So you want to be me, huh? A microbiologist whom like most people in her generation struggles with paying her student loans and building a solid nest egg? Cool, I am here to help. I am living the dream after all.
First and foremost, what exactly IS microbiology? Well in the simplest terms it is the study of microorganisms. What are microorganisms? Well that’s a deep hole we don’t have time to go down but in basic terms think organisms you cannot see with the naked eye. Things like bacteria, viruses and fungi.
So in essence I study these tiny little forms of life.
So how does one get into this field?
- You need a degree in microbiology or a relevant field such as biology. I myself have a Bachelors of Biology but I also took microbiology and immunology courses. Depending on what you would like to achieve in your career (research vs industry) you may need to get an advanced degree.
What exactly could you do in the microbiology field?
- There are so many options for work as a microbiologist. I started as a pharmaceutical microbiologist. But you can find jobs with the government, with pharmaceutical companies, in clinical labs or with universities as a researcher.
What do you do? Specifically as a pharmaceutical microbiologist?
- Basically I make sure our facility and our products are within regulation in regards to microbial contamination. It may surprise you but depending on the product, there is a federally allowed amount of microbial growth (depending on the microbe of course. There are certain ones you NEVER want)
- I don’t perform any research, which is great for me because my experience with research in undergrad taught me that research is just not for me. I am very impatient and absolutely hate paperwork. So that’s a no go for me.
It’s not the most exciting of careers for most people. But to me I get to combine my love for science and learning with my desire to help people. Big pharma (even though it’s my employer) can be absolutely vile, but without it we also wouldn’t have developed a very many useful drugs. My company in particular mostly develops cancer drugs and having actually heard from people in our clinical trials it warms my heart that I had something to do with helping people kick cancer’s A-S-S.
If any of this sounds interesting to you please reach out to me for any questions you may have! I would love to see more women in particular get into the field!