Photo: Courtesy of Steve Koehler

Who's hot and who's not? The job market runs hot and cold depending on location, experience, and education. In hot biotechnology markets where the demand is strong, such as Rockville, Md., San Diego, and Boston, salaries remain stable. In the Midwest hiring managers are looking for detailed skill sets, even though they pay as much as 10% less than employers on either coast. Despite regional shortfalls, however, the demand and salaries for scientists remain strong.

In the areas of drug discovery, quality control, and production, companies seek candidates with experience and skills in analytical chemistry, biochemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry, bioanalytical chemistry, and cell and molecular biology. Candidates should have experience with protein purification and instrumentation, including high-performance liquid chromatography. Familiarity with cell culture techniques is also useful.

Companies that once scrambled to get candidates to their doors are now very selective. Candidates with bachelor's or master's...

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