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Specialty Chemistry Forums => Chemical Education => Topic started by: relinquishme on March 22, 2018, 02:08:08 AM

Title: To Chemists out there, does it lead to a bright future?
Post by: relinquishme on March 22, 2018, 02:08:08 AM
Hello, I had a late start in life. I had no idea what I wanted to do, with feelings of complete hopelessness. This fall, at age 24, I started working hard towards math, and I impressed myself with my performance. For once, I care about something in life, and that is chemistry.

I've spent about 5 years of wastefulness, trying to dig myself out of the hole and figure out some profession to pursue. All I come back to is chemistry. I can't really put my finger on any other major that I want to spend the rest of my life learning. Computer science, for example, everyone boasts about how great it is. I understand it's in demand, and I also understand it's a more reliable degree. I initially was a comp sci major because I thought, "hey, I play video games all of the time on the computer- what better job for me than being a game developer?" I soon realized that I hate the actual science behind computers. It bores me to death and I cannot understand why so many people love it. In fact, I don't find computer interesting at all, I just like games.

I would give my life to chemistry, to study it, and be just overall knowledgeable. Unfortunately, from what I've heard, everyone says to stay away from it; unless you get a PhD, or go into something like pharmacy, engineering or med school. I don't want to do any of those. All I want, is to someday become a chemist. That's it. Whether an organic, analytical, etc.; I just want to do solely chemistry related work. I always wanted to just work in a lab, analyze things and find out something new and neat everyday. I want to feel like what I'm doing is helping the world. I like jobs where I get to move around and requires a lot of attention and intense thought. I like the excitement it fulfills. I could never do a business job, I always found chemicals fascinating. My favorite household substance is 91+% isopropyl. I love watching it evaporate so quickly. It soothes my mind.

My question to all of you, is: is all this information I'm hearing true about chem degrees and jobs? The following is some of what I hear: "Chemistry degrees are useless, with a bachelors minimum you will always work as a lab technician, which pays very low and has little to no benefits." Even some say having a masters in chemistry is just as useless, and you'd likely just get shoved into a trivial, low paying job.

I also hear that people with chemistry degrees cannot be creative in their work. They also say that you do "b$*%(" work and that people are constantly being laid off. They cannot hold a job.

It's odd to me, that a science job that seems so important is now "useless." You'd think by now, the job industry will start hiring chemists left and right. I mean, it's been almost 10 years with people screaming about how much chemistry sucks, which may have resulted in less and less people majoring in it. With the bulk of majors now either being Comp sci, business, or nurse/premed type jobs.

To keep note- I live in New Jersey. There are a lot of labs and pharmaceutical company's all over where I live. I've looked on monster and there's plenty hiring, but who knows. Also, I am willing to get an internship as soon as possible, hopefully after I attain an A.S I can somewhere. I'd be looking everywhere, all the time while in school, I have full intent and motivation to. Especially regarding the fact you NEED experience more than anything, according to the current hiring job descriptions, near me.

Let me know what you think about all of this, I'd really appreciate it. Thank you for your time.
Title: Re: To Chemists out there, does it lead to a bright future?
Post by: DrCMS on March 22, 2018, 05:45:34 AM
Consider who is more likely to talk on web forums those people who have job they enjoy saying that or those people who have not succeeded bitching about how s#*$ life is and it must be because they studied a "useless" subject rather than face up to that they themselves might be the problem?

There is a lot to be said for having a job doing something you like compared with something that pays you well but you hate it every single day for 40 years.
Title: Re: To Chemists out there, does it lead to a bright future?
Post by: Corribus on March 22, 2018, 08:35:41 AM
It's bollocks. There are a lot of unhappy people in every profession - is it fair to blame the profession unilaterally? It's true with just a bachelors degree you will have some limitations and many people with these degrees find themselves in (allegedly unrewarding) QC or QA positions. On the other hand, most people aren't very creative when it comes to finding interesting opportunities the the degrees they have, chemistry or otherwise, they aren't aggressive with advancement, and then they whine about where they end up.

There are lots of things you can do with a chemistry degree, and many of those things don't actually have a lot to do with bench science. A degree is what you make of it. The best way to avoid being in a low paying bench job you don't want is to plan ahead and explore your options early and often. Find out what you can do with your degree. Talk to professionals in the field. Go to scientific conferences. Consult with your university's employment office. I would wager that many people who end up in the dead end jobs you are afraid of do so because they wait until the last minute to figure out what their options are, apply for everything because they haven't planned ahead, and then take whatever comes along out of sheer desperation without regard to whether it is actually a good fit to their skills and interests.
Title: Re: To Chemists out there, does it lead to a bright future?
Post by: wildfyr on March 22, 2018, 09:41:13 AM
If there is a place on earth where chemistry work should be easy to find, its New Jersey.
Title: Re: To Chemists out there, does it lead to a bright future?
Post by: Babcock_Hall on March 22, 2018, 10:25:59 AM
The master's level graduate students whom I know have generally gone on to well paying jobs that they seem to like.  Some have continued into Ph.D. programs.
Title: Re: To Chemists out there, does it lead to a bright future?
Post by: Elric82 on April 03, 2018, 05:24:52 PM
I have a question related to this subject. I’ve heard that the job market for chemists isn’t very good. I’ve also read about people getting a masters degree, not being able to land the job they want, and then being told they were too “overqualified” to work in an analytical lab?  Has anyone on here seen or experienced this before?
Title: Re: To Chemists out there, does it lead to a bright future?
Post by: Arkcon on April 03, 2018, 07:12:23 PM
Over-qualification is a thing that exists in this world.  It means that jobs will directly tell people they won't hire them, because they expert the hired person will leave, angry, possibly after making people who work there unhappy first.  Its as real and as important a concept as is not letting a computer programmer be a medical doctor -- they just don't fit the role.  It could also simply be an excuse to not hire a person.

Plenty of analytical chemistry positions are just as likely to require a masters degree, and some will be glad to take an MS degree as a chemist for a while, hoping they'd like to grow in a management position.