• Question: How long did it take you to become a scientist and how long have you been one for?

    Asked by maximus on 4 Mar 2020.
    • Photo: Lotte de Winde

      Lotte de Winde answered on 4 Mar 2020:


      I graduated from my PhD in October 2017, and was then 29 years old, so it took me 29 years to become a scientist on a paper. However, I feel like I am a scientist since my first MSc internship in a research lab, which was in 2011. I am now a postdoctoral scientist for 2.5 years.

    • Photo: Sarah Clarke

      Sarah Clarke answered on 4 Mar 2020:


      So it kind of depends on where you want to start counting. I first started university 17years ago so I’d probably say I’ve been a scientist one way or another since then. I didn’t get my first science job until 2005. Since then I’ve gone back to university a second time and also worked for a few more years and now am doing a PhD. I’m currently in the 2nd year of my PhD and have one more year to go.

    • Photo: Sophie Arthur

      Sophie Arthur answered on 4 Mar 2020:


      I studied my undergraduate degree for four years. They are normally three years but I spent a year doing a research placement doing immunology research. After that I started my PhD and did that for four years too.
      So depending on when you would say I became a scientist it is either 4 or 8 years. I would say I started being a scientist at the start of my PhD which was just over 5 years ago

    • Photo: Paige Chandler

      Paige Chandler answered on 4 Mar 2020:


      I graduated from my degree in 2016, and I’ve been working in science since then! After leaving school I spent 4 years doing my degree.

    • Photo: Robyn Kiy

      Robyn Kiy answered on 4 Mar 2020: last edited 4 Mar 2020 7:23 pm


      I started my science course at university when I was 18, but I think the first time I felt like a scientist was when I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for a year (as part of my university course) starting when I was 21. That means I’ve been a scientist for under 2 years – so hopefully I have many more to come!

    • Photo: Katrina Wesencraft

      Katrina Wesencraft answered on 4 Mar 2020:


      I’m still becoming a scientist – when I finish my PhD next year, I’ll have been studying or working at universities for ten years!

    • Photo: Xiaohan Li

      Xiaohan Li answered on 4 Mar 2020:


      For me it’s very hard to draw a border between “doing science but not a scientist yet” and “being a real scientist”. I started working in a lab doing research in my 2nd year in university in 2010, and got my PhD degree in 2017. Since then I am a postdoctoral/semi-independent scientist for almost 3 years. It’s a gradual process and the training period might be long, but you can enjoy science en route becoming a doctor. πŸ™‚

    • Photo: Andrea Kusec

      Andrea Kusec answered on 4 Mar 2020:


      I’m still in the process of becoming a scientist – but after my Master’s degree (finished in 2016, age 26) I felt like I had a good grasp of science!

    • Photo: Sarah Carter

      Sarah Carter answered on 5 Mar 2020:


      I think it totally depends on the type of science you’d like to do. I know people who work in labs with undergraduate degrees (3 to 4 years of training, depending on where you get your degrees). I was qualified to be a scientist and work at a Department of Coroner after getting a 3-year Master’s degree in the US (that + my 4-year undergraduate degree = 7 years of training). I’m now qualified to work in epidemiological research because I did a 3-year PhD (10 total years of training). I graduated from my PhD program in 2018, and have been working since I graduated, so have only really been employed as a scientist for 18 months. However, I really enjoyed all the training leading up to this point, so it doesn’t feel like I’ve only just begun my career. I’ve been doing it since I started university!

    • Photo: Nuru Noor

      Nuru Noor answered on 5 Mar 2020:


      Really good question – well I was at university for 6 years studying medicine but never really considered myself a “scientist” – even though I was learning a bit about science.

      Then after working as a doctor for a few years I started to get a bit more involved in science and seeing how care could be improved for patients. I never really considered myself a scientist at this stage but probably that was the beginning πŸ”¬πŸ’ŠπŸ‘

      Now I am studying about clinical trials research and helping patients in clinical trials – so I guess I would definitely now call myself a research scientist 😎

    • Photo: Nathan Kindred

      Nathan Kindred answered on 5 Mar 2020:


      I think I really ‘became a scientist’ when I worked as a lab assistant during my undergraduate degree back in 2016 so I guess I have been a scientist for 4 years now, though I’ve only been a PhD student for around 5 months.

    • Photo: Sarah Brown

      Sarah Brown answered on 5 Mar 2020:


      I’m also still in the process of becoming a scientist on paper – I finish my PhD next year! I feel like I have been a scientist ever since I started doing my own research during my masters project, however, so would say it took me until I was 22 and that I have been one now for 3 years.

    • Photo: Kate Mitchell

      Kate Mitchell answered on 5 Mar 2020:


      I did three degrees which took almost 8 years, and since I got my PhD I have been working in science 9.5 years – a long time!

    • Photo: M S

      M S answered on 5 Mar 2020:


      I think like a lot of people have said, it depends when you say start.

      I worked while I was at uni for a year as a researcher, that was when I was 20. I then finsihed my degree and my masters and then worked in science agin for 2 more years. I’m now doing a PhD but I think I was a scientist when I started my degree

    • Photo: Samir Hopestone

      Samir Hopestone answered on 6 Mar 2020:


      I finishes my BSc in 2018 and it took me 3 years, but I have been working towards it since my GCSEs so probably 8-10 years .

    • Photo: Ioana Grigoras

      Ioana Grigoras answered on 6 Mar 2020:


      I think you become a scientist as soon as you start working towards answering a science question that no one has an answer for. I started doing that 8 years ago, but I have only been a PhD student for the last 2 years.

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