[Личный опыт] Vzhuh – and you are in biotech. How to get hired in an industry that inspires

The inseparable trinity of “requirements / conditions / obligations” managed to set everyone on edge. Doesn’t sound like a dream job description at all. It seems that the most important thing is to find the place that suits you personally and meets your values ​​and needs. But how?

We talked to a Python developer who is interested in biotechnology and genetics. Four years ago, it was impossible to find a single vacancy for a developer in biotech throughout Russia – but he recently entered BostonGene. It would seem that the event is simple. But how cool it is to go to work for a company in the industry that inspires. Thinking about how to find the perfect team and how to understand which manager is not on the way. Let’s give the floor to Sergey 🙂


Why I was looking for a job at all

Hi, Sergey Gavrilov is in touch. I recently came to the sixth place of work in the last 5 years. I have been looking for a company with which I will coincide in goals and interests for a very long time. They say that often jumping from place to place is not very good, but in my opinion, restoring ruined health due to stress in a toxic team is even worse. I was looking for interesting problems – I understand, this is a subjective criterion. But if you come to the office every time you figure out how to kill the day, or you find yourself in a cycle of dull and stupid tasks that are lowered from above – something is clearly going wrong. It was this approach to teamwork that I tried to avoid.

For example, once I was hired for the position of a data scientist. During the interview, they promised an interesting job, a lot of tasks and autonomy. And in fact, day after day I riveted simple scripts for data distillation. All the techniques used, variable names, libraries, literally every comma, were subjected to meaningless control and evaluation. Freedom – zero, you could have been about nothing. It turned out that I was working with yesterday’s students, and each demanded the strict fulfillment of any of his wishes, and any proposals to change the processes were denied or ignored. As soon as I realized the situation, I began to think about how to look for a job.

The main goal is to find a place where there is no formal thinking, where tasks are dictated by objective necessity, and where people are not taken, just to inflate the staff – and it does not matter what kind of exhaust the hiring of these specialists will bring.

Tips from personal experience: how to understand what will be a formal approach to work

  1. If in an interview they only talk about technology

    A wake-up call if I come to interview for a technical position – and we communicate exclusively about the technical part of the work. If in an interview they only ask questions related to language or databases, I strain. The question arises: what next? Team communication, product goals, ideas?

    Usually you only write code 50-70% working day, and it’s very productive. But it is the remaining 30% that decide how long you will stay in the company – 7 months or two years.

  2. If the work is crazy

    I understand that when choosing a position, people use different optics: the recoverable resource (money, distance, travel time, availability of voluntary medical insurance) or self-realization in tasks may be more important. The first approach is not close to me.

    Anthropologist David Graeber in 2013 published an essaywhere viewed the modern world in terms of distribution and generation of useless work.

    There are companies where people come up with work for themselves – this happens when programmers, analysts, team leads or even a service station are hired “because they need to”, if only the position is closed. In the future, it is these people who will either generate delusional work, or suffer from it.

    How to determine if a position was opened for a tick? During the interview, I ask the question, what will I have to do. The answer in the spirit of “develop such and such a product” worries me. It sounds very blurry and means that there is no good, clear goal.

    To gain a deeper understanding of the scope of the problem, ask what the previous person in that position was up to. If the answer is that it was not there, and the department was formed two months ago, then the game of Russian roulette begins next: it may or may not be lucky, and managers with team leads will fight for the budget, hire people and only then come up with work for them. And tasks should solve business problems.

  3. If they only talk about productivity

    The tons of content about how to work effectively that surrounds us all over the place is a very destructive thing. For me, talking about productivity when discussing another project that didn’t work out seems like an attempt to avoid solving real problems: it’s easier to say that the team is not productive than to understand the reasons. Of course, everyone is responsible for himself, but still teamwork is the work of a team. Therefore, I want not to shut up those who do not like something with books about efficiency.

Tips from personal experience: how I will recognize a manager who will be difficult to work with

  1. The product is not well known to the manager

    It’s a wake-up call for me when employers sound like they’ve never done a project at a job interview. Such managers often talk colorlessly about the product that the team needs to develop, without any details. they use pronouns, everything impersonal: “they did this and that.” For me it looks like a shift in responsibility and not knowing the product – again a formal, detached approach.

  2. He doesn’t know anything on the technical side.

    Perhaps the conclusion is counterintuitive. But such a manager is not involved in what you do. But it is he who has the power to get resources for the team, explain to the bosses what and why you are doing, knock out salaries, defend new positions and resolve conflicts in the team.

    It’s bad if he didn’t come for an interview at all, which means that you most likely don’t have a manager. Questions arise: who will set the tasks, who will be involved in the development of the project?

    It is also important to make sure that the person who interviews you will also lead you. In my experience there were interviews where people outside the team came to interview. It turns out again a cat in a poke.

  3. The person is just unpleasant

    It is very important that future colleagues are simply humanly liked. I want to work in a team where you don’t have to force yourself to speak with colleagues, where you are respected.

    If a candidate is interrupted for an interview, they are dismissive – you should not go there.

What i was looking for

The previous hero said that he was fundamentally remote. Interesting work is important to me – and without a formal approach. Where to find one?

I managed to work in different products: in fintech, for brokers, in digital, I even sawed off a prototype for a construction startup. I realized that the most important thing for me is to be fascinated by the industry. Technologies themselves are not interesting. The main goal of IT is to help. Any program is written to automate, which means either to reduce the amount of boring work to some living person, or to give him a tool so that he can create something new, some value for the company and the team.

So this time I decided to look for a job in biotech. Why? Over the past year, the biotech start-up market has shown growth no worse than IT startups, which superimposed on my long-standing interest in the topic.


A source

How I Now Help BostonGene Heal People

Back in August, I didn’t know how the cell is arranged, nothing consists of DNA, but now I need to do this constantly. At BostonGene, I am new and so far I only solve technical problems. In order to get into the industry that I consider useful and interesting, I had to pull up all the fundamental knowledge. How did I manage it?

It all started with a vaccine race in our beautiful 2020. Under the effect of all this news and the growth of stocks of biotech startups, I saw the news about an open lecture Timur Chernov… And although he is not engaged in biotech at all, I managed to question him in detail.
Now I understand that biotechnology is a very vague concept, and beer production is even closer to them than modern fashionable things. Then I was lucky again: on Arche began aboutonline course “Fundamentals of Genetics”… Upon completion, I wrote to the author of the course, and now he helps me to compensate for the gaps in knowledge.

BostonGene is engaged in the creation of a patient profile, assessing which cancer therapy is best for a person. It is difficult to formulate in a few words, but to simplify it greatly: biologists and oncologists track and analyze the success of various types of therapy, based on scientific theoretical data and the collection of datasets. If patterns are identified, bioinformatists write a code that reproduces the retrieval of those parameters from the available patient data. The developers are finalizing this process.

My job search was difficult, because the task was to find a biotech company with an office and a position for a person with no experience in the field.

I didn’t know which companies are represented, which ones are recruiting developers and how to get into the one that will not throw me into a regular IT team. For this, it is best to simply post a resume on all available job boards, but HR specialists are completely unfamiliar with the preferences in the field, and will still fill up dozens of completely unnecessary positions. Does anyone read a short description on a resume? But, fortunately, six months ago I stumbled upon a fresh startup g-matethat offers personalized hiring and is ready to consider your preferences, not the employer. It worked best for me. Therefore, I advise everyone.

Bonus for those who are interested in biotech: where to start acquaintance with biology

  1. Prepared here: online course “Fundamentals of Genetics”
  2. Molecular cell biology
  3. The only normal course in bioinformatics at Stepik
  4. Bonus: in this channel I periodically check who registers what. If you’re lucky, you can profitably buy stocks.

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