October 28, 2021
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
University of Florida
Department of Microbiology and Cell Science
Monika Oli Ph.D.: -Hands-on lab skills, list methods familiar with
-List instruments and lab equipment able to use
-Familiarity with diagnostic tests and interpretation of results
-Molecular techniques (DNA extraction, PCR, etc.)
-Research experience would be good but not a must
-If the job is in industry, QC/QA and GLP/GMP knowledge would be beneficial, but the industry does a lot of on-the-job training
Monika Oli Ph.D.: -Teamwork - people skills
-Keeping a proper (electronic) lab notebookCuriosity
-Willingness to learn and improve
-Hard-working - go the extra mile
Monika Oli Ph.D.: -Good lab skills from pipetting to cloning
-Excellent computer skills are a must
-Data analysis, Excel and or R
-Bioinformatic programs, use, and application
-More and more experience with next-generation sequencing and associated data analysis is really important
Monika Oli Ph.D.: -Quantitative skills, programming
-Molecular and next-generation sequencing skills and data analysis
I chose these skills because few applicants will have these skills, so being familiar with these skills will set you apart and make you invaluable.
Andrew Camilli: A short-term impact is happening now because of limited hiring due to COVID safety protocols that limit the number of people in work spaces. However, this limitation should dissipate as the pandemic winds down this summer and fall. After that, I would hope that hiring of PhD and Master students will accelerate to a high level, given the reminder the pandemic has given us of the importance of biomedical R&D.
Andrew Camilli: For PhD graduates, there are many good job opportunities in diverse institutions, but researcher positions in industry (mainly in biotech and pharma) and postdoctoral research training (academia, industry, government) are the two biggest.
Andrew Camilli: For scientists interested in industry careers, earning a PhD in areas of research that are of interest to biomedical R&D companies is most important. Also networking with people in industry while in graduate school is important. For careers in academia, publishing several quality peer-reviewed papers as a graduate student is important. For either industry or academia research careers, getting postdoctoral research training can increase your competitiveness for jobs and ultimately your earning potential.