doing experiments in a laboratory. Furthermore, teachers say that I have clear, excellent and precise diction.

I'm looking forward for your answers!

Greetings from Spain.
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Re: Job opportunities with Biochemistry and other careers

Postby jonmoulton » Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:59 pm

That's a tough question to answer -- doing a good job would require writing a full-length article.

The short answer is that there are three broad categories of employment in those fields: industry, academia and government.

A good place to go to get some familiarity with these fields is the trade journals. I'd start with The Scientist, a magazine for life scientists that has articles touching on many of these disciplines. It is not in-depth but might give a social overview of life in some of these fields. Scientific American is a good source for easy-reading articles about advances in science in general -- usually every issue has a few articles from life sciences and medicine. The magazines of professional societies are another source of news about employment in their respective fields -- Chemical and Engineering News (American Chemical Society) and Microbe (American Society for Microbiology) come to mind, as does American Scientist (Sigma Xi, the scientific research society) for a broader overview.

I don't think you want to dive into the primary research literature yet, you won't find it very readable. However, the journals Science (US) and Nature (UK) have good editorial content in the front of each issue.

I didn't answer your question directly, but these are sources you can use to develop your own answer. Find and chat with people in these fields, you can learn a lot by telling someone you are interested in whether to study for their profession and asking them what it is like and what are their suggestions.

Now I'll put in a plug for chemistry. If you are going into the life sciences, building a strong chemistry background will help you in any part of the field. If you like the lab you are halfway there. Chem does require maths, but I found that learning mathematics in the context of solving physical problems was much easier than studying math in the abstract. The career opportunities for biologists with strong chemistry backgrounds are good; without chemistry you are at a disadvantage. An undergrad chem degree or a chem/bio double major is a very good path into grad school in any of the fields you listed. Keep a foot in the chem lab and keep studying biology!
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Postby Chloroform » Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:51 pm

Thanks a lot for your answer, jonmoulton.

I'll read those magazines, I know they have a good reputation and they may help me to make this crucial decision.

I wouldn't like to become a teacher and I'm sure that the investigation field is very risky in my country (it has more opportunities in the USA, the UK and Japan), so I'll do everything possible to work in a hospital or in the industry.

I'll also ask reliable sources about it.

Thanks,
Greetings.
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