Different Types of Jobs Available in Biotechnology
Biotechnology is a field often met with excitement and curiosity. Walk into a biotechnology role confident with this guide that we’ve put together to demystify the world of biotech and help you understand the many career opportunities available in this rapidly growing field. From ancient civilizations using microbiology to ferment beer and make cheese to today’s cutting-edge advancements in genetic engineering, regenerative medicine, and synthetic biology, the history of biotech is a fantastic ride. The best part? You can be a part of this exciting journey too! Whether you’re just starting out or looking to switch trades, this guide covers the top 10 biotech careers and tips on how to start a career in biotech. We outline the steps to help you make your biotech dreams a reality.
Working in Biotech
Biotechnology is like an invisible force that affects our lives in ways we may not even realize. From healthcare and pharmaceuticals to agriculture and even marine life, biotech has a finger on technology’s pulse.
Different Types of Biotechnology
Biotechnology has different branches or subfields, each holding a unique focus. Red biotechnology focuses on medical applications, white biotechnology on industrial applications, and blue biotechnology on marine applications. Green biotech focuses on agriculture, and yellow focuses on food biotechnology. While these are some of the main branches of biotech, there are others to explore! Biotech isn’t a bunch of scientists locked in a lab, peering through microscopes all day (although that’s definitely part of it). Biotech is also a thrilling, fast-paced industry that constantly pushes the boundaries of what is possible, developing new treatments, products, and technologies.
Working environments in biotech vary as much as the subfields themselves. Some biotech companies are all about R&D, where you’ll find yourself in a lab coat and goggles more often than not. Others are more production-focused, with employees working in factories or production facilities. But no matter the specific working environment, the goal is always the same: to develop and bring to market products that will change people’s lives for the better.
Top 10 Biotechnology Careers
The world of biotechnology can be overwhelming trying to navigate the many career opportunities available. We get it. Time is money. We’ve put together a list of the top 10 biotechnology careers, so you don’t have to waste valuable minutes sifting though countless job listings. We’re not saying this list is exhaustive, but it covers some of the most in-demand and exciting careers in the biotech industry. We’ll give you the lay of the land on what each job entails, covering everything from research and development to production and management. Whether you’re an analytical type or a people person, there’s something for everyone. So, let’s dive in and explore the many possibilities available!
Being a biotech scientist is like being a detective. Instead of solving crimes, you’ll be solving the mysteries of life. Your role as a scientist will be part of a dynamic and fast-paced environment conducting research to create new products or treatments. Day-to-day work encompasses designing and conducting experiments, analyzing data, interpreting results, and collaborating with other researchers. Working closely with other departments, you should be passionate about life sciences, have a knack for problem-solving, and enjoy working with complex data. Additionally, you should be detail-oriented and able to work independently and as part of a team. If you’re excited about unlocking life’s biggest secrets and making a real difference in the world, then a career as a biotech scientist may be the perfect fit for you.
In biotechnology’s manufacturing environment, you could be the alchemist of all equipment and materials needed to develop a new product. Your role would undertake the designing and planning of all elements required for use during the production process. As a process engineer, you work with raw materials or chemicals, so this is a perfect fit if you have an education in industrial engineering or chemistry. Biotech is a collaborative environment, and you must have excellent skills in communication to succeed. With the many chemicals and equipment you’d be working with, you need to have a mind for detail and quick or critical thinking. This is a rewarding role for those who like hands-on work, putting the pieces together, and bringing a finished product to life.
This career is a great example that not all biotech jobs hail from scientific backgrounds. In fact, with a mind for math and statistics, you can put data analysis to use as a biostatistician. Your day would consist of analyzing data about biological organisms’ interactions with their environments. As you take note of the most minute details, your observation and analysis will contribute to the designs of future studies. When working in multi-disciplinary teams, you need to know the ins and outs of statistical theory and methodology to communicate your findings to others. The most successful biostatisticians can problem-solve with others and do independent analysis and critical thinking. If you were someone who could see life in the universe through a mathematical lens, this is the biotech career for you.
Biochemists are the love child of biology and chemistry, bridging the concepts from both sciences. Typically, this role requires a post-doctorate to reach advanced positions and higher compensation. Imagine your workspace is a lab experimenting with chemicals and living organisms to advance the current scope of scientific knowledge. Your work can lead to discoveries that help agriculture, therapeutics, environmental conservation, and more. On top of excellent time management and leadership skills, you need to have the ability to accurately communicate the results of your projects to key stakeholders. If your passion lies in the heart of curiosity and observation, we highly recommend this role that looks at the smallest creatures with the biggest learning opportunities.
As a child, if you found yourself peering at ants through a magnifying glass out of sheer curiosity, we recommend you shift that lens toward microbiology. In this role, you would study microorganisms, like bacteria and fungi, seeking to understand the building blocks of the world as we know it. In a laboratory, you collaborate with others in teams on experiments. Depending on your work, you could study microorganisms in plants, animals, humans, or all of the above! Some of the earliest organisms discovered were used for farming or food production techniques still in use to this day. Through this research, your team works towards developing these techniques or creating new ones from what you learn. This science can impact food production, manufacturing, farming, and renewable energy sources. To be a great candidate for microbiologist roles, you need to showcase a deep understanding of the field and project-management skills.
Make a difference in health care by becoming a biomedical engineer! These professionals are responsible for the invention and amazing advancements in technology like x-rays, pacemakers, dialysis machines, and artificial limbs. Not only will you ideate, model, and develop new equipment, but you will follow the product lifecycle through installation, maintenance, and technical support. Through this role, you can find yourself in hospitals teaching staff about equipment use and perfecting this tech with patient feedback. As a biomedical engineer, you have a hands-on role in creating the items that help others get out of bed in the morning. Candidates who are analytical and critical thinkers will find this career rewarding, just as it is exciting to help others.
Process Development Scientist
Want to get your hands on the newest machines and technology? This biotech career lets you investigate a manufacturing environment to ensure all systems are functioning as they should be. As a process development scientist, your role takes you to projects with other scientists or engineers. Your job makes the production process better, faster, and more cost-effective. Through working with materials and techniques, your job experiments and tests manufacturing procedures to optimize output. In biotech, many industries manufacture products, and each job in this role can look different from the next with varying materials and machinery. You will succeed in this role if you’re a natural with observation and hands-on technical skills.
Quality Assurance Manager
Quality assurance managers are the critics and reviewers of the production process. In this role, your duties require you to observe and test for flaws to give constructive feedback on making the production system stand up to par. QA managers look at these systems and maintain industry standards ensuring all products released into the world are what they’re supposed to be! You would address all issues through well-designed tests and develop strategies for improvement based on your research. Develop your skills in project management, critical thinking, and analysis to land a role as a quality insurance manager. Of course, you may not start in this role, but learning and staying up to date with industry regulations will help take you to the next level. This is a great role for self-starters who like to create systems that are well-oiled machines.
Do you have a passion for improving human health and overall medical care? In this career path, you conduct medical research to test medical devices, develop new therapies, or expand current medical knowledge. Medical scientists usually have a Ph.D. in life science or a related degree to work at hospitals, universities, or top-tier biotech companies. Whether you are analyzing data from clinical trials or writing reports on your results, each day contributes to improving our understanding of human diseases. Like other skilled scientists, you need to have data analysis and critical thinking skills. Those who are eager to make a positive impact on medical care should consider this rewarding career.
Business Development Manager
If you’ve got more of a mind for business than science, you can still find success in biotechnology as a business development manager. In this business development role, you work with biotech, pharmaceutical, or medical device companies to identify leads for growing the company. Working alongside sales, you research market trends and create strategies to help achieve the company’s growth goals. As a leader, you must have analytical, financial management, and goal-setting skills. Biotechnology offers numerous paths in business development to reach this point and could kick off your own consulting business. This role is perfect for natural leaders and business-oriented minds.
How to Start a Career in Biotechnology
Whether you’re just starting out are changing careers to biotechnology, it can feel like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube blindfolded. As life science recruiters, we know the ins and outs of the industry like the back of our hands. With the following information, you’ll be well on your way to building your path to a biotech career.
To lay a foundation in this industry, you typically need education in life sciences, specifically in fields such as biology, chemistry, and biochemistry. Depending on the role, degrees in environmental science, engineering, or marine biology can be applied to different types of jobs in biotechnology. Many entry-level positions in biotech require at least a bachelor’s degree. However, a graduate degree or Ph.D. may be necessary for advanced roles or for those who want to do research at universities. Like many other careers, you may work in a position unrelated to your original degree if you can showcase related experience.
Gaining biotech-related experience can come in many forms, but most companies look for applicants with laboratory experience. This could be through internships, co-op positions, or research experience at universities. Even if you don’t have specific experience in a certain area of biotech yet, don’t worry! Some entry-level positions only require a degree. And remember, project management, data analysis, and time-management skills are also highly valued in the biotech industry. It’s important to focus on what you have in your personal toolbox and how you can use it to your advantage.
Like any career, networking is an incredibly important aspect of building a foundation in biotech. Connecting with others and building genuine relationships with professionals in the industry can help you learn about job openings, get advice on your career path, and gain access to valuable insight from pros. Attending industry events, conferences, trade shows, and networking events can be a great way to meet potential employers, mentors, and colleagues. You can also connect with life science recruiter on LinkedIn and follow your favorite companies as they update job opportunities. Remember that networking is not just about getting a job but also about building long-term relationships and finding people you can help and who can support you throughout your career.
Next Steps to a Biotech Career
We hope that this blog has given you an idea of the many exciting opportunities types of jobs in biotechnology have to offer. Biotechnology is a sector that affects many industries and is constantly on the cusp of innovation. So, whether you’re interested in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, or environmental conservation, there’s a place for you in biotech. With enough curiosity, determination, the right information and resources, a career in biotech is achievable. To take the next step toward a career in biotechnology, we recommend researching biotech companies or organizations, and connecting with a life science recruiter. With the proper knowledge and connections, you’ll be ready to launch your biotech career. And don’t forget, we’re here to help and support you in your journey. Connect with us today to get started.