Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Brian Macken from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:

Brian Macken

Science Communicator

Smart Futures

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Brian Macken

I would strongly advise you to do the Masters in Science Communication in DCU. It really gives you a feel for the different kinds of media and ways of explaining things. And it's a good place to make contacts, which is also useful.

I would also recommend that you read science books. Not textbooks, good popular science books are just as useful for this kind of work, as it's already been broken down into simpler language for you. And only read the ones that you're interested in - it shouldn't be a chore to read them.

But I would recommend reading outside your subject area, so if you're into physics, then read some books on biology and vice versa (everyone should read Stephen J. Gould).  However, the more knowledge you have, the more questions you'll be able to answer.

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The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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Postgraduate Education - (5)


Postgraduate education (Ed Zone 5) is a growing sector in Ireland, and includes the highest levels of academic achievement available. Courses here available in a number of formats, and span different time committments.

Completing a course of graduate study is a challenging and exciting experience, which confers skills, experience and a sense of achievement valued by employers and students. People study for graduate degrees for a variety of reasons:

  • studying your degree subject in greater depth
  • enhancing your job prospects in your chosen career
  • retraining in a different area
  • taking a postgraduate qualification as the next step in your career, for example in law, or education.

For the above reasons the graduate degree experience enhances a person's personal development and experience. It also provides a range of skills and expertise in a subject area that is transferable across a broad range of careers and life settings.

Employers, commenting in a recent university survey on those who have completed graduate degree courses and worked for them made the following declarations:

  • I tend to think of PhD students as more worldly wise and would expect to be getting additional maturity when we recruit them.
  • I would welcome more applications from PhD students. I think the organisation needs their qualities.
  • The fact that someone has done research can show enthusiasm, dedication and focus. Additional maturity can bring with it a better work ethic and more organisational loyalty.
  • We see PhD students as having a wider range of skills to offer - analytical and numeracy amongst others.
  • Postgraduate students have analytical skills, find new solutions to problems and are open to new ideas, these are very important skills.

Very often people undertake post-graduate courses to specialise in an area or to change their career. These courses are at Levels 9 and 10 on the NFQ framework.

You can search for these through Postgradireland.com

Also, it is worth investigating individual college/university websites for detailed descriptions of the postgraduate course, application procedures and the closing dates for application.

We also recommend you visit Graduate Careers Fairs, especially those aimed specifically at postgraduate study.

For more information on post-graduate study: click here.