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 Caitriona Jackman from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Caitriona Jackman

Planetary Scientist

Smart Futures

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  Caitriona Jackman
If you are considering full-time scientific research, try to get a work placement in a university department so you can see first hand what it’s like. It’s a relatively relaxed, flexible environment, but there is a certain degree of self-motivation needed. 

So I would say you need to be able to push  yourself and be proactive in terms of setting up collaborations with other scientists etc.
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Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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The Irish government recognises the importance of education for both individuals and society.

A number of government upskilling programmes have been developed which aim to encourage individuals to continue their learning and increase their skills level. Many of these programmes include financial supports.

If you are unemployed, or want to further your education, there is likely to be a support programme that will help you financially, while doing a course you may be interested in.

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  Hint: Department of Education and Skills
I took the postgraduate diploma in statistics and the PhD after my undergraduate course. For the next year I'm planning to focus on settling in here and learning as much as I can from my teaching experience.

After that I would like to take a formal course to improve my teaching. There is a qualification in Third Level Teaching and Learning offered in Ireland, and an International Teachers Programme abroad. Either of those would be super.

In the meantime DCU offer courses to support lecturers, so I will be taking those from January. I would also like to undertake a professional qualification from the Chartered Institute of Professional Development, the body for HR managers. DCU offers courses accredited by the CIPD and a lot of the members of my group have this qualification. It's not essential, but it is something I would like to do.

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