Bill_A_Nussbaumer at ms.bd.com Bill_A_Nussbaumer at ms.bd.com
Thu Oct 22 08:12:21 EST 1998

Bill A Nussbaumer at BDX
10/22/98 09:05 AM

I have read this thread the past few days with interest.  There is
currently a raging debate on exactly what you're asking (not just in
microbiology, but in all the sciences) and it's always good to hear
perspective from a variety of backgrounds.

At your age it's really quite early to define a specialty within a field,
but its probably the right time to begin defining some more general goals.
The question you ask about careers in the field of microbiology is really
very broad.  I would recommend that you always keep your options wide open
but begin asking yourself what type of career you would like.  A career in
microbiology can span being a technologist in a clinical setting,
developing microbiological products in a commercial setting, working in
quality control or manufacturing, basic research in academia, or thousands
of other options outside of the mainstream (think of the exploding number
of options in computational biology, marine and environmental microbiology,
and who knows maybe you'll even have an opportunity to study microbial life
on other planets ... OK maybe I'm reaching but anything's possible).  The
point is, in order to ask what type and degree of education you'll be
needing depends highly on what your goals are.  I'm currently working in
R&D for a major player in the commercial microbiology sector.  My group
consists of people with a range of education and job responsibilities
(although the bachelor's degree is certainly a must).  There is a need here
for Ph.D.'s, M.S.'s, and B.A.'s alike.  Some take a research oriented
approach to their career while others take a more managerial approach but
all have a vast range of possible paths to take - and it's never too late
for any of them to continue and further their education.

When you begin to narrow down areas of interest, try to get information
about the requirements from people who are currently doing what your
interested in.  Talk to your professors in college.  Try to work in a lab
if possible, get some varied experiences and see what's right for you.
It's certainly good that your thinking about your future ahead of time, but
at this stage you still have time to explore.  Keep in mind the answers you
receive from your request,  but keep in mind that those answers come from a
variety of different experiences and in the end the only person that can
decide what's really right for your career is you.

Bill Nussbaumer
Associate Scientist
Becton Dickinson Microbiology Systems
(Molecular Diagnostics)

jorge2 at earthlink.net on 10/21/98 11:34:16 PM

Please respond to jorge2 at earthlink.net

To:   microbio at net.bio.net
cc:    (bcc: Bill A Nussbaumer/BALT/BDX)
Subject:  Re: microbiology-career

Chris Odt wrote:
> In article <362C085C.1798 at earthlink.net>, jorge2 at earthlink.net wrote:
> > Philip Smith wrote:
> > >
> > >  hello, being a 12th grade student who is going to be attending
> > > next year I was just wondering what I can expect with a B.S degree
> > > possibly M.S degree in the field of microbiology? Is there a lot of
> > > for microbiologists in the job market these days? also, all I hear
> > > days is how crucial it is to get a Phd degree, is that true?  what
> > > the average salary of a microbiologist with a M.S be? any help would
> > > great, thanks a lot
> >
> > Yes, please pursue a Ph.D.  In many industrial settings, the MS in of
> > little value v. BS.
> Philip:
> Forget the PhD.  Get a BS and perhaps a MS.  But thats it.
> If you apply yourself, you can get a job where you get your own research
> projects, can publish your results, and even do the travelling to
> conferences thing, if you wish.  It depends more on how you apply
> yourself, than on how many letters you have after your name. I cant tell
> you how many friends I have who have regretted getting PhD's in the hard
> sciences.  Besides, the
> job you get with a PhD takes over your life....no room for family or
friends or
> outside interests, if you care about that.  And the $$ is NOT always
> good luck, Chris
I take exception to your statement.  This is certainly not what I've
observed.  If one really wants to excell, one should do so by starting
with education - not trying to catch up in the workplace.  There are too
many PhD's with whom you'll be in competition.  Chris may be right in
that some smaller comapnies may hire lesser degreed candidates as part
of an overall cost savings effort that extends to their support of
research and salaries.
My advice is aim for the top, not the middle.

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