The results of my work become apparent
within a very short time, in the shape of
digital tools for our clients. That’s the
difference from a career in research.

Alexander Roeder,
Medical Content Developer

Hi there, I’m Alex! For more than three years I’ve been a medical content developer (MCD) at CAST PHARMA–an agency specialized in developing medical learning and training materials, 3D animations, and visual stories.

Why not take a research job in science or industry, you ask? Well, because I realized rather quickly that a professional career in those areas wouldn’t be right for me. I couldn’t see myself experimenting at a lab bench with a number of tedious and uninspiring research projects on top.

CAST PHARMA offered a welcome change: a stimulating and fast-paced work environment, lively discussions, and exciting projects with meaningful results. What intrigued me the most, however, was the fact that CAST PHARMA operates at the interface of communication, education, technology, and design. And no product epitomizes this interface more than an interactive eLearning tool.

Developing such a tool is a process that takes close collaboration between the client, specifically subject-matter experts, and the in-house departments of CAST PHARMA.

My job

In this process, I’m predominantly responsible for deciding how to best impart the scientific messages the client wants to communicate. The goal is always to fashion a comprehensive, learner-focused, and performance-enhancing product. The concepts are usually single learning units or modules, which together with other learning units form a larger curriculum. While developing a concept is not an easy task, it is the task in which I can be most creative and that makes my job so enjoyable.

For example, I’m able to:

  • Familiarize myself with a variety of pharmaceutical, medical, or biological topics
  • Structure and organize data
  • Write purposeful, clear, and unambiguous copy
  • Devise meaningful and memorable visuals (e.g., infographics, flowcharts)
  • Conceive intuitive interactive stages
  • Reflect on how users will interact with the module
  • Exchange and discuss ideas with creative and experienced colleagues

However, my responsibility doesn’t end there. Other aspects of my job lean towards client consulting and quality control. In practice, this means I can’t shy away from reflecting on and, if necessary, reevaluating my concept at any given step in the process to accommodate client requests and ideas. That’s why I need to ensure that my colleagues, particularly the members of the production team, are aware of necessary changes and that those changes are properly explained and implemented.

Sometimes, though, the requests can’t be easily implemented. In those cases, I need to provide alternative solutions. While those solutions can often be resolved on email, it sometimes becomes necessary to attend phone conferences or face-to-face meetings.

Requirements and expectations

The expectations of both the clients and CAST PHARMA are high. Coming from a purely biology- and medicine-driven background, I had to switch gears from being a detail-oriented scientist to being a professional service provider. The ability to speak clearly with precise and well-grounded arguments has become absolutely essential! Strong writing skills are equally important. An understanding of the principles of instructional and graphic design, as well as a sense for the inner workings of the pharmaceutical industry, are also needed so I can live up to the high expectations I face.

Being part of a highly creative environment is demanding and often challenging but looking back I think it is this challenge that motivates me. Overall, my efforts substantially contribute to providing the client with an effective and visually appealing product and ultimately to the success of CAST PHARMA.

Looking to apply your skills in an exciting environment?