Chemists most often work in a lab setting of some sort. They maintain, troubleshoot, and use various instruments, equipment, and software tools utilized for chemical analysis and processing. Analytical techniques used by chemists include high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC), gas chromatography (GC), and titration techniques. Strong data interpretation and analytical skills are required to be a chemist, as often times chemists are responsible for interpreting and analyzing data and equipment logs from other laboratory members. He or she needs to accurately report and track ingredient yields, quality measures, and occasionally microbiological results in addition to other key data sets. When necessary, the chemist must show an aptitude for experimental design. Additionally, chemists collect and document quality assurance test data, including testing formulations, substrates, and reagents. Chemists also must be very attentive to detail, especially since certain analytical tasks may be completely ruined with the slightest error.
Most chemist positions require the candidate to have earned at least a Bachelors degree, but upper level positions require a few years of work experience and/or more advanced degrees. In terms of non-technical skills, chemists must have strong communication skills - both written and verbal. They must be able to manage multiple projects effectively while being able to work independently or with the rest of the laboratory team. Safety awareness is also crucial for chemists, since some of the chemicals they work with on a daily basis have the potential to seriously injure or kill whoever comes in contact with them. Chemists must also be able follow directions exactly, but they also need to be able to identify potential improvements to improve an experiment or process.
- Maintain, troubleshoot, and use instruments, equipment and software tools.
- Interpret and analyze data and equipment logs from other laboratory members.
- Collect and document quality assurance test data, including testing formulations, substrates and reagents.