Forum: PhD vs Field application scientist in industry
3
gravatar for Govi988
2.8 years ago by
Govi98880
Govi98880 wrote:

Hello Everyone,

I humbly would like to seek your suggestions/advice.

I am a Bachelor's and Master's graduate in Bioinformatics and working as a bioinformatician for past five years on Genomics and transcriptomics data. I have decent programming skills and fair knowledge in biology (no wet-lab experience). I now have two offers in my hand. A PhD position or becoming FAS in an sequencing company. Pay-scale wise, PhD is far behind, but I would be working more on wetlab (60%) and 40% of drylab work and learning more biology. FAS salary appears very attractive.

May I know, how should I weigh my options in this situation before choosing one? I appreciate your valuable comments which would help me a lot. Thanks in advance.

Edit 1: Also, may I please know, will this five years of experience I gained in the research setting as a bioinformatician help in anyway if I do PhD?

Edit 2: How is growth in a industrial setting especially for a bioinformatician compared to PhD candidate (with both biology and bioinformatics skills)?

job forum • 2.1k views
ADD COMMENTlink modified 2.8 years ago • written 2.8 years ago by Govi98880
3

Please, ask yourself - what do you want to do. Life is not only about future prospects and your career. OF course the pay is better in industry than as a phd student. So, do you want to become a phd student? Are you interested in that phd and in a scientific career? Are you passionate about it? If so, well, then there is you answer. If not, I would think about the PhD thing. Pay is low, it is a lot of work, it can take 3-5 years of your life. So if you are depressed for 5 years because you do not want to do it and just started it because...well..you thought it would help in the long run and somebody on a message board on the internet told you it is a good idea......well then, guess what, it is not worth it. So just ask yourself what YOU want to do - and seriously, is it that important what happens in 20-30 years? Nobody is promised to live that long.

ADD REPLYlink written 2.8 years ago by LLTommy1.2k
2

Just a comment I've received few days back from a 70 year old tutor,

At the age of 50, you can find a job, but you can't do a PhD.

I observed him that he still regrets the PhD offer he rejected.

ADD REPLYlink written 2.8 years ago by venu6.2k

This is the thing which is pulling me towards PhD. I do not want to regret, years later.

ADD REPLYlink modified 2.8 years ago • written 2.8 years ago by Govi98880
1

@venu Not not true! I know personally people with 40-50 years doing PhDs . everything is possible venu

ADD REPLYlink written 2.8 years ago by Mo880
1

@Mo, I am not saying its not possible. Considering life's other aspects, feeding a family, children education..etc, its a bit difficult at later ages than now. Everything is possible but we need to consider other angles to make life easier.

ADD REPLYlink written 2.8 years ago by venu6.2k

On a side note, I found this article in internet.

ADD REPLYlink written 2.8 years ago by Govi98880
5
gravatar for Jean-Karim Heriche
2.8 years ago by
EMBL Heidelberg, Germany
Jean-Karim Heriche19k wrote:

The main thing you have to ask yourself is where do you see yourself in 5-10 years.
A PhD is required for many academic and some non-academic positions. PhD stipends/salaries are low but it is supposed to pay off in the long term (i.e. you get higher salaries) but this is only worth it if you don't end up with a big student debt. If you take a higher paying job now, you'll have trouble going back to a PhD later simply because your lifestyle will have moved beyond what you can afford on a PhD salary.
Another thing to consider is that at the moment and for the foreseeable future, the chances of getting a decent academic job are quite low. So if you go the PhD route, I would say then do a postdoc in industry. If you stay in academia, you'll most likely be on low-paid short term contracts until your 40s.

ADD COMMENTlink written 2.8 years ago by Jean-Karim Heriche19k

Hi Jean. Thank you very much for your comment. If I understand clearly, by saying "postdoc in industry", you must be referring to the job after completing PhD. I will edit my question too, will this five years of experience in the research setting as a bioinformatician help me in anyway if I do PhD? Would like to hear your comments. Thanks again!

ADD REPLYlink modified 2.8 years ago • written 2.8 years ago by Govi98880
1

Postdoc refers to a temporary position after the PhD in which you're supposed to gain additional training in research. For some opinions on academic postdoc, see this and this. Having experience in research depends on the career path you want to follow but it could be good training in general because you can gain some valuable and transferable skills.

ADD REPLYlink written 2.8 years ago by Jean-Karim Heriche19k

The articles you provided are eye-openers. My rosy ideas are shattered. Seems like I need to be very careful in choosing my path as an academic post-doc. Thank you Jean. Your suggestions were really helpful!

ADD REPLYlink written 2.8 years ago by Govi98880

Aww this is depressing :o

ADD REPLYlink written 2.8 years ago by Carlo Yague4.5k
4
gravatar for Mo
2.8 years ago by
Mo880
/
Mo880 wrote:

This is my personal experience. BE very careful if you continue with PhD. No matter what you have done in academy , if you don't have connection you are most likely going to search a lot to find a job. These days people are very much into connections (like it or not) because the money in EU is down, not much opening and even if there is one, 100 applicants are in the queue (well then of course you have to beat sometimes guys with way much higher experience than you and of course the politics and if a candidate has connection etc etc). To be honest, 75% of opened job are already filled why? because if you have a post doc in your group (you already know him well) then you prefer him than someone coming ... It is very complicated.

Don't forget that the group you do your PhD is very important, is your research interesting, is it hot topic? etc etc for example if you do some work that do not end up with high quality publication, then probably you are going to be another post doc who waste year and year searching for position and post doc.

I don't agree with comment you learn a lot in academic filed. Basically you learn not much but if you work in industry you work on real word problems. If I had a chance long time ago instead coming to academy , i would go to industry . Don't forget you can always find a job after your PhD in industry but if you do post doc in academy then it is going to be very very difficult to get to industry.

These are all my own experience. means I went to all those path you have mentioned but in general you must see as Jean-Karim Heriche said . what do you want to do for future, so ask yourself this question first

Good Luck

ADD COMMENTlink modified 2.8 years ago • written 2.8 years ago by Mo880
1

I don't agree with comment you learn a lot in academic filed.

I respect your opinion but even if you can also learn a lot in industry, I think one will probably learn more by doing a PhD - or at least you are supposed to (you are still a student). There are a lot of opportunities to learn new things there : collaborations, conferences, courses, ... In my university, it is even an obligation for PhD students to follow X hours of conferences/classes (well, this is a pain because you often have to ask for certificates...). You can also travel a lot with felowship to cover expenses (in Europe the EMBO felowships are great).

ADD REPLYlink modified 2.8 years ago • written 2.8 years ago by Carlo Yague4.5k
1

@Carlo Yague This is obligation for all PhD students in different universities. You are student , now it is soon for you to get my point ! once you finish , you understand ! Oh by the way I see you are in belgium means the best university should be Leuven (as far as I know, I did not see rocket science coming out of there, no nobel prise) no? check out the opportunities for it, only 10 ? how many PhD students per day are graduating 100 overall your country? it is simple statistic , how do you give 10 jobs to 100 students ? (we are talking per day while jobs are 2 seasons) however, it is complicated to facilitate it as you get the point. As I said , you are PhD student and this is just a poem, latter you get my point. I had the same opinion 15 years ago when I was doing what you do today. Give some times but once you get to this point come back and like my answer .

ADD REPLYlink written 2.8 years ago by Mo880
1

I see your point about the poor job opportunities for post-docs, but the OP was asking about PhD, not post doc... The OP can do a PhD (which is a valuable experience for me, a poem as u said) without doing a postdoc afterwards. In my country there are more jobs opportunities and higher paychecks for PhD (without postdocs) than graduated students.

PS : I'm in a much smaller university than Leuven but I'm fine with that. And FYI (even if it is irrelevant here) there was one nobel prize in Belgium in biology (De Duve).

ADD REPLYlink modified 2.8 years ago • written 2.8 years ago by Carlo Yague4.5k

@Carlo @Mo Both of you are sharing excellent points. Thank you very much!

ADD REPLYlink written 2.8 years ago by Govi98880

@Govi988 As i said, this was my experience ! however, i just wanted to show you the dark side of science too. I have done many of these steps. I cannot return to this post again, so if i don't answer anything, I apologise already. I hope my highlights give you some point that you select the best path for your life. Good Luck

ADD REPLYlink written 2.8 years ago by Mo880

Thank you Mo. Very nicely explained. I have a question. How does being a postdoc in academy affect the chances of entry into industry? Would it not be showcasing the candidate capability to think independently and handle situations better than a Master's or fresh PhD student? I would like to hear your comments. Thanks in advance.

ADD REPLYlink written 2.8 years ago by Govi98880
3

@Govi988 basically industry do not care about publication. They care about what you do for them. money money talking. academy do not train you for that especially these days that the lead of a group is searching for money to keep you as a post doc and has very little time to even talk about a project with you. Long story SHORT. the more experience you get in academy the less chance you have to enter to industry (this is recruitment policy) but don't forget that there is always exception. For the second question . No Not at all. a post doc you must pay more while does not bring much more than a fresh PhD brings. I remember when I graduated we were 20 PhD students in the same year graduated from the same department and the same group. all of them left for industry but three of us went for academy , two of us afterward struggled a lot to enter to industry after doing a post doc for 2 years only !!! so, my experience says the chance is very little .

ADD REPLYlink written 2.8 years ago by Mo880
3
gravatar for Carlo Yague
2.8 years ago by
Carlo Yague4.5k
Belgium
Carlo Yague4.5k wrote:

Hi,

Beside the paycheck, academia and industry are very different worlds.

A PhD can be more rewarding than jobs in the industry. It is still considered as 'training' and you will likely learn many new things, especially if you don't have much experience in wet work. Moreover, you are responsible for YOUR project and you are expected to bring new ideas and take decisions which might not always be the case in industry. In addition, if you are a bioinformatician in a wet-oriented lab, you will likely collaborate on the projects of the other members of the lab (the bioinfo saviour) which can be very rewarding if you are curious and like working on different subjects.

On the other hand, a PhD can be very frustrating. Sometimes nothing will work for months (especially when doing wet-lab stuff) and it is hard to keep your motivation up when u feel that all you do is worthless. I know people who got disgusted by fondamental science after doing a PhD.

So if you have a positive mindset, don't mind the paycheck and like to learn new things, go for the PhD ! Otherwise it can be safer to go in the industry.

PS :

will this five years of experience in the research setting as a bioinformatician help me in anyway if I do PhD?

Of course, especially for the dry-lab work.

ADD COMMENTlink modified 2.8 years ago • written 2.8 years ago by Carlo Yague4.5k

Thank you. Nicely summarized. I will keep your points in mind.

ADD REPLYlink written 2.8 years ago by Govi98880
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