Updating Your Skills for the Technology Explosion in Science
By Harvey Yau
Thanks to the rapid advancements in technology, there’s been exponential growth in the use of technological applications in life sciences. This is particularly true for the genomics space in areas such as molecular and genetic design. Since the convergence of digital platforms and science is becoming increasingly important, it’s imperative to be prepared for the technology explosion, no matter where you are in your career. Here are a few points to be aware of.
New University Curricula to Meet Industry Needs
A growing number of companies are using advanced technology in all aspects of the product lifecycle, from R&D to quality control to consumer applications. For this reason, many universities are updating their curricula by blending science and IT to meet industry needs. For example, at prominent universities like Caltech and UC San Diego, the bioengineering courses are specifically designed to teach students to adapt to rapid technological changes that will enable them to become technology leaders and innovators.
What Does This Mean for You?
What all this means is that if you’re a new graduate, you’ll possess the right skills to work with these advanced applications. If you’re a mid-career scientist, however, you need to take steps to not be left behind. Because while your expertise and experience still place you at an advantage over recent graduates, there’s no doubt that you’ll need technological skills to remain not just competitive, but actually employable. Retraining on the job or in your own time is, therefore, essential.
Updating Tech Skills Is an Ongoing and Collaborative Effort
Regardless of whether you’re currently a recent graduate or a mid-career scientist, updating your technological skills will be an ongoing endeavor. Moreover, you’ll need to stay abreast of changing regulations surrounding data management, for instance. In practice, this can mean anything from upskilling to retraining to learning from your colleagues in the workplace. And this is an exciting opportunity for cross-generational learning and collaboration — one that while it might be prompted by technology, can also carry over in other areas of your job. You could consider it a form of 360-degree mentoring, where scientists of all experience levels and a wide range of skillsets work together and exchange knowledge.
New technologies are being adopted at a fast pace in science, and this is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. As a result, growth in IT-combo-science jobs will be significant in the coming years. In addition, there will be more use of technology in existing operations. That’s why, no matter what your exact job function is, it’s critical to your career to use everything at your disposal to always stay abreast of technological developments in your specific field. Remember that by becoming a perpetual learner, you consistently support your employability