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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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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A Day in the Life of a Marketing Manager

Do you have excellent written and communication skills? A creative mind? Confidence to sell ideas? Good planning and organisational skills? Determination and the ability to work well under pressure? Then a career in marketing could be for you.

We asked one of our marketing managers to run through a typical day.

Marketing managers, sometimes known as brand or account managers, plan all aspects of an organisation's marketing.

As the head of their department, they will research and analyse marketing trends; identify target markets; plan campaigns and develop strategies; manage a team of marketing executives and the budget, as well as monitoring and reporting on the success of campaigns. The job can demand long hours, especially in the lead up to a campaign launch, but the satisfaction of a happy client after a successful campaign is enough reward in itself.

My Working Day 

In the morning I'll spend the first hour or so checking my emails and actioning anything that's necessary.

Working at a global agency you constantly have to be aware of the time difference between you and each of your clients, so it can be important to respond more rapidly to some people than others. I'll then ring around any jobs I've been briefed on to get an update of any progress.

I'll usually receive one or two sign-offs every morning, so these will be next on my to-do list. This could be a proof to sign off and get to the printers, some copy from the copywriters or something along these lines. I'll then have a meeting mid-morning, usually with three or four offshore consultants, to get an update and make sure everyone is running to schedule.

Then I'll head off to the gym for an hour and grab some sushi on my way back to the office. In the afternoon I might have a meeting with a supplier, perhaps looking at a trade stand that's being built and checking the branding is exactly correct. I then usually have a meeting with an agency group, and will round off the afternoon by speaking to my team and ensuring everything is running smoothly. As a career, what I enjoy most about marketing is the diverse nature of the job. Working with many different stakeholders means you have contact with a number of different people at all levels.

I've also worked on some very exciting projects over the years. Whilst working in New Zealand recently, I worked on the America's Cup, which was funded in part by the New Zealand government, so we were essentially managing tax payers' money. Online is increasingly becoming an integral part of the job; as an agency you have to keep up with current technology.

One of the interesting aspects of online work is that the success of a specific campaign is measurable, so it can be really satisfying when something goes to plan. Marketing is notorious for its unpredictable hours, and when you're working with a global agency you are often required to stay late into the evening to have video conferences with people on the other side of the world.

Unfortunately that is just the nature of the profession; it's a reactive industry, and that can often put a lot of pressure on the team. If you're anything like me, you'll find that acts as a motivator!



Article by: Regan & Dean