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The Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research – IISERs – are a group of fairly young but premier education Institutes in India. These Institutes have been declared as Institutions of national importance by an act of Parliament and are meant to be the IITs of basic sciences. Strategically located at Berhampur, Bhopal, Kolkata, Mohali, Pune, Thiruvananthapuram and Tirupati, with proposals for Nagaland and Hyderabad in the offing, IISERs are promoting high-quality science education and research in all parts of the country.

IISER offers a five-year dual degree program to the deserving and eligible candidates. Although IISERs offer the best training in basic sciences and unparalleled exposure to advanced analytical techniques, the fact that these Institutes are relatively new is the main reason for the lack of awareness about their existence. There is also a general belief that the viable career options for IISER graduates are limited. Whereas the fact is that the training received during the IISER program equips students to pursue a career in academia, R&D institutes, and science-based industries. Today, in this article, we address this very misconception and highlight the various career options available for IISER graduates.

Firstly, the basic idea behind the IISERs was to provide a platform for students who were interested in becoming scientists rather than engineers and not enable students to ‘just earn’ after its BS-MS course. With the Science departments in IITs being overshadowed by their Engineering counterparts, the emphasis on the Sciences at the IISERs was a conscious decision to specifically promote research in their respective fields, in order to meet and exceed the standards of the current global scenario.

To be fair, the career opportunities for IISER graduates are more or less attuned to research. That being said, there is nothing that stops the students from opting for a career as an engineer after completing a BS-MS from an IISER. The annual placements at IISER attract recruiters from reputed companies such as Ranbaxy, Unilever, GE Healthcare, Dr. Reddy’s, Shell, L’Oreal, Glenmark, etc.

Now, let’s answer the question that has been playing on your mind ‘what are the job opportunities after graduating from IISER?’ For your benefit, we’ve put together some of the career options for IISER graduates. So, read carefully.

  • Academia (Research): After doing a PhD, post your BS-MS course, you can join any CSIR labs or University or research lab as a staff scientist or principal investigator.
  • Academia (Teaching): The IISER graduates can take up a teaching job in any school/University after qualifying the requisite exams like UPSC, B. Ed, NET, etc.
  • Industry (Research & Development): Doing a PhD after your BS-MS course will open the doors of any company for you to join them as a scientist in their R&D department. To achieve this, ensure that you do your summer research projects in industries.
  • Industry (Sales/Management): After completing your Ph. D, you can do an MBA or a business related course and join the sales or marketing team of any reputed organization. Again, ensure that you do your summer research internship in industries.
  • Scientific Writing: You can explore opportunities in journals like Cell, Science, Nature, etc. as an editor. You need a PhD and training in scientific writings.
  • Teaching: After completing your BS-MS, you can teach at coaching classes like FIT JEE, etc. This is considered a lucrative job as the pay packages are good.
  • Legal Advisor: After your BS-MS, you can work as a legal advisor or administrator in biotech companies or Universities. Doing an MBA or Masters in Law will help your cause.
  • Patent Officer/Grant Writer: For a patent officer, you need to take up a law course on patent filings, etc. You can also take a legal course on forensic sciences and join CBI or other police forces as forensic expert/advisor. Grant writers need a PhD after their BS-MS.
  • Be your own boss: If you can invest a little then you can start your own coaching classes or a consultancy.
  • Government Services: You can apply for different positions in various ministries as they recognize MS degree given by IISERs. You can also appear for administrative exams for IAS, IPS, etc. positions.

A good number of the students who finish their BS-MS opt to go abroad to pursue a Doctorate. It is worth noting that none of these are the standard 9 to 5 life-draining jobs with fixed, rigid routines. Instead, these jobs require the individual to possess a passion for the subject and a thirst for knowledge. The institutions themselves take in only the most capable students, as is quite apparent when one of the criteria for gaining admission here is being in the top 1% in the board exams.

The bottom line is this – job opportunities for the IISER graduates are plentiful in both the public as well as the private sectors, and arguably the best career choice would be in R&D. But this would involve a great amount of dedication and a passion for research.

IISER is one of the best institutions to pursue one’s education, provided your aim is not to simply get a standard run-of-the-mill job and settle down into a hamster-on-a-wheel routine. The country is empowering its students by providing state-of-the-art facilities and top-notch faculties. It would be a shame to make use of such resources and not add to the scientific wealth of mankind and the nation.

Just like the IISERs, IIST is another unique and extraordinary college. Read about it here.

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