What Skills Do You Need to Become a Scientist?

To succeed as a scientist, one needs skills including the ability to apply a broad range of scientific knowledge in practical situations, creativity, research abilities and the flexibility to integrate new scientific information as it becomes available. Written and verbal communication skills are also important.

A competent scientist possesses a strong knowledge base pertaining to her area of scientific study. She understands scientific information on a practical level, allowing her to use it to carry out experiments, solve problems and come up with ideas for new research projects. Because new scientific discoveries are made on a never-ending basis, a scientist must also have strong research skills and a dedication to keeping up-to-date on the most recent scientific findings.

Although science is sometimes seen as a field that does not require much creativity or social skills, both are very valuable skills to scientists. Things do not always go as planned when carrying out scientific research, so a competent scientist must have the creativity and flexibility to think up solutions to problems as they arise. Scientists work in collaboration with other scientists as well as other professionals to carry out their research. They must be able to communicate their research findings patiently to laypersons who are unfamiliar with their scientific jargon. Writing skills are a must because scientists have to write convincing grant proposals and put their research findings into writing for publication.