Science careers are a great choice for those who enjoy research and have an inquisitive mind. Becoming a scientist does require years of study and a lot of dedication, so it’s important that you understand in advance what goes into the career.
- Skill level:
Take science classes in high school. Statistics, earth sciences (biology and geography, in particular) and computer science are especially helpful. Languages are also a commodity, especially Latin and German.
Study your personality. Science requires dedicated attention, the capacity to concentrate despite the surroundings and the ability to process thoughts and experiences quickly. It also requires the ability to work independently, sometimes without guidance and often in isolated surroundings.
Choose a speciality that you like. Chemistry, physics and mathematics are the largest areas of study for scientists, but it is also possible to specialise in astronomy or biology, depending on what you want to pursue later. The sooner you choose a field, however, the more accurate your choice of subjects will be, even in college.
Get a bachelor’s degree in your chosen field. This is the minimum requirement for most employment at research facilities, although many also require a master’s degree or even a Ph.D. Keep in mind that higher levels of study are often paid for by the institutions where you are working, so make sure you make the most of your first degree, so you can move on accordingly.
Major in science if you haven’t been able to choose a specific field. This will give you a thorough understanding of all sciences and will allow you to find a job in a variety of areas, where you can better understand what your interests are.
Continue your education. Even after your degree is finished and you have already landed a great job, you will need to keep up with the latest developments in your field by attending conferences, participating in workshops and reading lots of magazines and books in your chosen area. This will allow you to stay ahead of the competition and help you get a better position once you are ready to move on.
Tips and warnings
- Working as a research assistant is a great way to get a glimpse of what a specific job entails and to discover whether you really like it.