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Field Application Scientists: What did you (dis)like about it?

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Field Application Scientists: What did you (dis)like about it?

Postby Ralf K. » Fri Jun 12, 2015 3:54 am

Dear all,
I wanted to know if some FAS would be around here? After using the myIDP and also myself always wanted to have this mix: science, technology and teaching, I find myself at the cross-road, between going back for a PhD or apply for FAS roles.

I “only” have a Masters in Molec. Biology. 3.5 years of industry lab experience. I am 30 years old and multilingual and love technical stuff and talking about it. I have additional courses in programming, which I enjoyed as much as working in the lab.
I have the impression I was born to be a FAS:).

A) I’ve been told the by someone who has been FAS through a PM in this forum, that the Job is not worth going back to do a PhD for. What are the downsides of this job? What drives people away from it?
Do you feel like a better IT supporter? Can you innovate?
B) At a later stage I could see myself going into Product Development or Marketing. I have technical interest combined with science and IT. Would my lack-of-PhD be an issue there?

The only thing I keep asking myself is -> will this job make me happy when having kids, being 40 -50? What can I do afterwards? Will the costumers or travelling drive me nuts?

Thank you
Alternative careers for my profile are also welcome:D…
Ralf K.
 
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Re: Field Application Scientists: What did you (dis)like about it?

Postby Dave Jensen » Sat Jun 13, 2015 11:21 am

Ralf K. wrote:
A) I’ve been told the by someone who has been FAS through a PM in this forum, that the Job is not worth going back to do a PhD for. What are the downsides of this job? What drives people away from it?
Do you feel like a better IT supporter? Can you innovate?
B) At a later stage I could see myself going into Product Development or Marketing. I have technical interest combined with science and IT. Would my lack-of-PhD be an issue there?

The only thing I keep asking myself is -> will this job make me happy when having kids, being 40 -50? What can I do afterwards? Will the costumers or travelling drive me nuts?

Thank you
Alternative careers for my profile are also welcome:D…


Ralf,

I'm sure there are some FAS's on the Forum. I hope that someone will step up. There's a fellow over in CA who I hope participates in your question.

My comments would be that while the FAS may not necessarily need the PhD (70% of the time), the positions upward from the FAS spot may. Or, you'd be faster up the ladder with one. If education is wearing you down and this job appeals, nothing wrong with trying it on for size and even a couple of years later, going back for a PhD if you are still considering that.

The problem with the FAS is that, in many companies, there isn't a clearly defined path upwards from the role. Sales, Marketing, new Product Development . . . these are all prospects, and perhaps only in the Product Development arena would there be issues for someone without the PhD.

Good luck, Ralf!

Dave
"Failure is a bruise -- not a tattoo." -- Jon Sinclair
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Re: Field Application Scientists: What did you (dis)like about it?

Postby John D. D, » Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:57 pm

I think that the main difference may be the level of abstraction that is required. In a FAS job, I would think that you stay very applied and also change focus pretty often. In Ph.D. and postdoctoral work, that is usually not the case. One becomes very focused and specialized in a specific area to the point where it becomes difficult to switch focus between things.

I think that a Ph.D. does help. You could probably find a situation for getting a Ph.D. where the expectation would not be for you to stay academic. If you did stay academic, the pay would be less, the job environment is usually more flexible and relaxed (you don't have to wear a tie every day). You would travel a lot less.

You could try something that involves field biology, or field engineering if you have the math skills.

I've tried to develop a "New Independent University" concept that would incorporate mobility so that people could travel between campuses, continuing their work. It is not easy to do in some fields where bench work is essential, but you sound like you already have that under your belt with your master's. So maybe more abstraction is what you would need for a Ph.D. Design some equipment that you can test in someone's field of expertise, and you could be done with a Ph.D. in 3 years if it goes well, and with a patent under your belt.
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