How do you work for science
What entry opportunities are there actually for young academics? Do you have to stay at the university or are there other options? What is in store for you in this job? In which areas can you work as a doctoral student? And what are your long-term chances of finding work? Here you can find a first approach that can answer these questions.
Career at college or university: 3 good reasons
A scientific career is the ultimate dream goal for some, for others it is more of a horror idea. In fact, there is still a lot of prejudice in the minds of most graduates about the job at university. After all, every year there are enthusiastic doctoral students who accept every privation in order to gain a foothold in science. And for a good reason:
- A career in science can bring a high level of satisfaction if you are passionate about a subject. Because your job as a scientist is to find out more and more about this subject and to convey it to others.
- A career in science usually entails a high number of trips. Maybe you will start at your home university, but there is a good chance that you will eventually fill a professorship on the other side of the world. This nomadic life attracts many scientists.
- With commitment and ambition, there are many opportunities open to you to advance your own research. Scholarships and other programs support scientific research. So you don't work as a service provider, but independently.
In addition to these three common reasons for a career at university or another research institution, there are also a variety of individual motivations. The basis is always your own enthusiasm for a subject.
Working at the university: what are the options?
The entry into a job as a scientist is wider than you might imagine. As a rule, sooner or later most graduates take the path to a dissertation, but the career itself can begin with different jobs.
# 1 Research Associate at the University
There is a whole range of research projects, especially at research-oriented universities and colleges. Sometimes a new project comes up on its own during your studies and is funded by the educational institution. In this case, funds are made available and positions assigned to the research purpose.
Often there is an opportunity for students to work as a research assistant in a project. This can be the starting point for being hired as a research assistant by the university even after you graduate. You decide for yourself whether this is the first step towards a dissertation.
# 2 Lecturer at the university: Even without a title
If you've ever asked about the backgrounds of your professors, you may have noticed that not everyone holds a PhD. More and more universities are also using experts from business to provide students with maximum practical relevance. But also young professionals with special knowledge in a subject area are used by universities to pass on their knowledge. It is therefore worth looking for a teaching position, even if you do not (yet) have a title.
# 3 PhD student: a full-time job?
The road to a doctorate is not only long and rocky, but also very cost-intensive. Working independently on a dissertation and still doing a job on your own is almost impossible in terms of time. It is better to turn the dissertation into a job yourself. To get the best deals here, long-term planning is important. Engagement in scientific projects during your studies, an overview of the current state of research and future developments will help you to find the ideal job offer.
But practical steps in the search for a job as a doctoral student are also important. So you can visit job fairs that are related to your subject. You can look around at career fairs or trade fairs. Company days are a good opportunity to find out about vacancies in cooperation with universities. Or you search on suitable job portals for graduates, such as here.
# 4 think tanks: away from college
A career in science is largely linked to a job at a university or college. In fact, most of the lecturers, doctoral students and research assistants can be found there. But as a researcher you can also find work in institutions that are dedicated to pure research, so-called think tanks.
These still quite innovative institutions research trends and issues in a wide variety of subject areas. Companies, public institutions, the state and educational institutions use the results in order to be able to work more efficiently. The working conditions in such think tanks are innovative, attractive and very well paid.
Salary, working hours, career opportunities: fact-checking science
The life and work of a scientist are not always easy. Even after a successful dissertation, the dream job and a high salary don't always wait. In fact, only every third doctoral student actually achieves the title.
Long working days at the desk, unpaid overtime and a meager PhD salary are the everyday lives of many applicants. Subsidized think tanks are still an attractive alternative. But here, too, your academic career is associated with a high level of hardship and willingness to travel. If your department also arouses less interest in the future, you are faced with a precarious job situation. Overqualified doctoral students often switch to the private sector underpaid.
However, with a strategic approach and a visionary goal, a career as a scientist can also be crowned with success. Taking this risk is the right decision for many given the passion for your research topic. Open eyes and a reference to reality, enthusiasm, staying power and the right contacts are the best recipe for success for an entry into science.
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