Career Advice: Biology and Botany Careers Advice

Career opportunities for Biology and Botany graduates


What will I do with my traning from the Department of Botany?
Graduates from this department and courses find career in Research, Public Health, Teaching, Science Writing, Administration/Management, Government, Industry, and miscellaneous careers that do not fit into the other categories. A few of these careers may require additional specialied training.
Research: A career in research will hone your skills in critical thinking, creative problem solving, and persistence. Graduate students become researchers pharmaceutical, biotechnology, agricultural sectors and public and private institutions. You can start research as a student by going for internship in research instituions like KARI, KEMRI, Universities, ILRI, NMK, Vet Labs, ICIPE, ICRAF, ICRISAT, Consultancies firms etc etc. Below are some areas research related to training from the Department of Botany.
Research Areas in Plant Science and Microbiology
Marine Biology Bacteriology Virology Cell biology Genetics
Immunology Botany Horticulture Plant Taxonomy Paleobotany
Palynology Parasitology Phycology Ecology Forensic Biology
Physiology Pharmacology Biogeochemistry Molecular Biology Bioprospecting
Environmental Science Evolutionary Biology Conservation Science Developmental Biology  
A post graduate training (MSc. and PhD) sharpens your research skills.
Another large area of careers for this students is in education. Positions include instructors in plants sciences, microbiology and molecular biology subjects/courses in high schools, colleges and universities. Most colleges and private institutions do not require a post-graduate diploma in education like the TSC. To become a university don you must have post graduate training. Most members of academic staff and some technical staff in most universities are former students of the Department of Botany
Science Writing: 
Graduates with an interest in writing find rewarding careers in writing articles for science journals, news magazines, local or regional newspapers. They also write or edit (editor) textbooks for any level. You can also write technical manuals for plant science, molecular biology and microbiology research equipments since you understand the biological basis of the use of the equipment.
Other careers in this broad field include broadcast journalism, such as writing or consulting for environmental dramas or serving as a host of television shows about environment, public health or plants, and creative writing, such as writing stories with a plant science, molecular biology, environment and microbiology background.
Administration and Management: 
Another field that employs our former students is administration and management. One example of a career in this field is a grants administrator at an agency that funds research. Grant funding agencies include national governmental agencies such as the National Council of Science and Technology (NCST). Project managers in goverment ministries, NGOs, Universities and international organisations like FAO, GEF of UN, World Bank, CGIAR organisations like ILRI, ICRISAT, ICRAF. Other include administrators in profesional bodies like East Africa Wildlife Society, Nature Kenya etc.
Careers for the above mentioned graduates are also available at all levels of government, including parastatals, local government, ministies, and regional and international levels of government. Positions are available in natural resource management/ environmental regulation and management, including field research, in the areas of rivers and streams, fish, wildlife management, and forest management, environmental officers and as extension agents, as well as personnel involved in water quality control and waste management.
Others can work as science policy analysts, researchers, and administrators as well as lobbyists for science, technology, and education issues. There are also nongovernment positions in some of these fields as well; for example, in private ranches and farms hire environmentalists, managers and crop protection experts.
Graduates from the department are also hired in many industries, including pharmaceutical, biotechnology, food and beverage, and agricultural industries, hire personnel at many levels. Positions include market research, product development and quality control, and sales and marketing. People with strong communication/linguistic skills may find employment in public relations in industry.
The pharmaceutical industry hires drug representatives, and positions are also available for sales representatives in the agricultural industry and for companies that sell scientific reagents and equipment for research and clinical laboratories. The agricultural industry offers positions in plants and crops, animals, and biofuels industries. There are also positions in regulatory affairs and quality control in industry. Industry also employs scientific consultants. Biological entrepreneurs often found companies that develop into biotechnology or other industries.
Miscellaneous Careers: 
There are also many careers that do not fit into the above categories. For example, good brewer or baker needs to understand the life cycle and nutrient requirements of yeast. An interest in law may lead to a career in patent law, environmental law, or medical legal law. An interest in finance and biology may lead to a career as a financial analyst in science or technology-based areas.
Biostatisticians analyze the data from biological research. Bioinformatics requires a foundation in computer analytical techniques as well as biology. This field developed from the need for analysis of the large quantities of data that emerged from the sequencing of the human and other genomes and the subsequent global biological applications of genomics and proteomics, and it has undergone significant expansion in recent years.
Biofouling examines biological contamination and its prevention, from the bacterial contamination of hospital catheters to the contamination of ship’s ballasts with unwanted biologicals such as zebra mussels.
Careers in agricultural science include animal science, crop science, soil science, viticulture, apiary, fish farming, dairy production, meat production, poultry science, crop consultation, crop management, and biofuels research.


The first step in choosing a career is to be aware of the many opportunities that are available; below are some potential . Answers to the following questions will provide initial guidance in choosing a career.
What are your personal interests and aptitudes in the broad areas that are taught in the department (i.e., ecology, biotechnology, microbiology, molecular biology and plant science)? How devoted are you in order to acquire good grades? Do you want to work outdoors or indoors? Do you want to work with lots of people? Do you want a job in a specific geographical location? Do you want a job with intellectual stimulation? Do you have other strong interests that you can combined to create a unique career?
Another method of career exploration is to identify people who are employed in the career of interest and ask questions, such as how did they make their career choices, what was the training pathway, and do they find the career rewarding and worthwhile. Ask whether there are internships that would allow hands-on experience in a field to assist the decision-making process. Inquire about the academic rigor required for a given career choice and critically assess your ability to meet that standard.
Some important considerations.
The demand for personnel in a given career path.
Job stability; for example, researchers in government parastatals may be permanent and pensionable unlike those on contract.
Salary is another decisive factor. In general, salaries are proportional to training and level of responsibility. People with a master’s degree have greater responsibility and earn a greater salary than those with a bachelor’s degree. Similarly, people with a PhD have greater responsibility and earn a larger salary than those with a MS degree.
In the Department of Botany, a student can specialize (major) in different areas of interest during their course of undergraduate study. However, majoring narrows the training that the student receives, thereby narrowing the student’s career options. This is not an issue if the student has made a career choice. However, it would be wise of the student not to specialize too much until a career choice has been identified.

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Date published: 22/09/2017
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