Stats, Biochemistry and Microbiology

By Murray Bourne, 31 Oct 2007

A reader recently wrote:

... I am a statistics student presently and i am faced with the choice of choosing one out of biochemistry and microbiology if i want to go futher pls i need advice. which one is better.

I am neither a biochemist nor a microbiologist, but I didn't want to leave this guy in the lurch, so I answered:

I suspect that there is more scope for a statistics major in microbiology compared to biochemistry. But you need to ask yourself the following questions:

1. What is your passion? (statistics, science generally, biology, chemistry, or something else??)

2. Do you see yourself as a researcher in the future? Have you done any research already? You could volunteer to do some research with some microbiologists or some biochemists (or both) to see which one is really the best fit for you.

3. Is money important to you? Which of these 2 fields has the best prospects for a well-paying career?

4. Is promotion important to you? Which field has the most demand and the least number of others interested in the field in your country?

5. Look at the bigger picture. With climate change, what will these fields look like in 15 years from now? Which will have the most change and the most scope?

Good luck with your decision.

My questions were an attempt to get him to reflect on who he is and what drives him - and to think beyond the next few years.

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