At this time, there are certain stereotypes about a scientists work and the opportunities for their professional growth that, to a large extent, are tied to how Russian science worked throughout the 20th century. However, in the current economic environment, taking into account the objectives set by the leadership of the country of increasing the real contribution made by science to creating high-tech products and services, the operational mode of scientists has changed radically. Development of a number of high-tech industries increases the demand for innovative solutions by business and creates a new market for early research, commercial R&D, and innovative startups. Powerful in-house R&D centres were created and continue to grow that need highly qualified researchers and developers. There is now an opportunity for universities and research centres to create and grow their own startups, which can independently commercialize research results. There are several options for a young scientist. They can go to work for a company, become a research partner, or open their own startup; or maybe they could combine all of these? Each path has its own advantages and disadvantages, its own prospects and restrictions. How can one make an intelligent choice and what skills does a young scientist need to be successful?