What are new career opportunities in biology

How do I become a biologist?

Research takes up a large part of the work of biologists. Because biology means the study of life. For example, they study the way animals live in nature or discover new species of fish in the sea. To do this, they not only spend a lot of time in the laboratory, but also travel to a wide variety of places in the world. Do you want to become a biologist? In order to achieve your goal, you will start a 6-semester biology course. You can then choose from various master’s courses through which you can specialize. You can choose from areas of expertise such as biochemistry and physics as well as genetics. You will complete this course after 4 semesters. Then you will do your doctorate. You should plan around 4 years for this.

What does everyday work look like?

Various fields of work are open to biologists. For example, you have the opportunity to work in authorities, in the zoo or in research centers. You can find a possible daily routine for a marine biologist at the last-named job here:

8:00 a.m.

After a research trip lasting several weeks, you will be back in the office for the first time today. Yesterday evening you and your colleagues returned from the Arctic.

8:20 a.m.

The entire team gathers for a brief preliminary discussion about the daily routine. You start by opening the boxes that were used as storage options on the ship. You clean the equipment contained therein such as microscopes, plankton nets and diving equipment and put them in the appropriate cupboards.

9:30 a.m.

After you have accommodated everything, you will meet again in the lecture room. The project manager, Mr. Nedels, retrospectively explains the specific task of the team at sea. The focus of your investigations was the phytoplankton, which forms the basis of the sea food chain and plays an important role in oxygen production. It belongs to the plant plankton and consists mainly of types of algae such as diatoms and green algae. The aim of the research project was and is to find out how many micrograms of diatoms are contained in one liter of phytoplankton.

12:00 o'clock

The exhausting morning calls for an extensive lunch break. To do this, go to the nearby café.

13:00 'O clock

After the one-hour break, everyone goes to their place of work. Because now it is important for all employees to transfer the large amount of collected data to the computer and organize it.

17:30

A busy and exciting day is coming to an end. There is still a lot to discuss and research, but for now, enjoy your well-deserved evening off.

requirements

  • Careful operation
  • Ability to work in a team
  • curiosity
  • Interested in always being up to date with the latest research
  • Sense of responsibility
  • English skills

What does a biologist do?

Since many scientists are researching at the same time, new discoveries in biology are constantly being made. So that you and your colleagues are always up to date, you publish your results and are in lively exchange with each other. This means, among other things, that you write a lot of specialist articles. You will also take part in conferences for scientists. For this you prepare presentations in which you present your research work. In addition, you continue to educate yourself and take various courses to learn new microscopy methods. You will also pass this knowledge on to your young colleagues and teach them laboratory and statistical procedures.
Experiments provide you with further information on a scientific topic. If you want to do one, you first formulate a question that is as precise as possible. Then you make your first hypotheses about the outcome of the experiment. During the implementation, you pay particular attention to a careful working method. This way you avoid mistakes that can influence the results. You document the latter clearly and interpret them with regard to your initial forecasts. After completing the experiment, you complete the test protocol. Typical work materials include devices and systems with which you examine and evaluate biological material. These include microscopes, incubators and special IT programs.
It is not always enough to look at samples under a microscope. Sometimes you are drawn to nature itself and you go on a research trip. There is a lot to organize in advance. First of all, you decide on a place where you want to collect experimental drugs. Then you choose the right flights, accommodation and rental car. If necessary, you can organize someone to look after your plants in the research laboratory. One possible destination is the Galapagos Islands, where you can explore the endemic flora and fauna. This means that you concentrate on the flora and fauna that is only native to the island. This includes, for example, the Galápagos penguin. It belongs to the genus of the African penguins and thus to the endangered species.

What are the job prospects?

Compared to other natural scientists, biologists have a hard time finding suitable employment. It is therefore important that you gain experience through internships during your studies. You can expect better career prospects if you have a bachelor's degree in biology and have also specialized in a subject through a master's degree. In addition, your career opportunities increase if you do a doctorate.

What qualities should I have?

  • Scientific understanding

What specializations are there?

Anthropology is the science of man. You are not only concerned with his physical structure and behavior, but also with his ancestry. Your tasks include genetic evidence of paternity and the early detection of hereditary diseases. In your job you will analyze various scientific theories, for example Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. He developed several theses such as "Survival of the Fittest". This says that the best adapted survives.
You can look at plants from a molecular, genetic and biochemical perspective. You will go into different areas. For example, you examine the structure of the root, the influence of light and the process of photosynthesis. Botany, also known as plant biology, is of great importance for society. Because it helps to understand fundamental life processes and climate changes as well as to analyze new types of drugs. For example, the natural extracts of the hemp plant are used in medicine.
Microbiology is both a field of biology and medicine. One aim of this area is to analyze and explain the ecological importance of bacteria and fungi as well as their behavior and metabolic performance. To do this, you examine the structure, the living environment and the environmental interactions of microorganisms. The biologists can use the knowledge they have gained to protect the environment, among other things. Mycology is a branch of microbiology. In this you will mainly deal with research on mushrooms. Viruses are in the foreground in virology.
Whether mammal, amphibian or insect: In this area of ​​biology you will research the development, behavior and interrelationships of all animal living beings. Due to the broad spectrum of zoology, it is made up of several specialist disciplines. For example, the area of ​​morphology, in which you focus on the body structures of the animals, is of great importance. In addition, zoology deals with the sciences of different animal groups, such as birds.
As the name suggests, biological oceanography is about the marine environment. This is largely unexplored. You deal with the organisms, bacteria, fungi and animals that live there. You will work in the laboratory and take part in excursions to the coast or the sea. There you record material cycles through measurements, among other things. Your results will then be incorporated into nature conservation. For example, they should help explain human-induced disturbances in biological processes.

particularities

  • Employers often require a doctorate
  • Most of the job takes place in the laboratory and at the microscope
  • Mainly research activity
  • Constantly evolving area

Did you already know, that ...

  • ... ears and nose grow for a lifetime?
  • ... the tongue print of every person is unique?
  • ... the sea takes up about 71% of the total surface of the earth?

This celebrity is also a biologist

Lisa Kudrow - actress

Lisa Kudrow studied biology at an elite American university and then decided to follow in her father's footsteps to do research on the subject of headaches. In 1993 she turned her back on science and entered the film industry. In the series “Friends” she played “Phoebe Buffay”. (Image: Lan Bui)

What speaks for the job

  1. Varied activities
  2. Different ways of setting priorities
  3. Participation in research and participation in further development
  4. Chance to get to know numerous places in the world

What speaks against the job

  1. Lots of work in the lab
  2. Difficult to find a permanent job as a biologist
  3. Mostly dependent on grants and funding

Starting salary as a biologist

Your starting salary as a biologist is on average € 3,150 ¹ gross per month. Several factors, such as a PhD and laboratory experience, can mean that you start with a higher income.

In addition, the location of the institute influences your income and also with the individual specializations - these include biological anthropology, botany or zoology - there may be differences in salary depending on the position.

Salary based on work experience

As your professional experience increases, so does your salary. With 3 to 5 years of professional experience, you will receive around € 3,550 ¹ gross per month. After 6 to 10 years, your average income will be € 3,950 ¹. If you work as a biologist for more years, you will receive € 4,900 ¹. The top salaries in this area are around € 7,000 ¹ per month. You will usually receive this with a doctorate or professor title.

Salary based on work experience

As your professional experience increases, so does your salary. With 3 to 5 years of professional experience, you will receive around € 3,550 ¹ gross per month. After 6 to 10 years, your average income will be € 3,950 ¹. If you work as a biologist for more years, you will receive € 4,900 ¹. The top salaries in this area are around € 7,000 ¹ per month. You will usually receive this with a doctorate or professor title.

Salary by state

If you work in Bavaria or Rhineland-Palatinate, you will earn the most on average compared to biologists in the other federal states. Your monthly income there is around € 4,550 ¹ gross. In contrast, it is only around € 2,600 ¹ gross per month in Saxony and is therefore the lowest there. In the new federal states, your salary as a biologist is usually below the German average. In return, the cost of living is often cheaper there.