Big Data and Jobs for Life Scientists

Posted in BioBusiness

Many recent articles in various publications including the lay media suggest that persons with quantitative skills and a firm grasp of the scientific method will be in high demand in the near future. This is because there is a current data surge coming from “sophisticated tracking of shipments, sales, suppliers and customers, as well e-mail, Web traffic and social network comments.” And, the quantity of business data has been estimated to double every 1.2 years!

According to a 2011 report Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition and Productivity” put together by the McKinsey Global Institute, harvesting, managing, mining and analyzing “big new data sets” can lead to a new wave of innovation, accelerated productivity and economic growth. And, the place where this may be felt first is theUS healthcare system. The report asserts that better management of big data sets can lead to as much as $300 billion in savings. Also, American retail companies could possibly increase their operating profit margins by as much as 60 percent. However, one of the major hurdles to this paradigm shift is a talent and skills gap. TheUS alone will likely need 140,000 to 190,000 with expertise in statistical methods and data-analysis skills. McKinsey also notes that an additional 1.5 million data-literate manages will be required. Accordingly, “Every manager will really have to understand something about statistics and experimental design going forward,” noted one of the report’s authors.

As far as jobs for scientists in the healthcare realm are concerned, the report suggests that

“….the biggest slice of the $300 billion gain is expected to come from more effectively using data to inform treatment decisions. The tools include clinical decision support to assist doctors, and comparative effectiveness research to make more informed decisions on drug therapy.” That said, life scientists with backgrounds in statistical analyses, bioinformatics, genomics, public health, epidemiology and quantitative analysis will be ideal candidates for these new job opportunities.”

While these types of jobs (mainly health informatics) are certain to available in the future, it isn’t clear how soon. This is because the big-data trend has just begun and, according to economists, it may take years to recognize its financial advantages and benefits. In any event, it is something for life scientists who may be considering alternate career options, to think about. To that end, if you begin to train for these opportunities now, you may find yourself in the right place at the right time in the not-to-distant future.

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!

The Job Market: Dressing For Success

Posted in Career Advice

Last month, while I was presenting my seminar “Interviewing Insights and Tips: Winning That Next Job” at the Experimental Biology Meeting in New Orleans, LA, I realized that I hadn’t covered what to wear to a job interview. Until the meeting, I didn’t think I had to  mention— that while interviewing men—must wear suits (and appropriately-colored, professional-looking shoes) and women should wear suits with pants (or a skirt with an appropriate length) and shoes with reasonable heels (usually less than 3 inches). I saw more cleavage, bare thighs and high heels, not to mention men with atrocious footwear choices at the meeting than I care to admit. Not that I am a prude or complaining about the cleavage, thighs or high heels that I observed—what red-blooded American male would?  That said, it is vitally important to remember that there are professional dress codes that everyone is expected to adhere to while on the job or at national, regional or local professional meetings.

Phyllis Korrki, who writes the Career Couch for the New York Times, wrote a great piece on professional attire in this past Sunday’s Times that I think every prospective job candidate or employee ought to read. And, when it comes to cleavage, exposed thighs and high heels in professional settings she had recommendations similar to mine. She wrote “Women think they have to dress sexy to get noticed in the work world. It’s what they see on campus and what they see on TV and in movies. Cleavage is not a corporate look or what you want to be remembered for. The same goes for very short skirts and extremely high heels. Also, make sure the top of your thong, if you wear one, doesn’t show above your pants.” 

For you guys, as a rule of thumb, wear black shoes with gray, blue and black suits and brown shoes with all others. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

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While we scientists are trained to ignore appearance and not pay attention to dress codes—the reality is—the way you look may make the difference between having a job or not!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!