There's an infinite pool of information begging to be uncovered. Each research scientist is part of humanity's frontline for exploring the unknown.
There aren't uncharted continents waiting to be discovered anymore. However, there's still an entire universe to learn more about.
It's impossible to understand all of the complexities of subatomic particles, biological processes, and the stars. But we're never going to stop trying.
Uncovering The World's Mysteries As A Research Scientist
Whether working for an industry or academia, a research scientist conducts experiments to learn more about their field of expertise.
They either choose or have an area of investigation assigned to them. Then, their goal is to plan and conduct experiments to learn more about the topic and report their findings.
It's one of the broadest job titles because every scientific field has research scientists.
Technology, medicine, fitness, psychology, and biology are just a few of the fields you can become a research scientist in.
The biggest drawback to becoming a research scientist is that you'll have to specialize to get good pay. Most industries and colleges are looking for applicants with a master's or doctoral degree.
There are some positions for those with bachelor's degrees, but many are seasonal jobs that only span the few months a project is going on.
The Right Fit
The fact of the matter is, a lot of science is tedious. To learn about the empirical universe, a research scientist has to be meticulous, analytical, and willing to do repetitive tasks.
Some love crunching numbers and running centrifuges all day, but others will hate life in the lab. Thankfully, the best part of science is its diversity.
If you don't want to be cooped up in a lab, you could always do field research. In the field, you could find yourself observing animals, conducting interviews with strangers, or even setting up and conducting complex experiments monitoring entire ecosystems.
No matter what field you go into though, you have to be curious. A research scientist is always asking questions, learning what they can from recently published scientific articles, and trying to piece small bits of information into the big picture.
What's It Take To Become A Research Scientist?
There are a few steps everyone has to go through to become a research scientist. However, there are ways to stand out above other applicants to negotiate higher pay and prestigious positions.
Planners VS Doers
When planning on becoming a research scientist, you have to ask yourself if you want to be a leader or a follower. In research, there's usually a leader of the experiment who looks at the question at hand. They then lay out the procedures the team needs to follow to conduct the experiment.
The designers of an experiment are usually individuals with a Ph.D. Often, they lay down the rules and instructions for experiments, and analyze the results of the investigation rather than conducting it.
In the middle are those with master's degrees. These are often the team leaders whereas someone with a Ph.D. designs the experiment, those with master's degrees lead the experiment. They're the ones planning the day to day tasks, similar to a shift manager working under a general manager.
Finally, there are those with bachelor's degrees. In an experiment, these are often the people doing the actual data collection. They're the ones calibrating lab equipment, taking water samples, writing down data and observations
Depending on how you work best, you may prefer to be the one doing the down and dirty work. Or, you might be someone looking to design experiments and lead a team towards groundbreaking discoveries. Each position has a vital role to play.
Learning The Field
No matter what position you want, your best bet to becoming a research scientist is to get a master's degree or higher. Most jobs, even data collection, have applicants with master's degrees applying to them.
Some positions hire applicants with bachelor's degrees, but you'll have to boost your resume to get your foot in the door.
The best ways to stand out are internships, research experience, and experience working in whichever industry you're after.
Because you'll have to go to college to land a research scientist job, make sure to network with your professors and try helping them with their research.
As long as you love science, there's likely a dream research scientist job waiting for you. As you progress through college, you'll be sure to find more and more avenues of specialization that catch your eye.
Whether you want to learn more about the stars, pandas, or freshwater habitats, there's a research scientist position out there for you.
Dream big, and keep a curious mind, and you'll be sure to thrive.
Leave us a comment below sharing what field you're planning to work in!