Jobs in the industry
Working as a Research Scientist allows you to use your science qualification to the full. The role itself allows you to constantly test your scientific knowledge and put that knowledge to practical use, to solve problems, invent new materials/products and perfect existing products. Research Scientists are laboratory based and need to be up to date with much of the current literature in the field. They will use and become familiar with a wide range of processes and techniques during their career.
Research Scientists spend their time designing, implementing and reporting experimental work as well as discussing present and future projects with other members of the research team.
There are many avenues open to you once you join a research team. You can work in the laboratory and progress into a supervisory role, or take a sideways career step and take the knowledge and experience you have gained within the research area into marketing or technical sales/support.
A Product Development Chemist is laboratory based and works closely with the Pilot Plant to furthur develop existing products. Working on anything from small gram scale preparations to large kilogram scale preparations, the Product Development Chemist optimises and develops existing processes and modifies or improves existing products. As a Product Development Chemist you will become familiar with most of the processes and products used on site and will often provide technical support to both the pilot plant and main plant operators.
Chemical / Process Engineering
A Process Engineer can have responsibility for a number of things, from providing engineering support to solve plant problems and improve plant capacity to adding new or replacing old equipment to keep the plant running. Process Engineers also get involved in small projects which can include installing computer systems, training operators to run new/improved plant or installing a new vessel to improve capacity. There are also big projects such as designing, building and commissioning an entire plant including computer systems testing, working with other engineering disciplines and training operators and plant managers to run the plant effectively
Career progression will vary but can include moving into management of people or plant, remaining in an engineering/project role or moving into project management. It is even possible to make it up to Company Director level with engineering as a base because of the wide range of skills and experience you have.
The role of a Sales Representative is to develop business with both new and existing customers. The Representative is the “front line” of the Sales Department and has to handle any technical or commercial issues the customer may have. Technical issues involve an understanding of chemistry, whereas commercial problems include supply of volumes, stock levels and pricing.
As a Sales Representative the key to developing new business is to have good interpersonal skills and to act promptly on customer requirements. Many representatives are UK based but you could become an International Sales Representative, therefore foreign language skills may also be of use.