For today’s Science Sunday, I decided to shift focus just a little bit. Instead of highlighting research, I am going to talk about pursuing a career in research. NatureJobs posted a couple of very interesting infographics last week, and one in particular stood out to me: what skills PhD graduates found the most interesting, and where they acquired those skills. (Article: What skills do the University of Toronto department of immunology alumni take away from postgraduate courses?)
As a first-year grad student, I find this infographic to be particularly interesting, as I am still in a position where I can tailor what I am going to learn and how I am going to learn it. While the section about where skills important for different research areas were learned did not surprise me a lot, I was interested in reading what skills became important after receiving a PhD: in particular, that knowledge of your field of study is one of the least important skills moving forward! The emphasis seemed instead to be on “transferrable skills”: those that bridge multiple fields, such as writing, organization, and leadership. Transferrable skills is quickly becoming a buzzword, and buzzwords can quickly lose meaning once they are thrown at you over and over again. Data like this shows that those transferrable skills are actually important in professional settings, making them more tempting to learn and cultivate.
Readers: Are you interested in Science Sunday articles focused on careers as well, or would you rather just see science news in this feature? I want your opinion! 🙂