Moving from Manufacturing into Process Development: How to Pursue a Career as a Process Development Scientist

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Job growth in the biotechnology field is expected to be at least 7 per cent over the next decade. There are many jobs in this field, and not everyone is in the lab or behind a lectern in academia. For would-be process development scientists the career path is about education, developing the right skills set, internship or training experience and gaining more on the job experience. Read on to learn about the path to becoming a Process Development Scientist in the biotechnology industry.

Pursue a solid and holistic education.

Of course, for this career, you must have an interest in the sciences. This involves obtaining a degree in biochemistry, molecular biology, chemical engineering, or a related discipline from an accredited university. Often, depending on the type of work involved, a master’s or doctorate are required. That being said, you should be prepared to be a lifelong learner in this career; as a process development scientist, you will need to keep up with all of the innovation in the field, which will require lots of reading and possibly some academic or professional conventions.

Because your work as a process development associate will involve the large-scale production of drug products, you will also need to familiarize yourself with the fundamentals of engineering, according to Jared Auclair from The Northeast University career blog. If you are currently enrolled in university, be prepared to take a wide variety of courses. If you’ve already graduated, perhaps consider returning to audit or complete a few extra courses in engineering or biotech specific classes.

Develop useful skills.

If your goal is to land a job atBio Technical Resources (BTR) and help to develop new process technologies based on microbial fermentation, good basic communication skills are are must. Don’t ignore the opportunity to improve your writing and media presentation talents while taking classes at university.

An analysis by Zippia found that experience working with cell cultures, validating protocols and developing analytical skills ranked high in the work of a process development scientist, and that’s certainly true in process development biotech as well. These skills, while based in hard science, will also require soft-skills like communication and collaboration.

These hard-to-define good people skills can also be vital to performing certain jobs in the field. A process development scientist might manage projects that require working across sciences and professional backgrounds and fields of expertise.

There are many complexities that to go into developing a new drug. Can you talk the talk of the researcher in the lab and the accountant who is trying to limit production costs?

Gain hands-on experience.

Process development scientists work in various industries where raw materials are converted by chemical, biological, physical or technological processes into finished products or those that will be of use in other products. The work is often about improving the efficiency and profitability of these products, and you may not learn this in the classroom. Therefore, consider applying to the manufacturing, biotech or pharmaceutical companies in your college town or for an internship. Companies that produce food, medicine, cosmetics or paint might let you work and learn alongside one of their scientists for a few months.

Knowing your way around a lab and understanding the production processes would prove invaluable in your future job search.

Additionally, you should look for a mentor while interning. Find someone who is willing to let you shadow them and teach you more about the work they do. You will also want them to help you network with others in the field. Networking is an underrated activity for students studying science. By making connections across the industry, you can learn about all of the different positions in the field. For instance, perhaps your mentor can connect you with a biotech process development technician at BTR who works with products based on microbial fermentation. Learning about specific processes will help you stand out in your future job search because you’ll be able to articulate which process development services attract you most to the field.

If you’re looking to enter the burgeoning field of biotechnology, follow these steps to be the most attractive candidate for leading biomanufacturing companies.