Following are some pointers for students interested in pursuing a career in microbiology.
In your role as a microbiology student, you are fascinated by microscopic organisms like bacteria and viruses. You still love your field of study, but there’s a lot of pressure when you leave school and start working.
Here are some strategies that may help you to become more successful. Our community and our employees were asked to offer their guidance to the lab workers who are about to enter the workforce. To sum it up, here’s what they had to say:
Learn the basics, master them.
Being an effective microbiologist necessitates being well versed in the basics. as one of our LinkedIn followers described it, someone in our network suggested, “a student enrolled in a microbiology course should be dedicated to the program.” It is important to spend time in laboratories and mastering basic techniques.
Being accountable while working in a laboratory is another requirement of this job. A QC Technician in our department shared this piece of advice, “Constantly document and log everything you do.”
If you are an incoming freshman, make sure you choose your university wisely.
You should find a university with a program and courses that suit your needs.
Many of the molecular research and development departments shared this advice: “Pick a university that matches your specific academic interests.” Manage a positive relationship with professors, as they are important when applying for a job once you finish your degree.
Experience on the job is critical.
Working part-time will get you ready for a full-time job. Even if you didn’t have a job all through high school or college, you should go and get one.” You don’t have to work in a specific occupation. Just learn to adjust to not being a student.
This will help you immensely as you make the leap from student to working professional. You can expect it to look great on your résumé, too.
According to my colleague, “If you’re interested in the field, I suggest you start with an internship while you are still in school. This is a great way to explore whether a career in laboratory work is right for you, without committing fully to the field.
Even if you don’t plan to specialize in a certain area, any laboratory experience is valuable, because it will broaden your knowledge base. Our Industrial Quality Control Technician enlightened us with the advice, “Consider applying for internships that will allow you to acquire non-college lab experience.
To apply for jobs as a microbiology student, many employers require experience working in a lab outside of school. An internship not only helps you get your college diploma, but it also gives you experience in the lab, which helps you network, and you may even land a job where you’ve interned. It doesn’t matter if you’re testing water for the DNR, working in a hospital, a dairy operation, or at a feed testing lab for cattle; all of these are equally as creative and fulfilling as the other internships available. Experience testing, record keeping, multi-tasking, streaking skills, and much more can be found at all of these locations.
You should think outside the laboratory when choosing your career path.
Some people would not do well if they worked in a laboratory every day. You may enjoy microbiology, but you may not want to spend all your time in a lab. That’s fine. If you think creatively and are open to new opportunities, your career options are limitless.
Understand what careers are available, and educate yourself in advance.” Determine whether you want to pursue a career in the biotech industry by talking to individuals in that industry. Acquire the correct degree first. If they don’t offer something you want, you may have to change schools or even look into another program.
It’s all downhill from here! The vast majority of employers will accept all types of graduates, so don’t limit yourself. Applying for a job you believe will be interesting is a good idea.
For Microbiologics, many of our employees began their employment in the lab and were subsequently moved into positions within the business, including our Industrial Market Manager, “I have discovered that possessing lab skills together with business acumen is a distinct set of skills.” It’s not just that every company that has a microbiology laboratory is involved in some type of product development or testing; all of these companies have business pipelines full of additional career opportunities.
If you’re interested in science but aren’t interested in spending your entire career in a laboratory, you should know that science doesn’t stop at the laboratory door. If you are interested in maximizing your job opportunities by taking a position outside the laboratory, then a double major in science and business, or a B.S. with an MBA, is ideal.
In order to remain in the laboratory setting, it’s important to maintain open options. Microbiology is a big subject that deals with everything from infectious disease to bioremediation. Start with the areas that are personally interesting to you and proceed from there.
Career paths may veer off into surprising new directions. We recommend that you open yourself to all of life’s opportunities. Our research technician provided an example. I trained as a professional toxicologist, but while working in a microbiology lab, my training as an undergraduate and graduate researcher applied to the position.
When students are training to enter a microbiology lab, they should keep in mind that they may wind up in a different place in life after college. It is necessary that you thoroughly develop your CV, and include both lab-based skills and soft skills.
Research is a fun, challenging, and sometimes frustrating experience.
For research, you need to learn to deal with disappointment or success measured in tiny baby steps. Research is basically finding out approximately 9000 different ways that something does not work. There are some things that are hard to swallow if you don’t have the right personality.
The research technician agreed, “When you’re working in a ‘real’ lab, you’ll 100% believe that what you learned in college does not sufficiently prepare you, but you should remember that the basics and knowledge are what’s important for any career. Research careers typically come with a lot of uncertainty, which should not be cause for anxiety. Instead, research results should be sought out in times of serendipity, as this is where innovation, exploration, and fun begin.
It can be difficult to find a job. Being well-rounded as a candidate is very beneficial to your employability.
I would advise students interested in a career in microbiology to broaden their educational horizons when choosing courses. Take only what is necessary or what is readily available. My personal recommendation would be to include as many labs in your schedule as possible, as this is a realistic view of what you will experience in the workplace.
You should also aim to look for as many student and post-doctoral research opportunities as you can, even if they’re not directly connected to microbiology. Consider presenting your research at professional conferences or student research colloquiums as a chance to enhance your professional skills.
Also, prepare research proposals or grants to research external funding. This demonstrates your ability to go above and beyond while also showcasing your multidisciplinary background.
This LinkedIn follower who felt the lack of support in beginning his microbiology career in Nigeria persevered with a positive attitude, “After I got my degree, I believed I had been mistaken to pursue microbiology in Nigeria. There are very few facilities in the industry that we have to work with. If you’re looking for up to two microbiologists at a multinational company, you won’t find any.
About the majority of people, they will end up being a secondary school teacher. This wish of becoming a microbiologist at a multinational corporation ended in failure. Is it just hope, then? I graduated from the department in my class, and not one of my classmates is pursuing a career in science. When I started to become frustrated, I started thinking about trying something new. I was fortunate enough to obtain a position in a public research laboratory.
When you see where you are headed in your career, you will realize that you want to pursue a career as a licensed public analyst, get a master’s degree, hone your skills, and start your own laboratory.
There are plenty of people who want to pin the blame on microbiologists. Also, remember to conduct quality control.
When it comes to the critical role that quality control plays in every laboratory, we understand the importance of QC experts. One of our Twitter followers made this insightful comment: “Always maintain control of quality at every step of your process, whether it’s controlling the quality of your cultures or making sure that your data is traceable.” Keeping track of these processes is vital for any microbiology job.
To know the industry you work in, as well as the patients and consumers you impact, understand it well.
In regulated industries, it is critical to stay abreast of regulations. While some professional microbiologists specialize in pharmaceutical production, all must become aware of the basics of good manufacturing practices (GMPs). Learn the basics above all else. There’s no point in having all of the amazing new things if you don’t know the difference between GPC and GNR.
An individual on LinkedIn shared insights on how your work as a microbiologist has the potential to positively affect others. Many positions in the lab are unfilled because they require someone who is passionate about microbiology and has a solid grasp of the technical aspects – why we do experiments and how to maintain high standards. It is also necessary to have an open mindset concerning the role that microbiology plays in the general population.
A microbiologist should have a burning desire to empower others and be able to find practical solutions that benefit everyone.
A microbiologist once said: “Always remember, microbiology is awesome!”
Microorganisms are alive and constantly changing, which keeps things interesting. New discoveries are always afoot.
There are a few pieces of advice I can offer to microbiology students. Advice on sharing your wisdom: Let others know what you have to say in the comments section below.