I have a Master's Degree in Pharmainformatics (which is quite IT oriented and different than regular Pharma Masters) from India. Since two years I am working on Microbial Genomics, which is Bioinformatics and now I have got a task of Database Management for next year. Is this shifting of fields increasing my exposure to different fields or am I just wasting time learning different things?

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    It depends on what your ultimate expectations and goals are. – Paul Sep 25 '13 at 14:16
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    Can be either and the information you gave is severely insufficient to determine which one is the case. – fedja Sep 25 '13 at 18:29
  • My ultimate goal is to go to academics. I have to do these things during my PhD. After 3 yrs I will be getting PhD in (Computational) Biology. – BioDeveloper Sep 26 '13 at 5:36
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    I would say that you should at least be an expert in 1-2 fields to go in academia and being jack of all fields would help you take up multidisciplinary research and guide students from varied backgrounds in a better way. – krammer Sep 28 '13 at 18:43
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    It's very common to do your PhD in a different topic to your previous studies (and I think it's a good thing to do so). After your PhD, however, you should find a postdoc position that will help you converge on a field you want to become an expert academic in. – Moriarty Oct 19 '13 at 2:14

Shifting among several fields is definitely exposing you to different fields, and as the comments indicated, being an expert in more than one field is helpful for a successful career in academia. Answers to other questions on this site make it clear that shifting (or even completely changing fields) in the duration of an academic career is normal and advantageous.

For example, see Bitwise's advice here, where he says

Changing fields is very common in academia, especially at the PhD/postdoc transition. In many cases it is actually considered an advantage, since you can import your skills, expertise and a certain thought-process into a field in which many people do not have those skills. For example, many physicists, computer scientists and mathematicians have migrated to biology and have made significant contributions. In fact, there are even postdoctoral fellowships that specifically fund this type of field-change.

The question was specific to changing fields at the PhD/postdoc transition stage, but his advice holds at any stage of an academic career.

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