lxzqw136 Posted June 6, 2021 Share Posted June 6, 2021 I'm a 5th year phd student studying biostatistics, expecting to graduate this year. I am now facing two options for choosing a career in industry. One is a data scientist position in a tech company and the other is biostatistician at a big pharma. These two are very different options with different pros and cons. I'll share some of my personal understanding of these two options. I think people already talk enough about the pros in tech (money, large datasets, new methods, etc), so I'll talk more about why I think pharma might also be a good choice to think over tech. It seems that pharma really needs biostats people to run the clinical trials. The work itself may not look exciting in the beginning. It involves many routine work, such as writing SAS, SAP, meetings with different teams, etc. In general, you need learn different components of clinical trials, not just the technical/statistics parts. In fact, there may not be many fancy modern stats methods involved in clinical trials, due to FDA regulation and other reasons. I believe the key part is really to understand the whole picture of clinical trials and get experiences over the years to prepare yourself for the potential of leading a trial. Also, there might be many regulatory writing involved. I think one advantage of being a biostats at pharma is that this career path is clear. You have people ahead of you showing you the examples of how to be successful here. And you can see where you are 10-20 years later. Say if I am at the age of 45, I might find being a biostats/associate director (AD)/director (depending on how much you have promoted) has easier lives than being a data scientist at competitive tech companies with many young talents. I just feel that pharma values years of experiences more. In big tech, there are positions value more of experiences than technical skills, but I just feel they are either high level manager position (which is very competitive to get), or product manager types of positions. In pharma, from what I heard recently, promoted to AD are probablty doable, but to director is not so guaranteed. Although being at AD doesn't mean you get paid more compared to the level you can achieve at tech, the hierarchical structure may gives senior people less stress and more power. If I'm in a place where people around me are at the same level but just younger than me, I may feel stressed in tech. I know ultimately, choosing a career depends on what a person really likes. But for me, I am never the kind of person who knows clearly what I definitely like and hate. I am ok with coding, programming, but I'm also ok with writing papers and communicating with people outside the domain. I can't find in either tech or pharma, what I definitely love and hate. That's probably because I do not have enough working experiences, but that's also why I really have the difficulty choosing a direction. I am closer to the deadline of making a decision. Any comments, options and suggestions are highly appreciated! Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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