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 Elaine MacDonald from St. Michael's House to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Elaine MacDonald

Psychologist - Clinical

St. Michael's House

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  Elaine MacDonald

Make sure you are willing to go the full distance in terms of the time needed to train as a Clinical Psychologist – it’s typically at least six years academic study, and invariably this period is interspersed with work in a relevant field.

Do be as confident as you can that you’re happy being a “listener” and “observer”, as you will spend significant amounts of time in your work life as a Clinical Psychologist being in this role, as well as being in the “do-er” role and being in the limelight.

To have a good ‘fit’ with this career you’ll need to be happy working with people – as individuals on a one to one basis, with groups (e.g. families), and as part of a team in the workplace.

You need to have a good attention to detail as the job needs good observation skills, record keeping, and organisation skills.

Be prepared for learning and self-development to be on-going for the whole of your career because, as a Clinical Psychologist, you’ll be learning and using techniques and intervention approaches that are being constantly developed, and be working in accordance with policies and laws that are also constantly evolving.

The last piece of advice I’d give to someone considering this job is to be as sure as you can that you feel comfortable and even excited at the prospect of your career revolving around people and groups with all the varied, diverse, and unpredictable rewards and challenges that this brings!

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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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Morven Duffy - Process Engineer

Morven Duffy talks to Smart Futures about making computer chips for Intel Ireland, where she has worked for 15 years.

What is a process engineer and what do you do?

Intel has a few hundred process engineers in Leixlip. Each one has responsibility for a number of process steps. We start with a silicon wafer and build a load of integrated circuits into it . My area is called metals. I work with complicated machines and ensure they operate consistently and at a reasonable cost.

What are the wafers for and what size are they?

We build hundreds of chips on to a silicon wafer that is 30cm across. We’re starting a new process using Intel’s newest technology called Broadwell. We use a measurement called the gate length, which is the basic measure of how small a chip can be manufactured. The new gate length is 14 nanometers (nm) – a human hair is around 75,000nm in diameter – they are the most advanced in the world.

What are the main challenges?

Some of the layers we use to build chips are so thin that the material doesn’t behave as expected so that is difficult. Keeping the yields up (how many good chips we get off a wafer) is very complicated as there’s a lot of reasons why it might not work. Another challenge is the travel. Intel releases a new product every two to three years. They are developed in Oregon in the US and transferred to Ireland. When we are doing a process transfer, we have to live abroad. In the last three years, I’ve spent nine months in Oregon and just over a year in Israel.

What’s cool about your job?

I get to play with really expensive machines.

What subjects did you take in school?

I picked physics, chemistry, biology, applied maths and German. When I was choosing my college course, I decided to go with the subject I liked best – physics.

What did you do after school?

I did applied physics in Dublin City University in 1995. I had to do a six-month work placement, which I did in Intel. Intel hired a bunch of us when we finished college.

What kind of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

Anyone interested in this role should get experience in a manufacturing-type job.

What inspires your love of engineering?

My family has always been quite technical. We were very familiar with computers and had a laptop at home in 1990. That background has definitely fed through.

Article by: Smart Futures