Question: help with career decisions: should a PhD in genetics go for another master in bioinformatics
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gravatar for air.chuan.1987
2.2 years ago by
air.chuan.198720 wrote:

Hi guys, A little bit help is needed for some career related decisions. I am currently a 4th year PhD student in Molecular Genetics and should be able to graduate next May. My research is focused on the genetic basis of complex diseases (basically GWAS) in general population. Now I have a opportunity to spend one more year (until the May of 2018) in school for an additional master degree in Bioinformatics with a total tuition cost of ~US$27k (it's reduced since I'm a PhD student at school already). Is it really a good direction to go? How much I can benefit from this master degree and is it going to be redundant since I'm just adding one more degree title to my name card in addition to some more course work. Any comments or suggestions are welcomed! :)

Thanks, Charlie

PS. not sure why I can't directly reply so I just put it here Because I've heard too many voices telling me how hard it is to find a job with a biomedical PhD right now and the analytical skills offered by the bioinformatics MS are very helpful. Basically I've had almost half of the informatics MS courses taken already during my PhD training and it should be just one additional year of class. Do you think it will pay back in the future? or I should get a job first and gain some real experience?

Sorry I reached the post limit as a new member here. Really appreciate people's suggestions! Any further comments are welcomed. :)

career option • 1.4k views
ADD COMMENTlink modified 2.2 years ago by Emily_Ensembl15k • written 2.2 years ago by air.chuan.198720
2

You say that you heard voices telling you that it is hard to find a job with a biomedical PhD. But have you tried yourself? Every CV is different, and it is also related to what kind of job you are looking for. This being said, a MS after a PhD will look weird in your CV, and may even be seen as negative, e.g. you look like an eternal student :-).

ADD REPLYlink modified 2.2 years ago • written 2.2 years ago by Giovanni M Dall'Olio26k

That's a good point as well.

ADD REPLYlink written 2.2 years ago by Dan Gaston7.0k

What do you want to do next with your career and in what country do you live (or want to work in, if they're different)?

ADD REPLYlink written 2.2 years ago by Devon Ryan81k

I'm in US and I'm really not quite sure what to expect regarding my career. I have had a dual degree of MBA and had internship experience in biotech start-up companies and licensing office (technology transfer and patent related work). Compared to academia, I'm more interested in industry and I'm thinking to start my career as a technical person and then slowly shift to the business side. Does that make sense?

ADD REPLYlink written 2.2 years ago by air.chuan.198720
8

If you already have an MBA and are about to get a PhD why do you think getting an MS in bioinformatics will help (especially if you are interested in industry)? You probably should find a job in the area that interests you and put those degrees to work.

ADD REPLYlink written 2.2 years ago by genomax51k
1

Totally agree. At least in the US, a bioinformatics MS tends to limit you to data analyst type positions.

ADD REPLYlink written 2.2 years ago by fanli.gcb650
1

I'll echo everyone else. In the US if you already have a PhD then there's no point in a masters (presuming you can demonstrate competency in the area at least, though you've done GWAS stuff so I imagine that's no problem). Honestly, though, if you already have an MBA you might want to go directly to a team management position.

ADD REPLYlink written 2.2 years ago by Devon Ryan81k

I agree with all the answers posted.

The Master's could actually be detrimental. It begs the question of what you did during your PhD, and its value.

Also, you will never recover the ~27K USD you would spend on tuition fee alone on your Master's. There seems to be misconceptions among wet-lab biologists about bioinformaticians salaries. No bioinformatician makes enough money to justify spending ~27K USD.

ADD REPLYlink modified 2.2 years ago • written 2.2 years ago by ablanchetcohen1.2k
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gravatar for Chris Miller
2.2 years ago by
Chris Miller20k
Washington University in St. Louis, MO
Chris Miller20k wrote:

No. You will already have a PhD, which is like a license that says "I know how to think scientifically, work independently, and learn new skills". Go learn those bioinformatics skills which you want to use by taking on a side project. (Grad school is a great time for side projects!)

ADD COMMENTlink modified 2.2 years ago • written 2.2 years ago by Chris Miller20k
2

This. If you were going to spend the extra year you would be better off spending an extra year in the PhD programme and adding a side project with a more bioinformatics focus. If, for whatever reason, that isn't possible at your institution, then that's another issue but I still wouldn't add an MSc on to your training. There are a ton of short courses (usually several days to a few weeks) around the world for focused and intensive bioinformatics training (many get advertised on here). You can also pick up some coding skills yourself with software carpentry and the like. You can add on some bioinformatics, genomics, or "big data" analytics courses from EdX, Coursera, etc. Paying for the certificate option would work if you really want to show that you completed some coursework and would be far cheaper than $27,000.

ADD REPLYlink written 2.2 years ago by Dan Gaston7.0k
1

I completely agree with this point. Online courses are much cheaper and very effective. A coursera data specialization certificate should cost you <$300. You can also consider summer schools and data analysis bootcamps.

ADD REPLYlink written 2.2 years ago by Giovanni M Dall'Olio26k
6
gravatar for Chirag Nepal
2.2 years ago by
Chirag Nepal2.1k
Copenhagen
Chirag Nepal2.1k wrote:

In my opinion, if you already have a MBA and soon to have a Ph.D, i think it does not make much sense to get another Master degree. You should focus on finishing your thesis and get a job. As you said, you have worked with GWAS, and if you are good at analyzing GWAS data, i think your next job should be relatively easy.

On a side note, spend time reading/learning bioinformatics skills on your own. For example, take couple of papers, download their data, process them and analyze if you can get the same result. Check where you make mistakes and learn from it. Ask help online.

ADD COMMENTlink written 2.2 years ago by Chirag Nepal2.1k
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