Academia or Industry? This seems to a dilemma that almost all students in the science major faced. Just like them, I have not a single clue on what I want to do after I graduate with a degree in Biology. With no one in my family in the science field, both industry and academia seems to be a mystery to me. Thanks to the two amazing events that CSEP put on for the summer intern program (the Dinner with Faculty and the Dinner with Industry) I was given an opportunity to talk to people who are experienced in each field. These two events are extremely helpful for learning what it is like working in industry or in academia.
I have always thought of academia and industry as two parallel worlds that are so different from each other that they never cross path. To my surprise, I found out that there is actually not as big of a difference as I previously believed. Research in the industry and academia actually overlaps in many ways and are very similar in many aspect. Often, professors in research university collaborates with companies for new discoveries and some professors even started their own company. Scientists in the industry also conduct researches in similar fashion as professors. They have to meet deadlines, write research proposal for money, be the leader of the lab just like any research professors. In addition, for science major students who are fresh out of college, working in academia and in industry seems to be very similar as well. Both as a graduate student and as scientist in industry, one always start out with lots of hours behind the bench and slowly rises to a leadership position.
After the opportunity to talk to professors and leaders in industries, I completely change my view on my career path. In both industry and in academia, one has tremendous flexibility to switch from one to another or maybe even work in both.