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Career Story: Systems Analyst And Software Specialist For A Pharmaceutical Company

Systems Analyst And Software Specialist For A Pharmaceutical Company

Job Title: Scientific Systems Analyst

Type of Company: My company discovers, develops, manufactures and distributes medicine.

Education: BS, Chemistry, University of North Carolina-Asheville •• MS, Biochemistry and Nutrition, North Carolina State University

Previous Experience: I started as a biochemist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill academic laboratory, and have now been at a pharmaceutical discovery company for 18 years, starting as a biochemist and gradually learning and shifting into information technology and software support.

Job Tasks: My key responsibilities and duties are easiest to list: I provide training for, and answer questions about, the use of specialized scientific software for data analysis and management. I work with international teams to develop new software solutions for managing the complex world of drug discovery, where we are sorting through millions of existing molecules for hundreds of diseases to find good starting compounds for developing new medicines. Since our discovery efforts are carried out at many sites internationally, we have to consider how to help coordinate the storage of and access to lots of experimental information, for many different scientists. We have many different software applications to help with this effort, and as scientists employ new technology, we have to update our software. I am often consulted to figure out how to make the most use of what we have and to write up clear requirements that software developers can use to create new software. I also customize some software myself to increase the range of calculations that can be done. Weekly, I help with routine tasks to keep our databases clear of unneeded or incorrect information. I answer phone calls from scientists when the software does not perform as expected. This usually involves troubleshooting our fairly complex process to see where a breakdown has occurred. These problems are usually fairly easy to correct, but sometimes take quite an investigation, which can also be fun.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of this job is the fun of working with people to solve and correct mysterious problems. I like the international aspect of working with folks across the world. Writing up the results is not as much fun for me. I also get frustrated by how hard it can sometimes be to find the right person to help me find answers in our really big company.

Job Tips: It is good to take courses that make you think about the scientific process, not just memorize facts. In my area that requires both scientific understanding and information technology training, it is easier to take a trained scientist and teach him about computers and software than vice versa.

Take lots of hands-on laboratory classes.

Additional Thoughts: I had no idea that I' end up in this job when I started. I followed my changing interests and took advantage of opportunities to learn new areas as I worked.

Popular Schools offering Systems Analyst Programs

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ABCO Technology
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ABCO Technology is an accredited computer training academy that offers diploma programs for individual students, professionals and companies to learn different areas of Information technology and seek gainful employment.

  • Programs: Security, Networking and Security
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Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.

  • Programs: BS in Business in Information Management Systems: Intelligence , Doctor of Business Administration in Information Systems
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Doctorate

For over 35 years, Keiser University has provided student-centered, quality career education. Keiser University Online offers degree programs online to prepare students for in-demand professions.

  • Programs: Associate of Science in Information Technology
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UEI College
Bakersfield, Chula Vista, El Monte, Encino, Fresno, Gardena, Riverside, San Marcos, Stockton

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

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Unitek College
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Unitek College™ is a privately held vocational school dedicated to helping you gain the skills needed to advance your career or begin a brand new career. 

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California College San Diego
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The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started

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Platt College
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Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.

  • Programs: Information Technology Associate's Degree
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Abilene Christian University is a national leader in Christian higher education and a place where students, faculty, staff and alumni make a real difference in the world.

  • Programs: Master of Business Administration - Information Technology Leadership
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Study online with University of Maryland at College Park.

  • Programs: MBA - Information Systems & Business Analytics
  • Degrees: Master

Designed with the needs of working adult students in mind, South University, Online Programs is built on the similar curriculum offered at South University's campus locations. As a student at South University, Online Programs you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.

  • Programs: Information Systems & Technology: Information Security Studies (MS), Information Technology (BS)
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