Becky is an analytical chemist in an analytical bioscience company. She did a degree in biomedical sciences and then a Masters degree in forensic science. This is her first role, which she obtained through a recruitment agency.
The key skills I got throughout my Masters degree were basic theory and practical experience in analytical techniques such as mass spectrometry and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). My undergraduate degree is not directly linked to this career path but I learnt about the industry as a whole and about clinical trials.
My Masters degree gave me much more specialised knowledge of the subject and the equipment, although it is not necessary to have this as full, on-the-job training is provided. A sound biological or chemical background is more important as the rest can be taught fairly quickly.
I entered into the profession as it was an area I enjoyed during my Masters degree, even though I didn't have very much experience in it. Also, the days are varied and there are many opportunities to try new things and develop as a scientist. I would recommend that you keep an eye on recruitment websites as the companies don't always advertise themselves but use a third party. Once you're in the job, take any training that is offered to you as it may be useful in the future, and the broader scientific knowledge you can gain, the better.
Initially, my role was learning how to use the machines and learning how to extract batches so they were accurate and precise to minimise failures. Over time I have become more involved in method development, which expands my scientific knowledge and troubleshooting experience. I was also trained as a phlebotomist to take blood samples from colleagues to be used as a blank matrix.
I work as a study scientist so most of my role is to analyse the study samples that are provided by the sponsors. On a day-to-day basis I extract batches, validate new batches and I have just started some method development, which is great as you can see where the method comes from and the work behind the decisions. I now collect the blank control blood samples from staff as part of my phlebotomy role.
I really enjoy how varied the days are. I am usually quite busy, which means time flies past. I work with really nice people and it's never too much trouble to ask for help if you are stuck. Working with people who have different scientific backgrounds also expands my knowledge and allows me to see things from another side. I am an organised person, so recording everything appropriately and keeping up to date with the paperwork suits my nature.
The downside is it can be hard when a method is not working as it should, although this improves your experience, as once you have tried everything you can think of, more experienced colleagues will help you and offer more advice. Also, there are often many deadlines all at once so it is important to stay on top of them and also keep your paperwork up to date so it is not a rush at the end of the study.
In the future, I would like to undertake more training so I gain more knowledge surrounding the industry in order to obtain a promotion. Also, within my company, it is possible to move to other departments on secondments so you can experience other working conditions and that is something I might be interested in doing at a later date.
This website is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with CSS enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets if you are able to do so.