B.S. with IT professional classes, their worth?

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B.S. with IT professional classes, their worth?

Postby Bob » Tue Jan 18, 2005 11:46 pm

Ok, ok... so I don't have an advanced degree. I do have a B.S. from a major university and I pay my AAAS membership out of my own pocket so, indulge me. Please.

I'm looking for suggestion on how to make more $$$. You know, afford a house, kids, etc. Trying to get to that $>80k/yr mark.

I have a B.S. in Biochemistry with upper division electives completed amoung other things in Mo. Bio. I also completed a ton of Oracle DBA classes and some System courses from a local 'professional' school associated with my college. I've worked for ~8 years at the bench running assays but, want more. My GPA got hammered as an undergrad on account of working my way through a tough program so top flight MBA schools are out (referring to previous Threads on the matter). An that will no doubt influence my ability to get into a PhD program.

Any 'good' cost effective suggestions from my fellow scientists. I love biological sciences but, I also want to live in a descent town where the cost of living can be higher that boonyville.

Please, no pot shots. Only helpful suggestions. Best to you all!!

B.S. with IT professional classes, their worth?

Postby Kim » Wed Jan 19, 2005 1:24 am

What do you want to do? Do you want to go into pure IT? Do you want to go into bioinformatics?

Years ago before the dotcom burst, an inexperienced Oracle DBA person might find jobs easily with good salary. But things have changed. It is tough job market for someone without any IT work experiences.

As for bioinformatics, the job market has also become specialized toward PhDs now. It will be an uphill battle to find a job for a Biochemistry BS with a some IT classes. By the way, Oracle DBA/System is not exactly bioinformatics.

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B.S. with IT professional classes, their worth?

Postby J.J. » Wed Jan 19, 2005 1:46 pm

OK-I get where you're going. Good salary and a cool city to live in. There's no shame in having straightforward career goals.

1. PhD program-forget about that. I actually think you'd get in to some great programs with 8 years of bench experience (remember-getting into grad school is all about having at least one of: top tier undergrad school, good grades, or good bench experience) but if your goal is a big salary as soon as possible, starting a PhD would put you 7+ years away from that goal.
2. Biotech job-you don't mention where you are working now, but let's say you're a lab tech in academia in SF. So, if you went after a lab tech job in industry, you should have a decent job after a 6-month search. I think this could be a good plan for you. Rather than try to switch fields before having industry experience, you can rack up a few years of industry experience. After 2+ years at "Any Biotech that Will Hire You" you can move on to Amgen or Genentech, where your lateral options are greater. At a big biotech, you might find yourself on a project and someone will say "Doesn't Bob know a lot about computers? Maybe he can help keep track of the X database." I'm not sure about the $80K salary with a BS degree, but an MS from an evening program + industry experience will get you there.
3. Wild card idea-if you really just want a very steady job with a high salary that you can go anywhere with, maybe you want to think about a PharmD. Your starting salary would be where you want to be, and you are not limited by geography.

Just my thoughts-Jill
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B.S. with IT professional classes, their worth?

Postby John Fleming » Wed Jan 19, 2005 2:03 pm


I don't see a lot of pot shots on this forum. They keep it very professional. What are you thinking that someone could say or do to you here???

If I were you, I'd gravitate to the sales world. Take a job selling software to biologists, and earn $100K or more in your first year. I'm serious. This is a logical career track for a person who is outgoing and has a BS with combined interests in computers and biology. There is literally no ceiling to salaries, or career growth, when you move from science to business.

No MBA necessary -- that can come later. Just find a way to break down the doors of companies who generally look for experienced salespeople first. I did it. Know that you can as well.

John Fleming

The only thing Bioinformatic about Systems...

Postby Bob » Wed Jan 19, 2005 3:37 pm

is maybe the use of Perl scripting for sequence analysis. Of which, I took one class in a few years back when I completed 7 Oracle classes, a Unix and a Perl class in 00-01'.

I did already find out about the DBA specialization and the need for a PhD in Bioinformatics a few years ago as the trend started in that direction.

Thanks for your feedback! Best to you.

Thanks for your input... there's always a 'but...'

Postby Bob » Wed Jan 19, 2005 3:48 pm

Regards to your comments...

Observation 1: I do have 8 years of bench work. Mostly in the private sector. Also, going for a PhD at this point of my life, middle age, is a stretch. Especially considering my GPA.

Observation 2: I've heard very bad things about working for Genentech at the B.S. level from a number of sources. Amgen, who knows. I only know that when I interviewed with them, their approach came across as.... heavy handed. Plus, $80k in the Bay Area, where Genentech is, doesn't afford much other than spending two hours a day commuting.

Observation 3: Yeh, that's a wild thought alright. Invest in a PharmD degree that takes me even further from my interests and puts me on a track to have to work with in vivo systems at some point. I appreciate the value of those experiments but, it's not where my strengths and interests are; proteins, cells, genomes, computing power.

Thanks for your suggestion! Best to you.

JF - Thanks. The ol' money verses hands-in-the-hypothesis-testing dilemma... hmm

Postby Bob » Wed Jan 19, 2005 3:54 pm

That would be easier to do if I didn't like asking...
"We know that, what about if we do this?" You know, expanding or challeging dogma.

How to make money fast

Postby Andrew » Sat Jan 22, 2005 11:54 am

It is refreshing to see someone so unapologetically direct about what they want from their career. I concurr with JF. Go into Sales. With your background I'd look at Perkin-Elmer, Bio-rad, ACD labs, Accelrys, and other scientific software companies which sell applications to scientists. Six figure salaries, which are largely commission based, are possisble very early in your career. It may be hard to get the position you want right away, so get experience selling anything- services, cellphones, cars, anything that allows you to put Sales on your resume. Your current education is more than sufficient to eventually land you an entry level sales position in a technical company.
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Postby Kim » Sun Jan 23, 2005 7:59 am

I can see a protein chemist working in Research, Support, QA, or Production Divisions in a biotech company.

I, however, can only see bioinformatics persons working in Research or Support Divisions. I cannot see a bioinformatics person working in QA or Production in a biotech company, except maybe in a company that specializes in bioinformatics. And there are not too many companies specialized in bioinformatics right now.

Because bioinformatics is so heavily in Research, a PhD is essential.
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How to make money fast

Postby RD Kimball » Sun Jan 23, 2005 11:08 am

There are many variables unmentioned here. First of all it takes a certain and a certain physiogomy and personality type to go into sales. I would suggests this would include a extrovert personality, a pretty good personal appearance, and a geographic location in an area where there are a lot of sale leads. Perhaps the Northeast Metro centers, Chicago areas, California areas. But the adjustment to me sounds unlikely for most of the people in science I am acquanted with. Perhaps you could give examples?
RD Kimball
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