The gap: from studies to actually working


At this point, you already have a general idea about what Bioengineering is, which are the specialties, works related and more a less what life as a biomedical engineer can be.

But there is still a little thing no one would tell you when you are considering Biomedical Engineering as a path, at least you ask directly to them.

It's something I discovered when beginning my working life (the resume of my first-year experience can be found here -WIP-) and I am pretty sure most of the people do. It is not something particularly related to Biomedical Engineering, it's almost the same for every single person.

However, I will orientate it to bioengineering so you can have a little warning of what awaits you, even if it's a personal experience you have to go through by yourself. My intend is to make it the easiest possible for you.

I am talking about the gap that exists between studying and working, the differences between expectation and reality. 

First jobs 

Probably, you won't like your first job.

Or the first two, three ones. You may be lucky, but if not, do not fret: it is normal. At the beginning of a career, you are testing yourself. You do not know what works means, you do not know what is expected from you and what to expect. Try to have as much information as possible previous to entering a job, but there will be always a part of the surprise, of unknown. And it is right.

Take it as an opportunity. Meet people, make contacts, learn about duties, about what aspect you like and dislike about your job, the field of the biomedical world. Move. Show interest. Do not reveal too much of what you want later, but still have an open, positive attitude.

Be careful with expectations

Because it is right, however, try to be careful with the expectations. You may like a field, but one thing is theoretical or university knowledge and another thing very different is practical applications in an enterprise context.

What do I mean by that?

You might love for example medical image analysis, of extracting the medical information hidden in pixels and discovering outstanding things about an illness through it; but you find yourself doing tasks you do not like, such as analyzing previous documents that you are not interested in, making automatization processes. Sometimes, you might feel there is a lack of purpose.

You have to realize that things don't always fit with expectations. Sometimes, that is not for you. Other times, it is just an initial phase! Do not forget that everybody begins with low, boring yet fundamental tasks. 

Keep a positive attitude

That is why, I recommend you to keep a positive attitude, as things will evolve.

You must have a strong determination, an iron will about what you want. You will have to be flexible about a lot of things, and you will have to be open to new opportunities and possibilities. You might discover paths you didn't think about. However, if you feel that what you are doing is not for you, look for the next step. Flexibility is important but not at all costs.

Anyway, show you are implied, even if not, and keep a positive attitude, always!