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What Skills Do You Need to Be a Scientist?

Scientist looking through a microscope

Do you have an inquisitive mind? Do you enjoy planning and carrying out experiments? If so, a career as a scientist may be perfect for you.

But what skills do you need to succeed as a scientist? A passion for science is a must, of course, but in this blog we're going take a look at some of the more specific skills and personality traits required to pursue a career in science (especially the life sciences sector).

Working as a scientist

Working in the life sciences sector, the main basis of your work will be conducting research.

Depending on your role, you will probably be heavily involved in planning and conducting experiments and analysing the results of these experiments. Results gathered can either be for a definite end use - such as producing new products, commercial applications or processes - or they can be used to expand scientific knowledge in general.

When conducting experiments, you will sometimes work alone, but on other occasions you may find yourself working as part of a larger research team.

Research scientists in the life sciences sector work in a number of different environments, including commercial and governmental labs, hospitals, and higher education institutions.


Life science skills

In order to become a successful and effective scientist within the life science industry, you will need to possess a range of important skills.

These skills should enable you to handle a variety of tasks and responsibilities that will contribute to the overall goals set out by your organisation.

So, what are the skills needed to become a research scientist? The most important ones are as follows:

  • A methodical approach to analysing and processing data

  • The ability to work on your own AND as part of a team

  • Strong communication skills - you will likely have to produce reports, write papers and give presentations for peers, colleagues and important stakeholders

  • Patience and determination to see important experiments through to their completion

  • Good organisation and time management skills

  • The ability to solve problems efficiently and think on your feet when conducting experiments


How do you become a scientist?

In order to find employment in the life sciences sector, you'll typically need a good honours degree (2:1 or above) in a relevant subject. Any degree that's directly related to health, biology, medicine or agriculture should be okay, but below we list some of the more useful subjects that you can study to maximise your chances of becoming a successful scientist.

These include:

  • Pharmacology
  • Biochemistry
  • Natural sciences
  • Biomedical science
  • Microbiology
  • Environmental biology
  • Ecology

As well as a degree in these areas, employers may also require you to hold either a research-based MSc or PhD, or to be working towards one. This is especially important if you plan on applying for advanced-level roles.

However, it may be possible to secure an entry-level life science position with just an undergraduate degree, and to study part-time for a postgraduate qualification in order to progress to a more senior role later.

Entry to a technician-level job may be possible with a foundation degree or HND, but further study would be required in order to progress beyond this level.

Our science jobs

If you believe you have all of the necessary skills and qualifications to work as a scientist within the life science sector, HRS is here for you!

We help to place talented, driven scientists into their dream roles across a variety of science-based sectors. So, no matter where your expertise lies, the life-changers here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions will be able to point you in the right direction.

Browse Science Jobs >

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