How do I identify the current "hot fields” that I can study in order to have a job when I get my PhD?  

 

Ella
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January 2, 2019 9:50 pm  

How do I identify the current "hot fields” that I can study in order to have a job when I get my PhD?

This topic was modified 3 weeks ago 2 times by Bio Careers

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Sara
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January 3, 2019 3:38 pm  

Nobody can predict the next hot topic, or what will be hot at the end of your grad school or postdoc training. Hot fields come and go unpredictably. Bioinformatics has always appeared very hot, but as more people entered the field and began to search for jobs, hiring cooled. Hiring in infectious diseases was slow for many years, but with the recent identification of new pathogens, disease pathways, and drug mechanisms of action, there has been a renewed interest in this field. The best choice may be to join a well-funded lab that's publishing very actively and where you can be productive.

However, choosing a field needs to be done with at least strong consideration given to the type of job you would consider when you leave graduate school. If you have plans to work in a biotechnology company, than think about what questions you might pursue that will have an eventual interest by companies. Look at the macro trends to see what you can learn about where these interests might be in five years, instead of micro trends regarding certain hot technology that changes every six months.


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DX
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January 4, 2019 9:32 am  

Hi Ella,

You didn't state what stage in your education you are, grad student or undegrad.  So I'll assume you're a grad student.

Also what's your defination of "hot fields"?  My only comment here is with my view of "hot fields" remember hot can be transient and as Sara noted, hot can be come cool very quickly. 

However, the more relevant question to ask is ..."where are the jobs".  Especially in the context of where you can apply your training.  If you start of there, via your mapping and informational interviews you'll start to get a picture of where you may have interests and where you can apply your time and resources to pursue accordingly.  If you take that route of keeping your ears and eyes open and talking you'll get a pulse of where jobs are....and where they are emerging and if those emerging jobs are of interest.

In my day it was patent law and bioinformatics, then it became medical communication and MSLs who knows what it is today, maybe big data analytics and outcomes research? I don't know but the key questions is would you like it? don't matter if its hot or not. 

DX


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Iain
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January 4, 2019 7:11 pm  

While I understand the motivation behind the question, don't mistake working in a "hot field" for doing a job that you will enjoy. The latter, to me, has always been the most important factor in a job search. Hot areas of science are often excruciatingly competitive and people frequently get scooped when it comes to publishing.

I suggest you ask yourself what else is important to you in a career other than just finding a job.

best,

Iain


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Dave Jensen
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January 8, 2019 2:33 am  

How is it that you can avoid getting "scooped" Iain, any suggestions? This might be worthy of a separate topic, but I hear that term often here and as I have never been an academic, I'm not certain what advice to give people who ask about it,

Dave

Dave Jensen, Founder and Moderator
Bio Careers Forum


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Iain
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January 8, 2019 7:46 pm  

Hi Dave,

There's really no way to purposefully avoid this, it's part of academic pursuit. If something's worth doing then you can bet you're not the only person working on it. Sorry, I don't have a better answer right now...

Iain


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PG
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January 10, 2019 5:17 pm  

The biggest problem that I have with this is that completing a PhD takes time and when you add at least one postdoc on top of that you are probably talking about at least 5-6 years and often more. Some trends will last a lot longer than a PhD training period but others might be hot for a couple of years and then get considerably colder. Going to research conferences and reading abstracts can often give a hint about were certain fields are going if you have narrowed it down a bit.

Having said this I am a strong believer of pursuing something that you think is fun for your PhD. A PhD requires a lot of efffort and commitment and if you are not having fun you will most likely either drop out or at least you wont make the impression that you want on people around you that will be key for recommending you for your future career steps. I have hired scientists with backgrounds in plant R&D, veterinary medicine, human medicine, biomedicine, engineering etc and all bring different value to the company.


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